Mount Up with Wings, as Eagles… [ Three Tales of Two Cousins]
''But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.''
KJV/ Isaiah 40:31
a Laramie/Wagon Train Crossover Fic by Roniyah Gabrielle Caitrin Bhaer
Author's Note: This is where I could be saying : 'you asked for it.' Because I have been asked to write some Wagon Train and or Laramie fanfiction for the enjoyment [ I hope] of the RFFandom list. But I won't say that, honestly. I'd rather just say, please enjoy, please let me know what you think of this latest effort of mine,. But my sole intent is to offer you some enjoyable reading, along with some of my own ideas about the Laramie and Wagon Train characters.
So, you actually SHOULD consider this story as existing in a PARALLEL UNIVERSE , an alternative one to the one presented by those two classic westerns, with some notable variations. And please excuse the liberties I've taken, my 'poetic license', as it were with events, dates, and even some names in the lives of the well loved characters in this story.And I took some literary liberties with 'facts not in evidence' in the series as it aired, too; along the lines of things we didn't see or hear on-screen
Oh, and in case you haven't guessed it, these 'tales' wouldn't exist in any form without the wondrous inspiration of the following gifted, generous people: Spring Byington, Barbara Stanwyck, John McIntire, Hoagy Carmichael, Charles McGrath, Terry Wilson, Denny Miller, Michael Burns, Robert Fuller, and John Smith. My constant gratitude to them will hopefully be apparent in the following pages. Roniyah Gabrielle Caitrin Bhaer Summer, 2007
Disclaimer : None of the onscreen characters from Revue/Universal's 'Laramie' or 'Wagon Train' belong to me. And I'm prett nigh onto busted up about that, too. Instead they all belong to the creative minds of John Champion and Howard Christie, and all the gifted writers, directors, producers, and actors of those two high class, classic Westerns. Sigh. No copyright infringement or profit taking is intended by this work of fiction, so don't sue me please; the studio/company, etc attorneys have 'many, many things' better to do.
Cast of Characters
[ As this is fanfiction, with the usual handful of new characters introduced to the kindly readers, I thought this listing might be helpful. Yes, I'm also an old movie nut :) Rielle ]
Onscreen Laramie characters:
John Smith as Matthias Zachary McGregor 'Slim' Sherman Jr.
Robert Fuller as Jacob Emrys Sayer Smith ' Jess' Harper
Dennis Holmes as Michael Timothy 'Mike' Williams.
Stuart Randall as Mort Corey
Spring Byington as Margaret 'Daisy' Cooper
off screen Laramie characters:
Hoagy Carmichael as 'Jonesy'
Robert Crawford, Jr. as Andrew Dorrance, 'Andy' Sherman
Jacqueline Scott as Francine 'Francie' Harper _____
Gary Cooper as Matthias McGregor 'Matt' Sherman, Sr.
Helen Hayes as Angharad Aine 'Annie' Denholm Sherman
Onscreen Wagon Train characters:
John McIntire as Liam Christopher Hale
Robert Fuller as Nathaniel Kieran Anglim Cooper 'Coop' Smith'
Terry Wilson as Liam 'Bill' Hawks
Frank McGrath as Charles Stuart 'Charlie' Wooster
Denny Miller as Christopher 'Duke' Shannon
Michael Burns as Barnaby James West.
Barbara Stanwyck as Kathleen Elizabeth 'Kate' Crawley.
Created/Invented/Extrapolated characters -- in the First Tale
Coop's, Jess, Jemmy's family:
Henry Fonda as Benjamin Franklin Harper [Jess' father]
Katherine Hepburn as Elisabeth Micaela Cooper Smith [Coop's mother]
Walter Huston as Nathaniel Kieran Cooper, Rev.
[Coop and Jess' maternal grandfather]
Dame Vivien Leigh as Jessamyn Roisin Randolph Singer [Jemmy's mother]
James Mason as Stephen Jemison Singer [Jemmy's father]Barbara Stanwyck as Jennet Meredydd Cooper Harper [Jess' mother] James Stewart as Daniel Webster Smith [Coop's father]
Jack Kaeding as Jemmy at seven, nine and eleven years old
Gavin Fink as Coop at eight, ten and twelve years old, and
as Jess at six, eight and ten years old
Michael Welch as seventeen-year-old Jemmy Singer
Jacob Young as seventeen- and a half year old Cooper Smith
Jacob Young as fifteen- and a half year-old Jess Harper
First Tale of Two Cousins 1851-1861
CHAPTER ONE Nacogdoches, TX winter, 1851
The wiry framed, tall redhead walked out into the dooryard, his weathered features creased with laughter. ''Cooper! Nathaniel Kieran Anglim Cooper Smith, you stop playing in the mud and c'mon over here when I call you, little boy!'' Daniel Smith shouted.
A second later, dark-haired, broad shouldered, with 'a map of Ireland' in his clear features, Franklin Harper stepped up beside his cousin, and equally lighthearted, called out, ''And you, too, Jess! Jacob Emrys Sayre Smith Harper, stop tussling with your cousins, and come over, on the double quick, son!''
Now, Stephen Singer stomped out onto the porch, down the steps and lined up with his taller friends. He tried to look stern with his dark eyes narrowed and his fists planted on his hips, but the amusement on his elegant features couldn't be concealed. ''And you as well, Jemison Stephen Wesleyan Randolph Singer! You come up here … at once, Jemmy, you hear?''
'' Warn't playin in the mud, Daddy! Jesse was supposed to come into supper with Jemmy
n' me, an' he tripped me up, right there!'' eight year old Cooper, his dark, unruly hair falling over his forehead, as always, his face shining with fun, his deep blue eyes glinting, answered, rushing over and trying not to giggle when his father smiled at him and shook his head. Cooper was enduring another 'growing spurt' this year and it showed in his wiry frame, and
the height he'd gained over his younger cousins, a fact 'Coop' took vast pleasure in.
'' 'M not called Jesse, 'm called Jess! An' dint neither trip you up! You jus' fell down your own self! Dint trip you up. Dint neither, Daddy!'' six year old Jess protested, his equally dark, equally disorderly hair falling over his blue-sky eyes, his freckled face gleaming, as he went running over to his father. Jess was growing taller and wirier this summer, too, but he had yet to lose the rosy rounded features of a little boy, and that irked him, badly.
''Jess dint trip nobody, Poppa. Coop fell right on over a tree branch that was juttin' purely out of th' hill, right down there. But he dint want to say so.'' Seven year old Jemmy Singer, the middle cousin added, his thick, sandy hair flying back from sharper features than his cousin's, his bright green eyes lit up like daybreak, as he hurried to obey his own father. Jemmy was finally over a bad bout of scarlet fever this winter, and determined to regain and redouble his previously vigorous health.
'' I dint tell my own Daddy any lie, Jemmy!'' Cooper argued, his blue eyes flashing outrage. '' I learned better n' that, when I was hardly even a baby!''
''Dint say you told any lies, Coop. Figure you dint see that branch none at all, whilst you was tryin' to get Jess an me up th' hill double quick like. Don't figure Jess-little here oughta catch blame for what you dint see, d' you?'' Jemmy asked, squinting his green eyes in the late afternoon light, his daybright grin quickly swallowed, too.
'' Stop that now, Jemmy!'' Jess shouted, outraged in turn. ''Ain't 'little' anymore. Turned six on m' birthday! You wasn't here, but that don't mean you get to jus' fergit it, neither!''
''Well the three of you are so covered with mud, now; there's no telling who fell where first, much less how. '' Daniel Smith said, intervening.
'' And you're not setting foot in your granddaddy's house looking like that, And Cooper, no matter how you got that way; I can't help thinking you have the larger responsibility here, as you're two years older than Jess, and a year older than Jemmy. Don't you think so, son?''
Cooper now looked mournfully up at his father, shifted his weight from one muddy boot to the other, and nodded. ''Yeah. ' Mean t' say, yes, sir. Reckon … 'mean t' say, yes, sir, that's so. ''
'' And Jemison, while you're so busy nobly defending Jess, '' Stephen Singer said, setting one hand on each of Jemmy's arms, just below his son's wiry shoulders. ''Don't you think an older boy, like you, has a duty to treat all his friends fairly, as well as honorably? Don't you think Cooper deserves a good example from his cousin, just as much as Jess?''
''Umm… yeah… ummm, meant to say, yes, Poppa. '' Jemmy answered, his bright eyes downcast now, his thin shoulders slumping.
Jess was wriggling and squirming where he'd stopped in front of Frank Harper, impatient and unconcerned with the 'talking to' the bigger boys were getting. They were going to be sent indoors, now, the youngest of the trio was certain sure. He, on the other hand, had maintained both his balance and the honor of his boyhood, and surely would be praised, petted and rewarded with more time to play before dinner. Jess almost itched to get back to the wonderful supply of potential mud forts and slick, slippery, missiles to arm them with, at the bottom of the hill. He kept thinking about the funny way mud could be too slippery to stand in one minute, and caked dry and nigh onto as hard as rock not long after, if the rain quit. He wasn't paying anymore heed to the grown folk, or his cousins, but quietly, for a six year old boy, considering just how fast he could build up his supply of mud 'shells', to be ready for any assault Coop or Jemmy might make, between dinner and suppertime, or between suppertime and lights out that night.
''Jess, Jess, are you listenin' to me, son?'' Frank Harper asked, when he noted his oldest boy's demeanor.
Jess' dark head snapped back on his shoulders and his eyes fixed on his father's face. The reproachful look Jess found there seemed to close up his throat and he merely shook his head. It hurt awfully to see how he'd gone woolgathering and disappointed the man who meant most in the whole, entire world to him.
''No, I guess you weren't. Well then, Jess. '' Frank said, turning a crooked smile on his son, '' Mebbee we need to talk about that, about paying heed to your elders. But for now I have a different question, Jess. You tell me if I'm wrong, son, alright?''
'' Yea… yes, sir.'' Jess nodded, somewhat cheered by his father's smile, and nearly dumbstruck by the idea that the elder Harper could be wrong.
''Alright then, Jess, didn't we have kind of a long talk ourselves, while we were on our way to your Granddaddy's, here? Didn't we talk, just the other day, about how you're growing into a fine, big boy, now?'' Frank asked, hiding half of the smile he wanted to give the youngster, just for the time being.
'' Yes, Daddy.'' Jess agreed.
''And didn't we decide together that one thing big boys always do, or try their best to do, is owning up when they've done something, or said something, or sometimes even thought something they shouldn't?'' the elder Harper went on, setting one strong hand on each of Jess' shoulders.
'' Ummm… ummm… yeah, Daddy.'' Jess nodded, shuffling, now shifting his weight from one wiry leg to the other, and looking down.
'' And what did we agree a big boy … or any fellow should do, son, once he's owned up to doing something he shouldn't?'' the elder Harper asked, lifting his oldest son's chin where it nearly touched Jess' chest, and bringing that blue-sky gaze back to his own.
'' … Ummm… shake hands, Daddy?'' the six year old guessed.
'' Well, that's fine, son. But what comes before shaking hands, Jess?'' his father probed.
'' … Ummm…. Sayin' m' sorry… '' Jess answered, dejectedly, biting at his lower lip.
'' That's right! Go ahead, then, son. Go on.''
'' 'M sorry. Cooper. I mebbee shoulda hollered out there was that branch down there. An' 'm sorry, Jemmy, I shouldn't go hollerin' at y' that way, when you were d'fendin me. '' Jess murmured, his face back down, his voice just barely loud enough to be heard and his right hand stuck out towards Coop, his left towards Jemmy.
''Jemison.'' Jemmy's father now said. And the single word was enough to prompt the response he sought from his son.
'' I'll accept yer 'pology, Jess, hopin ye'd go on an' take mine, too. You're surely not a little 'un anymore. Figure mebbee I oughta ask a fella if he wants defendin' fore I start in, anyhow.'' Jemmy admitted, and manfully pumped Jess' outstretched hand.
''Yeah, reckon mebbee y' should, after all.'' Coop murmured, not quietly enough to miss his father's sharp hearing.
''Cooper!'' Daniel Smith exclaimed, his own voice rising half an octave in surprise.
'' Aww, Daddy! Dang it!'' Coop shouted, frowning, his temper flaring again. ''Why'd I havta act all grown an' all?''
''Coop, honestly, if you don't understand that, yet, I'm not sure I know how to explain it to you, son.'' The elder Smith shook his head and looked to his cousin and their friend for help.
''Cooper, '' Frank Harper said quietly, moving over and bending his long legs to be face to face with the oldest boy. '' I know it's hard when someone, when anyone asks a fellow to show good manners and to keep his temper when he'd rather not. It's awfully hard for me, I know. And sometimes I think it's just as hard for your grandfather, Nathaniel Kieran. He calls it, 'struggling with his Apollyon.' Have you heard your grandfather use that phrase?''
'' Yes, sir.'' Coop was now the one shifting his weight from one foot to the other. The admission of such a fault to a boy was all the more surprising for its source. His cousin Frank was never angry, as far as the eight year old knew.
'' We all have. And he manages awfully well, considering he's got so much to take care of and so many folks to look out for these days. And even though Nathaniel might not like my telling you boys this, I think it's too important to keep quiet about, now: He's ailing, now, which has to make holding his temper even harder, I'd have to guess.'' Frank added, solemnly trying to mentor the oldest son of his best friend, Danny Smith.
'' Granddaddy's sick?'' all three boys cried out, taken aback at this news.
'' Yes, yes he is, boys. But we haven't talked about it much. He doesn't want your mother or Jess' mother, or Jemmy's momma who grew up almost as his adopted daughter, to start worrying, or fussing over him. Your grandfather's a proud man, that way, and he's earned the right to that pride, in my book. So we're going to respect his wishes, unless and until Nathaniel says differently.
The other part of the answer to your question, Cooper, is that you have a little brother now, little Thomas Jefferson. And as he grows, you're going to learn more about little boys than you thought was possible. You're going to learn a lot more about little boys and growing up than you're certain sure, you already know. And that's pretty much, isn't it?''
''Y-yes, sir, Cousin Frank. Figure I thought to know 'bout all there was, bein' a boy, m'self, an all.''
'' And that's what we all think, Cooper, when we're boys. Now, one of the things you're going to learn is that little boys look up to the older boys they know tremendously. They want to act like them and talk like them and walk like them; because they admire them so much. And they tagalong after those older boys, Cooper, because they want to learn how to be just exactly like them. And you're an awfully bright young man, so I know you understand just why I pointed that out to you, don't you?''
'' Yeah, Yes sir, s'pose so.'' eight year old Coop nodded, very glad to be called a 'young man'; by this uncle by marriage he admired so much.
'' Yes, I thought you would. And I know you understand that Jess and Jemmy both had a hard time apologizing just then. They had a hard time of it, especially apologizing to someone they admire as much as they do you. So, mebbee there's something more to be done here, something an older lad should do, to help a younger one learn how a man should act. Do you think that could be so?''
'' Yeah.'' Coop sighed loudly, biting his lower lip, and twisting his shoulders uncomfortably. '' Yeah, Cousin Frank, there is. But it's dang… it's awfully hard…''
'' Cooper, your Aunt Jenn and Cousin Frank, Cousin Jessy and Cousin Stephen all are our guests here, just now.'' Daniel interjected, taking his oldest son by the shoulders. 'Do you want them to think you're being raised to only do the easy thing? Do you, son?''
''No, sir, no, I don't. 'M sorry too, Jess. 'M sorry, Jemmy. 'M sorry, too, Cousin Frank' m sorry, Cousin Steve.'' Coop muttered, looking down still, now he held out his left hand.
'' Well that was very well said and well done, Cooper. And we accept your apology, gladly. Don't we, Jess?''
'' 'Cept your 'pology, Cooper.'' Jess answered, grinning again and shaking Coop's hand with all his strength.
''And you, young master Jemison?'' Stephen Singer asked his son, one dark eyebrow rising as he waited Jemmy's response? ''Don't you think that was handsomely done, by our cousin Cooper, just then?''
''It was … you did that just fine, Coop. I'll 'cept your apology, hopin' you'll take mine.'' Jemmy agreed with a shy grin pulling at one corner of his mouth.
''Thanks, Jemmy, I'll do just that, thanks.'' Coop replied, finally grinning again.
'' Well, then, let's get the three of you cleaned up before Beth, Jenny and Jessy see you; and before your brothers and sisters get the idea to come out and make mud pies, too.'' Daniel suggested, no longer hiding his wide grin at the young cousin's appearance.
'' We warn't makin' mud pies, Daddy!'' Coop protested, his eight-year-old pride stung again.
'' Nun-uh, Daddy. Warn't gonna make mud-pies till it stops rainin'!'' six year old Jess giggled, which naturally started Jemmy giggling too, winning a laugh from all of them.