A chill in the night doesn't slow the men as they run for the train. Five men and a boy run for an open car pulled by the steam engine bellowing out smoke. With practiced skill the father helped his son into the open door, and with a struggle climbed in after him.
Huddled men could be seen in each corner as the pair looked around the car. They sat beside the wall opposite the open door feeling the jostle of the car , and the cold breeze.
" Josiah, here ya go boy, Eat this and get some sleep," Joseph Trantham handed his son half an apple, and wrapped his coat around the boy. Slumber came quick for Josiah, and he dreamed of being rocked to sleep in his mothers lap.
As Josiah slept Joseph rewrapped the other half apple for his son in the morning. coughing every now and then Joseph huddled up beside his son to keep him warm.
Shouts woke up the Trantham's , their eyes dulled with sleep barely opened in the bright sunlight. Men banged on the car door, "get up ya lousy hobos, and get out of our train!!" Large men with batons dragged each man out, and lined them by the tracks.
Train cops watched as the local police looked over the hobos. Joseph Trantham stood 6'2" tall with coal black hair, a firm jaw and warm brown eyes. Beside his pa Josiah was 4"6" tall with fair skin and blonde hair. Each wore sturdy pants and a dingy shirt with a worn fedora on Joseph. Joseph had on worn boots, and Josiah wore mens shoes a bit too big for him.
Before the hobos stood Chief Schack of the local police. Cool distant blue eyes gazed over each man, but stopping at Josiah. "You alone boy?"
"No sir," said Josiah, Joseph stepped forward, "This is my boy."
"Is that true boy?" asked Chief Benjamin Schack "Yes sir, I'm Josiah , and this here is my pa." Josiah edges closer to Joseph.
Schack looked close at Joseph, "Where you two headed?"
Josiah piped up, California, we here there are jobs out there." Again Schack looked over them both.
Looking over to the hobos Chief Schack yelled, "The lot of you start walking, that way! When ya get past the river your in another county. You can go anywhere from there, but not back here!"
"Not you two," pointing at the Trantham, "Your coming with me."
"We aint done nothing wrong," Joseph uttered as he stepped forward.
With a baton at Josephs chest Chief Schack whispered, "You know why I'm taking you in! Nothing you can do about it either, so come along peaceful like."
"Brown, put these two in my automobile, and see that hey don't go nowhere." Schack said as he walked the train with his other men looking for more hobos. Finding no more Schack ordered a few men to make sure the hobos made it to the river, and then drove away towards town with the Trantham.
Bouncing over the dirt roads in the model A Josiah watched the farms and houses they passed. Folks looked over at Schacks car. Maybe they wondered if Schack had caught some criminals, but most just smiles and waved.
"Pa?" Josiah looked at his pa as he slumped over on him. Schack stopped the automobile, and helped lay Joseph down in the back seat. "Boy, ride up front!"
"Hold on tight boy." then Chief Schack sped away till they got to a 2 story house . house was a bit faded with peeling paint. Schack ran in and came out with a man to help Joseph inside. Dr McAlister looked at Joseph, and figured he knew what was wrong. In the corner he spoke with Chief Schack in hushed tones for a few minutes,and with little emotion patted Josiah on the back.
Hours went by till the chief came to Josiah, "Son, your pa needs some rest for awhile, so we are taking you two somewheres to stay for awhile. Dr, Help me get him to my automobile,"
Another trip took them to a large house. It looked like a mansion, and all around in the fields were men working. Never had he seen so may men working in one place. Driving around the house they parked in the back by a door; the back had a yard surrounded by hedges.
Out of the hose came a slightly plump woman with red hair. She wore clean ironed clothes with a clean white apron. This woman spoke to the chief as several strong men carried Joseph to an upstairs room. Curtains were pulled back to let in the light, and Josiah could see the room. There was a bed, a dresser, a closet,a mirror and wash basin,a few chairs including a rocking chair by the bed, and a rug on the floor.
This woman instructed the men to change Joseph into a night shirt, and put him to bed. Turning here attention to Josiah she guided him down to the kitchen. Josiah smelled beans!! His stomach growled, and mouth watered as he accepted a plate of beans with bits of bacon, a thick slice of bread with butter, and a glass of milk! It had been a long time since he had eaten so much or so good!!
" Josiah, my name is miss Gertrude Barrigan. You may call me miss Gertie. Son, don't eat so fast! Eat slow. Now, as you know your father is ill, and he will need a few months to recover. Both of you will stay here till Joseph recovers."
Miss Gerties heart ached for Josiah. His hunger was clear, but so were his tears and his worry for his pa. She chose not to notice his tears; it might make him ashamed.
"This is the home of Arthur Baxter. He was the richest man in Moorston. Mr Baxter is a gruff old man, but inside he has a heart of gold. Just don't let his growl scare you! Okay, when your finished we will clean you up, and get you settled in a room. Hmm," Gertie looked Josiah over really well, "You're a strong lad, but I think for now you will work around the house with us. We could use a strong lad around here."
Heavy steps approached the kitchen, and Josiah looked up to see Mr Baxter enter the kitchen .
Miss Barrigan, Why isn't this boy cleaned up? I won't have this!! Straight away clean him up! Boy, Can you read?" Without waiting for an answer Baxter went on. "You will see that the boy is schooled while here, and he will work! No one eats my food without earning it!!" Taking a plate of beans and a glass of water Baxter stormed from the room.
Standing about 6" even Mr Baxter was thinning on top with brownish gray hair .He had a chubby face,and a pot belly. Josiah could see strength in the man, and could see miss Gertie was right. Mr Baxter reached for some milk, saw the boy, and put it liked Mr Baxter, and was determine to earn his beans, and that of his pa as well. Josiah had not felt so full, or so clean in years! Not long after slipping between the white sheets in a real bed Josiah slept a sound and deep sleep.