AM I THE ONLY ONE . . who still enjoys reading a good book?

This excerpt is from book 6 in the Crow’s Lake series, titled PAPPY’S GOLD.

PROLOGUE September 1865

He’d only been back from the war for a week and had been eating most of his meals at the café in the little town where he’d grown up.  That first meal had been served by this sweet little auburn-haired beauty queen and he was immediately smitten.  He resolved that he’d eat all his meals here until he ran out of money and truth be known, he had quite a stash.  He wanted to get to know her and even more importantly, he wanted her to get to know him.

The war had been anything, but a pleasant experience for him and she was the beginning of hope.  Dare he believe that she’d even give him a second look?

At barely 16, he had lied his age when he’d signed up and, although the recruiting sergeant had raised his eyebrows and given him that look, he didn’t call him on it. The war hadn’t been going well, and new recruits were in great demand, they didn’t have the luxury of being too choosy. He was a live body and he had his own horse, didn’t seem as thought they could ask for much more than that.

They had given him a weapon and a gray rebel hat, then sent him off to fight the Yankees.  Since he had his own horse, they assigned him to the Calvary, and over the next three-plus years he went through a living hell.  He’d been wounded on three different occasions and he’d seen more of his fellow soldiers killed than he had been able to keep track of, but he’d killed his share of Yankees too.

The war had changed him, but he didn’t figure any man could go through something like that and not come out of it a changed person.  He’d been young and naive when he signed up.  Had he known then, what he knew now, he’d never have been that stupid.

He’d joined up with visions of heroics and acclaim in his head, but it hadn’t taken long for him to realize just how bone-headed that had been.  There ain’t nothing about war that you’d call a pretty sight. 

Its days turning into weeks then months and eventually into years of constantly being hungry, dirty, wet or cold.  Most times all four of them at once and always being on the move.  

He’d witnessed hundreds of deaths and he’d seen the devastating effects of minnie-balls and bayonets.  No, war definitely ain’t pretty.

He still had bad dreams when he’d swear that he detected the smell of blood mixed with burnt powder and human waste.  Sometimes he’d awaken and set there in deep thought, remembering the sound of flies buzzing around dead bodies and the nauseating sight of dull hazy looking dead eyes staring up at him. 

There just ain’t nothin about war that brings pleasant memories.  Oftentimes, it was shoot or be shot, run or be run down and, most of the time, eat slop er go hungry.  Day after day there’s nothin to look forward too except more of the same.  After a fashion, you’re just tryin to make it through the day and you can’t wait for this to be over. 

…Eventually it was.

It was a few months shy of 4 years after he enlisted when they discharged him.  He’d gone in as a barely 16-year-old greenhorn wannabe hero, but he came out as a decorated 19-year-old, going on 40, sergeant who just couldn’t wait to put it all behind him.

Having made it through that 3 plus years, he felt certain that there was nothing that life could throw at him that he couldn’t handle…

He soon found that he still had a lot to learn.

The rest of this story is detailed in the pages of PAPPY’S GOLD, click on the link below.



Gramps use’ta say ©R.L.King2012 #524

About: Personal Grooming  
“Them that can’t grow a decent beard,
… shouldn’t.”


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