(chapter 12 continues....) Paw was talking, "Jones, where did you get those snowshoes you are wearing? Jones was
smiling, "I got them real cheap down at the saloon." Paw said, "they are my snowshoes, someone
stole them from my locker at the Works, two days ago. I want to know who you got them from."
Jones replied, "I didn't know they were yours, honest I didn't." Bert had gotten Mother's black bag
and a splint board, he was standing by Mother, ready to help.
The boy, Joe, was looking around the room, he said, "Paw, what is your knife doing on the floor by the fireplace? Did these Indians steal it?" Mother said, "I need some men to hold this boy, so I can work on his arm." Mr Jones and Paw came to help Mother. Mother felt Joe's arm and Joe yelled. Mother said.. "The arm is broken in two places, one is a clean break, this I can set, but the other break is worse, the bone is crushed, there are about five large pieces and perhaps several small splinters of bone, this is very serious. I am a nurse, not a doctor, I don't have the knowledge to set that bone properly. You should take the boy on the train to a large city, to a really good doctor. If that broken bone gets an infection, the boy could very easily loose his arm."
Mr Jones said, "All that messing around would cost a lot of money, I don't have money. Frost here must earn three times as much as I do. Just look at all this fancy furniture and sewing machine and even a cook stove." Paw interrupted him "Jones, it isn't how much money a man makes that counts, it is how he spends his money and his time. I make only a few pennies an hour more than you do. I made that table and ten chairs, that rocking chair and foot stool for my wife, the baby's cradle and the work table and bench, I saved part of every pay check for over a year to get the money to buy that cook stove and sewing machine. I built this house, it is small and cramped, but it is the best that I could afford. My children work hard to help me keep things going, my wife has been very sick all summer. My eleven year old has had to help care for her and has had all the care of a tiny baby. My ten year old son raised a big garden, potatoes, onions, carrots, beans, cabbage and pumpkins and other squash. My nine year old girl is a very good cook." Paw exclaimed. "Now your time and money, is spent at the saloon, while your family goes without. What do your children do? Don't come in here, crying that you don't have any money and expect my wife to perform miracles. You had better take that boy to a doctor." Now Jones' voice was kind of whiney and pleading, he said, "Please, Mrs. Frost, fix the arm as best you can." Mother tried to place the bones and Joe screamed and the men tried to hold him still while Mother wound the bandages and pads and the splint board to his arm. She put the splint board out to his fingertips and told him not to try to use that hand for anything. She got his arm into a sling and told him to keep it there.
Mr Barker asked Joe, if he had any brothers or sisters. Joe answered, saying that he had one older brother and two younger sisters. Then Mr Barker went to his box by the Christmas tree and took out four nice red apples. He asked me if I had anything he could use for a bag. I gave him a large square of clean rag. He said. "That is just fine." Mr. Barker took the four apples and a big handful of nuts and two big handfuls of candy (all out of his box) and gave Joe the bundle he made. He told Joe to take it home and share with the other children. Just then there was a knock at the door and Uncle Tom came in. Paw told him to stay and visit awhile, that he had to take care of something, that he would be back in a short time. Paw got the bear skin and put Joe on the sled and covered him with the bear skin, they left for town. I knew Paw would pull the sled even and smoothly so as not to jerk Joe's arm.
When they got to Jones's house, there was Florence. When she had gotten off of the train. it was cold so she went to the nearest house. Mrs. Jones had asked her in and told her that her husband had just left with their son who had a broken arm. Mrs. Jones said that as soon as her husband returned, he would go to the saloon and find out if there was anyone from the ranch in town. Then they would know what to do. Paw was glad to find Florence! He told her., "I will take you to your brother but first I have an errand to do, I will come back for you in about ten minutes." Then Paw went to the saloon.
aw asked the men at the saloon, about the Indian jewelry. He told the men, "Give me the jewelry or five dollars, if you want to keep it." The men stormed, they said it wasn't worth five dollars for each piece, most of the men gave Paw the jewelry, then he hurried back to Jones's house to get Florence. Paw put her on the sled with her two suitcases and covered her with the bear skin. By the time they got to our house, Florence was laughing and enjoying her sled ride.
The minute Florence Howard stepped into our house, everything changed. The worried look on Mr. Barker's face changed to a happy smile. He jumped up and hugged his sister and kissed her check, she squealed with delight. Florence was a quick, happy person, bubbling over with laughter. She made everyone else happy, just to be around her. After introductions all around, Sade brought a bowl of hot soup for Florence, she hadn't had any lunch, she was very hungry. She told Sade that the soup was delicious, Sade brought her some hot squash with honey, sprinkled with cinnamon. Florence said, "I have never had it fixed that way before but I like it, may I have another helping?"
Paw took the Indian jewelry out of his pockets and put it on the table. There was a lovely necklace with blue stones. I said, "It is pretty." Florence said, "Let me see that." she picked it up and exclaimed, it is beautiful, just beautiful". Mr. Barker took out his money bag and counted out eight silver dollars he gave this to the Indian for the necklace. The Indian took the money, and said, "Heap good." Now Florence held up a pretty pin, she wanted it also., so Mr. Barker counted out another five dollars. The Indian had gathered the remaining jewelry together with the money Mr. Barker had counted out and now put it on the mat beside the sleeping baby, the young women counted the money over and over. She then picked up a very lovely pin and told the Indian to give it to Mother. The Indian came over to Mother and held out the pin to her and said, "Present to heap fine lady." The Indian squaw spoke up and said, "You give me fine present." pointing to the slippers on her feet, "now I give fine present." Mother thanked them both for the lovely pin.
Mr. Barker asked Sade for some large bowls. When she brought three bowls. he filled them with nuts, candy and apples. He put the bowls on the table so everyone could help themselves. Mother asked, "Do you children want your Christmas presents now, or wait till morning?" Everyone said, "Now!" Bert began to read the names on each packages he would then give the package to Clyde who would take the package to whoever Bert had said. This went fine for awhile then Bert picked up a package and said, "This one is for you, Clyde." Clyde sat down in front of the Christmas tree and opened his package. Everyone was watching him, the box contained a brown Teddy Bear, The bear was wearing a red sweater and a little red cap. Bert handed Clyde another package, this gift was a storybook with a picture of a dog on the cover, Clyde got up, put the teddy bear under his left arm, took the story book in his right hand and ran straight to Mr. Barker, yelling, "Read, read, read." Mr. Barker reached out and lifted the little child to his lap, he cuddled him close and started to read. Before he had finished reading the first page, Edith was standing before him pointing to Clyde, she said, "Look! he is fast asleep." Now it was Florence,, talking and laughing to her brother, "0h, how I wish that I had a camera, I would like to keep this picture forever. You reading a three year old child to sleep on Christmas Eve." Paw came and took Clyde and laid him on Mother's bed.
Bert had a large package for Mother. Bert was telling her, "Handle it with great care, and don't press down on the top." Mother said., "You know how, so you open it for me." Bert took the paper off of Mother's gift. We all crowded around to see what Mother would say. The gift was a lovely picture made mostly of dried flowers. Bert had made the log cabin in the center, and the frame around the picture of wood, the rest of the picture was made from dried flowers. All summer long the girls had gathered flowers and carefully dried them in the loft. The upper part of the picture was light blue to make the sky. All around the log cabin were brightly colored flower beds. Now that it was finished, it was a very pretty picture. Mother loved it and Paw said that he would get a glass pane to put on the front, so that it would last for years.
Paw had made Mother a screen in three sections, she could fold it flat and lean it against the wall, out of the way, or she could stand it up and put it in front of her bed. to give her some privacy, Bert gave Mother a set of kitchen knives, a meat slicer, a bread knife and some paring knives. Bert said that he ruined Mother's best paring knife trying to make logs for the cabin in the picture, Paw gave Mother a beautiful, soft, warm robe, which she really needed.
Now all the packages had been opened, Florence came to me and asked to see my pretties, I showed her my lovely sweater, Mother had knitted for me and a scarf to match. MY nicest thing was my lovely book of poems. Florence asked, "Do you like to read?" I told her, "Oh yes, any thing that I can get my hands on." She asked me, "Where do you go to school?" I said, "Paw teaches us on cold winter nights, Paw said that I would be in the eighth grade, if there was a school here in Wickes."
Florence went to her suitcase and took out a package, which she carried over to her brother. Mr Barker opened it, we all watched him take out four books, he took the first book and looked at the title, then read out loud WONDERS OF THE WORLD, he thumbed through the pages looking at many of the colored pictures. Then he turned to his sister and said, "This is very nice." Florence said, "I bought it for you, but now I want to give it to Maud and Bert. May I get you something else later?" Mr. Barker took a pen from his pocket, opened the book to the inside front cover, he wrote "Merry Christmas 1882 to Maud and Bert. and all of the wonderful Frost family from your friends Florence Howard and A. J. Barker" Then he handed me Volume I. and gave Bert Volume II, then he handed the third book to Paw and the last one, he gave to Mother.
Bert came over to Mr. Barker and said, "Thank you so very much. I am so glad that it is a set of four books." Mr. Barker asked, "Why?" Bert said, "If it was just one book, Paw or Maud would have it all the time, I would have a hard time getting to read it. However, they can't read four books at once, so now I can read it too." Mother said, "Oh how I thank you. You have no idea what a blessing that set of books will be to this family!" Paw said, "It is a dream come true. I have wanted something like this for a long time. Maggie and I were teaching school when we met each other, but we didn't have anything like this, to teach from. We have tried very hard, to teach our children all we can, this set of books will 'be,.such a help."
Edith went over to Florence and said, "Thank you for 72 the pretty books. I can't read them yet but soon it will be my turn and I hope the books help me to be a pretty lady like you." Florence hugged and kissed Edith and asked her, how old she was. Edith replied, "I was eight on the twenty second of September and May had a birthday yesterday, May never gets any birthday presents because it is always Christmas time."
Florence asked to see Edith's gifts. Edith showed her the stocking cap and mittens, Mother had knit, the new warm nightgown, the pretty new dress, the apron with lace all around the edges and on the pocket, then she showed Florence her beautiful new doll. The doll had a dress just like her new dress, and a tablet of paper for school work and two pencils. Sade and May had just the same things Edith had. The three girls were very pleased with their dolls. Every Christmas before, their dolls had been rag dolls that Mother had made.
Sade said, "I am getting to big to play with dolls, but I always wanted a doll that could open and shut her eyes and had real hair. My doll is wonderful and I am going to keep her nice for years". Florence said to Mother, "How in the world do you find time to do all this sewing?" Mother answered, "I didn't do it. I have been sick all summer. I had a bad case of Milk Leg. My leg isn't well yet. Maud did all the sewing." Florence was amazed. I told Florence, "It was fun making the girls dresses and dressing their dolls, I love to sew. There is just one thing I like more than sewing." Florence asked, "What is that." I told her, "Reading a new book. That set of books is the nicest thing that has happened to our family, besides the cow. Ask May to tell you about the cows, in the morning."
Florence asked, "Are we going to stay here tonight." I said, "You have to, it is either stay here, or go out into that blizzard and freeze to death. There isn't any Hotel or place where you can rent a bed for the night, so I will gladly share my bed with you." Florence said, "Oh that is wonderful. I am having so much fun, I have not had such a good time in years." Bert came up and I asked him, "What did you get?" He answered "Oh I got more than anyone else, I feel like a pig, I got new shoes, and overshoes, knitted wool sox, a new warm overcoat, cap, scarf, mittens, a harmonica and a pocket knife with four blades. We never had a Christmas like this before and we never had such good friends to share it with."
I asked Bert to come help me fix the beds. We climbed to the loft, Paw and I had made four new straw ticks, last summer, they were piled in one corner of the loft. I told Bert to help me pull my tick back as far as we could. Mother said, "Florence can sleep with you on your tick and Bert and Clyde can share one of the new ticks." I said to Bert, "We can pull the girls tick down a little to make more room, then we can drop a new tick down to Paw." Paw stood below the end of the loft and we dropped him two clean sheets and a blanket and pillow, he stacked them on a chair and then,had7the Indian help him move the-table-back about four or five feet, then we lowered a new tick to Paw, who Put it down where the table had been. This was to be Mr. Barker's bed when Paw got the bedding on it. The Indian wanted to go out to the shed and sleep with the cows and Mr..Barker's horse, but Paw said, "No, it is too cold." He pointed to a place between the fireplace and the stove, he asked the Indian, "Can you sleep there on the bear skin?" The Indian said, "Heap good."
Paw carried Clyde up to the loft, and one of Florence's suitcases. Florence climbed up to the loft just as easy as I did. I dropped Paw another quilt, he used it to cover the Indian girl and her baby. Now Paw put another log on the fire, then all of the men went outside to see how the weather was. They didn't stay outside very long, because the wind was strong and it was still snowing. Soon the lamps were blown out and everyone was settled down to sleep. Then only the light from the fireplace, cast strange shadows over the room and on the Christmas tree.
It was after midnight, when I heard the baby and hurried down the ladder. I lit one of the lamps by the stove, then handed the Indian squaw a clean diaper. I saw the Indian's bright eyes watching me, so I motioned to him, to help me put another log on the fire. I fixed two baby bottler, and handed one to the Indian girl and then I changed John Roy's diaper and fed him the other bottle. Soon the babies were sound asleep so I climbed the ladder to the loft and went back to bed.
In the morning, Bert was the first one up. He slipped out the door and shoveled a path to the outhouse, then he fed all of the animals and milked the cow. The wind had died down and it had stopped snowing, but it was very cold. Everyone was up, Paw had good fires going and Mr. Barker4s bed was rolled up and pushed under a shelf out of the way. The table had been pulled back where it belonged so that everyone could get around it.
Bert came in with a pail of milk in one hand and a lantern in the other, he blew out the lantern and asked Mr. Barker, "Do you want to see what I did last summer?" Paw opened the door to our cave and motioned for Mr. Barker and the Indian to come. Bert relit the lantern and the men followed him into the cave. The cave was dark and cold, Bert put the pail of milk on a table, then he held up the lantern so the men could see his potato box. Mr. Barker was amazed, He said, "You grew all of these potatoes by yourself? Why there must be over a thousand pounds here." Bert said, "All this stuff too!" he moved along so that the men could see the large boxes full of onions, carrots, parsnips, turnips and beans. Bert had three barrels of beans, he said, "I had an awful time shelling all those beans." Mr Barker put his hand on Bert's shoulder and said, "Bert, you have a harvest, any man could be proud of."
Back by the fire, breakfast was ready. Bowls of hot oatmeal and stacks of hot pancakes, Paw said a prayer and thanked the Lord for all our wonderful blessings and for all of our friends. After breakfast, May was telling Mr. barker and Florence about the cattle drive and the cows that jumped over her head.
Uncle Tom came and was talking to the Indian, Uncle Tom understood Indian talk better than we did. Uncle Tom told us that the Indians wanted to sell enough jewelry, to get money to buy potatoes and beans, that some of the Indian people were hungry. Bert said, "They don't have to go to the store and pay such high prices, I will give them some spuds and beans." Just then, there was a knock on the door. Paw opened the door and there stood Jones with four other men, they had a coil of rope and they demanded that Paw give them the Indian, so that they could hang him. Paw said, "Wait a minute, What has the Indian done, where and when did the thing happen, that you should want the Indian to be hanged?" Uncle Tom was standing beside Paw blocking the doorway. Jones said,' "Joe was crying and yelling and making an awful racket, I told Joe to shut up, so I could sleep. Joe just kept on a yelling and groaning, that his busted arm hurt something fierce. I told him five or six times to quit making so much racket, then I got up and went down to the saloon to get a drink, but the saloon was all dark and locked up, so I went back home. On the way home there was Indians all around me yelling at me, I went into my house, then the Indians came in, one after another, they sneaked into the far corner, then they all started yelling and babbling and making a uproar. I grabbed my gun and shot one shot at the noise. Then all the Indians were gone except one and he shot back and his shot hit Joe. Now Joe is dead! And I want that Indian." Jones exclaimed. Paw said, "The Indian wasn't anywhere near your house last night. He does not have a gun, he did not shoot your boy! Now Mr. Jones, all that liquor you've been drinking is effecting your mind. We will send someone to get the sheriff from the county seat over here to investigate the steeling, the stabbing and the killing." Jones looked Paw straight in the face and said, "Am I crazy? Do you think I shot Joe?" Before anyone realized what he was doing, Jones raised his gun and shot himself in the chest. Jones slumped to the ground, dead. Paw told the four men, "You wanted to help Jones, now I can tell you what to do. Pete, you go around to all the men, see if you can get a donation to pay for railroad tickets for Mrs. Jones and her children, to go back home to her parents. Jake, you see if you can get two or three men to help you make two coffins." "I have been thinking about donating five acres of my land for a building site for a church and cemetery." Paw was now talking to everyone. Then he said, "Bill you can help me tie this body onto my sled and come with me to see if we can test the ground, if it isn't frozen to deep, we will dig two graves. The fourth man that was with Jones said that he would ride to Boulder to get the sheriff and a minister. The men all went off together, pulling the sled with its gruesome load and going about their assigned tasks. Soon Paw pointed out the place where the cemetery would be., He said, "In the spring I will build a fence around the cemetery and churchyard." The men dug away three feet of snow and found that the ground was frozen only about six inches deep. Bill said that he would get some men to dig the graves. so then Paw went to talk with Mrs. Jones. Paw told Mrs. Jones what had happened at our house. Then the men brought Jones's body in and laid it on his bed. Paw told-Mrs. Jones to gather up her clothes and come with him, to our house. Mrs. Jones said -that they had very few pieces of clothing. Paw talked with the older boy, Frank. Frank said, "I will go with my Mother back east to my grandparents farm but right now I want to stay in town with a friend." Paw put Mrs. Jones and her two girls on the sled and trudged home.
Mrs. Jones was terribly upset, she kept saying, "How will I ever manage, without any money. I know that I should hire a grave digger and a preacher and I should hire a man to make a casket for each of them. I want to go home, but I don't have money for train fares. I don't have a nice dress to wear at a funeral. Even if I had money, where would I get a dress in this town? I don't know what to do, there isn't any wood for fires or food for meals in our house. We have lived in terror this past year, afraid that he would kill one or even all of us! it Paw said, "Now Mrs. Jones,, you sit down and listen to me. You don't have to be afraid any morel everything will be taken care of, right now you just be our guest and eat a good dinner." Florence said, "This is Christmas, let us all look forward to a new good life."
Uncle Tom had killed an elk, he gave us a nice roast of elk meat for Christmas. So for our Christmas dinner, we had elk roast, mashed potatoes with lots of gravy, hot biscuits with honey, parsnips, turnips, pickled beets (left over from last year), and for dessert we had pumpkin pie. Mrs. Jones asked us to call her Bess, her girls names were Anna and Edna. Anna asked could she have second helpings. Paw told her- she could have all she- could eat. but not to take more than she would eat, we never waste food at this house." Mr Barker said, "That was as nice a Christmas dinner as I have ever eaten, there are very fine cooks at this house."
The Indian said, "Him go home." Bert got a large box and put it on the sled, he then carried pail after pail of potatoes and filled the box. He also filled another box with pinto beans and a third box with a little bit of everything; onions, turnips, parsnips, carrots and a large squash. Mr Barker said, "There is a hundred pounds of potatoes and thirty-five pounds of beans on that sled." Bert pointed to the Indian girl's feet and said, "Where moccasins?" The answer was, "Lost" Bert went and got his old overshoes, he put them on the little squaw's feet'. over the new knit house slippers, they just fit." Florence said she wanted another pin. The squaw opened her bundle and handed Florence a very pretty pin. Mr.. Barker paid for it and Florence gave it to Bess. Bess started to cry., she said, "For the first time in months, I feel I am with friends."
Mother showed the squaw how to fix the baby formula. Mother gave her three bottles with nipples and nearly a full jar of the formula. Mother told her to keep the bottles clean. Now the squaw and her baby was on the sled and Paw brought the bear skin and covered her and all of the boxes. Paw asked the Indian if he could pull it. The Indian answered, "Me heap strong." Paw said "Bring back the sled-and bear skin." The Indian left, running easily, the sled seemed to be no effort. Paw said, "I am glad he has good snowshoes." Mr. Barker said, "Will you ever see your sled or-your bear skin again?" Paw answered, "Oh yes, he will have them back in two days. He is a friend and I might need that good friend some day.,,
Now another log was put on the fire, the door had been open for some time and the house had cooled off. Florence asked, "Will we go home tonight?" Paw answered "Not tonight, snowshoes could make it, however a horse and buggy would bog down in the drifts. Are you in a hurry to leave us?" Florence smiled and said, "No. I am having a wonderful time. I think A. J. is enjoying himself.
Florence and Bess washed and wiped the dishes and Sade put everything away. Edith came and asked me if I could sew new dresses for Anna and Edna, so that they would look nice on the train. I told her, "No,, it takes a long time to sew a dress." Then Edith asked,, "If May and I give our new Christmas dresses to- Anna and Edna, will you make us some more dresses?" I said, "Yes, but you will have to ask Mother first." Mother told them, "If that is what you want to do, it's alright." Florence was talking to Bess, "You and I are about the same size, I think that I have a dark dress that will fit you. We will go and try it on to see if it has to be altered for you." So Florence and Bess and the four small girls climbed the ladder to the loft.
When they came back, Bess was wearing a lovely dark dress with her Indian pin. Florence said, "It looks better on you than it ever did on me, you look great!" Florence had brushed Bess's hair and combed it in a pretty way. Anna said, "Oh Mother you look just grand." Anna was wearing Edith's new dress and Edna was wearing May's dress. The dresses fit them and they looked very nice. Bess said, "I never saw my girls look so nice, this is wonderful.11
While they were talking dresses, Pete came in, he emptied out his pockets, placing a pile of coins on the table. There were nickels and dimes and quarters. Pete said, "I don't think it is enough for train fares, but it is the best the men could do right now. We are all broke after buying Christmas things for our families. Mr. Barker spoke up, "Pete, we want to thank you and all of the men for this donation. We will count it and I will match it dollar for dollar, then there will be enough for the trip and a little left over for eating on the way. Mrs. Jones said, "Oh Pete, I do thank you and all of the men." Pete looked at Bess and said, "Gee, Mrs. Jones, you are a knock-out, we never saw you dressed so pretty like that before." Florence laughed and Pete said, "Good night." and left. Soon the sheriff and the minister came. They were very tired after making the fifteen mile trip on snowshoes. They told Paw they hadn't had anything to eat and they didn't have anyplace to stay. They sat down and started asking Bess a lot of questions. Mother and Sade warmed up a nice dinner for them and Paw said that they were welcome to stay if they could sleep on the floor by the fireplace, so that night we had seven guests to make beds for. Paw opened the door in the morning and there was his sled and the bear skin right by the door. Paw told Mr. Barker,, "The Indian knew that I might need my sled today so he must have ran all night to bring it home, and you wondered if I would ever see them again. Frank came, and Mr Barker talked to him, he told him that he was the man of the house now and that he must help his Mother. Mr Barker gave him the money for the train fares--and told him to go and buy the tickets. Then he gave Bess money for meals plus an extra twenty dollars. There was a lot of tearful thank you's and goodby's, then Paw was pulling the sled with Bess and her two girls down to the funeral for her husband and her son, Joe. Every one- ,,,in town who had snowshoes was there. Paw said, "The minister gave a real nice talk, and afterwards everyone came up and wished Bess and the children best wishes for a happy new life. About an hour after the funeral,, Paw helped Bess and the children onto the train.
We were just ready to sit down to dinner when four men rode up on horseback, they were from the ranch. Each man had a snow shovel, they were joking and laughing, they had found the buggy, half buried in the snow. They had cleaned it up and it was I now ready to go. Paw said, "Everybody sit down and eat." After dinner, we said good bye to Mr. Barker and Florence. The men said that there were places where they would have to do some snow moving, but with four men to do the work, They were sure that they could get through to the ranch. Bert got out Mr. Barker's horse and Paw pulled Mr. Barker and Florence up the canyon to the buggy, on the sled.
Now all the company was gone, the house seemed so quiet. Mother said, "Simp Frost, you spent a lot of money this Christmas." Paw looked at her and he said, "Maggie Frost, you spent a lot of money this Christmas." Then they both laughed. Mother said, "Well, it is a Christmas to remember!"