The Mary Spence Story

Chapter 9: I Was There!

After supper Flint sent Mark to fetch his bed roll and Matt to get his ma's rocker and put it by the fire. Luke was finishing his chore of feeling the water barrel. Flint stood next to Mary drying dishes.

"Thank you again," Mary said smiling up at Flint.

"No need for thanks, I'm getting right fond of your 'little tribe', ornery an all, I should be thanking you for accepting me."

As Flint stared into her blue eyes he was reminded of the ocean waves. "How are you doing Mary? This can be a hard trip." Flint said as he reached out and brushed a strand of hair out of her face.

"I'll not lie; it's not easy, but since you and the others have stepped up,it has become a might more bearable. This is not a trip for a woman alone with children, sure I miss Dave, guess I always will, but I got boys to raise so I've got to look to their future," as Mary finished she quickly turned away but not before Flint had seen her tears... then, just at that minute, somewhere in the night an owl hooted.

Mary turned and grabbing Flints arm she beamed. "Oh how I would truly like to walk in the moonlight and see that owl."

"My Lady; your wish is my command." Flint chuckled, and then instructed the boys."You boys get the bedrolls ready and gather some extra wood for the fire. Your ma and I will be back in just a little bit, and no trouble, you hear?"

"Yes Sir." All three boy's answered.

With that Flint, offered his arm to a smiling Mary placed her am in his and clasped her hand as they strolled into the moonlight. The owl hooted again, confirming they were headed in the right direction.

Mary leaned on Flints arm and smiled. "You're so good with the boys."

"Augh, I'm just good at thinking like them. The Major says, I'm just an overgrown youngn' most of the time," he said blushing as he grinned.

"Well, whatever it is; you bring out the best in them. We all feel safer when you are around." Mary complimented, and then looked into the night sky.

"It's like I said; I enjoy being with you too."They stood in silence for some time each lost in their own thoughts. The owl screeched and both jumped, Mary grabbed tightly onto Flints arm, making him smiled at the small slip of a woman next to him. He pointed to the owl, then watched her face light up with wonder. As Mary watched the bird, he watched the moonlight reflect off her chestnut hair. Standing there in awe of the bird she looked so young, and in need of protection. She sure was pretty, too…Could it be, was he feeling...

"Flint look," Mary squealed with excitement.

Jarred from his thoughts, Flint looked in the direction Mary pointed. The owl had flown; taken off with its tawny feather's spread wide and its large eyes alert.

"Isn't he beautiful?"she giggled.

"Yes indeed he replied," but inwardly he was thinking; not half as beautiful as you

"We had better get back or those boys may start an Indian war." Mary quipped, trying to diffuse the feeling that stirred within her. They turned and walked back the way they had come.

As they returned to the camp site, all three boys turned to see their mother walked in. Flint placed his hand on Mary's back and guided her to the rocker.

"Okay, boys let's get settled," Flint clapped his hands together and everyone got on their bed roll and began to wait quietly for Flint to start the tale of one of his adventures.

"This is the story of the strangest bunch of critters I ever came across, while I was scouting... It all started about five or so miles up the trail from here, first I came across this half blind old bear and four half grown cubs Darned if they weren't the orneriest bunch…Well, they just kept following me, I couldn't get shed of them. Then as if that weren't enough, the next morning I come up on this old goat and her kid, they seemed to really need someone. Well as my luck was bad and getting worse, it started to pour. Well I started to look for shelter and wouldn't you know the whole pack followed me. I was getting mighty nervous, they was all beginning to look at me mighty hungrily..."

"What'd ya do?" asked Mark, wide eyed and gazing across the fire at Flint.

"Well, I don't mind tellin ya; I was a might scared and I began to think, being as I didn't wanna be supper, I better see if I could find something to eat rain or not..." Flint paused and turned slowly, looking eerily into each boys face to create some drama. He tried to smother his laugh at the expressions on their faces.

"So I was tramping around in the rain when all of a sudden I heard an awful howl. I froze in my spot…" Flint gasped and suddenly sat up straight, with his hands up at his chest. The three boys, even Matthew, though he would have never admitted it, mirrored his dramatic surprise. Flint asked their silent question. "Where was it coming from? Well I searched until I came upon the bush from which it was coming. I carefully peaked through the bush, and there on the rock sat an Injun big as life."

"Did he try to kill you?" Asked Luke popping up to see Flints face."

"Not hardly; he was too contrary for that. When I ask him what he was carrying on so for, he told me that his name was Running Deer, and he had gotten lost while hunting and would gladly share his food with me if I would help him find his village. So Running Deer and I returned to the cave to get out of the rain. But, wouldn't you know that scraggly pack of critters refused to let Running Deer go anywhere near the cave. Two of those cubs set to growling so that Running Deer took off into the night and the wet mud... I was so mad that I started to fuss at that pack of critters just as if they could understand. I ranted about Running Deer needin shelter just like the rest of us and how selfish and prejudice they had acted, just because he was an Indian. Now we could all just go to sleep hungry and I built a big fire and curled up as far from the scraggly critters as I could get. When I woke the next morning I found that two for those darn cubs had taken off in the night, the old blind bear was having fits. I was sure that they had taken off after Running Deer, I grabbed my knife and set off to skin me a couple cubs. Sure enough as I tracked, those cubs were hot on Running Deer's trail. When I caught up, I couldn't believe my eyes, those cubs were leading Running deer back toward me with two large rabbits over his shoulder." Flint drew a breath and gave a big laugh.

"Then what?" the boys all asks at once.

"We all went back to the cave for my supplies, and you never heard such a commotion as that old blind bear started once he saw that the cubs were back. Then out of nowhere on the trail there was the chief of Running Deer's tribe, he was so glad to see him that he threw a big celebration. After the celebration, wouldn't you know it; now that we were safely out of the hunting ground and it stopped rainin, that old blind bear, the four cubs, the nanny goat and her kid, all decided to go their own way, leaving me to ride back to the train and Major Adam's with a tall tale that nobody would believe. But, it was true; I Was There."

Flint smiled and looked around; all eyes were staring at him with their mouths wide opened. Matt, closed his mouth then looked at Flint and the rolled his eyes. Flint's smile widened and his dimple showed, as he gave Matt a small wink. Matt laughed. "Okay , time for sleep," ordered Flint.

"Oh gee wilickers' how's we supposed ta sleep after that," pouted Mark.

"Do what I always do on the trail. Look up there…" Flint pointed to the sky. "Look at the stars. Thet one there means yer home," assured Flint, pointing the largest star he could find. He left the boys star gazing as he settled himself down for the night, next to all three Spence boys. Just as he was about to doze off, he found Luke pushing in between him and Matthew, and making himself comfortable; just like a young bear cub.

"Night all !," yawned Mary as she retreated to the wagon.

Flint woke at about daybreak to Mary making coffee and oatmeal. She pushed the oats away from the fire before handing Flint a steaming cup of coffee, "Morning," she greeted, that was quite a tale last night"

"And every word of it is true. I tell you," smirked Flint.

Mary, like Matt, just rolled her eyes at the friendly Scout.

Flint took a sip of his coffee and inhaled the flavor. "Well that is if you take into account, that the old blind bear was a frail old grandfather with his four grandchildren who had lost their family and his glasses in an Indian raid that Billy, the kid with the goat had lost his parents in also. And most importantly Running Deer was only six years old. I guess it would sound much more believable that way, but then, what kind of campfire story would that be?"

They both laughed and sipped their coffee watching the sun rise.

A.N.*** for the real story that inspired Flint's tale watch The Odyssey of Flint McCullough….. LOL did you guess it.