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Tacoma, Washington, United States

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Heading West

I did not attend the auction at our little farm.  I had no desire to watch our meager and somewhat shabby but familiar possessions dispersed to strangers.  I had said my goodbyes to old Buck, that patient and gentle big buckskin horse, and to Red, the little blazed- face sorrel.  They had served us well and were my friends.
Mother had told me that I could keep one of our two guns—either the slim little twenty-two or the single-barreled breech loader shotgun—for hunting that fall.  I chose the shotgun.  I had only been permitted to carry a shotgun for the past year and some bird hunting wa all that it was likely to do in the fall.  I would be leaving in the spring before squirrel season.
Mother also asked me not to plague Grandpa and Grandma with a dog so, very reluctantly and having to hold back tears, I said goodbye to my good friend Pup and gave him to one of my cousins who I was sure would treat him well and take care of him.
On the day of the sale on a Saturday I simply helped Grandpa around the store and carried buckets of water from the well for Grandma.  I do not know how much money was realized, but hopefully it was sufficient to defray Mother’s expenses on the long trip west.

Departure day for Mother, Richard, Rex, and tiny seven-month-old Sandra arrived.  Mr. Ganaway loaded our old metal trunk and such housewares as mother could take into the truck, then he piled bedding and pillows on top so that Richard and Rex would have room to sit up under the canopy.  There was even a small space for them to hang their feet down at the back.  Mr. Ganaway said, “Well, boys, you won’t see where we are going, but you will sure know where we have been!”  It promised to be a long, long haul on those miles across Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington.
Our family was never very demonstrative.  My mother’s eyes puddled up a bit when she told Grandma and Grandpa goodbye.  She hugged me and admonished me to write a letter once in a while.  She turned then and climbed into the truck while Richard and Rex scrambled into the back.  Grandma reluctantly handed up Sandra Dean.  I patted Sandra’s tiny hand, then closed the door as the truck engine growled into life.  They pulled away and off down the graveled road toward Dadeville and the highway west beyond.
The last I saw was Richard and Rex waving gaily from the back of the truck until the dust obscured them.  I stood in the road and watched them disappear past the little house where we had lived, then I had to hurry off to school.

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