Words of Hope

A tiny Wagon Train ficlet featuring Cooper Smith

By Badgergater

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Their faces are alive with hope.

It hasn't dawned on them yet how hard this trip will be. Oh, sure, they've heard about the dangers of the journey; we all tell them and warn them and do our best to dissuade them, because only the strong and the resolute should head west. They've been told about what lies ahead: deserts, mountains, Indian attacks, epidemics, floods, breakdowns, snowstorms, and a hundred other hardships and disasters that could, and most likely will, befall them along the way. If they've heard it once, they've heard it five times, or ten times or twenty times – making the trip west is not for the faint of heart.

It's not that they ignore such talk, not most of them, anyway.

Despite the dangers they face, the hard work and difficulties that lie ahead, their hope drives them forward. Hope for something better for themselves and their children; hope for land, prosperity, and a new future; hope that the past and all of its problems will be left far behind and that ahead is nothing but a brighter future and a kinder fate.

A land of milk and honey. A time of prosperity and plenty.

Yes, as the train gathers in St. Louis, I see their hopeful faces, alive with high expectations, soaring excitement, growing optimism, and stead-fast determination. A hundred wagons come together, more than 300 brave souls taking their fate, and their future, into their own hands; men, women, children, embarking on a life-changing gamble.

Most of them will make it, thanks to Chris, Bill, Charlie and the rest of us and the hard work we do. We take our responsibility to them seriously; we do our best and use all of our skills and experience to get them to their destination. But we know that not all of them will finish the trip, and I think they know that, too. Along the way some will fail, and others will fall; it happens every trip.

This one will be no different.

But that knowledge doesn't stop them.

Hope trumps all.

And I envy them that.

- the end -