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Story of the Month

"Ripples on the Lake"

 

After years apart will Adam still hold on to the same values of his father?

 

 The following day, Jamie once more watched the train arrive, heedless of the fact that he might be late for supper yet again.  The first passenger to alight was a fat business man of no interest, then came a lady and her small daughter, too small to catch Jamie’s eye, and finally a tall dark-haired man in a white shirt and dark suit, accompanied by the owner of the Sierra Nevada Timber Company.  This must be the engineer that he had heard about.  Pa wasn’t going to be pleased.  It looked as if the company was going ahead with its plans, even if the Ponderosa opposed them.  Jamie rode home deep in thought.  After last night he didn’t think he’d mention the engineer, it would only get him shouted at again.  Pa sure was in a bad mood these days.

 

In fact no one mentioned the timber company at dinner and for once it was a light-hearted affair, with Hoss teasing Little Joe about a new saloon girl and Pa trying to look disapproving while hiding a smile behind his hand.  Once supper was cleared away, Jamie settled down to his homework at the dining room table and Hoss and Joe began a game of checkers in front of the fire.  Ben was deep into his newspaper when there was a knock at the door.  He glanced up and waited.  The knock came again. 

“Joe, would you answer that, please,” Ben said patiently. 

Joe moved a checker and then got slowly to his feet, “Why me?  Why not Jamie?  He’s the youngest now,” he replied, looking over his shoulder to check that Hoss didn’t move the checkers while he was gone.

Ben sighed.  “Jamie is doing his homework, which is more than you ever did.” 

Joe opened the door in a disinterested fashion - and his jaw dropped. 

“I see you still don’t rush to answer the door,” a deep voice said with a chuckle. 

Hoss and Ben were out of their seats in a moment and Jamie was astounded to see them both almost run towards the door. 

“Adam!”  Ben’s voice rose in an exclamation. 

“Fine welcome!  I had to hire a horse to get here.  Didn’t you get my telegraph?” 

Jamie pushed back his chair.  This must be the other brother - the one he had only heard about.  He peered round the corner, anxious to see what Adam looked like - and gasped: it was the man from the train…the engineer. 

Pa and Hoss and Joe were hugging him and making a great fuss, but Jamie could only stand and stare.  Ben took his reticence to be natural nervousness and, smiling, took Jamie’s arm and pulled him forward. 

“Jamie, come and meet your oldest brother,” he said with a broad grin. 

Jamie shuffled forward, reluctantly wondering if he should share what he knew.  The man was tall and a little forbidding and he didn’t want to be the one to explain.  Pa wasn’t going to be pleased when he knew the reason for his oldest son’s presence.