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Sagas of the Wild West
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Life Goes On


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Mature Content: No

With: Emeline, Barnabas
Location: Lickskillet Cafe
When: Late December / 1875
Time of Day: Morning

 

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It hardly seemed like any time had passed at all from the time Emeline had dropped into bed the night before and when she had to get up and start her day at the cafe. 

 

But things were different this morning.  First off, sleeping arrangements were mixed up -- Martha and her husband Otto had slept her bed, so she had nestled on a pallet on the floor...and her cat had abandoned her to sleep downstairs with Barnabas, who had stayed on the floor of the cafe, using blankets as a bed, since it had been nearly midnight when they had finally gotten the folks from Whitefish settled in.

 

And food today would be simple and free.  While the 'charity' would cut into her homesteading fund, there were so many refugees now, and townsfolk who had gotten home as late as they had, and giving them all a day or two of relief from cooking was an easy way to support the community.

 

She dressed quickly, and as quietly as she could so as not to disturb the elderly couple, then padded down the stairs, wearing slippers so that she didn't wake Barnabas as she set about breakfast, starting with strong black coffee!

 

@Flip

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The aroma of the the coffee wafted through the diner drawing Pronto slowly from his sleep. The cat stirred then looked at the man, rose, stretched and yawned, then padded off to the kitchen with meow announcing her  presence.

 

Pike sat up, also with a yawn, but no meow. He put on his hat, pulled on his boots, slipped into his vest. he pulled out his watch, checked that it was running, and wound it for the cycle. "Mornin' Em. Thanks for the loan of the floor. Could use some softer boards though."

 

He got to his feet, turning he caught her in the glow of the lantern light and stared for a long moment. "Coffee smells right pleasant."

 

Tag @Bongo

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"Mornin' Em. Thanks for the loan of the floor. Could use some softer boards though."

 

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."  Emeline smiled as started straining out the grounds from the coffee.  "And I'll look into those softer floors when I get a chance."  Laughing, she added, "The ones upstairs aren't much better."

 

"Coffee smells right pleasant."

 

"I'll have you test it for me."  Grinning, she finished straining out the grounds, then tossed a pinch of salt into the pot to cut any bitterness.  "Here you go."  She poured mugs for Barnabas and herself, taking a sip and nodding approval.  "I'll be making pretty basic things today, I expect we'll be getting a lot of folks today, and I don't intend to charge."

 

As she spoke, she was getting out bowls and utensils.  "I could use some help, if you don't mind putting on an apron."  For a few weeks, he had been helping with the dishes and cleaning up the place, and she found that his presence was comfortable and welcome.  Any awkwardness had long since fallen away, and they worked around each other easily.  She liked having him here...and she didn't like when he had to leave.

 

"I can put you to work stirring the pancake batter, or...oh, I need some firewood to get the stove stoked."  She laughed and shook her head.  "And I'm willing to bribe you with a pie of your choice later today."

 

@Flip

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 "I'll have you test it for me."  Grinning, she finished straining out the grounds, then tossed a pinch of salt into the pot to cut any bitterness.  "Here you go."  She poured mugs for Barnabas and herself, taking a sip and nodding approval.  "I'll be making pretty basic things today, I expect we'll be getting a lot of folks today, and I don't intend to charge."


Pronto took the mug as she talked, a sound he enjoyed. Tasting the hot brew he smiled. “You do make the best coffee ever, Em. Just the best, and I ain’t meaning ta sound like I’m funnin’ ya, No Ma’am. But I’m partial to yer coffee.” His eyes narrowed at her willingness to cook and serve for free. She couldn’t afford that. But it warmed his heart that she would do it.


As she spoke, she was getting out bowls and utensils.  "I could use some help, if you don't mind putting on an apron."  For a few weeks, he had been helping with the dishes and cleaning up the place, and she found that his presence was comfortable and welcome.  Any awkwardness had long since fallen away, and they worked around each other easily.  She liked having him here...and she didn't like when he had to leave.

 
“Now jest let me get ma boots on an’ finish this here cuppa coffee afore she get’s cold.” With that he slammed his foot in the first boot then repeated the motion, stamping booth feet. Thar, now I’ll have this coffee put away right quick an git to them chores for ya.”


"I can put you to work stirring the pancake batter, or...oh, I need some firewood to get the stove stoked."  She laughed and shook her head.  "And I'm willing to bribe you with a pie of your choice later today."

 

“Here, don’t let nobody steal ma cup, I’ll be wantin’ more.” He stated. “Woman, ain’t no bribin’ the willin’.” He added with a wide grin. “‘Sides, ain’t likely ta be any of yer pie left come closin’ time, no how.” And out the back door he went to the wood pile, pulling the canvas away enough to get and arm load, then back inside before he froze.

 

“Okay, that oughtta do ya, I’ll be hangin’ up these guns an’ such you jest point me to the stirrin.’”

 

Tag @Bongo

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"Thank you."  Giving him a warm smile, Emeline allowed as how she really did enjoy having his company, and how having someone else around made the place so much nicer. 

 

"You did all right making pies," she commented, "so it's about time you learn to make flap-jacks.  The batter is mixed up here," she indicated a large bowl, "and the griddle is hot.  Pour in some of the batter," she demonstrated, making six pancakes of uniform size, "once they start to bubble all over, you flip them."

 

Her smile widened.  "Between you and Clara, I'm planning to manipulate you two into doing all the work for me here!"  She laughed.

 

@Flip

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"You did all right making pies," she commented, "so it's about time you learn to make flap-jacks.  The batter is mixed up here," she indicated a large bowl, "and the griddle is hot.  Pour in some of the batter," she demonstrated, making six pancakes of uniform size, "once they start to bubble all over, you flip them."


“Done a passel o’ flapjacks in my time, I have. Purdy common fare.” He said as he watched over the pancakes. “Now doin’ well with the pies, that’s a good thing. Ain’t no cookie on the any spread about to let anybody near his pie makein’
 

Her smile widened.  "Between you and Clara, I'm planning to manipulate you two into doing all the work for me here!"  She laughed.

 

“Zat so? Meanin’ I’ll be moved from free dish wrangler to paid pie maker? That whot yer sayin?” His grin broadened. “How you ever gonna make a profit like thet?”

 

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"Who said anything about paying you?"  Emeline gave him a playful nudge then set about beating the eggs.  "What with you eating me out of house and home...or cafe, just a better way to earn your keep!"

 

She was kidding, of course, he did far more than she asked, and didn't take advantage of her offers of food, and anything he did have was more than paid back with his help and presence.  "When they're done, you can pile them on a plate, then sit them on the stove and cover them with a cloth...that will keep them warm."

 

Cooking for a few was one thing, but on this scale was quite different, and it had taken her time to learn some tricks.  "What else can you make?" she asked, grinning, "so I know what to recruit you for...like I said, less work for me if I can put you and Clara to more work!"

 

She laughed, then refilled his coffee and took a sip of her own.

 

@Flip

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"Who said anything about paying you?"  Emeline gave him a playful nudge then set about beating the eggs.  "What with you eating me out of house and home...or cafe, just a better way to earn your keep!"


“I reckon so, I’d say it’s purdy much a keep worth keepin’.” He said dryly. “Had ta do thet more’n once in this life.
 

She was kidding, of course, he did far more than she asked, and didn't take advantage of her offers of food, and anything he did have was more than paid back with his help and presence.  "When they're done, you can pile them on a plate, then sit them on the stove and cover them with a cloth...that will keep them warm."

 
“Know’d thet trick from the trail.” Pike stated with a note of pride in his voice. “Early days we made a few drives up from the Ranch. Nothin’ ta brag on, jest some cows, Pa, an’ ma brother Samuel an’ Silas Learned ever’ job they was on the trail from ‘hoodlum’ to point man."


Cooking for a few was one thing, but on this scale was quite different, and it had taken her time to learn some tricks.  "What else can you make?" she asked, grinning, "so I know what to recruit you for...like I said, less work for me if I can put you and Clara to more work!"


“Had a ‘Cousie’, a cook I mean, teach me ta make a mean Son of a Gun stew. Mostly trail food. Not nothing like what you put out. So now ya know a bit more ‘bout me then ya did. Things I kin get done when I set ma mind to it.  ‘Er was then “if” I set ma mind to it.”
 

She laughed, then refilled his coffee and took a sip of her own.

 

He began the process of scooping the finished flapjacks onto a plate and covering, then repeating the process.

 

Tag @Bongo

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"It seems you set your mind to it quite often around here, and I truly do appreciate it."  Emeline smiled, realizing that for all the time they'd been together, she really didn't know much about his 'before' life.  "So, a drover, huh?  That's a pretty unforgiving job, I hear.  And cows are fairly stupid creatures?"  She laughed.  "I guess that doesn't matter so long as they cook up well!"

 

Setting aside the eggs for now, she started laying out strips of bacon in a large skillet that was on a different part of the stove.  "Brothers?  I had two, one died very young from croup and the other was killed in the War."  She smiled a little sadly, but there was a fondness in her tone.  "Daniel had grand plans to travel the World, see all the ancient wonders, although I really don't know how he planned to finance his adventures."

 

@Flip

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"So, a drover, huh?  That's a pretty unforgiving job, I hear.  And cows are fairly stupid creatures?"  She laughed.  "I guess that doesn't matter so long as they cook up well!"


"Were’nt like the drives of today, no ma’am. Maybe we’d drive a hundered head, but usually closer to fifty ‘er so. How I got to learn an' do all them ridin’ jobs,” He said smoothly and with a hint of humility. “The work was the same, jest not like twelve riders and three thousand head. Well, freightin’, that shorely had it’s moments too, same storms, injuns, an' banditos. Times after the war weren't all that good down Texas way. Rangerin’, now that was some differen’t. I mean, it was fairly dangerous most of the time. "

 

Setting aside the eggs for now, she started laying out strips of bacon in a large skillet that was on a different part of the stove.  "Brothers?  I had two, one died very young from croup and the other was killed in the War."  She smiled a little sadly, but there was a fondness in her tone.  "Daniel had grand plans to travel the World, see all the ancient wonders, although I really don't know how he planned to finance his adventures."


“Not sure what happened to mine, nor my Sister, Maryanne Marie. When I got home after the surrender, found it burnt to the ground. In town no pone knowned anything not even who done it. Co’manch or Commancheros. Hoped one day ta find out what happened, whar they was, but so far, nothin’.”

 

Tag @Bongo

 

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