As she came through the door of the small log house, she peered into the horizon looking for him. It was only a few weeks ago they had been wedded in a simple ceremony, but she missed him so. He had gone away on the cattle drive, while she tended to things on their small ranch. It would be several weeks before her new husband and her brother returned home.
No point wasting the day, Rebecca pulled her bonnet upon her head and headed to the creek for water. The chickens had already been fed and the bread was rising on the table. She would cook it when she returned home. At least staying busy kept the mind from fretting too much.
Buck kept his eyes on the cattle as he brought his horse over to the creek for some water. Briefly his thoughts turned to Rebecca and her warm smile. They had not known each other very long, but were so happy to be married and start life together in the west. Soon they would reach town and he could get back to his lovely Rebecca.
A few days passed and after arriving in town, the boss negotiated the sell of the cattle and gave each cow poke his money. Everyone quickly parted ways to celebrate a little. Some headed straight to the saloon, but Buck headed for the general store. He had something special in mind for his new wife.
He made his purchases and then headed to the saloon. He didn’t drink, but needed to keep watch over his wife’s brother Randy. Randy was a nice enough fella, but had a penchant for getting in trouble if he drank. He wasn’t the kind to stir anything up, but he had a hard time walking away if someone else tried to start something up with him.
Buck swung the saloon doors open and spotted Randy right away with his arm around some woman in a bright green dress. Sure enough he was fixin’ to get in trouble. Some fella hollered, “What are you doin’ with my gal?” Randy looked up, just in time to see a gun pointed his way. Buck just barely managed to throw a chair towards the fella. The gun fired. Randy fell to the floor. Buck raced over as the sheriff entered the saloon.
Randy was alive! That was close, Buck thought to himself as he saw the bullet had gone through his shoulder, but missed his heart. Buck and another one of the cow pokes helped Randy over to the docs. The doc patched him up and everyone saddled up the next day for the journey back home. It would still take a while, but it would be quicker now that the cows were gone. It would do them both good to get back to the Ranch.
Sitting in her long nightgown, she thought she would sew some more on the quilt for their bed before turning in for the night. She did not want to waste a candle for light, but she was not quite ready for bed. There were too many thoughts running wild in her head and the loneliness of the last few weeks were beginning to wear on her. Her fears were welling up that something awful might have happened to Buck and her brother.
All of the sudden she heard the chickens start up a fuss, so up she jumped to grab the rifle before cautiously peering outdoors. Against the starry night sky she could just barely make out the shape of a rider on a horse. Looking closer, she saw there was another horse with someone hunched over the saddle. Could it be? Tentatively she called out, “Buck, is that you?”
“It’s me Rebecca. Hurry and give me a hand.”, Buck said. Rebecca rushed barefooted out in the cool night air and felt a knot in her stomach as she got closer. “Is he hurt?”, she asked. “Yeah, he got shot in the shoulder. Got infected on the ride back.”, he said.
Buck jumped down off his horse and the two of them helped Randy into the house. Randy was so feverish he was barely conscious. Once he was on the bed, Rebecca quickly cleaned and bandaged his wound. When it was daylight, she would look for herbs to make a poultice.
After he was settled, Rebecca turned and simply said, “Buck”. He walked over and held her in his arms. She put her head on his chest and just let loose the flow of tears. Tears of mixed emotions. Joy from seeing them again and sadness over worry for her brother.
Rebecca collected herself and went to the stove to fix Buck something to eat. Buck went outdoors, but soon returned holding a brown paper bundle tied with twine. He said, “Here Rebecca, this is something special I picked up for you. I thought it matched the color of your eyes.” She carefully untied the bundle and beheld a beautiful piece of robin’s egg blue calico fabric. “Oh, Buck!”, she said as she hugged him tightly.
After a few weeks, Randy recovered, though he still had some soreness in his shoulder every now and then. Buck helped Rebecca up into the buggy. He thought she looked stunning. She was wearing the new dress she had made from the fabric he had brought her. They were all going to a dance being held in town. Buck couldn’t wait to dance with Rebecca and was excited for the two of them to begin spending their life together.