Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Riley's Ramblings: Growing Up in an Army Fort

I wrote about one of Riley's journals I found the other day.When he saw that I really wanted to learn more about what happened after he left the Circle C ranch, he brought in a whole stack of books from the barn. "Didn't think you'd want to read the scribbling of a little kid," he joked. "So I kept most of them in a special box up in the loft."

Not want to read about Riley? Of course I do! Riley left the ranch when I was eight and a half (he was ten and a half). The first six months I cried. I missed my playmate so much! But after I turned nine and found a new friend (Sadie Hollister), Riley began to dim in my memory and I began to think about him less and less. By the time he returned as a wrangler to work for his Uncle Sid and my brother Chad seven years later, I had pretty much forgotten him.

I didn't realize he never forgot me! I will forever treasure the birthday gift he gave me when I turned sixteen (a picture of him and me with Taffy and Midnight). Reading his journals makes me laugh and cry and realize he had a completely different life from the little boy who was Cook's Helper for three years. He arrived on the ranch when I was about five and a half. His mother was sick, and his father was an Army captain and often away on patrol, so his Uncle Sid cared for Riley until his mother got well.

I have set aside a special day each week to share Riley's journal entries through the years. I'm going to start right at the beginning, so be patient with a young boy's spelling mistakes! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

November 1876

Uncle Sid gave me a journal for a good-by present. (Well, he said it was a Christmas present too). Mama and Papa are not snoops, so I can safely write the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in this-here book. (I once heard a fella in the courtroom ask a witness if he swore to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," and it sort of stuck with me). 

I'm gonna miss my Uncle Sid. But not as much as I'm gonna miss my very best friend, Andi. Tom Malloy at the new Army post called me a sissy for saying a silly girl was my best friend. Dumb old Tom. I walloped him good for that, even though he's two years older than me (he's 12. I'm ten and a half). He doesn't call me a sissy no more.  

I'm eight years old in this picture.
I have two pictures. One is a picture Andi's Aunt Rebecca had taken a couple of years ago. She doesn't like me much, but Andi insisted the photographer take it. The other picture is of me and Andi and our horses.

I'll write about the new fort Papa got sent to later. It's name is Fort Alcatraz. It's on an island. But right now I am looking at the picture of Andi and me and Taffy and Midnight from last September. And I am trying hard not to cry. I'm too old to cry. 


  1. Oh! This is so great! :-)
    Thanks for posting this, Mrs. M!

    -Sadie S.

  2. Awww! This is so sweet! I LOVE little kids...especially boys. <3 They're so much fun (and trouble ;)!
    Thanks for doin' this, Mrs. M! It's just like what I wanted....a Riley version of Andi's Journal! Is there gonna be a lot more like this? I surely hope so!
    ~Cowgirl Hope

    1. Thank you for posting this Mrs. M 🙂


  3. Yay! So excited to learn more about Riley!! :)

  4. Wow this is great

  5. Oh goodie!! I glad there is going to be a post other then on Mondays, and I am glad to learn more about Riley.:)
    <3 MA

  6. Yay!!! Posts about Riley!!!!!!

  7. Yippee!!! I always wanted to read Riley's journal!

  8. Yahoo! I love Riley's journal already! :D

  9. Love Riley even more:)


Let Andi know what you think!