Introduction:

Hi,

Glad you decided to drop by my blog. I enjoy story telling and making up stories. Therefore, I decided to start this blog to share some of my stories with anyone who may be interested. If you enjoy what you read here, please tell others about it. I promise to never post a story here which you would be ashamed to read to your children (or be ashamed if someone caught you reading it).



Blessings,

C. Bowman

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Okefenokee Trail

(This is from my book "Okefenokee Tales". It is available on Amazon.com )


The Okefenokee Trail may sound like a trail which an adventurous traveler might follow through remote and dangerous places. Or a type of trail which might lead to some long forgotten ghostly place once settled by an ancient people. Or maybe even a trail which might lead through some ancient land to a place of romance and adventure. BUT…. It is not any of these, at least not exactly.

The Okefenokee Trail was created by an act of the Georgia State Legislature, not an ancient tribal group or band of explorers. The act is called House Resolution 1661 and dedicates the Okefenokee Trail and the renaming of a bridge near the town of Folkston, Georgia, in honor of a man by the name of Herschel Stokes. It is a system of paved roads which largely encircle the great Okefenokee Swamp of South Georgia.

This system of roads includes state route 177. This road enters the north side of the Okefenokee swamp and exits the south side… but the two ends do not connect! There is NO road going through the heart of the swamp! So….what lies between the two ends of the interrupted state route 177?
That’s a topic for a different post! (Stay tuned) J 

photo by Clint Bowman
Sunset over the beautiful Okefenokee Swamp


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Men of Faith


    As the whump, whump , whump of the helicopter’s slicing blades reverberated through my soul I sat with sweat running down may face and dripping steadily onto the its rapidly vibrating floor. This time it was real! This time it wasn’t a drill… a practice… a dry run! And I knew, just knew, that I might not live through it. And I was afraid, deeply afraid and trying hard not to show it to the searching eyes of my companions. We  looked into each other’s faces, then quickly away. Each man wondering if those seated around him might be feeling the same fear he felt. Each wondering if he might be the only one feeling it. Quickly the lights of the city passed beneath the Huey’s rapidly turning blades.
The call from the forward observation team had come into HQ at about 300 hours. Most of us had been hard asleep for 2-3 hours, by 330 hours the decision had been made and we had been alerted. By 500 hours we were alongside our assigned “bird”. By 530 hours we had been briefed and were on board. At 545 hours we lifted off.  Slipping across treetops, our pilots followed the terrain as closely as possible in the early dawn. At an altitude of what must have been about 500 feet or close to it we headed across the city. In the east the oranges, yellows, blues, and a few streaks red showed that the rising sun would soon be with us. Someone began passing around half sticks of gum. I needed it, my mouth was sticky dry.

The target was a terrorist cell leader known to have family connections in this area. In this South American country, we lived as construction workers with “company” owned Huey helicopters to help us get about.  And most of the time, that is what we looked like, though not now. Not today. We had been assigned the task of finding this one man. The whole set up was for this one purpose. We all knew that if we nabbed him today… or killed him, we would be headed stateside within an hour or so. He represented a “clear and present danger” to our country and our host country. He had been assigned a task of coordinating the attempts to hit the upcoming World Cup soccer games. We had been assigned the task of stopping him. Just that simple.

Sergeant Grimes suddenly looked up at the crew chief. The sign of two thumbs up was given! The sergeant turned and tapped the knee of the man next to him. He gave the sign that our LZ was near by placing his right forefinger up against his nose. Each man then tapped the knee of the one next to him and looked to see that he was aware and ready to go. Each man in return signaled with a thumb up sign, then the flat palm down sign to show he was ready and steady.  The crew chief appeared to be listening to something as he held his hand up against his earphones. Then looking up, he held up five fingers… we were five minutes out!

Our LZ entry was suddenly upon us! The Huey seemed to suddenly drop and then its nose came up and looking out we watched as the ground rushed up to meet us. The crew chief slapped Sergeant Grimes on the shoulder… when the veteran sergeant felt that it was safely low enough, he bolted out the door dropping quickly to a knee into a shooting position. All of us were out within 10-15 seconds…a well practiced maneuver perfected to perfection, almost two seconds per man.  Behind us our Huey was already leaving as three others dropped in and left just as quickly. Now we were 32 men strong. Spread out in a semi circle, we began moving quickly to the south side of the LZ. Each eight man team had a job to do. Ours was to secure this LZ for everyone’s extraction. We spread out, two man teams ten meters or so apart and found cover to help us avoid detection. The other teams headed quickly into the small collection of nearby houses, each team assigned to a certain house. Everything was eerily quiet. A dog barked loudly near the closest home. The frequency of drug runners coming and going from the jungles in their helicopters had ensured that no one came out to look at us when our helicopters had suddenly appeared. Being too curious had often not gone well for the locals. These days no one dared look out when strange helicopters appeared in the night. This was something we had counted on.

The three teams disappeared from sight. We waited, sweat flowing, every unknown sound a possible threat! My eyes burned from the sweat. Remembering, finally, that I had a sweat band tucked into a pocket, I quickly donned it to help fight off the sweat. And we waited. Suddenly a stumbling bunch of figures were seen coming towards us! A coded word sounded from Corporal Smith! In a heartbeat an answer came back…the Alpha team was back, dragging two tied and shrouded figures! At least something had happened! Then the first shots were heard in the distance.
----------------------------------------------------------------
My memories of what followed next are confused. We were violently attacked. My buddy, Jake, in a prone position on my left, was quickly wounded in the first exchange of gunfire. Those next few minutes seemed to last hours! Jake was crying out, dust and debris was filling the air around us as ripping lines of automatic weapons fire and exploding grenades threw our world into a deafening storm of activity! I remember the medic coming to Jake’s side, then falling as he also was wounded. Then I was lifted into the air as something exploded nearby! After that a foggy kind of darkness seemed to overwhelm me and my vision clouded.
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“Well, welcome back, soldier,” commented the smiling nurse. I had awakened to feel her hands on my forehead. I soon learned she had been checking my bandages. As she walked over to a nearby sink, my eyes followed her. That was when I saw the small Bible on the bedside table. It was my Bible. I had carried it in my shirt pocket. It had been a gift from my sister a couple of years ago. But now it looked very different. It appeared to have gotten wet and somehow was disfigured. Its cover looked dirty and part of it looked to have been burned a bit. “That Bible probably helped to save your life,” she said. She had turned from the sink and caught my gaze as I stared at it. “It has two pieces of shrapnel embedded in it. They are probably from an exploded grenade. They would have entered your heart if they had passed through,” she explained. Suddenly, I felt sleepy and my eyes closed even though I tried to keep my focus, now on her.
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Today, I sit here in my office and from time to time I turn and look at that same small Bible. It is now resting on my bookshelf under a glass cover, protected from dust and curious little hands. It, and some occasional foggy dreams filled with shouts and fuzzy images, are all I have in the way of souvenirs of the worst day in my four years as an Army Ranger.  Fortunately, my injuries healed and today I coach high school football in a small North Florida town. About once a year, Jake and I talk by phone and catch each other up on our lives. We talk about our families and how good God has been to us. Last year, Jake moved to Maine and is now pastoring a Methodist church there. We both are thankful to God for Sergeant Grimes, who carried us each in turn to the safety of a waiting Huey helicopter that fateful day. And for the medic, Slim Wilson, who died that day trying to help Jake.
There is a verse in that small Bible which says something like “No greater love has a man than this that he lay down his life for a friend.” Not sure if I quoted that correctly, but I understand its meaning.

Though I had carried my Bible in those days as a kind of good luck charm, it was Sergeant Grimes and Slim Wilson who taught me how to live by it. You see those two helped out at the local Army chapel when duty would allow them to be there. They always put the good of others ahead of themselves. They were men of faith. And as I hear the sound of my children playing down the hall, I am very thankful for that.   
Cb  
 3/4/14

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Touch of the Past

Sorry it has been a while since I posted any stories or poems. I am proud to announce that I won second place in the adult short story contest sponsored by the Writer's Guild of the Okefenokee Heritage Center here in South Georgia in November 2017. The story is posted here for your enjoyment. If you enjoy it please go to the Amazon.com kindle store and download my eBook "Huntin' Trouble". It has several similar stories in it. Enjoy!

A Touch of the Past

 “Hey grandpa, what’s this?”
The old man slowly turned from his work, his hand poised to drop the next few watermelon seeds into the freshly turned Georgia soil.
His smiling face revealed clearly his love for his ten year old grandson. “Looks like an old clay pipe, buddy,” he answered as he drew near. “And look here!” the excited child almost shouted in his excitement. His hand shot upwards with what was left of a small rusted knife blade. “Well!”, his grandfather said, ”Looks like you have found a treasure, for sure.”
Turning the knife over slowly, he noted how rusted the blade was, the tip now long gone as was the handle. Turning his attention to the simple clay pipe, he noted the roughly scratched outline of what could have been a deer on the small bowl of the pipe. As he slowly turned it in his hands, he suddenly realized where they was standing. This was the spot, he remembered, where he had once cut down an old oak tree which had long stood silent watch over this corner of his yard. He had worked long and hard to first dig, then burn, then dig again to remove the tree’s stubborn stump. The old tree had been long dying and hollowed out inside. Undoubtedly the pipe and knife had been inside or underneath that old tree’s base. “Well now,” he slowly said, as his very curious grandson kicked the clumps of soil around, seeking more treasure.
“Grandpa, who do you think lost these things?” he asked. “Well, buddy, I’m just not sure but this is the exact spot where that old oak was standing. It may be that someone long ago hid them in a hollow space at the base of the tree.” “Wow!” the excited child almost shouted as he reached for the pipe. ”Reckon it was an Indian or like a bank robber or somebody like that?”
His grandfather chuckled answering, ”Who knows? But in the very early 1800’s there was a little settlement a couple of miles from here called Kettle Creek. It was named after that little creek just down the road yonder. There was an old Indian trail which crossed the creek there and the early settlers used it. Actually, there were Indian trails all over these parts. That Kettle Creek settlement is where the first school Ware County ever had was started by a man who was a surveyor.”
 “Ah, I hate school,” his grandson muttered. “Reckon the old school teacher lost this?” he asked. Again, the old man chuckled. “I doubt it. This is more like something an Indian or a frontiersman might use. A highly educated man probably would have had one a bit fancier, but who knows? Sure is gettin’ hot here in the sun, let’s ease over to the shade while we think about this treasure you’ve found. Think I’ve got a couple of apples we can snack on.”
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The old whitetail buck suddenly lifted his head and froze in position. His ear twitched nervously as he attempted to sort out the message his senses were bringing him. In a nearby oak, two busy squirrels noted his sudden movement and sat up on their haunches suddenly alert, noses twitching. A silent gray rat snake, making his way quietly up the side of the oak searching for a meal, even seemed to hesitate. Suddenly, the buck bolted away, tail held high! The squirrels began their warning barks to the world and scampered up higher in the tree. The silent snake continued on, oblivious to the goings on of the larger animals, his black tongue flicking in and out gathering the scent of the squirrels. Soon, the source of the buck’s alarm came slowly into view. An injured Creek warrior limped through the scattered palmettos and pines.
Spying the oak, he limped toward it and settled at its base, gently dropping his spear by his side. Slowly, he removed the small bag hanging from his shoulder and let it fall beside the spear. He still held tightly to his fighting knife as he leaned back, exhausted. Gradually his eyes closed as sleep conquered his fevered mind and body.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“Be careful, buddy. You are about to eat that sticker on the apple.” Laughing, the boy peeled the sticker from the apple and replied, ”Hey, we can stick it on that old pipe for a decoration.” The old man smiled and gently shook his head as he continued to turn the pipe slowly in his hand as if he was willing it to tell its story.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The afternoon passed quietly. The rat snake, thwarted in his search for food in the oak, began his descent. The squirrels hiding high above watched his retreat. Another pair of eyes peering out of a well-built nest in a nearby pine also watched and then issued a warning call to its mate. The large male red-headed woodpecker swooped to its nest opening quickly, eyes alert for any danger. Soon, he spotted the large snake descending the nearby oak and quickly resented his presence. The attack was quick, loud, painful, and effective as the big male attacked his enemy. The surprised snake jerked this way and that as he attempted to allude the pounding beak and wings of his attacker. The violence of the attack caused the hunter to lose his grip on the rough bark. As he fell, his long black and gray body twisted wildly as he sought a secure grip to halt his fall. The big male flew back to his perch atop the pine and again watched over his nesting mate.
The feverish warrior soon woke, his mind troubled by the dream which had become so life-like that he actually reached to brush away the hand of the young lady in his dream. His hand found nothing to brush away as the retreating tale of the rat snake disappeared out of reach around the side of the oak. The young warrior slowly regained full consciousness. His mind registering the time of day as the pain of his injured leg began to remind him of his need to reach his people soon. He had traveled far and was very tired. And hungry. Very, very hungry.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“Wonder why he put a picture of a deer on his pipe?” the young boy asked, almost to himself. The way his grandfather was looking at the pipe and slowly turning it in his hand, allowing his fingers to feel the cool smoothness of the pipe’s surface, had had a calming effect on the young boy. “Well,” his grandfather began, ”I guess it depends on how old this pipe is as well as who made it. You see, buddy, long before the white man’s priests and preachers came to these parts to teach Christianity to the Native Americans, the Indians would often worship spirits of different sorts and even ask for their help in life. Maybe the man who had this was that away. Or if it is from after the time of the coming of the white man then the Indian might have just been using the deer for a decoration and not as a religious symbol. No way to know for sure.” “So maybe if he needed help to run fast he might use that deer’s help?” asked the boy. “Maybe,” replied the old man thoughtfully.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The young warrior slowly got to his feet. In the distance he heard the warning bark of a squirrel. He noticed the quick darting flight of two doves as they fled through the pine tops. Someone was coming. He reached for his spear and stood still pondering his situation. Then, turning, he hobbled away from the oak and headed downhill. In his fevered haste he forgot his small bag. In it were a few remaining dried grapes, a small skinning knife, a piece of flint, his pipe and a bit of tobacco. Not much and not anything to delay for as he fled for his life. He knew well, the white men were coming.
They had deeply resented the raid on the farm from which the young warrior and his companions had stolen two horses and a hog which he soon after butchered. The warriors had believed that the white men had gone to fight the Seminoles who were raiding along the trail west of Waresboro. That assumption had spelled doom for their small inexperienced band.
Word had traveled quickly and the next morning the warriors had awakened to a hail of lead followed by slashing knives as the settlers had their revenge.  Known by his peers as Kikikwawason (Lightening), he had used his speed to quickly get out of sight among the nearby palmettos. The musket ball which had hit him passed almost all the way through his thigh. It had been painful and had slowed him down a good bit as he fled the campsite.
Now, two days later, he hobbled towards the nearby Satilla River. He quietly entered slow moving, cool waters. The river, a little high due to recent rains, helped carry him downstream as he swam quietly. Gradually, he eased across the current and rounded a bend. There he slowly hobbled out of the river onto a beautiful white sand bar. He entered a small stand of trees growing against the somewhat higher bank on which stood several towering oaks. Easing up the bank he headed southward. Soon, he would be back with his small band of people. Soon he would be home.
The two white men eased carefully through the palmettos, their horses at a walk. They knew the man they sought was wounded. They also knew that to rush quickly through the pine forest was unwise. Seminoles were about. Bands of them were using the nearby Okefenokee Swamp as a base of operations as they raided the surrounding farming settlements. As the two men moved carefully forward they stopped at the sound of a gray squirrel’s warning bark. They saw him perched on a limb of a lone dead pine standing in the midst of a large clump of palmettos. The two men slowly edged closer, one nervously shifting his eyes here and there. The squirrel ran higher up the tree. After a short fruitless search the two nervous men gave up and turned their mounts homeward.  
Up on the old dead pine, a flicking black tongue signaled the presence of a gray rat snake as he emerged from an empty hole in the tree long ago vacated by a woodpecker family. It was one of several holes in the old tree. The squirrel grew frantic.
As evening fell, a hungry raccoon emerged from a rotted out knothole high in the trunk of the oak. Climbing down he quickly discovered a treasure of sorts, the young warrior’s small bag. The smell of the dried grapes quickly drew his attention. Suddenly, noting the sounds of other browsing and squabbling raccoons in the area, he picked the bag up in his mouth and quickly returned to his hiding place in the oak to eat his find.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“So what will we do with them, grandpa?” asked the boy. “Well buddy, I’m inclined to think that I’ll put them up on the mantle above the fire place. That way folks can see them and we can enjoy speculating on how they got in that old oak tree.” “Yeah, maybe we can make up a good story to go with it, huh?” the boy replied. “Maybe so,” his grandfather answered with a smile,” But now, we had better get to work planting these watermelon seeds or grandma will skin us both.” 
The little boy’s laughter drifted across the yard as the springtime breeze rustled the leaves of the palmettos shading a small and hungry gray rat snake busily nosing through the dead pine needles and leaves on the ground.

The End

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Fall Football Memory

Well.... it is football season again and I love it! I am publishing a poem here which I originally wrote for an assignment  and had published on the Yahoo Contributor Network in 2011. That part of Yahoo no longer exists.Hope you enjoy the memories it may bring back to you. If you didn't play football in high school or college but  have a family member who did, please share it with them as well.


watercolor by Clint Bowman

Fall… and football,
And sweat.
Lots of sweat.
In the August heat,
 and the cool evenings of November.
Burning eyes,
And sweat.
 Tickling the inside of my ear.
Dirty, bruised fingers wiping it out.
Flopping, bouncing shoulder pads,
Inside a loosely fitting practice jersey.
Head hanging,
Sweat dripping, from the end of my nose.
“One more boys and we are finished!”
Sprinting, panting, sweat burning my eyes,
Practice ends.
Now the sweat can be dealt with.
Fall … and football,
And sweat.

                                         By  Clint Bowman

Monday, July 3, 2017

Swamp's Edge

If you enjoy this story then please purchase a copy of either “Panther Trouble” or “Huntin’ Trouble” off my author’s page at Amazon.com. Both books have several similar stories. Both are in eBook form. “Panther Trouble” is available in paperback as well.

 


He knelt there, slowly wiping the blood from his knife by dragging it across his buckskin covered thigh. Nearby lay the body of the former owner of that blood. He was also the cause of Mike’s now very careful and studious gaze as he slowly turned his head, listening to the sounds of the surrounding pine forest.

In the distance he heard the drumming of a woodpecker. Nearer, the bark of a squirrel. The bushy-tailed old male was still disturbed by the rush of sudden activity which had just occurred in his usually quiet world. A passing black snake paid neither the squirrel nor Mike a bit of concern. His rapidly gliding movement in and out of the straw and palmettos as he sought his day’s meal never slowed.   
  
 Mike stayed low and moved very slowly. Any sudden movement or standing might invite another renegade Creek warrior to try his hand at killing Mike. “One’s enough for today,” he muttered quietly. Slowly he reached down and retrieved his rifle. Then, still alert to another possible attack, he began loading it with powder and ball. As he glanced around slowly, his skilled hands worked at their task. On a not too distant pine tree he noted the torn bark where his last ball had gouged a path after it had passed by the charging warrior.

“Guess I was a little too excited on that shot,” he thought. “Man can’t be so wasteful on the frontier, boy,” he recalled his father saying. “Yep,” he muttered an acknowledgment to the remembered fatherly coaching. It was especially true now he realized. His shot bag only held five remaining balls, if his fingers weren’t lying to him. That was how many he felt down in the short bag at his waist. “Need to get on to Waresboro and see can I scare up some more ammunition,” he thought. He slowly turned this way and that holding the now loaded and primed weapon. Waresboro still lay about 8 to 10 miles north and east of him as best he could figure.

With no more Indians in evidence, he checked the now dead warrior for a possible bag holding needful items…..such as maybe some rifle balls. The man had a bag hanging across his back, but it contained various items for fire building and a few sea shells. None of this interested the young frontiersman, so he straightened up. With another glance around to ensure he was alone, he turned and started for Waresboro. The warrior’s fighting knife now rode on his waist, the only thing he took from the dead man. His spear lay where it had fallen. The squirrel renewed his barking as Mike sat off along the faint path he had been following before the deadly encounter.   
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
photo by Clint Bowman taken along Swamp Road on the west side of the Okefenokee Swamp
The doe had frozen still as she suddenly sensed a possible danger in her forested world. With a flick of her raised white tail she turned and vaulted into a hard run weaving between the palmettos as she raced for the cover of the nearby creek bottom. Her sudden movement drew the attention of the three renegade Creek warriors. They seemed to be lazily idling beneath the shade of an oak. Idling, they were. Lazy, they were not. They each stood armed and ready. Wild Cat, their respected Seminole war chief, had assigned them the task of bringing back a white prisoner from among the local settlers. They were hoping for a passing family to appear on the nearby trail to Waresboro. They wanted to snatch away a child, small enough to travel quickly with. A boy child, one that could be raised and trained to do chores and farming. Those kind brought good prices with the slave traders along the distant Florida coast. They waited quietly, only a slight turn of their heads as they watched the retreating deer.

 Mike had finally relaxed a little as he walked along headed northeast along the old Indian footpath skirting the edge of a large swampy area. After a couple of hours of walking and keeping a watchful eye out for both Indians and snakes, he had halted in the large shade of a flowering magnolia tree. The area at its base naturally clear of high grasses, he could rest there and not have to worry about accidentally sitting on a snake. After checking his weapon, he had leaned back against the not too rough bark of the tree’s trunk and briefly napped. It was his action of standing which had alarmed the deer. Fortunately, this action corresponded with one of the warriors raising a hand to swat an annoying mosquito.

The warriors thought the deer to be alarmed by the brief movement of the hand and never suspected that an enemy was now nearby. The brief wave of the hand had also drawn Mike’s attention. Now he stood almost immobile. Almost, but not quite. Slowly, with infinite long practiced patience, he eased back down out of sight. Once below the level of the covering palmettos, Mike retreated behind the large trunk of the magnolia and carefully considered his options.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Samuel MacDonald was known to be a careful man. A man who thought long and hard over matters before investing time or money. And he had pondered over the idea of moving his little family to the “red” side of the Altamaha River for over a year before making the decision. But, with the matter decided, he had quickly moved to pack his two wheeled cart, tether his cow to it and set off for the distant and well talked of Waresboro. The region was supposed to be good for farming, hunting and fishing… what else could a man ask for?

It was this fateful decision which lead to Samuel and his young wife of eight years being on this particular trail on this particular day. Between the two of them, they would never have been able to survive an attack by a party of Indians. The math simply wouldn’t have worked out. Samuel carried a decent and well used musket. Clara had a small but deadly pistol riding at her feet in the cart. In her lap sat little Sally, all of three years old and napping. Sitting on the back of the cart with his feet dangling down rode their five year old son, Robert. A party of well armed Indians would quickly have had their way with such an easy target. But not today. Sometimes, the Good Lord just works things out. At least that would be Clara’s way of saying it at the Waresboro trading post that evening. 
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mike heard the approaching cart at almost the same instant the waiting Indians did. He quickly realized their intentions to attack the cart as it came into view across the palmetto tops. One of the warriors quickly rushed across the distance to get ahead of the cart as the other two started directly for it. Such a cart, loaded and with a cow tied behind, would not be able to rush away from an attack and the experienced warriors knew this. Their war cries momentarily froze Clara with fear. Samuel quickly called for her to arm herself. He then stepped to stand between her and the two attackers, not realizing that one was taking a roundabout approach ahead of him. Samuel was a frightened and desperate man. He touched his knife in its sheath to assure himself of its presence, threw his long gun up and took careful aim. The warriors, long practiced in the art of charging armed white men, spread out as they charged. They knew he would have only one shot and then it would be club, fist, and knife! 

The attack would have been perfect and hugely successful for the Indians, except for one tall, scruffy, and battle hardened factor. Mike swiftly swung into action. His first movements were sure and quick. His position behind the magnolia tree put him ahead of the approaching cart. The Indian swinging out ahead of the cart passed just yards away from his hidden vantage point. Mike’s aim was true. The warrior fell face first into the palmettos, out of which spurted a well frightened swamp rabbit which seemed intent on heading for the Florida border as quick as possible. 
The other attackers both fired their weapons as they attacked Samuel’s position. Neither expected to hit Samuel or Clara, they fired more to frighten the young couple as they yelled and charged at them. Mike’s not too distant shot didn’t seem to register with them. They were completely focused on Samuel. 

They closed the gap quickly… Samuel fired his musket and quickly realized he had missed the weaving warrior. He stepped bravely forward swinging his rifle before him! One warrior dove beneath Samuel’s ineffective swing and slashed across the back of his leg with his fighting knife. It was a crippling blow! Samuel’s leg collapsed as he sought to turn and swing down at his attacker. Clara’s weapon discharged somewhere behind him! The second warrior faltered briefly as her short ranged shot was true. Then suddenly, a viscous whirlwind of fury descended on the fight in the form of a buckskinned, knife swinging, kicking, and yelling demon!

The fight ended quickly. The two warriors lay dead and Samuel sat beside them with blood tricking down the side of his head. Little Sally wept as she sat wrapped with Robert in their mother’s shaking arms. Clara sat, glancing from Samuel to Mike to the nearby forest, unsure of what to do or say. Mike, the danger now over, turned and walked over to pick up his rifle. Glancing around at the young family, he began loading his weapon. His gaze resting on Samuel, he asked,” You fit to stand?”

Samuel sat still, glancing around as if he had not heard the question. Mike waited, long experience telling him the young man was dealing with shock. After a long minute, Samuel reached over to the nearby cart wheel and began to pull himself up. The movement of her husband spurred Clara to action. “Robert, hold Sally tight and you two stay right here on this seat,” she said calmly as her motherly instincts kicked in. With that she nimbly climbed down and began to assist her husband. Mike, with his rifle now loaded, picked up Samuel’s musket and began loading it with an occasional gaze out and around for any possible danger. The surrounding pine forest seemed at peace, now.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A few hours later, the cart rolled its way to a stop outside the trading post at Waresboro drawing the attention of all within sight. Indian attacks were fairly frequent occurrences and rumors of them even more frequent. A small crowd gathered to help Samuel hobble into the store. Three ladies, upon seeing the small children and their mom, rushed from their nearby cabins to surround and fuss over them. The Waresboro folks knew how to welcome new settlers to their remote post on the South Georgia frontier. Soon, soup was being ladled up and bread being shared. The men quickly made Samuel feel welcome. Mike, well known to the locals, was surrounded by a small knot of men who wanted to hear his news of the region to their south. And soon the community’s preacher arrived with his wife and an invite for the newly arrived family to settle with them for the first few days.

Later that evening, Mike sat beside his fire not too far from the trading post. He lay back against an old oak and watched the smoke from his fire as it lazily drifted up into the Spanish moss draped boughs. Somewhere nearby, a couple of owls seemed involved in a discussion of some sort. In the distance a fox yelped. As his eyes slowly closed, Mike thought,” Sure is good to have friends whose wives cook so well.” The nearby owl curiously eyed the smiling buckskin clad figure then suddenly launched himself into the night.  In the far distance, the sound of a bull gator bellowing his challenge reverberated across the edges of the Okefenokee. Not everyone would sleep along the South Georgia frontier this night.      


THE END