By Debbie B ;0)
Joe smiled as Adam handed him the written note that had been folded and
tucked into the envelope. Adam had made sure that it was sealed before allowing
brother to place the secret message into his coat pocket.
"Be sure that you give it to Annabelle Hones now Little Joe. Do you understand?"
whispered Adam as he helped the small boy to mount his pony, Snowflake.
"SSSure ‘nough, Adam. I promissse I won’t forget," said Little Joe giving
his oldest sibling a wink of the eye.
Adam laughed softly. Joe had yet to learn how to close just one eye when
winking rather than both. Adam ruffled his brother’s soft curls, "just don’t
tell anyone, it’ll
be our little secret."
Hoss came from the barn leading Chubb and mounted as soon as he saw that
Little Joe was ready to go. "Come on squirt, we’re gonna be late, if’n we
called Hoss as he turned his mount around and headed out of the yard. "See
ya tonight Pa!" he added over his shoulder.
Joe spurred Snowflake in the flanks and followed behind Hoss turning in
the saddle to face Adam, "Don’t worry big brudder, your sssecretsss sssafe
wif me!" Joe
gave a big smile and Adam could not keep the laughter from bursting forth
when he saw the gap in Joe’s smile where his younger brother had lost his
two front teeth.
"SSSee ya later," called Joe as he rounded the barn.
As soon as Joe and Hoss arrived at school the boys hurried to stable their
horses in the small barn provided for the school children's use. Miss Jones
was ringing the
bell as the brother’s emerged from the stable causing Hoss to break into
a run leaving Little Joe to follow behind.
"Best hurry Joseph, you’re going to be late…again," Miss Jones forced a
smile to grace her face as she looked down at her most impish student.
"SSSorry, Misss Jonesss," Joe said softly.
Miss Jones scrunched up her face; she hated it when the children lost their
front teeth. It would be days now that she would have to listen to this small
boy hiss every
time he spoke. Already Miss Jones felt her day was starting off all wrong.
"But my brudder Adam sssaid to give thisss to you." Little Joe dug into
his coat pocket and pulled the envelope out handing it to his teacher.
Miss Jones’ smile suddenly lit her eyes in surprise. "Why Joseph, is this
really from Adam?" she questioned taking the envelope from the small hand.
"Yesss ma’am," grinned Joe hoping that his teacher would open the note.
Joe had been tempted to open it him self but had not found the chance to
do so on the way
to school. Hoss had been in a hurry and when he had tried to lag behind,
Hoss would only yell at him to hurry up.
Miss Jones smiled down at Joe and ruffled his hair. "Go on inside please,
Joseph. I will be in shortly." Miss Jones placed her hand on Joe’s shoulder
and turned him
toward the steps forcing the small boy into the schoolhouse. Smiling in
satisfaction, she held the sealed envelope to her heart and giggled softly
before placing the
treasured item into her pocket until later, as it were, her class waited
for her. Taking a deep breath and putting on her best smile, she fairly danced
up the steps and
into the classroom happy that her day had just improved. She had no idea
why Adam Cartwright would be sending her a note, but she really didn’t care,
just to have
something so personal held close to her heart written by the man she adored
was enough to make her heart flutter and cause her to blush.
The day seemed to drag on, Miss Jones was most anxious to open the sealed
note that was safely tucked into her pocket. Every so often she slipped her
the side pocket of her dress allowing her long slender fingers to tenderly
caress the contents. Each time her fingers made contact with the envelope,
a tiny smile
would play at the corners of her lips, as a dreamy look would come into
"Misss Jonesss," hissed Little Joe from his seat close to the front of the
Abigail’s attention was drawn back to the class. "Heh?" she said softly
then shook her head to rid it of it’s thoughts of Adam. "Did you say something,
"Yesss, ma’am. It’sss time for the lunch break. May we be excusssed, pleassse?"
Joe smiled innocently up into his teacher’s face. He had been watching the
looks that had appeared on her face each time that her hand went into her
pocket and wondered why the normally reserved teacher had suddenly started
"Oh, I’m sorry, class. Yes, by all means, class dismissed." Miss Jones stood
and walked to the door and watched as the children ran from the class and
about the schoolyard. As soon as all of the children were safely outside
Miss Jones locked the door to prevent interruption then sashayed to the safe
haven of her
desk. Slowly she slipped her hand into her pocket and shuttered slightly
as her trembling fingers circled around the sealed message from her beloved
Withdrawing the envelope she allowed her eyes to rest on the neat handwriting
that read: To my Juliet.
Turning the envelope over she traced where the envelope had been sealed
knowing that Adam’s mouth had been pressed against the exquisite stationary.
Miss Jones’ eyes scanned the room assuring her self that she was alone.
Carefully she brought the fine paper to her lips and closing her eyes, kissed
Outside peeking in the window, two little boys covered their mouths to stifle
the giggles that were about to erupt from the cherub little faces. Little
Joe jumped down
from the wooden crate that he had pulled over to the building so that he
and his best friend, Mitch, could stand on to spy on the teacher. As soon
as Joe’s feet hit the
ground, he took off running for the stand of trees that were nearby. Mitch
was fast on his heels and both boys fell to the ground as the laughter they
had fought so
hard to control burst forth.
"Oh Adam," giggled Little Joe as he held his stomach and rolled on the ground.
"kisssy, kisssy," he continued.
"Oh Little Joe," giggled Mitch, puckering up his lips, "Adam, smoochy, smoochy."
Mitch grabbed Little Joe holding him as he had seen his older brother hold
girlfriend, "Oh Adam," cooed the taller boy to his friend causing both boys
to laugh hysterically unable to say another word.
When Joe was finally able to control his laughter and catch his breath,
his face took on a serious countenance as he whispered to Mitch, "it’sss
a good thing that Pa
explained to me that ya can’t get a girl pregnated jussst by kisssing!"
Mitch was silent for a brief moment but when his blue eyes met the hazel
eyes of his best friend the other children could hear another round of giggles
Inside and unaware that her secret affair with the envelope was no longer
a secret, Miss Abigail Jones opened the envelope being careful not to tear
Shivering in anticipation she removed the message from it’s holder as she
slowly unfolded the letter. Momentarily closing her eyes while holding her
allowed just seconds to pass before permitting herself the pleasure of reading
the words written to her. Slowly she read the greeting as her eyes opened
wonder. Not realizing her actions, her mouth dropped opened in shock as
she continued with the body of the letter. Never in her wildest fantasies
had she dreamed
that her secret heartthrob, Adam Cartwright, would be asking her to the
Sweetheart Dance and in such a romantic way.
My dearest Juliet,
My poor heart beateth wildly within my breast fair maiden.
Would you calm the storm from with in my chest by doing me the honor
of being my guest for the Sweetheart
dance to be held on Valentine’s Day?
Send your answer soon, sweet and lovely lady that I might slumber in
peaceful sleep with visions of your
loveliness dancing before my eyes.
Cupid’s messenger will carry to me your reply as I wait with anticipation
of sharing an evening in your
Until then my beloved Juliet,
Leaning back in the chair, she placed the invitation over her bosom suddenly
feeling faint. Miss Jones closed her eyes for the second time while she envisioned
being held in Adam’s muscular arms as they glided across the dance floor
the envy of all the young women present.
Miss Jones sat for several minutes as if in a daze as she pictured herself
the bell of the ball in the arms of the man whom she considered the most handsome
all. Suddenly a sharp rapping on the door brought her out of her daydream
and snapping back to reality realized that the noon break was over and the
where all standing at the door ready to resume class. Abigail quickly returned
the invitation to it’s hiding place well inside her dress pocket and hurried
to open the
door for the children.
Smiling sheepishly as he entered, Little Joe glanced briefly into Miss Jones’
eyes as he quickly covered his mouth to stifle the giggle that was aching
to burst loose
from deep within his little chest. Mitch who was following on his heels
poked Little Joe in the back as they hurried to their seats and whispered
softly into Joe’s ear.
"Ya better be quiet afore she finds out we were peeking. I don’t wanna spend
the rest of the day standing in the corner!" said Mitch.
Joe turned to look back at his friend as Abigail walked to the front of
the class and cleared her throat. Joe’s attention was drawn to the teacher’s
face and was
surprised to see that the lady was smiling at him. Suspicious of sudden
interest in him, he returned the smile with one of his own, showing his missing
teeth in the
Miss Jones’ groaned silently to herself as the thoughts of Joe’s hissing
filtered through her head. ‘Oh dear, I must try to force myself to be patient
with the boy…he
is, after all, Adam’s baby brother,’ Miss Jones told herself.
"Class, let’s spend the rest of the day making our Valentines for those
who wish to give one to their parents or friends. Joseph, darling, will you
please pass out the
special paper that I have brought for the students to use?" ordered Miss
Joe’s surprise was evident on his face as he stared wide-eyed at the teacher.
This was the first time that Miss Jones had ever asked for his help and he
sat frozen to
his seat in shock.
"Joseph?" called Miss Jones when she saw that Little Joe made no move to
come to the front of the class.
Joe pointed to himself, "Me, Misss Jonesss?" he asked in surprise.
Abigail laughed softly, "Well, Joseph, I don’t know of any other Joseph
in this class, now do you?"
"No Ma’am," Joe replied softly and rose from his seat giving Mitch a backward
glance as he rolled his dancing eyes upward to show his distaste at being
Jones’ helper. Joe did as instructed and handed out the needed supplies
before returning to his seat to begin work on his own Valentine to his family.
Once Miss Jones was sure that all the children were busy doing their required
Valentine’s assignment, her thoughts quickly turned to the reply she wanted
compose to her beloved. Watching the breeze gently blowing the pines that
stood outside her window, Miss Jones pondered her words carefully. Suddenly
thought came to mind, she giggled and felt her heart flutter as unexpected
pleasures invaded her mind. ‘Same on me,’ she chided herself quietly.
My Dearest Romeo,
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I shiver with anticipation
While I wait for you.
The thoughts of your arms
Holding on tight
Will certainly make it difficult
To sleep through the night
When Cupid’s arrow pierced my heart
I knew without a second guess
The reply to your epistle
Of course is yes!
In sweet accord,
Abigail sighed deeply as she carefully folded the note in half before safely
tucking it into the envelope. Holding the envelope in her lap and checking
to be sure that no
one was watching, Abigail quickly removed the tiny perfume bottle from her
desk drawer and sprayed a small amount on the paper. Using care she then dropped
small dab of wax onto the flap of the envelope thus sealing the contents
securely until such time as it would be placed into the hands of it’s recipient.
that she would never fall prey to giving birth to such a child as the hissing
little green-eyed monster that would be her messenger she cast wary eyes in
The day ended shortly thereafter and Miss Jones instructed the children
to be sure to take their Valentine’s home to the special person for whom
the card was
intended. As the children began gathering their possessions, she beckoned
"Joseph, would you please come here?" she asked sweetly as she forced the
smile to remain in place knowing full well that the infernal hissing would
with her romantic thoughts that had plagued her mind throughout the long
"Yesss ma’am, Misss Jonesss," replied the little boy as he slowly advanced
on his teacher.
Miss Jones felt the fine hairs on the back of her neck slowly come to attention
as the hissing grew in volume. "Would you please be sure to give this to your
"To Adam?" Joe asked innocently and forced the giggle to stay down. Mitch
had followed Joe to the front of the room and stood inches behind him and
hear the gurgling sounds that he made as he too forced himself to stifle
the unwanted giggles.
"Well of course Adam!" snapped Abigail then suddenly realized by the look
on the startled boy’s face that she had just shouted at him. Changing her
tone of voice
quickly she continued, "Yes Cupid, of course Adam. He has been waiting for
a reply and will expect you to bring this to him. Would you be so kind as
to be sure he
Joe could no longer contain his laughter and chancing a backward glance
at his friend he noted that Mitch had both hands over his mouth trying desperately
laugh. "Oh sssure, I’ll put it in hisss hand myssself, Misss Jonesss," grinned
Joe taking the overly sweet smelling message from the tiny hands of his teacher.
saying another word, Joe crammed the note into his pocket and together he
and Mitch ran from the building. If Miss Abigail Jones had been standing close
window, she would have heard the roar of laughter that had finally burst
forth from the two small boys and would have been amazed at how high pitched
Suddenly Joe stopped in his tracks, the smile vanishing from his cherub
little face. "Ssstupid?" whized Joe, "Ssshe called me ssstupid!" Joe turned
stunned eyes to
look at Mitch.
Mitch’s mouth spread across the width of his face as he burst into laughter.
"No stupid, she called you Cupid, not stupid!"
"Cupid? What’sss a cupid?" asked Little Joe, offended by his best friends
laughter that was aimed at him.
"A Cupids a naked little angel that shoots arrows at people who are in love,
stupid," roared Mitch.
"ANGEL!" exclaimed Joe. "I ain’t no angel and fur sssure I ain’t naked!"
stated Joe matter-of-factly.
"Forget it Stupid Cupid, it’s only for love sick cows like Miss Jones anyway."
Mitch kicked his pony in the sides leaving Joe to ponder the new word by himself.
Meanwhile across town, a tall handsome man was making plans of his own.
Gently he strummed his guitar and hummed the melody that he hoped would woo
beloved. Stopping briefly and gathering his lungs full, he began singing,
the rich deep sound of his voice being carried away as lightly as a feather
in the gentle breeze
that whispered through the pines.
Early one morning, just as the sun was rising,
I heard a maiden singing in the valley below:
"Oh don’t deceive me: Oh, never leave me.
How could you use a poor maiden so?
"Hey, Mitch, lisssten to that sssinging. My brudder Adam sssingsss that
all of the time," giggled Little Joe as he pulled his pony, Snowflake to
a halt. "Howdy
Missster Myersss, what’ca doin’?" asked Little Joe as he and Mitch dismounted
and moved to sit on the porch with Hank Myers who was a good friend of Adam’s
and who often worked for them on the ranch.
Hank put his guitar down so that he could talk with the two small boys.
"Well howdy thar Lil’ Joe, I was just practicin’ my singin’. I plan on singin’
it ta my gal friend
at the Valentine’s Day dance."
Joe and Mitch exchanged glances and both boys giggled. "Who ya plannin’
on assskin’ to the danccce, Hank?" questioned Little Joe.
Both boys knew that Hank had a terrible crush on Miss Abigail Jones and
Joe was worried that he might be planning to ask her to the dance knowing
had just sent a note to her this morning. Or at least he thought Adam had
asked her, she sure had been acting all silly-like as if he had, and, he reminded
had sent home a reply. To confirm the fact, Joe shoved his hand into his
trousers pocket to be sure the note was still there. Yep, Adam was about to
competition, smiled Little Joe to himself. Maybe he and Mitch had better
come up with a plan to help his brother out.
Quickly jumping to his feet, Joe grabbed Mitch by the arm and began pulling
him out of his seat. Mitch cast startled eyes up at his best friend and gently
tried to pull
free from Joe’s grasp.
"Come on, Mitch," smiled Joe showing the few remaining teeth in his mouth.
"We gotta go Hank," Joe said and gave Mitch a look that said, ‘get your butt
Mitch suddenly realized that for whatever reason, Joe was suddenly in a
hurry to leave. Somehow, thought Mitch, I’ve missed something!
"Sssee ya Hank," called Joe over his shoulder as he hurried to mount his
horse. Mitch jumped on his pony at the same time. "Bye Hank," shouted Mitch
arm up in the air in a goodbye wave.
"Bye ya fellas, see ya later," called Hank picking up his guitar and strumming.
"Remember, remember your vow to marry,
Remember, remember your promise to be true.
Oh, don't deceive me: Oh, never leave me.
How could you use a poor maiden so?"
The two boys had only ridden a short distance before curiosity got the better
of Mitch and he pulled his pony to an abrupt stop. "What was that all about
Why the hurry?" he demanded.
"Damn," started Little Joe but Mitch interrupted.
"Ya better not let ya pa hear ya use that word," scolded Mitch.
"Why, is it a bad word? Adam usesss it all the time," stated Little Joe
giving Mitch another stern look.
"You bet it is, but what about Miss Jones?" Mitch was still curious to find
out what was going on in Joe’s head.
Don’t ya know nuthin’? Hank’sss fixin’ ta asssk Misss Jonesss to the dance.
Adam already did but if’n ssshe hearsss ole Hank asssingin’ to her, Adam will
goin’ home alone," explained Joe to his friend.
Mitch was stunned, "Well you big idiot, do ya want him to go home with Miss
"Naw, not really. I jussst don’t wanna sssee him get hurted. That’sss all.
We gotta do sssomethin’ to help him out. Hey, I gotta plan. Come on, letsss
get home." Joe
kneed his pony into a trot and together the two boys high-tailed it to the
Ponderosa where Joe could explain his plan.
Joe and Mitch stood with their faces pressed up against the windowpane of
the kitchen door causing their noses to be flattened in the process. Intensely
boys watched as the family cook, Hop Sing, poured the hot molasses mixture
into the pan of clean snow. Unaware of their actions, the two boys licked
their lips as
the Chinese cook placed the pan on the windowsill at the far end of the
kitchen allowing the candy to cool and harden.
Eyeing the candy as he continued to lick his lips, Joe nudged Mitch in the
side drawing his friend’s attention away from the dessert.
"Mitch, got me an idea," said Joe as he leaned toward Mitch’s ear.
Mitch began to giggle as Joe whispered his plan in confidence knowing that
he should not interfere with his older brother’s love life but being unable
to help himself
he plunged ahead. Mitch could not help but wiggle his shoulders as the soft
hissing sounds that whizzed through the gap in his friend’s teeth tickled
his ear. Nodding
his head Mitch agreed to the plan and watched as Little Joe entered the
house from the front door. Once more Mitch plastered his face against the
trying to see the interaction between Hop Sing and Little Joe taking place.
Mitch quieted his giggles by covering his mouth with his hand and opened the
door as Joe
gathered the necessary ingredient to make the candy. Both boys took off
running to the back of the house toward the small cove of bushes that would
Kneeling in the snow both boys ran their hands along the snow smoothing
out the swells that had formed from the blowing wind. Joe worked at unscrewing
lid to the jar that was filled with molasses while Mitch stuck his finger
into the snow and traced out a heart shaped pattern.
"Reckon its big enough?" asked Mitch before hallowing out the inside of
the pattern that he had created with his finger.
"Yep," replied Joe as he finally managed to unscrew the lid to the jar.
"Then pour it in there," directed Mitch as he leaned back watching Joe lick
the sticky stuff from his fingers before tilting the jar. "Be careful to only
fill the empty
spot," continued Mitch’s directions as he stuck out his finger to steal
a taste from the stream that spilled forth.
Joe was the first to stand up and back away from their handiwork. Placing
his hands on his hips like he had seen his father do, he turned and smiled
"Whatsss you think?" hissed Joe as he stared at the heart shaped candy that
was beginning to harden in the snow.
"Looks good enough to eat, too bad its for Miss Jones," replied Mitch attempting
to lick the sticky molasses from his own fingers.
"We’ll get it after sssupper and wrap it up all purtty like before giving
it to Misss Jonesss," instructed Joe as he wiped his hand down the front of
his flannel shirt.
"Bessst get inssside and cleaned up fer sssupper ‘fore Pa ssstartsss lookin’
After much begging and pleading, Little Joe and Mitch had finally convinced
Ben to let them go outside to work on a surprise for a Valentine present.
Ben lit a
lantern for the boys and once the front door was closed safely behind them
the boys took off running to their cove. Setting the lantern down and out
of the way, the
boys had to brush off the hundreds of gnats that had become prey to the
"Here let me try," offered Mitch as he watched Joe struggle to free the
heart shaped candy from its earthly mold.
Joe nodded his head and shifted slightly to the left allowing Mitch to squat
down opposite him. Both boys had a tight grip on the edge of the heart and
pulled with all
of their available strength. Beads of sweat coated their brows despite the
cold temperatures and their small muscles rippled in their arms as the boys
continued to put
up a fight trying to free the candy.
"Agh! Agh!" was the only sound other than the heavy breathing produced from
"Oomph!" Without warning the heart shaped candy finally relinquished its
hold on mother earth and together the two boys fell to the ground landing
Looking at their prized possession laying on the fresh falling snow both
boys burst into a round of giggles. Quickly they tried to stifle the noise
when Ben’s voice
beckoned them to return to the house. Mitch turned the hardened sweet delight
over and gasped out loud. Without uttering a word, he quickly pulled the small
blades of grass that had become glued to the bottom of the candy, off with
his fingers. Noticing that his hand had become dirty, Mitch spit into his
palm swiped it
down the front of his trousers before dusting the small particles of dirt
from the underneath portion of the molasses snow candy. Mitch handed the treasure
then Little Joe wrapped the tea towel that he had swiped from the dirty
laundry basket around the heart, and together the two boys entered the house.
Curiosity ate at the other Cartwrights when the boys made a bee line straight
for the stairs, stopping only long enough to give the explanation that they
had to wrap
their gift so on one could see it. Closing the door to Joe’s room, Mitch
then slid Joe’s desk chair in front of the door preventing any uninvited guests
Half an hour later the boys placed the brown paper package on Joe’s desk
and stood back to admire their wrapping job.
A soft knocking interrupted the boys gibberish boy talk as Adam opened the
door and wondered at the chair that slide across the floor as he stuck his
and instructed them to prepare for bed.
"Hurry and get changed then come downstairs. Hop Sing has prepared a surprise
for us," smiled Adam as he closed the door and returned to his comfortable
next to the cozy fire that was burning brightly in the huge stone fireplace.
As the boys ran down the stairs, Hop Sing was entering with the surprise
and set it on the coffee table. Mitch hurried to sit on the settee while Joe
took his favorite
nighttime place in his father’s lap.
Hop Sing unwrapped his candy and smiled as the gales of delight reached
his ears. Joe was the first to grab the largest squiggly design biting into
candy. As Adam began to read the nighttime story to the family, Ben’s eyes
fell upon the back of Joe’s nightshirt. The smile that graced his face forced
Adam to call
a halt to the reading.
"Joseph, did you know that you have your nightshirt on backwards?" laughed
Joe pulled at the neck of the garment and smiled up at his father. Suddenly
Ben’s laughter became louder as he hugged his sticky son to his breast. "Joseph!"
exclaimed, "You have lost another tooth!"
"Oh good, the Teeth Fairy will come tonighth," smiled the toothless little
boy. Joe’s face took on a look of panic as he realized that he could not find
Jumping down from his father’s lap, Joe fell to his knees searching the
"What’s wrong, Punkin? What’ca lookin’ fur?" asked Hoss who had joined the
"My toothth, I gothsss ta have ith ssso I can geth my money," cried Little
Ben gathered his distraught little boy into his lap and brushed away the
tears that had begun to gather in his saddened eyes.
"It’s okay son, here," said Ben handing Joe’s half eaten candy to him, "it’s
stuck in your candy," smiled Ben as he saw the disappointment erased from
his son’s tear
Joe removed his tooth from the candy and held it tightly in his fist. While
wiping the sticky goo from his lips he faced his father and with a pout on
his face asked, "Pa,
which toothth is my sssweeth toothth?"
Adam, who had been silent during the current escapade, could no longer refrain
from speaking out. "Well Little Buddy, I think it must have been the one you
Adam, who had held his laughter for as long as he could, doubled over as
the rumbling noise broke the tension filled room. Seconds later, Hoss, Ben,
Mitch and even Joe joined in and soon tears of laughter dripped from each
man and boy’s eyes.
Early the next morning, Joe reached under his pillow and pulled out his
silver nickel that the Tooth Fairy had left. Quickly grabbing his trousers
from the day before,
Joe hurried to dress and wake up Mitch who was just begin to arise. Both
boys rushed downstairs, Joe carrying the brown-papered package to the credenza
he would be sure to remember to grab it on the way out the door.
When Joe sat down at his place at the table, he smiled and placed his nickel
beside his plate so that his family could see what the fairy had left for
him. It was then
that he remembered the crumpled note that Miss Jones had instructed him
to give to Adam. Joe looked over at his oldest brother as he dug into his
the now wrinkled note from his pants.
"Here Adam, I wasss toldth to give thisssth to you," beamed Little Joe as
he handed the secret message to his brother. Joe giggled as he watched Adam’s
redden knowing that all eyes were watching his every move. To avoid any
unwanted questions, Adam slipped the note into his shirt pocket and out of
view of prying
The boys left in plenty of time to arrive at the school ahead of the other
children even Hoss who was trailing behind them. They wanted to be the first
ones there so
that they might present Miss Jones with her special token they had made
for Adam to give to their teacher.
Just as they had planned, Miss Jones sat alone at her desk reviewing the
day’s lessons. Entering quietly, Mitch and Little Joe walked up in front of
the teacher and
without saying a word, laid the offering onto the desk. Miss Jones raised
her head and looked into the eyes of each small messenger boys.
"What is this, Joseph?" cooed Miss Abigail Jones, whose heart had suddenly
began to race in expectancy.
When Joe smiled, Abigail shuttered in dread; the boy had lost another damn
tooth. Abigail questioned her sanity at longing to become involved with a
man that could
very well produce a clone of the toothless imp such as was standing before
"Thith isssth frum Adam," smiled Little Joe.
Miss Jones wiped the top of her hand with her hankie removing the droplets
of spittle that had sprayed from Little Joe’s toothless mouth and forced her
into a shape that she hoped resembled a smile.
"Why thank you Joseph," cringed Miss Abigail Jones.
"He made ith himssself," volunteered Joe with a wide toothless smile that
caused the teacher to turn her head in fear of being spit upon again as the
through the empty cavity that should have held pearly whites.
By the time that the noon break finally rolled around, Miss Jones’ head
was aching from all the noise that the children were making. Not to mention
the fact that
every ten minutes or so Joseph Cartwright would come to her desk and ask
for the umpteenth time when she was going to open her gift. Miss Jones suddenly
brainstorm of an idea and decided to share it with the class.
"Class, could I have your attention please. Since today is Friday and tomorrow
is the Valentine’s dance, I have decided to dismiss class early today so that
you can have time to prepare for your special night. Class dismissed," she
smiled and turned her back to the retreating children who had begun to run
from the class.
Once the all the children were safely on their way home, Miss Jones locked
the door and hurried to her desk. There she pulled open the second drawer
from the top
on the right hand side and removed her special treat made solely by the
hands of the man she adored. Taking her time to savor the moment, Abigail
fingers to lightly trace the wrapping paper as she gently caressed the string
that withheld her surprise from her sparkling blue eyes.
When she could stand it no longer, she tugged gently on the string that
had been tied in a neat little bow. Thinking that it would slip off easily,
she was surprised when
she realized that the bow had been knotted. Pulling from the corners, the
string refused to part from the paper and sighing in disgust, Abigail reached
for her scissors
and cut through the aggravating string.
With care the package was turned so that she could unfold little by little
the paper that held the token of love she had been presented. Once the excess
been unfolded, Miss Jones tugged gently at the remainder of the paper and
frowned slightly when it refused to budge. Somewhat frustrated at the foiled
remove the resisting wrapping, sighing deeply, she jerked violently at the
paper causing it to rip and sending small pieces of the brown gift-wrap sailing
into the air.
Looking down in astonishment she was shocked to see remnants adhered to
the peculiar looking contents. Sighing again and feeling as if small particles
had begun to eat away at her ecstasy she dropped heavily into her chair
nearly missing the seat and falling onto the floor.
"Hells Bells," grumbled Miss Jones slicking her fingers, "What in tarnations
Miss Jones lifted with caution, the now softened sticky glob and held it
eye level desperately trying to figure out what it represented. Being careful
not to allow the
sticky mess to again attach itself to her fingers, she suddenly spotted
what appeared to be tiny microscopic creatures crawling on the bottom half
of the unidentifiable
goop. Gagging at what she saw, she released the object allowing it to tumbled
onto the desk and splatter, covering the papers that had been neatly stacked
the day. It was then that she noticed the fine fuzz that adorned sections
of the glue like gunk and wondered what this so-called sweet had been wrapped
becoming pasted to the brown paper.
Giving in to her disappointment, Miss Jones carefully re-wrapped the creation
in the remnants of paper and carried it outside. As she stood in the bright
searching for a place to deposit the concoction her ears picked up the sounds
of the hogs that rooted about the near by farmhouse. Smiling to herself, she
gather the rest of her belongings loading them into her buggy she managed
to drop the offending gift discreetly into the slop that was provided for
the hogs who had
scurried over to the fence in anticipation of something new to devour.
Abigail watched as the swine slurped the now nearly melted blob of molasses
candy and the thought briefly ran through her head that had she been as piggish
hogs were now, she might have ended up looking like one of their relatives.
Her hand involuntarily caressed the flatness of her abdomen as she smiled
that she still maintained some definite shape to her form.
Abigail threw the nailbrush into the sink and reached for her sewing basket.
Anger had over ridden her frustration as she was forced to file down her nails.
that Adam sent by that hissing little brat of a Cartwright to present to
her had hardened under her nails and nothing she had tried would remove it.
with her nails and shaking her head in disgust, Abigail sighed deeply, returned
the file to her basket and moved into the kitchen to begin her supper.
Picking at, rather than eating her dinner her thoughts returned to her beau
and by the time she had cleaned up her dinner dishes the anger had dissipated
more Abigail was daydreaming about being the envy of Virginia City’s available
Abigail stood at the foot of her bed gazing down on the pile of dresses
that had ended up in a heap on the comforter. One by one she had tried them
on, stood in
front of her full-length mirror and modeled for herself. Each one had been
removed and tossed carelessly on to the bed thinking that it was not suitable
wear for her rendezvous with her Romeo.
Reaching for the last dress that hung in the far corner of the wardrobe,
Abigail slipped the red satin gown over her head and stood for the last time
in front of her
mirror. Running her hands down the length of the dress, she smoothed out
the wrinkles that had gathered from having hung for so long in the closet.
With care she
gently tugged at the wide white lace that delicately outlined the curve
of the bodice of the sleeveless garment. Deciding to go all out as the looks
of this last dress
became more appealing, Abigail reached for the fine laced three-quarter
length gloves and hurriedly slipped her hands into them as her excitement
smiled in satisfaction; glad now that she had filed her nails down for the
gloves had become smaller after the last washing and fit snugly to her hands
Taking the imitation white pearls from her armoire she quickly placed them
about her neck and secured the clasp. Not fully pleased with what she saw,
the dress, Abigail stood and studied her reflection in the full-length mirror
that stood at the foot of her bed. A small giggle escaped as she suddenly
realized what was
missing. Quickly she dug through the abundance of clothing that still hung
in the center of the large wardrobe until she found what she was looking for.
earnest now, she raised the red satin dress over her knees and stepped into
the round hooped petticoat pulling it to her waist and tying the string tightly.
dress once again and smoothing it for the second time she now gave her reflection
that stood startlingly beautiful to her thinking, a deep curtsey and the thumbs
A small smile crossed her lips as she turned to the left allowing her self
to see a side view. Taking a deep breath she straightened out her back and
with the use of
both hands lifted her bosom up slightly to further enhance the view.
A sly but mischievous grin replaced the small smile as she opened the top
drawer to her dresser. With her back to the mirror she put the extra stockings
respected place and then pivoted around to steal a glance in the mirror.
Making some minor adjustments to the stockings, Abigail set her mind to work
she could make her waist line appear smaller and flatter. Once more as the
idea broke through the fog that had settled in her brain, the small mischievous
widened across her face.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Adam slipped unnoticed from the house and into
the barn. Closing the door quickly behind him, he hurried into the tack room
that door behind as well. Tiny chills of ecstasy washed through his veins
as he dabbed at the small beads of perspiration that dotted his brow. Adam
sniffed at the
over powering essence that emitted from the contents, not fully recalling
where he had smelled that particular fragrance before. He wiped the palms
of his sweaty
hands down the length of his trousers leg before gathering enough courage
to open the dirt smudged envelope. Taking the letter out of its holder Adam
deeply, gulping for the sudden need of air that would allow him to slow
the rapid beating of his heart.
Adam unfolded the reply with trembling fingers and casting a worried glance
over his shoulder to assure himself that he had total and complete privacy,
he at last
allowed his eyes to scan the written response. As he read the salutation,
My Dearest Romeo,
Adam found himself unable to support his own body weight and slowly slipped
to the ground. Feeling the sudden urge for fresh air, Adam was forced to open
door to the tack room. Peering out to assure that he was still alone, he
returned his attention back to the contents of the letter. The dimples that
were not often seen
where clearly etched in the expression that now graced the handsome face
of Romeo. With a squeal of delight, that sounded very much like ‘YAHOO’, Adam
rushed from the barn moving rapidly to the water trough where he quickly
poured a dipper of cool water over his head in hopes of asphyxiating the blaze
suddenly set his heart on fire.
Saturday by mid-day, the family watched with amused faces as Adam buzzed
about the yard hurrying to finish his chores. His plans were to complete his
quickly thus giving him extra time to prepare himself for the evening ahead.
The thoughts of the warm bath that he had ordered Hop Sing to have waiting
for him by
4:00 p.m. caused him to hasten his steps. He had overheard Hoss telling
Hop Sing to also have a bath prepared for him and Adam was afraid that if
he did not finish
before his younger brother, Hoss would beat him to the awaiting tub. After
what seemed an eternity to the anxious young lover, Adam permitted his black
slip from his waist and drop around his feet. Stepping carefully from the
pants, Adam smiled to himself as the naked form of his manly body returned
the smile that
watched him from the gilded mirror that stood in the corner of the washroom.
Adam stepped into the warm water and allowed his body to sink deeply into
depths of the oblong galvanized tub.
It was then that his eyes saw for the first time the smaller round copper
tub that was only half full with what had once been clean water. Smiling devilishly
Adam knew that Hoss would be delayed due to having to clean up the mess
that Little Joe had left behind. With a full smile on his lips and his thoughts
on his date,
Adam reached for the soap that lay in the dish attached to the side of his
tub. As his slender fingers folded around the bar of homemade lye soap, the
vanished from his face. The gooey substance that earlier had been a full
sized bar of soap, oozed from between his fingers. It was obvious to Adam
that Joe had
once again used the soap as a boat adding to his fleet of ships. Adam had
to smile to himself, by the time Hoss was ready for his bath, there would
be no soap,
adding to the frustration that he was confident the largest of the three
brothers would be feeling by that time. Adam felt a twinge of guilt filter
into his thinking but
quickly wished it away, he was feeling quite mischievous this evening and
could not help himself; he was excited.
Meanwhile back at Miss Abigail Jones’ house, sleep had not come easy for
Miss Jones as the repeated nightmare that consisted of toothless children
throughout the long night. By the time she was forced to drag her weary
body out of bed to begin the new day, Abigail looked to the heavens. Silently
that she and Adam would not produce any such heirs to the Cartwright family
unless they were all born with a full set of permanent teeth.
With chores completed and running out of time, Abigail hurried to ready
herself for her romantic rendezvous with her Romeo. Looking at the clock
and seeing that
she had time only for the last minute touches, Abigail twisted and turned
in order to prove to herself she looked more confident than she was actually
At the same time as Miss Jones was making her preparations; Ben had just
joined his sons who were waiting impatiently near the front door. He was still
his shirt and adjusting his tie when he noticed the three pairs of eyes
staring back at him.
"Sorry boys, I had a small problem locating the soap," explained Ben suddenly
realizing just how dumb his excuse sounded. It was an excuse that his youngest
Joseph, would have given to save his backside from getting warmed.
Smilingly awkwardly, Ben turned his attention to his smallest son and instantly
noticed that the boy’s hair was still dripping water down his back making
his shirt wet.
Raising his eyebrows and rolling his eyes upward, Ben excused himself from
the foyer and as he rounded the corner of the dining room bumped into Hop
was running toward him with a towel in his hand. Ben wondered how the man
always seemed to know what was needed. Thanking him Ben dried off Joe’s hair
before combing it for the second time.
As Ben turned to help Joe on with his winter coat he then become aware of
the fact that the youngster had buttoned up his shirt wrong. Using up more
Ben was forced to still the now squirming child by wrapping his arms around
him, making the simple task more difficult as Ben had to properly button the
while standing behind him. Ben had to further delay their departure while
Hoss ran up the stairs to Joe’s room in search of what the young boy referred
to as ‘the
dreaded’ string tie.
Hearing the pleas for him to hurry up, Hoss gave up on rummaging through
the mess of clothing that Joe had tossed on to the floor and ran into Adam’s
borrow one of his. Finally the time had come for the Cartwright’s to head
into town to enjoy what was certain to be an unforgettable evening at the
Sweetheart Dance that was being held in the community barn.
In the middle of somewhere between the Ponderosa and Virginia City, a small
family of all men were waiting, some patiently some not so patiently as the
member struggled with removing his coat and suspenders. The small boy darted
behind the bushes as his father stood guard whispering that he hurry.
"I couldn’t help ith, I had to pee, Pa," shouted Little Joe as he emerged
from behind the concealing undergrowth that served as a shield for the natural
Ben’s sharp eyes noted the tangled mess that Joe had made out of his suspenders
but before he could move to help the wiggly boy, Joe yelped in pain.
"Ouchth," shouted Joe as the birds that roosted in the treetops scattered,
"my sssussspendersss goth me. Help."
Ben heard the expulsion of air that passed from his twenty-year old’s mouth
as Adam whined, "Paaaaa, come onnnn!"
Wanting to maintain peace and harmony among his family, Ben picked Joe up
and quickly placed him in the backseat next to Hoss. Before Ben could turn
down himself, he was unceremoniously knocked to his butt as Adam clicked
to the horses urging them forward into a fast trot.
Annabelle Hone’s violet eyes searched the crowded room hoping to catch sight
of Adam Cartwright. She had been taken back by the fact that he had failed
her to the biggest dance of the year. Just last week when the handsome man
had come to call, he had hinted at the fact that he would be inviting her
but with so many
interruptions that night, the idea must have slipped from his mind.
"Tisk, tisk," sighed Annabelle, "I have no intentions of letting Miss Prissy
Overstuffed Bosom Jones get her over zealous hands on the man I have my heart
She watched Abigail Jones swishing her backside to and fro as she walked
from the building in a search of her own and slowly followed the red dress
as the school-
teacher attempted to exit through the side door. Annabelle smothered a giggle
as the large hoop used to force the red satin dress to form a circle about
the feet of the
schoolmarm became entangled in the door frame as Abigail attempted to squeeze
through. She was forced to cover her mouth to silence the laughter as she
in horror the way that Abigail reached down and turned the hoop up sideways
so that she could better fit through the doorway. Annabelle gave Miss Jones’
needed to free herself from her self made trap before resuming her surveillance
of the vexatious rival.
Annabelle stopped short when she saw Adam standing under the sweetheart
tree as if waiting for someone. She held her breath when out of the shadows
Miss Jones with a smile plastered across her face looking to the entire
world like the cat that had just caught the mouse. Annabelle started to step
forward but was
halted when she felt the gentle tapping on her shoulder. Perturbed at being
stopped from intervening with the scene that was taking place before her very
Annabelle turned to face the person to whom was demanding her attention.
"WHAT?" she fairly snapped before seeing who the individual might be. "Oh,
I’m sorry Hank, I didn’t mean to snap, it’s just that…well…I mean," stammered
Annabelle once again turning troubled eyes to gasp lightly as she watched
Abigail Jones stand on tip-toe to place a kiss on Adam’s cheek.
Hank followed the directions that Annabelle was looking and frowned when
he saw the woman he loved place the kiss on the man he had just minutes before,
"Well, I do declare!" whispered Annabelle to herself, not aware of the fact
that Hank had heard her remark.
"Me either," replied Hank.
The remark caused Annabelle to turn suddenly and look into Hank’s dark eyes,
surprised that he had been bothered by what they were seeing. It was as Hank
his shoulders as if defeat had somehow won a victory in an unspoken war
that she remembered that Adam had told her that his man who stood behind
her was in
love with Miss Abigail Jones and had tried several times to woo her. Seeing
the sadness that caused his brow to become wrinkled with deep furrows and
own happiness about to be stolen from her, Annabelle faced Hank with more
resolve in her voice than she actually felt and stated firmly.
"She is with my man, and he is with your girl. Just what do you suppose
we should do about that?" she demanded.
Hank saw the fire that had appeared in Annabelle’s beautiful eyes and smiled.
"What’s say we go set things straight once and fur all, Miss Hones?"
"Let’s go!" Annabelle looped her arm through Hank’s and together the couple
marched forward ready to do physical battle if it should come to that. Which
Annabelle hoped would not happen, she had spent hours on her new white and
violet dress, taking care that the lace and tiny flowers was the exact color
eyes. She had no desire to have the beautiful gown ruined by acting like
a ruffian in a command street fight…unless absolutely necessary.
Meanwhile, under the sweetheart tree, Adam was having problems of his own.
Miss Jones had appeared from the shadows as Adam had waited patiently for
Annabelle to arrive. He was just about ready to go look for her when the
teacher had suddenly appeared taking him by surprise.
As Abigail whispered into his ear, "Hello, my dearest Romeo", Adam had nearly
choked on his own salvia at the words.
"Excuse me?" he asked startled when she moved around the tree in an attempt
at being coy, only to place a kiss on his cheek. Adam’s mouth dropped open
his eyes beheld the hat that adorned the teacher’s head and thinking quickly
to avoid embarrassment, he pulled his lips into a smile hoping that she had
not seen his
Miss Jones’ red satin hat sat somewhat askew on top of her head. The large
white plume feather was enormous and when she moved to stand in front of him,
end tickled his nose. Adam covered his mouth by faking a cough when he spotted
the heart shaped peppermint candies that she had affixed to the top to circle
hat. That would explain the pepperminty scent his sensitive nose had picked
up on as she twirled around in front of him. Too polite to voice his reactions,
rubbed at his nose and quickly scanned the area hoping that Annabelle would
hurry to save him from having to spend another agonizing moment in this woman’s
Abigail batted her lashes at Adam as he stood frozen to the spot unable
to move as Miss Jones pressed her body against his, forcing his back against
the tree. "Do
you like my dress, Romeo?" cooed Abigail. "I picked it out special, just
"Excuse me?" Adam wormed his way from under the pressure her bosom had put
on his chest and stared downward, not meaning to gawk, but suddenly the teacher
seemed to be lopsided in the area she seemed to want him to notice. Miss
Jones turned her back to Adam giving him a small smile across the back of
as she slipped her hand inside of her dress to pull the stocking that had
slipped back to its proper place.
Adam wondered at the funny smell that had suddenly assaulted his nose. It
smelt like burnt hair. Adam glance upward at the back of the head from whence
offending odor emitted and saw for the first time the singed strands of
loose hair that had fallen from beneath the ghastly looking hat. This situation
was quickly getting
out of control and Adam searched his mind for a scheme that would save his
honor and his reputation.
"Oh Adam, your note was so sweet. I could hardly believe it when that precious
little brother of yours placed it on my desk and told me it was from you,"
Abigail hoping with all of her heart that she sounded sincere in her description
of the toothless little boy who hissed and often sprayed spit into her face.
course I had to answer right away, I didn’t want that storm in your heart
to become too much for you," Abigail giggled.
"Excuse me?" stammered Adam trying to avoid the fingers that poked from
the end of the long lace gloves that had begin to roll down from the upper
arms that were
also seeking to find a way in which to wrap themselves about his neck.
"And how brilliant to compose it in such a way that no one would ever guess
that it was from you." Abigail was on a roll, now that her tongue had loosened,
could do nothing to stop it.
"And the candy, a sweet idea Dear Romeo, but you should have permitted your
cook to do the preparations on that little surprise," gleamed Abigail into
forcing his hand to involuntarily scratch at the tickling sensation that
was caused by her breath as it hissed into his ear.
"Excuse me?" repeated Adam as he felt his world slowly and painfully begin
to crumble about his feet. So much for the idea of letting Little Joe play
stupid could he have been to think that the boy would be able to deliver
a simple message and get it correct. Adam knew that he would be hearing about
years to come by his family who were always on the lookout for the times
that he had let his guard down so that they might have reason to make his
life miserable by
their relentless teasing. Adam glanced down at the annoying woman and realized
that she was still talking, as usual.
"Really Adam, darling, it was so very sweet, the way you planned everything
down to the very last minute of our evening." Miss Jones tossed her head back
tried to smile bewitchingly at Adam but stopped suddenly, the smile plastered
into place when her eyes came to rest on the young couple who had unexpectedly
Adam heard the wind swoosh from the teacher’s lungs as she turned quickly
and placed her hands on her hips. Adam followed the directions that Miss Jones’
were taking and let out his own breath in relief as Annabelle Hones and
Hank Myers stopped in front of him.
In the soft glow of the moon, Adam’s eyes sought those of Annabelle’s and
wished that he had not taken it upon himself to depend on his baby brother
to play such
an important part in his love life. Annabelle was beautiful and he felt
his heart skip a beat as he took in the sight of her. His mind was in turmoil
trying to find a
gracious way out of the predicament that he now found himself prisoner of.
Adam did not miss the angry look that passed between the two young women
as they faced each other, nor did he miss the look that Hank wore on his own
his eyes devoured Miss Abigail’s appearance. The man was obviously still
very much head over heels in love with the young schoolteacher and Adam searched
way to use that to his best advantage.
Adam struggled to find the words to open the conversation but the combined
scent of burnt peppermint Lemon Verbena tolietwater had caused his mind to
polluted, squelching any sensible thoughts of a mature discussion.
Adam looked into Annabelle’s eyes and tried to convey the need of assistance
in dealing with their predicament. Picking up on his distress signal, Annabelle
to Hank and smiled as she nudged him forward in the direction of Abigail.
When Hank looked questioningly down at Annabelle she flashed him a reassuring
and pointed to his guitar.
Hank’s sad eyes suddenly sparkled as he realized what it was that Annabelle
was suggesting that he do. Taking the clue, Hank began serenading the love
of his life,
Miss Abigail Jones.
Early one morning, just as the sun was rising,
I heard a maiden singing in the valley below:
"Oh don't deceive me: Oh, never leave me.
How could you use a poor maiden so?
Remember; remember, your vow to marry,
Remember, remember, your promise to be true.
Oh, don’t deceive me: Oh never leave me.
Oh how could you use a poor maiden so?"
Gay is the garland, and fresh are the roses,
I've cull'd from my garden to bind upon thy brow.
Oh, don't deceive me: Oh, never leave me.
How could you use a poor maiden so?
Thus sang the maiden, her sorrows bewailing,
Thus sang the maiden in the valley below;
"Oh, don't deceive me: Oh, never leave me.
How could you use a poor maiden so?"
Astonished by what she was hearing and realizing that the love words where
meant for her, Abigail felt her heart begin to race, as it had never raced
struggled to breath as the two sizes too small corset that she had purchased
earlier in the day to enhance her curvaceous body tried to deny the air from
lungs. Forcing herself to breath deeply she was stricken by the onslaught
of strange feelings that she had never before encountered. She turned startled
Romeo and wondered at the desperate look on his face.
Adam watched the play of emotions that filtered across the blushing face
that seemed to be caught in a trance by the words of the song that reached
out to capture
her young heart. When Abigail was finally able to look in his direction,
Adam saw the plea that struggled to be voiced and knew he had his out. Without
thought, Romeo bowed graciously and with a nod of his head indicating that
she be released from her commitment of him and seeing the smile that surprisingly
her face beautiful, Abigail laced her arm into Hank’s and together they
Annabelle could not believe her luck; it had been easier than she had first
anticipated. She was finally alone with the man of her dreams. Adam wrapped
securely around Annabelle’s shoulders as the auburn hair beauty raised up
on her toes and planted a kiss on his sensuous lips, causing Adam’s body to
Back at the barn where the dance was now in full swing, two little Cupid’s
were hiding in the loft, bow and arrows ready to mark their first victim.
It just so
happened that about the precise moment that Cupid Joe licked the sticky
end of the rubber suction cupped arrow, pulled back on the string of his
bow and released
the dart, Adam entered and stopped in the door way. Kerplunk, the arrow
was stuck to his forehead as he staggered backward bumping into his father.
fought to hold his son upright and as Adam turned dazed eyes upon his father’s
face, the last thing he remembered before falling to the floor, was the sound
high-pitched cackling that sounded very much like his youngest brother’s.
On the other side, across the room, Hank was having his own problems. Abigail
had just been duped by Cupid Mitch and was having trouble unsticking the rubber
arrow from her bosom where it rested above her heart. To further add to
her embarrassment, as she had pulled at the arrow, the oversized hoop under
flipped up covering her head and causing her to sit unlady-like in the middle
of the dirt floor. Hank, being a gentleman, had turned his head, but not before
at the number of petticoats that were hidden under the red satin party gown.
What Hank had failed to notice, as did the other partygoers, was the slight
Miss Abigail’s hand as it darted out from under the upturned garment. Somehow
she managed to snatch the balled up stocking from under the small wooden table
from where it had landed after falling from the front of her dress as she
had spiraled backwards during her fall. Quickly so as not to be seen, Miss
Jones tossed the
discriminating evidence behind the bale of hay. Satisfied that her secret
was now safe the schoolteacher then turned her attention to composing herself.
desperately hoped that the look on her flushed face was one of confidence.
Abigail finally managed to right herself. As Hank assisted her from the
floor and gathered her into his arms placing a tender kiss on her forehead,
locked with those of the two frightened boys who were trying to hide behind
the bale of hay in the loft. She knew the cherub little faces would haunt
her dreams for
nights to come but she winked at them and smiled when she saw their faces
relax and begin to break into small mischievous smiles. How could she stay
questioned herself? If not for Cupid’s messenger, she would not now be locked
in a warm embrace with the man who loved her. Glancing again at the boys,
blew a kiss in their direction and laughed as she heard their words.
"Yuck, ssshe blew usss a kisss. Better not leth the other fellasss find
outh abouth thisss," hissed Little Joe as he and Mitch stuffed their weapons
between the bales of
hay and moved to the ladder.
Adam was waiting at the bottom of the ladder when Joe put his foot on the
last rung and turned surprised eyes up at his brother. Joe stood rooted to
the spot, unable
to say anything or move. When Adam clamped his strong hand down on his shoulder,
Joe felt the sting of tears fill his eyes. Using only one finger, Adam raised
brother’s quivering chin upward to face him. Adam saw the tears that Joe
struggled to hold within the rims of his hazel eyes and smiled down into the
"That was some shot, Cupid. Where’d you learn to shoot like that?" laughed
Adam. Instantly, the tears disappeared, replaced with a broad smile that showed
gaps where the missing teeth had once been.
"My big brudder learnedth me," beamed Joe relieved to know that he was not
in trouble, least ways, not with Adam, Pa was another matter to be dealt with
But for now, Joe was satisfied that Adam scooped him up into his arms and
placed a kiss on his chubby little cheek. It was then that the hazel eyes
of the youngest
Cartwright son noticed the nickel-sized bruise that was centered on the
forehead of the oldest Cartwright son, directly between the dark brown eyes
that were filled
Much later on the way home, Joe who was now snuggled warmly under the blanket
leaned against Adam as he fought to remain awake. He felt his brother’s arm
it encircled his shoulders and moved closer for added warmth. Adam pulled
the end of the blanket about his own shoulders and glancing down decided to
Cupid was still awake, whispered quietly into his ear.
"Miss Jones said something about some sort of candy that I supposedly made
and sent to her. Do you have any clue as to what she was referring too?" asked
as he pulled the blanket over his head and that of his brother’s.
Joe gulped and though he could not see Adam’s face, he felt the dark eyes
boring into him. "We wasss jussst thrying to help ya. I thoughth ith would
be nice for ya
toth give her sssome candy ssso me and Mitchth made sssome like Hop SSSing
made for usss. Guesss ssshe didn’t like ith, huh, Adam?" confessed Little
"I guess not Cupid," piped Romeo.
Adam’s laughter began as a soft giggle growing into full fledged laughter
as the thoughts of what the schoolteacher had be subjected to at the hands
of this miniature
toothless Cupid who cuddled against him as they fought to control the laughter.
Ben turned in his seat at the muffled sounds of silly laughter that filtered
the blanket that covered the heads of his two sons. He smiled as the moon’s
light cast it’s glow on the quivering forms in the back seat and noticed that
son was also watching the blanketed conspirators that were his brothers.
"pregnated"? To find out about this word, please read Questions and Answers,
by Debbie B ;0)
‘The World of Little House’, by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss
Erikksen. The Molasses-on-Snow Candy recipe follows for anyone who would like
try it out.
Be sure to follow these directions and not those of Little Joe and Mitch’s!
1-cup brown sugar
Fresh clean snow (or finely crushed ice)
Candy thermometer or cup of cold water
Shallow pan about 9" x 13"
Clean tea towel or waxed paper
1. Mixed the molasses and sugar together in the large pot and boil until
the mixture reaches the "hard crack" stage on the thermometer or until a drop
of the mixture
dripped into the cold water forms a hard ball and cracks.
2. Remove the syrup from the heat. Be careful – the syrup is very, very
3. Scoop fresh, clean snow into the shallow pan. You can also use finely
crushed ice instead of snow.
4. Dribble a spoonful of syrup onto the snow or ice in "circles, and curlicues,
and squiggledy things." Make lot of different shapes.
5. When the syrup turns hard and becomes candy, lift if off the snow and
place it on the tea towel or waxed paper to dry.
RETURN TO LIBRARY