Mayhem, It’s all a Part of the Ponderosa (by BluewindFarm)

Summary:  From the outside looking in, it’s a little much to take in, especially for what could have been.
Rating: G Words (1440)
Written for the 2022 Bonanza Brand Advent Calendar

~*~*~ Advent Calendar ~*~*~ *
Day 3



Mayhem, It’s all a Part of the Ponderosa


A howling wind greeted Sheriff Roy Coffee as he stepped to the boardwalk.  Having buttoned the fleece collar of his jacket tighter, he pulled the office door closed behind him.


After a quick shiver, the lawman set out at a lively pace, his first destination was the livery.  Young James, the thirteen-year-old son of the telegrapher, had delivered a wire about fifteen minutes earlier, and in return he was paid a dime if on his way back to the shop he’d stop and tell the barn manager the sheriff needed his horse.


Halfway to the Ponderosa Roy mumble to himself about ‘blame fool people’.  Deep down he understood why the message had been addressed to him.  The sender hadn’t wanted a child to venture out in the uncertain weather to deliver the news.  The lawman had no qualms that had the child successfully arrived and been trapped by the weather, Hop Sing or the Cartwrights would have kept the boy safe; but it wouldn’t have prevented the parents from worrying if he arrived safely only to be stranded on his way home.  “Still, blame fool people, sending me out in such weather,” Roy espoused once more while kicking his gelding into a gentle lope.




Riding into the yard between the barn and main house, Roy couldn’t help but smile at the site of an over-bundled Little Joe Cartwright running about kicking up tufts of snow, who stopped without warning, his arms out wide, head tilted back, mouth open with his tongue stuck out trying to catch a snowflake or two as they fell.  The boy began running, only to trip over a hidden object and fall into a snowdrift that measured almost to the six-year-old’s hips; an infectious laughter emanated from the mound.


From the high porch, a well-wrapped Hop Sing was first to notice the lawman’s arrival, “Sheriff Coffee, welcome!”


Giving a quick wave and nodding to the houseman, Roy stepped down from his mount and called out, “Don’t lay there too long Little Joe, wouldn’t take too much more to burry you.”


“And if that happens, ya wouldn’t be found ‘til Spring,” Hoss answered as he strode from the doorway across the wooden porch.  Calling to the ranch hand exiting the barn, “Dodd, would ya take care of Sheriff Coffee’s horse?” Stopping by the lawman, the pre-teen offered his hand in greeting.


“Hoss,” Roy answered, extending his own hand.


Knowing the distance traversed between town and the Ponderosa, Hop Sing motioned, “Honorable Sheriff come inside, get warm in front of fire and have cup a’coffee.”


“I’ll keep an eye on Shortshanks; make sure he don’t get lost,” Hoss stated.


“Get him out of snow. Then both you boys come inside.  Foolish boy come out without coat,” Hop Sing admonished, also saying a few words in his native language as he moved to escort Roy towards the ranch house, watching to make sure their guest didn’t trip on anything.


“Ah Hop Sing,” Hoss bemoaned.


Roy looked over his shoulder not knowing if Hoss was upset at having to rescue his little brother or Hop Sing chastising him about not wearing a coat.  Regardless the boy, rather large boy, was making his way to where Little Joe lay beside the mound, now making snow angels.


As they disappeared inside the entryway Roy could hear Hoss, threatening Little Joe with bodily harm.  One more look saw Hoss  evading a snow ball.


Removing his gloves and unbuttoning his coat, Roy headed straight for the massive log fireplace in the great room.  “Ahhhhh,” he sighed, holding out his hands, basking in the warmth.


“Roy,” Ben called as he walked down the staircase.  “Surprised to see you out in this weather.”


“Hadn’t planned on it, but got a message for you and the boys.”


“Are you trying to say you don’t you make enough money as a lawman that you had to take on a second job as a messenger?” teased Ben.  “Poor James.”


“My salary ain’t got nothing to do with this.  But I wouldn’t say ‘No’ if the town counsel were to offer me more money.”  Shedding his coat, “And poor James my foot.”  Pulling the message from his vest pocket, “This here was address to me cause the sender didn’t want to possibly trap James out here and worry his parents.”


Motioning to one of the chairs, “Roy, have a seat.  I’m sure Hop Sing will be out momentarily with a hot cup of coffee for you, and once you’re warmer,” taking the envelope from his friend, “you can tell me what this is all about,” and then sat down in his own chair.


“Hop Sing already offered me a cup of coffee… ah here he is now.”  Taking the delicate cup and saucer, Roy relished the warmth from the cup as well as the liquid brew, while the bearer quickly returned to his domain in the kitchen.


A few minutes later, the heavy wooden front door banging open against the credenza heralded Ben’s sons in the room.


“That there telegram is from Adam,” Roy proclaimed as he finally felt warm enough to take a seat.


“Adam?” Joe excitedly called out, evading Hoss’ attempted grab and tracking wet snow across the wooden floor.


“Joseph,” pointing back the way the boy had come, Ben ordered, “back to the door.  Remove your boots and outer gear, then you’ll grab a towel or two and clean up the mess you just made.”


Father and lawman both heard the dejected, “Yes sir,” whispered and watched the boy sulk to the do as told.


“Cain’t blame him too much Pa.” Hoss said, having walked to the dining room table and pulled an apple from a bowl.  “He shore is missing Adam.”


“We all are son.”




With Joseph divested of his winter gear, the floor cleaned, and everyone seated comfortably, Ben read the message.


“Have safely arrived.  Met grandfather.  Detailed letter forthcoming.  Missing you.”


“That musta cost him a fortune,” Hoss murmured while shaking his head.


“Yes, and speaking of letters,” Ben reached for his pipe setting on the small table next to the chair.  “I suggest you both write one to your brother this weekend letting him know how much you miss him.”  Pointing the mouthpiece specifically towards his youngest, Ben quirked his eyebrows.


“Will he get them before Christmas?” Joe inquired.


“Probably not,” Ben answered, tamping down the tabaco in his pipe before lighting it.


“Then how’s he gonna get his gifts from us?’


“He knows that he probably wouldn’t receive any from us until maybe next year.  We didn’t know exactly when he’d arrive in Boston.”


“Does Santa know he moved?  He’s gotta get something!” Joe exclaimed.


“Well, I guess we could send something small,” Ben suggested, realizing he needed to head off a full-blown tantrum from occuring in front of the lawman.


“Pa, ya need to clarify how small.  Bet Little Joe here’ll want to try an’ fit inside that crate.”


“I’ll throw him in jail if he tries that,” Roy warned.  “Smuggling is against the law.”


Joe’s eyes sparked at the thought and laughed, “I ain’t gonna do that.  Pa and Hoss’d miss me too much.”


Finishing his apple and tossing the core into the fire, “Speak for yourself Shortshank.”


“Hoss,” Ben reprimanded.


“Ah, he knows I’s just a teasin’,” Hoss replied.  “Sides, ya’d miss all the snow outside boxed up for a trip like that.”


“See, I knew it!” Joe clambered into Ben’s lap.  “Pa, ya shoulda seen them snowflakes.”


“I should have seen those snowflakes, Joseph,” Ben corrected.


“That’s what I said.”  Joe continued to prattle on about his outdoor adventures.


Ben was fully engrossed in rereading the wire while half-heartedly listening to his youngest, with Hoss good-naturedly taunting the lad.


Heaving a heavy sigh, Roy rose to his feet, pulled on his coat, and bade his goodbyes as he walked across the floor to the doorway.


Retrieving his horse from the barn, Roy couldn’t stop the corners of his mouth turning up as he remembered Little Joe’s antics. Seeing the ranch hand coming from the tack room, “Don’t know how Ben puts up with such mayhem.”


Leaning against a support beam, Dodd teased, “Kinda softens the gruffness out of a body, don’t he.”


As the lawman climbed into the saddle, Dodd smiled as he heard Roy say, “Blame fool people, should mind their own business,” before he exited the barn, rounded the corner, and disappeared into the snow-filled landscape.  It wasn’t gruffness, it was memories of what could have been.



Merry Christmas Everyone!



Character chose:  Sheriff Roy Coffee

Item received:   Snowflake

Second character requested:  Not this time


Link to the 2022 Bonanza Brand Advent Calendar – Day 4 – Rethinking San Francisco (by PSW)


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Author: BluewindFarm

A dressage rider who's a cowgirl at heart.

Though I wasn't old enough during the heyday of Westerns on TV, with the introduction of cable and satellite services in the 1980's, I fell in love with Bonanza, Lancer, The Big Valley, The Rifleman, and The Wild, Wild West, among others. Through syndication and fanfiction; our heroes will live on forever.

I hope you enjoy reading the stories I've written, and look forward to reading your comments.

4 thoughts on “Mayhem, It’s all a Part of the Ponderosa (by BluewindFarm)

  1. It is adorable!! I love to read stories about Little Joe as a little boy!!!! He is so sweet!! Thank you!!!!

  2. It is adorable!! I love to read stories about Little Joe as a little boy!!!! He is so sweet!! Thank tou!!!!

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