Hired Gun From Santa Fe
Jessie, the hard-working wife of Grandpa Logan, settled the new schoolteacher, Sally, into a comfortable but tiny room in the new wing they had added just last month to house the cowpunchers coming into the valley and looking for work on a decent place with home-style cooking instead of eating tasteless slop thrown together by some disreputable cook doing a distasteful job just because he was unable to ride a horse any longer.
The Logan's came in from the branding pit making a racket that could be heard halfway to China. Matt and Mark had their own little houses now right in back of the main ranch-house with their Irish wives and growing broods of little ones. They immediately turned around and went back out to "wash up" when they saw there was female company in the main building. It wasn't because either of them was planning to be rambunctious with a strange female since they were both under steady control of their eagle-eyed spouses, but because it was the proper thing to do in such circumstances. The pair of trouble-makers, Bobby and Billy, the young lads belonging to the Wilson clan, just stood there all dirty and dusty looking open-mouthed at the attractive new schoolteacher and poking each other like they were in a state of complete disbelief.
Sam could easily understand their confusion because in all honesty the neatly dressed Sally Sweetsap was a striking figure of a woman with the face of an angel. She was completely out of place in the frontier small town and would be certain to break her share of hearts before very long.
He promised silently that he wouldn't be in that category.
"How long have you been a schoolteacher, Miss Sally?"
The young woman smiled sweetly and buttered a sour dough biscuit before she answered clearly and to the point with her Eastern accent that she had only recently graduated from the Teaching Academy where she had earned her credential to teach at any level from first grade to the final year of academic training normal for most school districts even on the frontier.
Bothe Bobby and Billy declared that they hadn't finished their "schooling" and pestered their mother to let them be in the "pretty lady's" classroom. Sam had to fight back his laughter because they were so transparent in the instant "puppy love" attack for the new teacher. He knew there was little likelihood that their father would allow them to escape the numerous chores around the beginning homestead for the lure of book learning with younger children. Sam agreed that if they were old enough to be wearing a six-shooter, they were too old for a classroom. They would just have to shoulder their lack of education like most of the other grown-ups in the West focused on leading their lives and surviving in a harsh environment.
After dinner, they all sat down in the large room with the fireplace and Sally was pleased to sing a few old time favorites for the others with a graciousness of sharing that made her an instant hit with the entire family.
Grandpa Logan sang an inspiring Civil War ballad that brought many a tear to those that had lost someone close in the bloody conflict and Sam even contributed a lively rendition of a wounded desperado on his last legs headed down to Mexico way to be buried next to his devoted "Senorita" behind a church where they were married. It was a sad song but most of the music of the time was sad in the midst of uncertain futures.
Sally told them that her sister was living at a not too distant Army fort but they had strict rules about only housing wives and children of officers and no other relatives like a sister-in-law and such. Still, she planned to visit them shortly before her school duties started because her sister had informed her by mail that she was expecting and she wanted to check on her welfare before she got immersed in the day-to-day challenges of teaching an entire school of youngsters eager to get their education.
She confided in out on the porch under the glowing light of the desert moon that she had once thought to get married as well but that her "beau" was cut down by a dreadful flu that took other loved ones of her extended family as well. Sally revealed that her adventurous trip out west was because she needed a change of scenery after her disappointment and that she was only now beginning to think of a future without a man in her life.
The man from Texas hoped that certainly wouldn't be the case at least in the respect to some nocturnal explorations of the horizontal kind. Since she seemed mighty accommodating in her demeanor, Sam ventured a respectful kiss on her pretty lips but she held him tightly to her bosom and they merged together in perfect harmony at the juncture of their lips and he felt the soft welcome of her feminine parts rub on his aroused member like a sweet smelling promise of adventures to come. Sam was not quite sure if he was pleased with the sensation of such contact or if he was like a little boy in a candy store who could look through the glass but not actually eat the goodies inside.
The next day, Sam was ready to head out to scout the open range to make certain the Texas steers would be free to roam at will in the grasslands without interference. He stayed far away from the sheep grazing land and the settlers that were not quite sure that the introduction of the Texas Cattle Company was a good idea for the valley. When he passed the line shack belonging to the now defunct Cattleman's Association, he noticed a string of horses still saddled with Winchesters under the saddles and a look of hard travel in their stance. A pair of bearded gunslingers stood watch out front pretending disinterest as he rode by without turning his head in their direction. He noticed that this new contingent of gunslingers had better than average nags and their saddles were still shiny with that almost new look that meant their backers were well financed and obviously opposed to the Texas Cattlemen's Association move to take over the open range before the settlers or the sheepherders shut them out of the valley.
He moved on to the main herd moving north and linked up with the cattle drive master telling him that he best have his best shots up front just in case there was trouble. The man's name was "Slim" and that was amusing because he was so overweight, Sam felt sorry for his mount. They split the herd up into a small lead element with the calmest animals and put the younger less stable steers in the second wave to cut down on the chances of an uncontrollable stampede that would cost them a lot of good beef on the hoof and perhaps even some of the cowboys riding close watch on the tired herd.