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The Gristmill
                   

    

Gus, lost in thought, sat upon the upper step of the front porch of the cabin he now shared with the only remaining member left of his family, as the eleven year old boy named Pete fought both the head strong mule  and the need to hold the plow upright. Little did it matter if the plow wondered here or there for most of the year’s crop of tobacco had already been gathered in. The stalks of tobacco left standing untouched by human hands, served as a hedge for the family graveyard.

Gus wondered if he should do that which older his brother, John  had already done a month earlier . . . maybe he too, should go ahead and join up while one could still pick and choose the what, the when and the where of which he wished to go soldering. But picking and choosing was not without its own set of problems even though the signing-up-man promised he could pick and choose as he saw fit.  After all, hadn’t John asked for and received the wet lands of the eastern portion of North Carolina.  And hadn’t he written his younger brother Gus, and told him while the North did indeed control the waterways, all he’d ever seen float by were loads of cotton bought from North Carolinians who thought the much rumored war was being fought beyond a place called Mason-Dixon. Admittedly, there were soldiers dressed in blue and carried guns on each of the many ships that floated by, but for all he’d ever seen those fellows were solely interested in were shooting quail and squirrels.

“An’ little brother,” John had written, “them damn fools been paying me eleven dollars a month to watch  them there blue belly’s shoot birds  an’ squirrels. An’ lookie here, if’n you’se of a mind to, I’ll see if I can get you hooked up with me  and my mates.”

***

Two weeks later, standing on the far end of the porch, Gus called out, “Come here Pete. Look here. See what I dun an’ got,” as he unfolded a fresh off the print a roll of one dollar bills.”

“Who giv’ it to you, Pa? asked his eleven year old son.  “An’ why’d dey up an’giv’ it to you?”

“Well son, it’s like this. That there last stand of tobacco didn’t pan out like me an’ you was hopin’ it would, it weren’t bad mind you. Jus’ won’t what we was expectin’, so I up and joined  to serve for a month, or at the outside, maybe  two months same as Uncle John went and dun, to go shoot birs  and squirrels.”

“Can I go with you?”

“No son. You’re gonna be stay’n put with Uncle Joe’s young’uns, an’ their Mama. I won’t  be gone all that long.”

***

A bit after four and a half years later, the boy named Pete now sixteen years old, stared across the unplowed fields of his Uncle’s farm and saw a man seemingly lost, struggling with a tree limb, as that same man stared in the general direction of his brother’s farm.

And then that man in desperate need of a place to rest and recoup, if possible, his lost strength, disappeared into a stand of trees growing along each side a creek known as Turkey Creek as the run off waters of the Murray Mill Pond flowed gently along.

Unsure if he dared to cross the stream the man thought he recognized, he sat on the edge of a heavily mossed windfall tree trunk.  Exhausted, he fell into perhaps the deepest sleep he'd ever slept, and promptly slipped off the slippery trunk. Unfolded he was hidden to the eyes of the world. So deep, was his sleep, he never heard the clatter of an iron rimmed wagon wheels growing louder and louder.





 Title:  The Gristmill

ISBN:  978-0-578-16192-1
Author:  Dwight V. Murray
Publisher:  Wild Pony Publishing
softcover/299 pages/approx.size 6" x 9"/trade



About the Author:  Dwight V. Murray

Born, raised, and educated in North Carolina, the author of this work from an early age began a lifelong love affair with America.
Dwight V. Murray, aka d. v. murray, is a ‘people watcher.’  He sees stories within them.

Business obligations have taken him to the far reaches of this great and wonderful country.  He has seen many acts of patriotism,
generosity, love of ‘fellow’ man. He has seen the immense pride Americans once had in their homeland.  But now sees only
the life sucking malaise of complacency and the forest of hands reaching toward Washington for yet more governmental ‘entitlements.’

He wonders where his beloved America went.  And how did it happen?  Was it drugs?  A ‘come one-come all’ immigration policy?
The undeniable lean toward Socialism?  Unqualified moneyworshipping, ass-kissing politicians?  Or perhaps all of the above?

That ‘complacency’ he has watched grow like a cancer in America, is the sole premise of this work.

In the following story, he has found a hero—an ‘every-man’ kind of hero.

Harlan McFadden has given his all to America, even his beautiful daughter, Sue Ellen.  Drugs, arrogant illegal aliens, the
rush toward socialism, and the greed of politicians, have taken everything from him except his love of America.  He longs for
America to be as it once was.  And he wants his daughter back.

The author sees this man in many men.  There is hope America.  There is hope.

Such a story is The Gristmill.
Copyright Year:  2017