Sunday, October 4, 2020

The Vacation

By Monette Bebow-Reinhard

Editor's Note: This is part 1 of a four-part story about the Cartwright family written by our own Monette Bebow-Reinhard. Part 2 will publish next Sunday, the 11th. Be here! --Al Colombo, publisher

Joe was grumpy that morning, and nearly missed Hoss’s cup when he poured the coffee. “Come on, Joe, watch what you’re doing!” Hoss sopped up the spilled coffee with his biscuit and took a bite.

“Sorry, Hoss. Can’t stop thinking of Adam out there in San Francisco on vacation. Probably got all the girls lined up by now.”

“You’ll get yours and I’ll get mine,” Hoss said as he munched. “You know Pa has to let us take turns. It’s just ole Adam’s turn right now.”

“Yeah, but I’d sure like to follow him around sometime. He’s so darned serious. I’ll bet he just doesn’t know how to have fun, anyhow.”

Ben came in from the barn in time to hear that last remark, and chuckled as he brushed off. “I’ll take you up on that bet, Joe. Adam told me this was going to be his vacation to remember. He plans to write home about it every other day or so, and we’re to save the letters of his adventures, as kind of like … well, his journal.”

“Ha!” Joe laughed. And then finished chewing. “Haha! It’ll be filled with the books he read and the sunsets he saw. You know, I’ve never even seen him drunk.”

Ben poured some coffee. “That’s because he’s busy setting a good example for you.”

“Yeah, well, my good examples of dating sure haven’t rubbed off on him.”

Ben walked over to his desk. “You each have fun in your own way.”

“Yeah, Joe,” said Hoss. “Just because he doesn’t view girls as frivolously as you do, doesn’t mean he doesn’t show his interest.”

“I can’t wait to hear about his fun way,” Joe said to his pa. He turned with a scoffing face at Hoss. “Hey, where did you learn a fancy word like that, anyway?”

“Like what?”


“I don’t know. Adam probably. Comes from how often I have to get between you two.”

Ben ran into the house, his face red from exertion. He couldn’t remember when he’d pushed his horse so hard to get back to the ranch. Or got back to the ranch so late, but he wasn’t leaving until the stage dropped off the mail. “Joe! Hoss! Got a letter here! You up?” He slapped his hat on his trousers. “Well, tarnation, I’ll read it without you.”

Joe and Hoss came bounding down the stairs, bedclothes on. “Doggone, it’s about time.

“Well, Hoss it does take time for the mail to get here.” Ben opened it. “Let’s see what he has to say. It’s pretty long. Let’s have a seat.”

Hello, Family! Hope the days aren’t too long over there without me. They go pretty fast here on the Barbary Coast, but I assure you I am not about to get shanghaied. You’ll remember that Pa told me to give his letter of recommendation to Mr. Evenstein, running for mayor. Well, they were so impressed with the letter that they asked me to read it to a gathering of voters. So I did. And then I added a few choice thoughts of my own. You know, Joe, how you always call me a blowhard? Well, this time they were even more impressed, and, well, now I’m being courted to be governor of the state.

I could hardly say no.

Okay, I was tempted to say no at first. But then I thought of all I had to offer the state. Well, you know all the ideas I’ve had for the Ponderosa. Of course, now I’ll have to become a resident of California, so I’m off to find a plot of land once this is in the mail.

Needless to say, I might be a little late returning home. I’m sorry, Pa. I have to do it. I have so many great plans for California. It tends to be pretty arid in places, so I was thinking a whole countryside filled with windmills, so they could grow grapes. You know how you complain about the price of wine, Pa.

And of course they’ll need more railroads, one through the Donner Pass of course, so no one ever gets stranded there again. Well worth the expense. And then I was thinking that we could breed a lot of these horses here, let them loose, and then charge people to ride around and rope one, if they can. You know, like a tax-raising scheme. You should have seen the people whooping and hollering when I presented that idea.

They wanted to take me criss-crossing the whole state on stagecoach, but when I heard how long that would take … well, I just don’t think I have a year to spend for such lolly-gagging. I got them to agree to let me do this kind of touring every other month or so. I’m sure you’d enjoy that part of it, Joe. And Hoss, you would love all the fine eateries, all paid for by the state of California, as much as I can eat. I swear, if I keep this up, I’ll be glad I’m taking the stagecoach back so I don’t founder my horse. Stuffed sweet goose pie, homemade cherry apple pie – tell Hop Sing you want him to try two fruits together in one pie. He’ll pop a cork, no doubt. Oh yes, lots of champagne, and pastries, and the best darned egg and vegetable pie. Why, I’ve never had anything like it. Hoss, you should run for governor just to be treated this good.

Oh, but of course, they only treat you that good because of how hard the work is to be governor. And first you have to get elected. You have to sweet talk to every woman in town, not because they can vote but because they tell their men who to vote for. It’s hard work, I’ll tell you, just plain hard work.

And I have to settle disputes, too, just to show I can compromise. Why, there were these two fellows fighting in a saloon over which was the better beer, that from England or that made right here in San Francisco. I got between them and told them they were both good. It all depended on the palette. Well, that shut them up. They didn’t know what a palette is! So you gotta be smart to be governor.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll get another letter out to you as soon as I can. But I have a feeling they’re going to keep me real busy here. Best, Adam

Ben folded the letter back up. The room was so quiet they could hear the clock ticking. Finally Joe burst out. “A year!”

“Did you hear that, Joe? Our brother’s gonna be governor!”

“Now hold up, boys. There’s got to be more to a residency than just buying a piece of land.” “Well, what would that take, Pa? Being a resident?”

“I suspect living there for a full year. Maybe more.”

“Ha! Hot dog, he plum said he was gonna be going around the state for a year, giving them speeches, and eating that stuffed goose pie.”

“No, no, no. He said every other month. Hey, that’s still too much. Pa, you can’t let him. We got a ranch to run! Look at all the chores he’s shirking.”

Ben put a hand on Joe’s shoulder. “Now, Joe, we both know Adam is a grown man. If he wants to leave the ranch, well, I guess we don’t have any way to stop him.” He turned to face the fire. “Go on back up. We got an early day tomorrow, being short-handed and all.”

Grumbling and arguing to each other, they climbed the stairs.

“He ain’t gotta nohow.”

“Hoss, it’s just plum loco, I’m telling you.”

Ben turned to the fire, so they couldn’t see him chuckle.

Be sure to read part 2 of The Vacation!

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.

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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).

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