Civil War Transcendence, Part 51

Front porch

A NOVEL OF TRAVEL BACK IN TIME

I sat out on the porch until the sun went down. Then I, painfully – due to Beau’s horrible ride – got up and tottered into the boarding house.

Most of the men were still reading and smoking cigars in the parlor. I looked across the hall and saw the Widow Hawkins still working at her desk. I doubted she would want my company because I bet a lot of the men that stayed at her establishment tried to hit on her.

I mean, “tried to get in her good graces.”

I had to stop thinking in my Universe’s jargon and utilize as much of the 19th Century common speech that I knew.

The Widow Hawkins glanced up and saw me looking at her. She smiled and asked if there was something I wanted to ask her. I smiled back and said that there were a few things I needed to know about, but in private.

She raised her eyebrows.

I quickly added that by “private,” I meant out on the porch. I told her it had to do with the local history. She looked at me for a moment and said that she would join me on the veranda in about 10 minutes. I thanked her and once again took my previous seated position on the porch.

True to her word, she came out on the porch 10 minutes later. I stood up and gave her the chair and leaned against the railing.  I stared at her for a few seconds not knowing how to broach the subject about which I wanted to gather information.  She looked at me expectantly.

Finally I said, “I am not from around here, and I have been isolated out west without a really good news source.  Do you mind if I get your ideas about how the War has progressed here in the east?”

She let out a breath that I didn’t know she was holding and relaxed. Apparently, she had thought I was going to try some funny business with her. I also noticed that she had taken her hand out of the cloth bag that she had placed on her lap.

I fixed my gaze on the bag, and there was a bulge in the bag. It was my turn to raise eyebrows when I looked into her eyes.

“A lady can’t be too careful these days,” she said, matter-of-factly.

I bet there was some kind of small pistol concealed in the otherwise harmless purse.

“I reckon you’re right,” I replied.  “Please forgive me for frightening you. I really just wanted the war news from your prospective.”

I would never underestimate this lady again.

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About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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