Macarastor Book Two: Progression by Bob Giel by Bob Giel - Read Online

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Summary

Over a period of nine years, as Macarastor grows from a trading post to a thriving town, new citizens arrive and new adventures unfold and the drive toward Wyoming statehood comes to the forefront.  Join Cason Macara and Tom Cord as they, with the other inhabitants, risk life and limb to make their home and future state a safer place to live and grow.

Published: Bob Giel on
ISBN: 9781501409516
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Macarastor Book Two - Bob Giel

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Page 1 of 1

Forty

Chapter One

8th of June, 1878

My Dear Friend Thomas,

As you know from my previous letters, our little

village is growing.  It is as if the word has gone out that

this area holds promise for success.  Since the winter

broke, folks of all kinds have settled here.  We now

have a bank, a barber shop, a blacksmith and so on.

Sam Luce has been pressed into service design-

ing and building structures to house our new citizens,

so much so that he sold his spread to Cooper Woodgrift

and moved Etta and himself into an office he has built

near my store.

When you step out onto my porch now, you can

see new buildings to the right and left.  It is as if a wee

street has formed out of nothing.  I wish you could see

it.  It would warm your heart, as it does mine, to know

you had so much to do with helping us to get to this

point.

I hope you can get some time to come visit with

us.  Rose and I do miss you.  You would be so proud of

the fine lass that Rose has become.  She is 11 years

old now and prettier than ever she is.  And she often

speaks of you and how she misses her friend, Mister

Cord.

I will close now with our fond wishes for your

good health and safety.  We cannot wait to see you

again.

Sincerely yours,

Cason Sean Macara

Cason Macara reined the team in at the crest of the hill, the same hill that had originally presented him with his first glimpse of Tom Cord back in ’75.  He was returning from one of his regular trips to Fort Laramie to pick up his inventory deliveries, and to collect his mail and post his latest letter to Cord.  The scene before him never ceased to amaze him whenever he came upon it.  Three years earlier, he would have gazed upon a lone trading post in the middle of nowhere.  But now, thanks to Cord, the way had been paved for a village to form.  People were living around the store as his latest letter had described to Cord.  He gazed down at the wee street that had sprung up as more and more people settled here and put down roots.

Three years, he said to himself, amazing, how clearing away the deterrents allows progress to flourish.  If he and Cord had not stopped the Rudabuaghs, who’s to say what would have become of the area?  More than likely folks would have just given up and moved on and that would have been a tragedy.  Good people driven away by a bunch of no-goods whose only thought was what next they could steal.  Thank the Lord that was prevented!

Now look down there!  Buildings and people and business going on!  Cord should see this!  Then he’d know for sure that what he did – what we did – those two days in ’75 had such far-reaching effects that it would have been impossible to predict.

His reflections complete for the moment, Macara snapped the reins on the team’s backs and continued the journey down the hill toward the settlement.

Macara himself had not changed much in these three years, save for a few more age lines in his fine features.  He was still dressed in the garb of a lumberjack and the familiar black stocking cap still contrasted with his dark red hair.  His bright blue eyes still gazed piercingly.  In short, he was the same Cason Macara he had always been, just a tad older.

As he entered the street, he reveled at the new structures on either side of him, thanks to the able hands of Sam Luce.  He remembered the first building to go up, the house of the new blacksmith, Tidas Mogambu, the former slave who wanted nothing more than to live free and contribute to the community.  Macara graciously donated his barn to be transformed into Mogambu’s blacksmith shop and livery stable.  And Sam, with Tidas’s help, built the house next to the shop and extended Tidas credit to pay it off as money became available.  Tidas, true to his promise, kept up the payments until the debt was complete.

Macara pulled the team to a halt in front of the store and wrapped the reins around the brake handle.  As he climbed wearily from the wagon seat to the ground, he heard a familiar call.

Da!

Rose Macara was coming at him at a dead run with a broad grin on her dark face.  Her raven hair bounced in the breeze and, as she ran past the horses, she leaped at him and landed in his arms with her arms and legs gripping his body.  The force was such that Macara nearly tumbled backwards, but caught himself on the wagon wheel.

Da. I missed you. Rose said joyfully as she hugged her father tightly.

Macara laughed and kissed her cheek tenderly and held her equally tightly.

And I you, me darling. he whispered in her ear.

His Irish brogue was always thicker when he became emotional.

Mr. Luce says you have to come to his place. Rose stated in a very matter-of-fact tone.

I will, love, but I’ve got to unload the wagon first.  Will you help me with it?

Noo!  You have to come now!  It’s very important! Rose said, becoming agitated.

Macara held his daughter back from him a little so he could see her face and observed that she was excited.

Rose, he said sternly, what is going on?

Mr. Luce said I couldn’t tell you.  Rose explained, He has to tell you.  Oh, please, Da, just come now.  Puhleez!

Macara set the girl down and she grabbed his hand and pulled him.

Please, Da, you have to come now!

All right, all right, I’m coming. he stated with resignation and allowed her to lead him toward the office home combination building occupied by Sam and Etta Luce.

Samuel Luce, Builder, the small sign over the door stated.  The new structure was situated diagonally across the dirt street from Macara’s store.  It was a whitewashed clapboard affair with two stories.  On the ground level, Sam maintained an office which contained his drafting board and supplies and a desk from which he conducted his business.  Upstairs was the living quarters occupied by Sam and Etta, his wife of nearly thirty years.  Together they had weathered many a storm, but now, with the growth of the town, they were finally starting to get ahead.

As Macara and Rose entered the office, Sam and Etta looked up from their work, Sam at the drafting board and Etta at the desk, and smiled.  Sam’s grey beard was well manicured now and his clothes were no longer those of a farmer.  He wore more presentable clothing that, while still those of a working man were newer and cleaner.  Etta was clad in one of her neutral colored dresses that fit her plump figure perfectly.  Her white hair was done up in a bun and her rosy complected face seemed always to be smiling.

In two chairs across from the Luces sat the blacksmith, Tidas Mogambu, whose black skin appeared to glisten in the light, and barber/saloonkeeper/et al, Ezra Schecter, whose fair complexion seemed doubly pale in close proximity to his companion.  Both men turned their heads in Macara’s direction.

I brought him, Mr. Luce, I brought my da. Rose spoke up, smiling, and she stood off to the side with hands behind her back as Macara crossed into the office, a quizzical look on his face.

The group greeted Macara cordially, but still the look of curiosity remained on his face.

Will someone please tell me what’s going on here?  Why is it so important for Rose to drag me here now?

In response to his questions, several answers were begun at the same time, making it almost impossible for him to understand even one of the statements.  Macara raised his hands in a gesture of termination, at which point all talking ceased.

Cason, Etta called to gain his attention,. What they’re trying to say is that this place needs a name and we all agree that it should be named after your store.  We want to call it Macara’s Store.

Macara’s jaw dropped noticeably and he found himself, as incongruous as it seemed, at a loss for words.  Immediately, Rose crossed to Etta’s desk and picked up a sheet of paper.  She presented it to her father: See, Da? I wrote it down for you.  Macara silently took the sheet and gazed at it.  His expression changed to elation, then to concern as he read the word his daughter had scrawled in the center of the page.

Sure, I’m very flattered. he said to the group, then turned his attention to Rose: But, Rose, darling, I believe you’ve left some letters out here.

Etta came around from behind the desk and took the sheet from Macara.  She studied the letters then turned the page for everyone to see the word MACARASTOR.

Rose may have mis-spelled it but I actually think it looks better. Etta stated, What do you think?

Her question was directed not to Macara but to the others in the room.  Each of them looked at the document and indicated agreement, except Mogambu who stated in his deep Southern drawl: Y’knows I can’t read so I just goes along with y’all.

All attention then focused on Macara as Sam spoke up: Cason.

Macara blushed noticeably.

Well, for once in me life, I really don’t know what to say.

His hand went to the back of his neck, conveying embarrassment.  Then he quickly recovered.

I’m honored, I am.

Well then, it’s settled. From now on, Etta proclaimed, this place will be known as Macarastor.

Macara grinned and accepted the hands of all present while Rose stood beaming with pride.

Chapter Two

Cordell Favreau had been a resident of Macarastor for all of three months when the town got its official name.  He had come west in 1876 and originally settled in St. Louis, working as a bank teller.  He was a trained accountant but the only position available in his field was in that bank.  Laboring long hours for meager pay was not his idea of making his fortune in the west.  His decision to begin appropriating funds from the bank did not come easily for his background was one of compliance with the law.  But he was not getting any younger and it seemed that all the money he earned went right out to pay for living expenses and food.

Yes, Favreau liked to eat and his rotund figure divulged that fact.  In order to support himself in the manner in which he felt he deserved, additional moneys would need to find their way into his wallet.  So, little by little at first, he embezzled what he needed.  When he found that his transgressions were not immediately discovered, he decided to increase the amounts.  Now he was approaching the standard of living which he had envisioned for himself when he left Georgia.

Realizing, however, that he could not sustain his unlawful activities indefinitely without risking exposure, he decided to make one large withdrawal and leave St. Louis for points further west and much more obscure.  His journey eventually brought him to Macarastor, a village with no name at the time.  What better place to stop than one with no identity.  His chances of being found in this place he estimated as nil.  He would remain here as long as he could and live off the proceeds of his nefarious activities, while attempting to devise means, legal or otherwise, to sustain his existence.

Since his gains had come from a bank, he reasoned that the establishment of a bank in this far flung frontier settlement was a fitting endeavor.  He, of course, had the knowledge, and now the capital, necessary to launch the business and could operate it completely legally, at least at the start.  And, if he determined at a later date that his needs required more than the bank was generating, he would be able to skim the funds and mask them as bank fees and the like.

Resolving to carry this forward, he approached Sam Luce for an estimate on the construction of a small building that would house the enterprise.  He next conferred with Cason Macara regarding the purchase of a small vault for the safe keeping of the funds.  One month later, the safe arrived with one of Macara’s supply orders and was placed on the site of the new bank.  A short time after that, Sam finished the building and Favreau commenced operations.

When news of the naming of the town reached Favreau, his first act, after congratulating Macara, was to change the sign over the door from simply stating BANK to FIRST BANK OF MACARASTOR.  There was some ceremony attached to this because this was the first business other than Macara’s to bear the name of the town.  It had the direct effect that Favreau had planned: it drew customers into the bank and turned them into depositors.  Favreau’s venture was on its way.

And, at this moment, Favreau was physically on his way, striding quickly toward Sam Luce’s place for a meeting, the first formal meeting of the citizens of the newly formed town of Macarastor.  Sam had popped his head into the small bank building yesterday and announced: Hey, Mr. Favreau, we’re having our first town meeting tomorrow morning at ten over to my place.  Can we count on you to be there?

Oh, yes, yes, absolutely.  I’ll be there.  Favreau had promised in his best authoritative voice.  And now he was hurrying to keep his word and be part of whatever this gathering was to be about.  Straightening his tie and adjusting his jacket to appear as presentable as possible, he stepped up on the boardwalk in front of Luce’s and entered.  There were at least ten people in the tiny room, crowding around and chatting.  They included Macara, Schecter and Tidas, the blacksmith.

Favreau squeezed his way through the gathering toward Sam who stood at his drafting board facing them.  He stopped just short of being in the front of the group, not wanting to seem pushy.

Folks. Sam called loudly to garner their attention.  The chattering stopped and all eyes were on Sam, who suddenly felt very uncomfortable.  This man of few words had thrust himself into the role of speaker here but now was reluctant to open his mouth.  Owning this business and dealing much more with people than he had ever done as a farmer had opened Sam up somewhat to a more communicative way of life, but Sam was still Sam, a doer, not a talker.  He tugged nervously at his beard and cleared his throat, and engaged in a very evident long pause.  Then he sucked in a deep breath and resolved to do this thing he had started.

I ain’t got the no-how as to how these things is usually done so here’s what this is all about:  now that we got a name for our town and we got all these businesses starting up, I reckoned that maybe we ought to have some kind of government to see that things are done fair and right.

Several members of the crowd voiced opinions at the same time, making it difficult to discern their meanings.  Sam took the responses to be positive and continued: To that end I nominate we make Cason our mayor.

Sounds of approval came from most in the group as Schecter and Mogambu laid hands on Macara and moved him to a position beside Sam.  With an expression on his face that conveyed disbelief, Macara glared at Sam.  Are you daft, man?  he said to Sam in a harsh whisper, I’m no mayor.

You’re just about everything else to everyone here. Sam replied, Might as well be mayor too.

The instant that Favreau heard these words, his mind began racing.  What better way to solidify himself with these people than to become their leader?  What better way also to insure a larger measure of protection for himself than to be in a governing position?

Come on, Sam! Macara was protesting when Favreau interrupted nervously: Mr. Luce, may I be heard please?

Sam glanced at Favreau.

I’d like to say something. Favreau continued.

Sure.  Folks, Mr. Favreau here’s got something he wants you to hear.

The crowd quieted as Favreau turned to face the others.

I haven’t been here as long as you have but I certainly am aware of the contribution that Mr. Macara has made to this community.  I do believe, however, that Mr. Macara would agree with me when I say that a step as important as choosing the person to lead and govern this town should not be undertaken lightly.  Now I’m familiar with parliamentary procedure, having served on the town council in my hometown back in Georgia, and those rules provide that nominations for the office should first be made, then discussions for and against should be heard and votes should be cast.  I do not wish in any way to minimize Mr. Macara’s abilities, but I believe, in this case, I may be more qualified for the office.  I, therefore, wish to nominate myself for the office of mayor of Macarastor.  If it pleases all here, Mr. Macara and I can present our qualifications and you all can vote your consciences.

As the group began discussing this revelation among themselves, Favreau breathed a sigh.  He had taken a chance in opening his mouth here, but no one had shut him up and now they were actually considering his proposal. This just might come to pass.

Macara observed this event and began to realize that this mayor thing was going to become a reality no matter what he did.  These people wanted progress.  They wanted this place to develop into a legitimate community and desired all the amenities that came with it.  He in no way wanted this position.  For as much as he had been, and continued to be the patriarch of these people, he was this in his own informal way.  He believed he could be much more effective in this manner than to become an official leader.  This belief caused him to step forward and speak.

Folks, Mr. Favreau is right.  If this is to be done the right way, there should be an election.  You should hear all the facts and make an informed decision.  Now for my part, I know nothing about being your mayor but if your votes decide that you want me, I’ll do the best job I can for you like I always do.  Mr. Favreau seems like he knows what he’s talking about and what to do, so I suggest that he’d be the best choice for the job.  Now, according to the rules, we need to hear from Mr. Favreau.  Then you go ahead and decide.

Favreau was flabbergasted!  He never expected this to be as easy as it now appeared.  Macara was practically giving this away.  All it would take was a gentle nudge and these people would be in his camp.  His next words were measured: Thank you, Mr. Macara.  I’ve already told you my qualifications and how important I think this matter is.  What I haven’t explained is how I feel about this town and you all.  I came here a stranger, someone you knew nothing about, and you welcomed me.  You’ve made me feel that I have a home here and you’ve all helped me get my business started.  I promise you if you elect me your mayor, I will work diligently to shape the future of this community and to see that all its citizens are treated fairly and with respect.  Thank you very much.

Discussion again ensued.

Folks. Sam called over the noise, Hey, folks, listen!

The crowd quieted enough for Sam to speak in a normal voice.

"I think it’s time we voted and got this over with.