Good morning. Welcome back. I got my boots off but let me get up and get you a cup of coffee. You know the way? Well, that being the case, I’ll sit here, and you can grab your own. Like that idea better anyway. I get to be polite, and I don’t have to move.
Been thinking about Pickles the last few days. I miss that old Kansas farmer. Weren’t too many like Pickles and I doubt they make them like him anymore. The man loved dill pickles, and as he grew older, it seemed he resembled a pickle.
His face got long, and the lines around his eyes and mouth seemed to run vertically instead of the usual way. The name didn’t really fit him though. The man never had a sour bone in his body. He was as easygoing as Old Woman Creek there. He had more than his share of troubles and heartache, but he just kept going. He had a steadiness about him that gave those around him confidence that things would work out.
He helped my family through a harsh winter one year when I was out west. I should have been here with Laura and the children, but business took me away. Was gone almost a year, and it was Pickles, with his calm and easy going way he had, got them through the worst of it. I always felt I owed him more than I could afford after that.
He had lost his place and his sweet wife Mary a couple of years before that, so when I got back from out west, he just kind of stayed on. He helped me through some tough times, and the old coot kept me from making a fool of myself a time or two. I guess I owe him for that too.
Do you remember Ellen? She was the dance hall girl that helped heal me out in Colorado Springs? She followed me back to Missouri and kind of got to liking old Pickles. According to him, she was right forward in telling him about her feelings. She indeed set her cap for him. It never happened though. Pickles liked her, a lot, but he couldn’t let go of Mary. Couldn’t bring himself to marry another woman.
You know we built a house for Pickles just up the lane some ways. I guess it’s about a quarter of a mile away. Pickles and I were partners in several horses. There never was a better hand with any type of animal.
Anyway, forgive me, I get to meandering like a chicken who ate spoiled wheat. Well, we built him a good house, and when he died, I found out he had left it to Ellen. I think that woman cried for days over that gift. She never did move in, with her business in town, she didn’t feel right about it, and I think it was cause everything in the place was Pickles. I’d ride colts up that way, and it was not uncommon to find Ellen’s buckboard outside the little house, her horse tied up to the post. I stopped by a few times, and she’d be inside the house, just sitting, crying, and thinking of Pickles.
I quit stopping by after the first couple of times I saw her there. It was just too uncomfortable if you know what I mean. I missed that old man, and to sit in his house, all his stuff there, everything there but him, and watch a woman cry over what might have been; it was just too hard. I guess she visited the house for about a year, and then one day, she came up to my place and told me she had taken a few of Pickles’ things and that she wouldn’t be visiting anymore. Told me she didn’t want the place and as far as she was concerned the house was mine.
I don’t believe Ellen and I ever spoke about Pickles again. Even so, I’m sure both of us thought of the old coot often enough.
He’s buried down the hill there, next to the children and Laura and her folks. Someday, that’s where I’ll be, I suppose. I rode to Kansas and told his kin when he passed, but we didn’t try to transport him. I think he’s happy here.
Thanks for stopping by. I don’t get into town much, so I appreciate your visits.