Saturday It Rained
"I've had a wonderful time,
but this wasn't it."
~Groucho Marx (1895-1977)
It was terrible out. The weather was rainy and the winds were gusty. Without much to do around the ranch, Adam Cartwright and Tess Greene rode into town. They took one of Margaret's carriages in attempt to stay halfway dry, to no avail.
Tess leaned forward, rolling her eyes at the weather. "Boy am I glad it don't rain like this everyday," she said.
"You can say that again," Adam said. "We picked the best day to get Hoss' birthday present."
"Who knew it would rain?" Adam was silent. "Your Pa said you lost some cattle this mornin'."
"Eight head," he said. "Things couldn't possibly get any worse today." Adam brought the carriage to a stop outside the Trading Post and helped Tess down. They ran inside to escape the rain.
"Good morning, Adam," Ruth said as the two stood, attempting to warm a bit from the rain and the wind. "Tess. what brings you in this terrible weather?"
"It's Hoss' birthday tomorrow," Tess said. "We just came by to pick up the gift Mr. Orowitz had ordered for us."
"I don't remember anything coming in," Ruth said. "What was it that you ordered?"
"A shirt and a pair of suspenders," Adam said as Ruth walked behind the counter to check. "I can't wait to get home and sit down by the fire," he said to Tess.
"Eli!" Ruth called to the back room. "Did a package come for Adam?" Eli walked out from the back
"I am sorry. All of today's deliveries have been held up in Hangtown due to the weather. We should get it in on Monday."
Tess looked at Adam. "What are we gonna do now?"
"I don't know," he said. "Thanks anyway, Mr. Orowitz." They turned and walked back out into the rain. Adam pulled his collar up to cover his ears.
"Well," Tess said. "We could always ride into Hangtown."
"No," Adam said climbing onto the carriage. " I'm not gonna take you down there. I'll take you home and then ride out to Hangtown."
"That's a whole two hours out of your way. Just take me with you."
"You know what it's like there. It'd be better if you just went home. Come on." Adam extended his hand. "Get in the carriage."
"No," she said.
"You're gonna catch pneumonia. Get in the carriage, Tess."
"I will not," The water ran down her already drenched hair and face. "Not unless you let me come with you."
"OK, fine. Just get in the carriage." Tess took his hand and climbed up. Adam wriggled out of his jacket and draped it over Tess' shoulders and then started the carriage towards Hangtown.
"Ya still thinkin' 'bout that fire?" Tess said after a while.
"That and a nice sandwich. I wasn't expecting to be gone this long."
"And you said nothing else could go wrong."
"And at this point, nothing else can go wrong." At that very moment, there was a crack of thunder and a flash of lightning. The carriage jolted and the horses bucked. Adam held tightly to the horses reigns, trying desperately to calm them. Tess held the seat as the carriage began to tilt to the right and they prepared themselves to hit the ground.
All was still for a moment, except of course for the rain, and the sound of the horses racing away from the overturned carriage. Adam slowly emerged from the wreckage. "Tess!" he called walking around the carriage. He bent down and helped pull Tess out. "Are you OK?"
"Yeah," Tess said pushing her hair out of her face. "You?" Adam nodded. "Ma's gonna have a fit about the carriage." Adam looked at it. "Is there anything you can do?"
The rain pelted them in the face. "The axle's broken. We're gonna have to walk the rest of the way."
"How much farther to town?" Tess asked. She crossed her arms around her chest to keep the jacket closed.
"About another mile, maybe two," Adam said as the rain rolled off his hat. "It'd be faster to go forward instead of heading back. We're already soaked. We'll send a wire to Eagle Station once we get there." Tess and Adam began to walk, keeping closer to the trees.
"You ain't gonna say it again, are ya?" Tess asked. "That things couldn't get any worse?"
"I probably shouldn't," Adam said as they continued on. There was a long silence. "I sure hope that those horses get back to the ranch."
"They probably will, or at least back to town."
"Speaking of town," Adam said, motioning ahead of them. "Here we are."
"It ain't what I expected it to be like," Tess said of the mostly empty town.
"Well, it is raining. We've got to be the only two crazy enough to be out in this." They walked into town and noticed a few people in the saloon and General Store. "Over there's the telegraph," Adam pointed out. "Let's get out of the rain for a while."
Adam and Tess walked swiftly to the telegraph office and walked inside. "What're you kids doin' out in this weather? You're gonna catch your death," the tall lanky man behind the counter asked.
"We need to send a wire to Eagle Station," Adam said.
"Sorry, kid," the man sat down, "No outgoing messages."
"Storm came from the South, took down the wire. No messages 'til the wire's fixed."
"Tess and Adam turned and exited the office. "That's great," Adam said. "Now we're stuck here until it stops raining."
"We could always rent some horses form the livery," Tess suggested.
"We don't have the money to rent any horses. We're lucky the package is already paid for." Adam headed for the Post Office and Tess followed. "I'm here to pick up a package, Adam Cartwright." Adam turned back to Tess. "I think I have enough money if you want to share a piece of pie at the boardinghouse."
"Sounds good to me," Tess said as Adam grabbed the package from the window. He tucked it under his arm and they ran across the street to the boardinghouse, the rain still falling to the ground.
They walked inside and Adam removed his hat. "Can we have a piece of pie, two forks?" Adam asked as he and Tess sat. The pie came immediately and they each took a utensil. "Well at least one thing's gone right today. If we ever get home for Hoss' birthday, we can give him this."
"How are we gonna get back, Adam?" Tess asked putting her fork down. "With the carriage busted and the horses run off, the only thing left to do is walk." Adam was silent as he thought. "That would take us hours, and with the rain even longer."
"We could always wait until morning. Maybe the wires for the telegraph will be back up. Or at least my Pa and Your Ma will find out we're here from Mr. Orowitz."
"Hold on now," Tess' voice grew louder. "You're not suggesting..." A few heads turned to look at them. Tess lowered her voice significantly. "You're not suggesting we spend the night here?"
"Do you have a better idea?" Tess was silent. "It's gonna be dark soon. We'll never get home by then on foot. So you have a choice to either sleep in a room or sleep out in the rain."
"Aren't you the same one who said we didn't have enough money to rent a horse?"
"That's different," Adam explained. "You have to pay for the horses up front. We can wait until they come get us tomorrow to pay for the rooms." Adam turned toward the lady who brought them the pie. "How much do I owe you for this?"
"Twenty five cents," she said.
Adam looked up at Tess. "I have some money in the left pocket of my jacket."
Tess reached her hand into the pocket. "Uh, Adam," she said. "You might have had some money in this pocket." She lifter her hand to show Adam the three fingers she had sticking through the hole in the pocket. Adam's eyes widened. "What're we gonna do?"
"Here ya're, miss," a familiar voice came from behind them. Adam and Tess looked to see none other than Big Dan Larson.
"Mr. Larson." Adam stood and shook his hand. "Boy are we glad to see you."
"What're you kids doin' here in Hangtown?" Big Dan asked.
"We were picking up Hoss' birthday present," Tess said.
"I know what ya mean, I'm here pickin' up stuff fer the saloon. Was jest about to head back when I saw ya."
"You're going back to town?" Adam asked. "Now? You wouldn't happen to be riding a wagon?"
"Could we ride back with you?"
"Sure....But how did you get here?"
"You wouldn't believe us if we told you."
Big Dan, Tess and Adam walked out of the boardinghouse. Adam helped Tess onto the back of the wagon and then climbed up himself. Big Dan started the wagon towards Eagle Station and Adam turned to Tess. "The rain is slowing down a little," he said.
"Do you realize what we went through today? We woke up this morning to pouring rain. The Ponderosa lost eight head of cattle. The mail was held over in Hangtown so we decided to ride there ourselves to pick it up. Our carriage overturned, the horses ran off, so we walked two miles into town to find out that the telegraph wires were down. and I lost all of my money through a two inch hole in my pocket."
"Well, at least we got the package, and Mr. Larson was there to bring us home."
"Nothing else could possibly..." Tess took her hand and covered Adam's mouth,
"Don't you say it," she said. "Don't you dare say it until you're back on the Ponderosa, Adam Cartwright." Adam smiled as Tess removed her hand and the rest of the trip back to Eagle Station was a pleasant one.
It was dark out as Big Dan's wagon pulled into town. Ben Cartwright and Margaret Greene were standing out side the Trading Post. Adam and Tess bolted up at the sight of them.
"The carriage," Tess said.
"The horses," Adam added.
As the wagon stopped and they jumped off, Margaret ran up to Tess and threw her arms around her. "Tess, where were you?" she asked. "You had me worried sick."
Adam walked up to his father. "Are you two OK?" Ben asked seeing the two of them still soaked to the bone from the rain.
"We're fine, Pa," Adam said.
"What in the world happened, Adam?"
Adam looked over to Tess. Only they could truly understand what had happened that day. Tess had a smile on her face as Adam answered him. "It rained."
Ben looked over at Margaret and they silently questioned eachother about the smiles on their children's faces. They had no idea what Adam and Tess had been through that day.
"Let's go home, Pa." Adam said.
"Yeah, Ma," Tess added. "I'll tell ya all about it in the morning." Margaret and Ben exchanged one last questioning glance at eachother as they and the children headed towards home.