I whipped her brother, and I whipped her paw. Then we rode off, me and Annie, to the little cabin I’d built over in the territory.
A fellow that said he was a preacher married us. He give us a slip of paper and said to stick it in the family Bible. We didn’t have nar’n, so we stuck it on the wall with pine gum.
I had laid us up store before I brought Annie out. What I thought would last a year didn’t go half that long after the young’un was born.
I got up one morning and rode to Madison, taking Annie’s mare with me. It took all day to get back and forth, but it had to be done.
She cussed me good about selling her horse, but she was glad to have the grub I brought home with me.
When we finally got the crops going, beans was the only thing that done good. The corn got chest high and dried up. Bad seed or bad luck, nothing else come up at all.
When the baby got sick, we done everything we knowed to make it better. Annie made a camphor poultice her mama had used. I’d dose it with some whiskey when it went to squalling. Didn’t nothing make it better.
I buried the baby towards the east side of the place. I put a rock up there where Annie could know where it was. Something dug it up a week or two later. I covered up the hole and kept my mouth shut about it.
After the baby died, I missed the little thing. With it gone, it looked like me and Annie didn’t have nothing left but work and a heap of it.
One morning late in the summer, two men come riding up. They wanted me to sign a paper saying I supported statehood. They give me a dollar, so I signed their paper. I asked them if Annie could sign for a dollar. They shook their heads and laughed. One of them throwed me another dollar, and they was still laughing when they rode off.
Annie said we ought to get us some chickens. Her people raised chickens in Shelby and done good with it. It sounded like it might work if we was lucky. We got to talking about having more young’uns.
It commenced to raining in September, and the blamed roof went to leaking. I tried to patch it from the inside but couldn’t. I went outside in the storm and climbed up. I fell, caught my leg between timbers, and broke it.
Annie got me on the back of the horse on my belly. She rode us to Madison and found the doctor. I about died, and my leg never was right after that.
I never seen Annie again. I sent a fellow to check the cabin. He said it had burned down.
My hobbled leg didn’t leave me fit for much work. I spent the rest of my days washing dishes at the public house in Madison.
It was as good a life as I reckon you can have, but I wish she hadda left me that horse. I could still picture his green eyes long after I forgot what Annie looked like.
Like what you just read? Support Flagpole by making a donation today. Every dollar you give helps fund our ongoing mission to provide Athens with quality, independent journalism.