Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Vacation (part 2)

By Monette Bebow-Reinhard

Editor's Note: This is part 2 of a four-part story about the Cartwright family written by our own Monette Bebow-Reinhard. Part 3 will publish next Sunday, the 18th. Be here! --Al Colombo, publisher

Joe never felt so tired. Riding home from the logging camp he nearly fell out of the saddle once or twice before catching up to Hoss, riding back from herd count. “Hoss, you look nearly as tuckered out as I feel.”

The Cartwright family!

“Oh, dadburnit, we had three men walk off the job today, and then there was this stampede and if it didn’t take the rest of the day to find half of them and the other half are still out there but there ain’t enough daylight to find them.”

“What started the stampede?” “I suspect that was when one of those fellows got mad and threw what he thought was an empty bottle of liquor into the fire.”

“And it wasn’t empty.”


“What they get mad about?”

“Oh, I suspect that was my fault it was when I told them to stop drinking on the job. How was your day?”

“Well, Hoss, you know how, when the log gets cut and loaded on a wagon and then the wagon pulls the logs to the flume and then the log goes sailing down the flume all nice and pretty and hits the water to go downstream to the mill?”


“Well, someone forgot to bring the horses for the wagons.”

“Don’t tell me.”

“Yeah, I ended up dragging logs to the flume. Doggone Adam.”

“Now, come on, Joe, we can’t blame him for everything.”

“We can if he’s not here.”

“And you know we got vacation coming, too.”

“I ain’t gonna live that long, Hoss. He’s gonna be gone every other month for a year. How am I gonna sneak a vacation in there?”

“Good point, little brother.” Hoss tried to straighten in the saddle but failed. “Well, come on, if we’re lucky, Adam’s sent another letter saying he’s coming in on tomorrow’s stage.”

“And give up being governor? Ha.”


When they got home they didn’t at first notice how upset Ben looked but dived into the leftover beef stew Hop Sing kept warm for them. Hoss was cleaning his plate with the last of the bread when he noticed Ben studying the letter.

“Hey, Pa, what you got there? Bad news?”

Joe didn’t even look up from his plate. He appeared asleep.

“I’m afraid so, boys. It’s from Adam.” Ben walked to the table and gave Joe’s chair leg a kick, startling Joe into sitting up again.

“Sorry, Pa. I guess I should go to bed.”

“Let me read this letter from Adam first.”

Joe yawned. “Not sure I want to hear Adam bragging about the great time he’s having.”

“Well, then you’re going to want to hear this one. There’s been trouble.”

Dear Pa. I’d rather you don’t share this one with Hoss or Joe. I’d never live it down.
“Hey, Pa, see that? I’m going to bed.”

“Sit, Joe. He starts out that way but doesn’t end that way, so just listen.”

Adam Cartwright
I’m now out of the running for governorship. I don’t quite know how it happened. Everything was going along really well, but at this one gathering the champagne was flowing. Well, Pa, you know I can handle champagne. There was a lot of dancing, lots of girls, everyone kept toasting me as the next governor, refilling my glass. I don’t know how many I had, I lost track.

Well, these two girls, ladies actually, helped me across the street to a card game, and I’m told I was just laughing with them and having a grand time. I was told but I don’t remember it.

Joe laughed. “He was drunk.”

“Doggonit, I never seen Adam drunk.”

Ben shook his head and kept reading.

They took me to this card game and really, they made the stakes much too tempting. Well, you know it costs money to run a campaign, Pa, and I didn’t want you to have to put up the land for collateral or anything like that. So with the girls coaxing me, I took an empty seat. I’ve always prided myself on knowing when to hold them and when to fold them. And at first, it seemed Lady Luck was with me. I started sobering up, but then the whiskey began to flow. And well, I was in such a good mood, I guess my normally stoic nature just took wing. And then my luck took a foul turn.
“Oh, Pa, he must have got set up. That doesn’t sound like him.”

Ben nodded. “I suspect so, too. Let me keep reading.”

One of the card players turned out to be someone who wanted the governorship. Sam Morgan. When he accused me of cheating, I just sort of laughed at him. At first. But then someone started calling us both names, and well, one thing lead to another, and before I knew it, we were fist fighting in the street. Now some might say that to be governor you have to hold your own in a fistfight, but we were out there brawling like two-bit thugs, and neither of us were very sober. I kept trying to find a compromise but it’s hard with a fist in your jaw at every turn.

Finally the sheriff came running out, shooting his guns. He broke us up and hauled us off to jail. Well, that was the last straw. Now neither of us could be governor. You can’t run a campaign from a jail cell, I found that out.

Adam Cartwright in jail

I also found out what the punishment for drunkenness, cheating at cards, and brawling in the street as a would-be politician is in this town. I’m going to be stuck in jail for a year. So I guess I won’t be seeing the ranch for a while. I’ll return as a lowlife, not as a governor. What a turn of events. I never thought it could happen to me.

Now I know why I avoid the drink and the ladies in Virginia City. The pleasure of a night is not worth the trappings of the rest of the year.

On the bright side, the two ladies are keeping me company in here, so maybe the year will go fast. At least, on my end. Tell Hoss and Joe to just buckle down and work hard, for once. And tell them to stay out of politics.

“Ho-boy. I guess ole Adam thinks because he screws up a chance of a—.”

“Now, Joe, we all know Adam only means good for all of us. It’s what he’s learning on vacation that we can all learn from. Politics is a tough business.”

“Especially when you’re drunk!”

“Pa knows, Little Joe. He almost was territorial governor once.”

“Well, I still can’t believe it. From top of the world to jail. Just doesn’t sound like Adam.”

“You think he’s making it up, Pa?”

“Well, no. I mean, you boys tell tall tales, but I’ve never known Adam to do the same.” Ben folded up the letter, but Hoss took it from him and read it to himself. “You think I didn’t read it right, son?”

“No, it’s all right there, Pa, just like you says.”

“Oh, I can’t wait until Adam gets home and give him a hard time. And for a year, too, as long as he’s making us wait.”


There was a barn social at the Harrisons’ a few nights later, and the three Cartwrights had themselves a good time dancing and getting to know some new neighbors. One of them happened to be named Sam Morgan, so Little Joe just naturally took to asking him if he just moved here from San Francisco.

A puzzled Hoss & Little Joe
“Well, I sure enough did. How’d you guess?”

“How come you’re out of jail?”

“Excuse me?”

“You start a fight with my brother there, and you get out but he doesn’t?”

“Son, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Sam tried to walk away but Joe grabbed him again. “I’m talking about Adam Cartwright, is what I’m talking about.”

Hoss brought his girl over after replenishing their punch. “Joe, you better keep your voice down a mite.”

“Oh, Adam Cartwright, sure, I knew him. Last I saw he was having a grand old time there with a lady, not at all anxious to get out of jail.”

“How come he’s stuck in jail for a year and you’re not?”

“A year? You must have read his telegram wrong or something. Come to think, maybe his lady friend got him sprung right after he sent the letter. If you’ll excuse me, I was just on my way out. Need to make it an early evening.”

Joe and Hoss watched him walk away. “What the heck is going on, Hoss?”

“I suspect ole Adam’s having himself a great vacation. Not coming home like he said he would. Well, the jig is up, that’s for sure. No way Adam coulda known we’d run in to that feller.”

“Let’s go tell Pa. Adam must be on his way home already.”

“Dadgumit. He sure better be, or—.”

“I know, Hoss, the jig is up.”

Be sure to tune in next week for part 3 of The Vacation!

Want to read part 1 again?
Click Here!

About the Author Monette Bebow-Reinhard is an established book author, specializing in historical accounts, issues, and events. She began writing movie scripts in 1975 and from 1992 to 1995, she co-wrote scripts for the Bonanza series. She has won several minor awards and Monette has several novels on the market.

Here's a link to Monette's Website where you will find some very interesting reading: Also, connect with Monette via email at

One of her latest books, entitled "Civil War & Bloody Peace: Following Orders, a historical works involving the American Civil War, is also available through Amazon (click here).

Order your copy of Monette Bebow-Reinhard's book:
Civil War & Bloody Peace: Following Orders

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