Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gold Fever

Sarah sat on Mud Creek’s little pier with her best friend Alice, their fishing poles dangling lazily from their hands as they watched the Bluebirds pick wild berries from the bushes nearby.
Mud Hole, the nearest creek to Sarah’s house got its name for obvious reasons. Water coming off the Missouri River filled the sandy hole, leaving it, well, muddy looking. It was a great place to fish though, boasting of the best catfish in the state. Of course, everybody said that about their own little creek, and of course everybody in the town believed it.
“I can’t see why you are so excited about going out west, my daddy says there’s Indians out there that’d just as soon kill ya as talk to ya,” Alice said critically as she reeled in her line to check the worm.
“Oh, they all say that Alice,” Sarah replied wistfully, “but there’s Indians here too and we don’t all go moving do we? Besides, it will be a real adventure. And anything’s got to be better than here fishing in this same old creek every day.”
“Well, I hear your mother isn’t all too pleased with the prospect of leaving her home to go a gallivanting all over the territory.”

“Yeah, but she’s just worried about my pop getting a head of steam about gold and then being disappointed. She’ll change her mind though when he comes home with a sack of nuggets that’ll keep us the rest of our lives.”
“Oh, you and your daddy are just cut from the same cloth. Always dreaming and wandering.”
“That’s not true,” Sarah replied indignantly, “my pa’s a good man and a hard worker.”
“And a dreamer, just like you. Don’t you go thinking that we all don’t know that you know the town better than most of the boys around here,” Alice said, casting her line back into the brackish water, “why word’s out that you and that scallywag James are meeting somewhere and getting the intimates with one another.”
“Oh,” Sarah huffed, “Alice May Macintyre, you take that back this instant! You know I can’t stand that stinky old James Adams, and that he really has a pounding heart for you!”
“He does not, and you are the biggest liar in all of St Louis you are!”
“Am not. You can just see him a getting all googly-eyed over you.” With that, Sarah let out peels of laughter and began hurrying to reel her line in before Alice started hitting her. Much quicker than Alice, Sarah had gathered her pole and basket and was running off down the road.

“I am so mad at you Sarah,” Alice shouted over her shoulder as she gathered her things up, “go on to California then, I don’t care!”
“You will if an Indian gets me!”
“I won’t care if a whole tribe takes you and scalps you!”
The two would be arch enemies for several minutes and then be walking down the dirt path toward home with their arms around each other, not remembering a word of their quarrel. That’s the effect Sarah had on people.

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