2/28/12

Mr. Buckner's Badge and Olivia's Courage

The Boarding House Journal
Date: November 1912
Room Number: 5
Guests:  John and Olivia Buckner

The Texas Rangers!!!  For Gods sake, what happened last night?  Everyone was talking at once and looking at me like I should know the Who What and Where's of the Sheriff's parting words.  Which of course, I did.  Chairs commenced to push away from the table as the guests began their departure either for the day or until the next time they were in town.  Everyone was on their way except for the Buckners.

Mrs. Buckner's hands covered her face and she was visible shaken.  In all the commotion I didn't notice her overturned tea cup or the effect that my husbands announcement had on her.

 Come Olivia, the buggy is waiting.  We'll talk about this after you see Doc Powers.  The Rangers arrival won't change a thing. 

Her composure regained,  she pulled on her gloves and lowered the netted veil from the brim of her hat and expressed her concern over the Lady Grey spill on the tablecloth.  "Do not concern yourself Mrs. Buckner, the tea stain will come out...you just take care of yourself," I assured her as she took her husbands extended arm.  I watched as Mr. Buckner helped her in the buggy, and if it hadn't been for the west wind whipping his Long Duster aside, I would have missed the Mexican Loop Holster.  I wasn't surprised to see he was armed especially after this mornings news, but I was curious about the Badge.

Mother, what happened last night?  Why are the Rangers coming and why did Pa load the Winchester?  Please Sarah, let's clear away the breakfast dishes, and I'll tell you in the kitchen. 

Your Father shot and killed two Mexican railroad workers last night.  A band of Mexicans from the railroad  have been at the Saloon for several days drinking and gambling.  They disarmed the constable and were shooting at him when the Sheriff got there.  When the smoke cleared, two were dead and six were injured.  There is fear of repercussions, everyone is ordered off the streets tonight and the Saloon will be closed until the Rangers get here.  I imagine they will be staying for awhile.  We should get Room # 6 ready for them.

Just before noon, Mr. and Mrs. Buckner returned and quickly went to their room, and in a few minutes the 'Bell Pull' jingled in the kitchen.  Sarah put on the teapot while I went to their room.  Mr. Buckner met me at the door and requested a pot of tea for Mrs. Buckner and if it wasn't too much trouble a light lunch. "I'll be away for a few hours this afternoon while Olivia rests.  I wonder if you could check in on her," he asked.  "Yes, of course, and I will bring the tea and lunch shortly."


Olivia, as she asked me to call her, is dying, and Doc Powers confirmed the diagnosis of the doctor in San Antonio.  He did however, give her hope for maybe another year with rest, proper food and continued dosage of the Elixar, which she can only tolerate with hot tea. 

I measured two teaspoons of the Elixar and poured tea while Olivia spread plum jam over the still warm from the oven bread.  My mother made plum jam. There was a plum tree behind our house.  Mother would send my sister Mary and me to pick the ripest ones for canning jelly.  Thank-you Emma for your kindness.  She took the offered tea and began her story.

Mary was killed by Yankee soliders at the end of the war.  It was after midnight, but their torches lit up the night and their gunfire was deafening.  Mary hid me in the secret panel under the stairs and told me not to come out until she came for me.  They rode their horses right up on the porch,  and shot out the windows.  Then they were in the house.  I could hear Mary telling them to take the food and livestock and leave.  They took everything.  They took Mary.  She didn't come back for me.  I found her the next morning on the porch lying in a pool of her own blood.  She had not been shot.  She was my only living kin.  Our father died at Shiloh and Mama of consumption the year before.  I was ten years old.

With a fresh cup of Lady Grey, minus the Elixar, Olivia continued.  As she spoke, I could see her eyes fill with tears and hear the pain in her voice as she talked of another Mary in her life.  The life she bore. The Mary of her heart and soul and the daughter she could not claim as her own.

I was but sixteen when my Mary was born.  Her father was a charming, but reckless man ten years older who had survived The War and carried the scars of battle on his once handsome face and on his once innocent soul.  We married because of Mary.....A light rap on the door interrupted her story, and she quickly dabbed at the tears as Marshall Buckner entered room number five.  His Badge now in plain sight.  The Mexican Loop Holster held a pearl handled Colt. 

He wore a Badge of the Law.  She wore a Badge of Courage.

I'm standing outside Room number five.  The tears I've held for more than two hours are flowing freely. She was wrong. Her story not only will weigh heavy on my mind, but on my heart and soul for the rest of my days. 

...to be continued...

Authored by Sandra Sue Pittman
Photos by Author
Photos are not Representative of People or Places in this story.
Used strictly for interest and support of story.
Photos are Authentic Representations of the Period.
This Account/Writing/Post is an Exclusive Publication
of
CollectInTexas Gal and Tracks of My Texas Ancestors
myfreecopyright.com registered & protected

2/25/12

The Lady Grey Tea Drinker


The Texas Boarding House Journal
Date: November 1912
Room Number:  5
Guests: Mr. and Mrs. J. Buckner

I have to tell someone.  do you have a few minutes?  I have no one I can tell whose life would not be forever changed if they knew the truth.  Please, if you could spare a dying woman a bit of your time, I assure you my story will not weight heavy on your mind as it is only relevant to the unburdening of my soul.

That was several months ago at the end of a long hot summer.  So hot, that freshly pumped well water from deep within the cool Comanche Springs, was warm enough for a cup of tea without striking a match to the teapot.  I remember that because she asked if she could trouble me for a cup of hot tea when they first arrived.  It was no trouble, although, I thought at the time, an unusual request as most folks were thirsting for a cool drink after traveling in the heat of the day.  At that time of day nearly everyone in town was taking a siesta.  I remember that too, since young Pedro was sound asleep under the shade of a mesquite tree and missed his chance for a boarder at the Livery Stable.
She made her way up the steps and into the parlor where she removed her wide brimmed hat and dusted off her dark foulard traveling suit before gratefully being assisted onto the Cameo Settee by her attentive husband.  My daughter Sarah, welcomed our guests then quickly went to the kitchen to prepare the tea while the gentleman made the room arrangements and signed the register. 

My wife is quite ill and we are here to see Doc Powers. We've been on the road since early this morning. I'd be mighty appreciative if you could see her settled in the room while I see to our horse and buggy.

I gave him directions to the Livery and assured him we would see to his wife's comfort, and if he would leave their bags on the porch, they too, would be taken to room number five.

Thank-you kindly for the tea, Sarah, mmmm...Lady Grey, my favorite.  Sarah covered the teapot and offered her a freshly baked muffin and said, "if there is anything you need at anytime, please do not hesitate to use the 'Bell Pull'.  Enjoy your Lady Grey."  As Sarah softly closed the door behind her, The Lady Grey Tea Drinker bowed her head.  Your daughter reminds me of my own daughter, God rest her soul. There was a tremor in her hand and the delicate rose tea cup rattled ever so slightly. Her eyes filled with tears. Please forgive me, it seems the pain and sorrow of losing one's child is not eased with the passing of time. A knock at the door and then her husband was there to comfort her. I bid them good evening.

The following morning the couple joined the other boarders and overnight guests for breakfast.  The husband seated his wife and introduced  themselves as John and Olivia Buckner.  He took the chair beside his wife and shook hands with the Sheriff...now seated to his left.  As steaming hot biscuits were passed around the table and cream gravy with sausage was generously ladled on the plates, the conversation turned to what the Wichita Times was calling the Mexican Uprising.

All eyes were on the Sheriff who before he could recount the events of the night before, caught my raised eyebrow and the look that every husband recognizes as, 'Not fit conversation at My breakfast table.' As coffee cups were refilled and Sarah poured Mrs. Buckners second cup of Lady Grey, the Sheriff  matter of factly informed the guests not to worry.  The streets were safe for citizens to go about their business as usual.

After draining his coffee cup, he rose from the table, lifted his black stetson from the peg and said, "Thanks for the fine breakfast, Emma.  You can plan on setting two more plates for supper.  They should be here by then."  I had just finished the round of refills and was mentally figuring where two more would fit around the table when I heard Sarah say, "Who's they, Pa?"

The Sheriff, in one practiced fluid movement, reached in his vest pocket, pulled out his Star, polished it with his sleeve, pinned it on his vest, tipped his hat to Mrs. Buckner and strode to the door.  As he opened the door he hesitated and turned back to the breakfast table where everyone was waiting to hear the answer to Sarah's question.

Two men were shot dead last night.  They...are The Texas Rangers.
...to be continued...

Authored by Sandra Sue Pittman
Photos by Author
Photos are not Representative of People or Places in this story.
Used strictly for interest and support of story.
Photos are Authentic Representations of the Period.
This Account/Writing/Post is an Exclusive Publication
of
CollectInTexas Gal and Tracks of My Texas Ancestors
myfreecopyright.com registered & protected