“Did you like working from sunup to sundown? With the back-breaking work you did, I’m surprised you had any energy left over to do anything besides eat and collapse into bed,” Minda said, keeping their conversation on track.
“It wasn’t too bad if you liked physical labor and knew how to keep your mind occupied.” Amos returned his eyes back to the trail. “The only thing I hated was the fact that the doctor was too far away to help if someone got sick.” He frowned.
“How long was it before the doctor saw you when you had that bout with pneumonia?” She rubbed his arm soothingly.
“A whole miserable week. And I had to be taken to town in the back of a raggedy, bumpy wagon in order for that to happen. Everyone was surprised that I survived the long trip into town, much less the sickness.” Amos shrugged. “I guess the Good Lord wasn’t ready for me yet. Either that or I was too stubborn to die.” He chuckled before turning serious again. “All I know is that I was determined to survive. See, I had a lot more living that I wanted to do. Plus I wanted to be around to make sure no other logger suffered the way I did.”
“So the sickness gave you a newfound sense of purpose?”
He nodded. “Yep, and I took that purpose very seriously. From my sickbed, I started putting certain things in motion.”
“How were you able to prevent other loggers from going through what you did?” Minda asked.
“I paid a retired logger, who’d never been sick a day in his life, to teach us everything he knew about good winter care. Then I arranged for a doctor to stop by the camp at least twice a week. Even though I’m not there anymore, I’m still paying for that to happen.” Amos was again surprised by how forthcoming he always was with Minda about his finances.
“That’s commendable of you. I’m pleased to see you use your finances as wisely and as generously as my cousin.”
Amos smiled at the comparison. “Honey, I’m afraid Miss Halona got me beat in the generosity department. She’s helped way more people than I have.” It boggled his mind just thinking about how generous she was to the town of Miskito.
Among just a few of Halona’s personal acts of generosity was the home that she provided for her cousins, the orphanage, clinic/drug store she subsidized, the land that she donated to her church, and the seven, two-bedroom tenant houses on the far northern portion of the Ackerman-Thorpe property. The tenant houses were a special blessing to Halona’s workers because the rent was kept unusually low so that they could have extra money to save for their own properties one day.
“If Halona does help more people than you, I suppose it’s because more people know that she has money,” Minda said. “You, on the other hand, seem to want to keep your wealth a secret. Why is that?”
Amos grimaced. “Some secrets are better left untold. Especially if having others know it is only gonna cause more pain than anything else.”
Minda looked like she wanted to go deeper down that road of questioning, but she seemed to think better of it, and returned to the subject of logging instead. “So tell me about these logger songs again. Were they made up? Or did you just change the words to existing songs?”
Amos chuckled. “A little of both. I was notorious for changing song lyrics to fit any occasion. This one time, I made up a Christmas song to the tune of Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill.” Then he proceeded to recite the hilarious lyrics as they journeyed the rest of the way to their destination with laughter and love.
© 2018 by Suprina Frazier