Continuing this little experiment – a western written as a series of diary entries.
Saturday Jan 2nd, 1869
I said yesterday this is the ass-end of Texas but I’ve reconsidered. That wasn’t quite fair. This is more like a pimple on the ass-end of Texas. A very big ass, very small pimple.
Pa and Granpa built the house on a slope not far from Aransa creek but high enough not to be caught by the floods. There were better places but Granpa’s brother got those for his family. He and Granpa had a flaming quarrel about a month before and they still weren’t talking so when great-uncle grabbed all the soft land north of the Aransa, Granpa crossed back over the creek and found this little patch to the south. There’s good grazing, plenty of timber and he dug a good well that don’t run dry even when it’s hot enough to fry an egg on your hat. It’s a nice place, though small in comparison with some of the others.
Our house is like all the others – logs chinked with moss and mud under a board roof with a dirt floor, but because we was close to the creek we keep a barrel of sand to spread over the dirt. I don’t remember the old house as it was, because by the time I came along Pa had built more rooms. We have three now. One for living, one for Pa and Ma and one where Isaac and I sleep.
In our big room Ma’s favourite thing is a iron stove Pa found by the creek when he was collecting strays. It was with other scraps, a broken chair, bits of cloth, and he reckoned it must have come from a wagon. Maybe they ditched it because the wagon was broke or too heavy. Ma says some poor woman must have cried her eyes out over leaving it. It’s odd to think of that woman as we warm by her stove at night and Ma makes our food and we’ll never know who she was and she’ll never know how her loss makes our lives so much better. Where she is I hope she’s happy.
More next week – incidentally I’m sort of making this up as I go along, as you do, and just dipping into the history books/google when it occurs to me, so apologies in advance for any horrible anachronisms.