Dick walked confidently up the porch and knocked on the ranch door.
While some may have called him arrogant, those who knew him called him anything but that.
Life had been hard on 21 year old Dick, who was the eldest of the three Leslie children.
His mother had died on the way to Oregon and his father had died 2 years later in an accident in town, leaving him responsible for his two younger siblings. But Dick never gave up. He had learned ranching and traveled around with his two younger siblings working at different ranches all throughout Oregon and California.
With the money he earned he was able to provide for his siblings and, carefully saving, he had scraped together enough money to send his younger brother, Clarence, to college. His sister Abigail Grace stayed with him and went to school for snatches here and there when Dick was able to find steady work for a few months.
|If you find the pictures, I'll post them!|
He was a handsome young man. With unruly, curly black hair, a quick and ready smile, blue eyes that seemed to sparkle all the time except when he was upset, when they turned as hard and cold as steel, broad shoulders, and a strongly built frame.
Dick also had the strength of character and faith in God's word, the Bible, that is truly rare in young men his age. He had a confident and determined personality that dared anyone to stand in his way.
It was a beautiful, spring Saturday. Dick walked around the porch while waiting for someone to come to the door. This ranch was nothing like the ranches he had worked on before. The tall, two-story hacienda-style house was more grand then anything he had seen before, The large wrap-around porch provided an excellent view of the sunrises and sunsets, there was a large barn that stabled a large number of well-groomed horses, and the fences went on for miles and miles, while the hills within them boasted numerous heads of well fed cattle.
Justin, who was at home for the day, opened the door. “May I help you, sir?” he asked.
“Hi, my name Dick. I'm looking for a job, and the sheriff in Fresno said this might be a good place to get one.”
“Well, I don't really handle the ranch matters. My brothers Chad and Mitch handle it and they’re out on the range. Why don't you come inside and wait. They'll be home in about a half an hour for lunch.”
Just then, Andi bounded down the stairs. ”Are you ready for our ride to town yet, Justi-- Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize anyone else was here.”
“Andi , this is Dick. He's looking for a job so I thought he could stay for lunch and talk to Chad then.”
“Nice to meet you.” Dick tipped his hat toward her and smiled. “You remind me of my sister, Abby Grace. She's always impatient to get going somewhere.”
Justin laughed. “That's Andi alright! Why don't you come in the parlor and we can talk. Mother and Melinda will be there as well. Andi , why don't we wait until Chad and Mitch get here and then you and I can pack a picnic lunch and eat it well we're riding to town?”
Andi grinned. “That would be great! I'll go ask the cook to make us some sandwiches then I'll go saddle Taffy and Thunderbolt so we'll be ready to go as soon as they get here.”
“Andi , you can go tell the cook but don't go outside alone. I want you to wait till I am ready to go with you before you go outside. There are rumors that Hugh Baker escaped from jail and is back in this area so I don't want you to go outside alone. Alright?”
Andi sighed “Alright, Justin.” What would it hurt to go outside? She wondered. The ranch hands aren't so far away and the house is pretty close besides, as Justin said, it's just a rumor.
Part 2 coming soon . . .