Seminole Village Museum
It was a weekend visit and everyone was going. The adults had expected some grumbles and some complaining about the suggestion of a family trip. Surprisingly, the children seemed excited about the visit when it was suggested. JD had quickly started to tell Ezra and Nathan all the good spots. He had forgotten, Nathan had been shown the village by his girlfriend, Raine. Not one complained about going. Not a single one. Everyone in the Larabee family would be going to the Seminole Village.
One did complain about the timing, however. That one continuously complained from the day it was suggested leading up to the day of setting out. The set time would interfere with his slumber, after all. Not by an hour, that certain person would debate but by six hours considering that he didn't get up until the hours of ten or eleven. That would almost be a whole night of sleep if one would consider that a child should get eight hours of sleep.
The answer was all the same. "Go to bed early, Ezra." They all said it and all received a glare for saying it.
"One did not go to bed early when one was accustomed to going to bed late."
It got to the point where JD even said, "Give it a rest would you."
The day arrived but it didn't start very good in Josiah's household. An hour before Ezra was to get up, Nathan decided to gather all the alarm clocks in the house and place them all in random spots around Ezra's bed. He than set each alarm to go off five minutes apart from each other. He had planned it the weekend before, even went out of his way to a store to purchase six cheap alarm clocks. He used Ezra's own, the six he had bought, both of his spare ones and Josiah's spare alarm clock. Ten alarm clocks at once.
It did exactly how Nathan would anticipate it to go. Ezra turned off one, went back to sleep, five minutes later, he had to turn off another one. Then another one. Then another one. By that time, he was annoyed and cranky.
He gathered all the alarms, some still set to go off, in his flat sheet, dragged the sheet out of his room on spotting his brother's big grinning from the staircase below, Ezra started to fling each clock down the stairs while giving Nathan some rude insults.
However, his dialect was too think of anger and lack of sleep that Nathan nor Josiah to really understand half of what he was saying.
Josiah had came out of the kitchen, drying his hands from an early morning breakfast, to yell at Ezra above the sounds of the alarms that he did not shut off, to stop throwing stuff down the staircase. He was going to hurt someone or damage the walls or the floor. Ezra yelled down that if Nathan would hold still, the floor would be spared.
Nathan wasn't spared though. Josiah didn't need to ask what had happened. There were a lot of alarms clocks, an angry Ezra and a laughing Nathan. He put together the pieces fairly quick. After repeating to Ezra to stop tossing the clocks and then questioned Nathan on what he was thinking. How this was to be a day for families to have fun not to be at each other's throats.
Though he still thought it was funny, Nathan did apologies to Josiah and then to Ezra once his younger brother was downstairs. Ezra merely glared at him, promising him retribution.
Other than that, it was fairly organized trip to start. Josiah had to admit that one thing his sons did share was organization. Both boys had a habit of being prepared.
The Larabee Ranch had a different idea of what organization was, however. Natalie spent most of the morning making sure they had enough for everyone to drink, snacks for each if they were to get hungry. First aide kit because with her boys, you were bound to need one. A bottle of aspirins for a promising headache and tums because John would eat too much fried food as he always did on this trip.
John was searching for his camera, that special one that he had gotten for Christmas two years ago. Hadn't even had a chance to use it and already it's lost, he would tell anyone who was passing by the office.
Buck reminded him that he's a sheriff and should be good at finding things that are lost. It only earned a glare but Buck smiled back as he always did. The Larabee glare never had any real bite to it after all.
JD was looking for his canteen, not remembering what he done with it when he put it away last year. Chris announced that Natalie's mini-van, the one they were going to take, had a flat. He did put a spare on though but wasn't sure if they should drive it that far on the tire.
John had to stop his camera search and re-arrange ideas of what automotive he would take and who would ride with who.
It was settled that Buck and Chris were going to take Chris' truck out while John was going to put Natalie, JD and Vin into his jeep. JD begged for the top off the jeep since it was going to be 'super nice'.
Josiah was to meet John at the ranch so he would had been driving his little family to the village. JD had given Ezra a walkies-talkie so they could keep communicating even if they were in different vehicles.
The Museum was a self guided tour as information boards were placed up through out the building, giving direction to move forward and what to expect. The visitors could, if they had so wanted to do, hire a tour guide that allow more information and more involvement.
The group passed on that for two reasons. The first, the Larabees had visit often as it was nearby and the school took field trips as well. They knew the history nearly as well as the Indians that reside there. The second reason was because this was Raine's history and she knew every outline of the museum and every story.
Raine agreed quite happily to walk her small group through while explaining to them about how the village came about, what it was about and those that protected it.
"Tribes like these were put together during the battle for land between the settlers and the natives. At first, it was tribes that were neighbors with each other." Rains explained as they stopped at a piece of art work done by one of the tribe members. The painting was of natives fleeing their homes. Children crying, women looking back at the rising soot of fire that flamed their homes, and warrior men with marked faces that only war could etch into their pores.
"Having to flee their own lands for safety. As the battles continue and more tribes were disband, they reached out to each other to new tribes. Some done so out of anger and seeking revenge. Others sought out peace and to live without fear." Raine explained with confidence that Nathan adored. He was so attracted to her character strength, he couldn't imagine being with anyone else.
The next display was a painting of a colored man with his wife and child behind him, as if he was protecting them. He stood as if he carried the weight of the world on his bare shoulders. There were scars crisscrossing his back from being beaten. The former slave also had a bandage arm and a bandage around his head. His wife with rags as a dress, bruises and cuts cover her body and their baby weeping in her arms. The fear in the woman's eyes as she looked down at her child brought chills down the viewers back. Before the former slaves stood an Indian Chief, standing tall, standing proud and they were locked in a hand shake. A welcoming handshake.
Now this was all new to Ezra as the others, including Nathan had been here before. For this, the family made sure he had front row to see everything the display had to offer. Josiah had stood near his two boys but slightly behind them. He was taller and could see everything clearly over their heads anyways. He was glad he had been standing slightly back or he would had missed his sons' silent affection towards each other.
Ezra, though not an artist himself, did have a fondness for art pieces. It was a trait he inherited from his mother. It wasn't a surprise that Ezra's eyes danced over the painting as he leaned forward. It was good, real good. Ezra studied the painting with admiration and with understanding of the raw emotions the artist had captured.
Josiah smiled and put a hand over his heart as Ezra looked over at his own brother. Bright vivid green eyes met the soft warm brown eyes. Nathan, who stood next to Ezra put an arm around him in a half hug that boys tend to do when they don't want to be too affectionate with each other. It was quick and blink of an eye miss kind of bonding between his sons but it was there. Josiah had witness it and it warmed his heart. The times were different.
When the Seminole Tribe was new and gathering members, growing a little stronger, at the moment in history, most likely these two brothers would had been facing each other with a different kind of reaction. Both were so much different in personalities, family history and skin, they would had been on opposite sides from each other if they were from that time. Josiah had made them brothers and they stood together as such. Not judging each other on their ancestors or their past mistakes or their race but accepting each other for who they are for what they are – brothers.
Raine's soft voice brought Josiah back to his surroundings. "The Civil War left many people, of all race, with torn land and battle scars. The colored men sought the same as the tribal men had. My tribe reached out to those seeking peace. They offered them a new home, a new family and freedom." Raine went on, giving her boyfriend a soft smile before she moved the group to a large window to look outdoors to see a displayed cannon sitting above the village like a watch dog.
"Peace was hard to come by even though my people tried to live in isolation." Raine continued on with her story. "Naturally, trust of the white men was not something my people once held in their eyes. There was good reasons too. There is a story about how my tribe learnt to stand up for themselves, to fight back but also to trust.
The story starts with A bandit of men who went by the name, The Ghost of Confederates. These men still fought a war that had ended. They did not accept the defeat. In order to continue their war-like life style they had to have money and they lacked much of it. Tales of the golden mine, which the village had moved into and built around, had reached their ears. Naturally they sought it, demanding that my people excavation the cave and bring them the gold. At that time, the tribe may had done that just to keep the women and the children safe but the mine was empty. It was barren.
These group of men, this troop of men, they brought this cannon with them to intimate fear into my people." Raine frowned as she looked at the cold iron weapon through the looking glass. "It worked. It worked just as the men had wanted it too. It put fear into the tribe and it also allowed the hatred grow. The young warriors wanted to fight while the older generation was tired of fighting. But the chief of the tribe, he had a wonderful plan."
Raine walked the groups over to a black and white photo of a dusty town. It lacked sidewalks, trees, flowers and only had few homes. There were tents and wagons set up here and there. A small white church that was falling to apart - symbolizing the town's status - sat in the middle of the dusty town. Men firing pistols in the air and women shielding their children as they rushed them inside for safety were all visible.
"Against many of the young warriors wishes, the chief had come to Four Corners looking for hired men to battle this Ghost Army. He was desperate. He knew that his people did not have the means to fight these men off. His heart had lead him here. To this town."
"It's hard to believe Four Corners looked like that." JD piped up. "Doesn't anymore, that's for sure."
"I think it's about the same size," Ezra drawled.
"I promise, it's bigger." John spoke up, having to be the sheriff of the present town. "And so is the problems."
Raine nodded her head in agreement. "This town though, it was without law and unstable. Many of the towns good people started to move away. When a young colored man was deemed guilty and to be hung by the town's people, a young woman took it upon herself to try to see justice. That was before women's right was fought. She was beyond her times and no one took her serious. No one stood at her side to help her over come the trouble of their town. They were too afraid and she was very brave but that wasn't enough."
"A strong woman." Natalie spoke up with pride for her own gender.
"The chief had witness injustices displayed in the town and was about to seek help else where when two men, a bounty hunter and a gunfighter united to save the life of a colour man, a healing man. A word wasn't spoken between these two men, the story says. There was nothing to say. Neither could just walk away, not from what was wrong. Not to allow an innocent man to die." Raine explained with a smile. "They picked their weapons. A shot gun for the hunter and pistols for the fighter and took them to a hanging.
They saved that man's life that day and the chief knew in his heart that these men were the reason he had came to this town. He offered gold as payment for their help and explained the situation. They accepted with hesitation."
The group walked over to the next display of seven wax men arranged to stand among each other as friends. Hats were pulled low, only shadows of imagination could see their faces. They could pass as anyone. They could had been anyone. It was their clothing that showed how mismatch of their characters they were with each other.
Raine stood next to display, her eyes dancing at the figures. "Those two men were able to find five more men and together they made up the Magnificent Seven. These men right here." Raine shook her head in awe of admiration. "Seven men who's lifestyles were so different." She pointed to a man with a dusty gunfighter coat and a hellfire stance that only a bad element could pull off. " A hired gunfighter running from depression of losing his family. He had nothing to lose and nothing to fear."
Pointing to the next figure, she added. "A bounty hunter, framed for a crime that he did not comment. He knew exactly what it was like to have an unjust death sentence hanging over his head." He had a shot gun over his shoulders and skinned coat that Ezra wrinkled his nose at.
"I assume he could be smelt before seen." Ezra whispered to Vin.
The other boy jammed his elbow into Ezra's side who 'oaf'ed' in pain. "He's my favorite, Ez. Don't dis the tracking man."
"This one here." Rain pointed out to the tallest man with a heavy hat that matched the secret burden on his shoulders. "An ex-priest trying to find balance in a world that offered compassion and hatred. He choice to pick up arms to protect and that went against everything he was raised to believe, what he once believed."
"This one is my favorite." Raine pointed to a man with a back sling for carrying knives and worn out clothing. "A former slave turned healer, trying to make the best of what he had. He saw first hand how cruel life could be and yet, he was able to but that behind him. He decided not to go down the same path as those that done wrong to him. So he helped others if he could, if they would allow him to help. Even when, at that time in our history, he had no rights of his own. He still helped. He saved lives."
"Now naturally every group needs that one that walks the fine line." She pointed to a well dress man with pistols at his side and cards in his hands. "A gambler who's way of life was to live town to town. Never calling home to one place and never seeking more than what was offered."
"Hey." JD looked at the cards closer. "Ez, they look like the deck you have. They don't have any letters on them either."
"Most people in those days didn't know how to read but they could count." Ezra explained as he looked at the figurine. "That is why those old cards do not follow the same suits as the ones we have grown fond of, JD. This gentlemen however, he has an air of education about him."
"You can't know that just by the way he dresses." Buck argued."He may dressed all pretty but doesn't mean he could read."
"First impressions are everything." Ezra repeated a line he had been told many times in his brief life. Yet, it was a true fact. Everyone judges and that first impression, unfortunately does mean a great deal. "I do understand what you a saying, Buck. If you were to dress in that exact attire, it would not change your level of intelligence but would only give the deception of a higher one. Just a deception. I do like his hat, though."
Buck placed his arm on Ezra's shoulder as a shelf to lean on. He bent his head down so he could whisper in the younger boy's ear. "You can use fancy words and long winded sentences to throw insults at me all you like. Doesn't bother me and do you know why it won't bother me?"
Ezra kept his head straight but looked over at Buck by the corner of his eyes, not trusting the slightly older boy but wasn't sure what he had in mind. "Why?"
"Because I know you love me!" Buck then planted a loud wet kiss on Ezra's cheek.
"Good lord Buck!" Ezra pushed him off his shoulder and out of his personal space while wiping his face in disgust. Around him, other's laughed at their antic with amusement.
"Just figure you didn't get enough affection growing up!" Buck laughed as he walked backwards to keep his eyes on the younger boy.
"It isn't the affect you display but the fear of where those lips had lay!" Ezra shouted back at him.
Buck just smiled with his arms thrown outward before he turned forward and strutted off towards the direction of the gift shop. After all, he had heard this story many times before but that lovely girl behind the counter was new to him and that was something he needed to correct.
Raine stepped closer to the shortest figure who had a bowlers hat upon his head. He was dress smartly as well and held a dime novel in his hand. "This one was the city boy that came to find what the West had to offer. A man who was just finding that the world was much more than he had ever dreamed about and absorbed everything it threw at him with freshness."
"He has a Bat Masterson hat." JD pointed his hand out towards the wax figure's head. "Bat was awesome, Ez. He..."
"I know who he was, JD." Ezra rolled his eyes at the disappointment he saw in JD's eyes. "Perhaps later you and I can share notes on him?"
JD's eyes widen at the idea. "Yeah? That would be great! I have a book all about him!"
"I cannot wait to find what you had learnt." Ezra gave him a bright smile that seemed to be honest. Truthfully, Ezra didn't really care at all but if something so little made JD happy, he would endure it.
"And lastly, a man that lived to laugh, who knew what honor was about and respect. He was beloved by many, loyal to the deserving and gave friendship to everyone. He was everyone's friend, everyone's brother. He also was rather...well... had a great...um." Raine gave the three younger boys a glance. "Well he was very loving sort of man."
"A male courtesan." Ezra smirked but got a back of the head slap from his grandfather.
Ezra gave his grandfather the Larabee glare when he looked over his shoulder, rubbing the back of his head. "We know all the words, Johnand I nicely coated it." Ezra empathized his grandfather's name since John had once verbally told him that he felt his grandson calling him Mr. Larabee was unacceptable.
"It's the thought behind it." John smirked at the glare that had no effect on him at all. Besides, he had wanted to do that for a long, long time.
A/N: And this ends chapter one. I know, it was rather boring but I hope to bring some interesting things into the next chapter. Example...the gold mine. So stay on the look out for chapter two. If all goes as plain, it should be up about the start of next week.