Black Means Love (by AC1830)

Summary:  Are Black and Adam Cartwright synonymous? In more ways than one might think.

Rating: K, Word count: 871

Black Means Love


Black. The word conjures so many thoughts and visions, most of them negative – absence of light, fear, dark moods. Today, for many, Black represents sadness, but for me it means so much more. 

When I see Black, I’m drawn back to a time in my young life when Black was everywhere. I’ve seen my father’s Black mood morph into sunny smiles when I entered the room. In the mirror I noticed how my long Black waves of hair and tawny eyes matched my father’s. I also wondered why my father wore so much Black but I never voiced my curiosity. 

However, I was only five when I learned that Black could represent something totally different. It was the first winter of our stay on the Ponderosa and my father promised he would take me to see the crystal lake surrounded by the snow-covered mountains. Yet, day after day, the path, he said, was too treacherous. One day when he finally said I could go, he had come down with a cold and could not take me. To alleviate my disappointment, Uncle Joe volunteered to take me. Still saddened that it would not be the special time with my father as I had hoped, I looked forward to the adventure with my fun-loving uncle. 

The path was slippery in some places and slushy in others but we made it to the crest and I beheld the majesty of my father’s homestead. I looked up into Uncle Joe’s green eyes that were filled with wonder and pride. In my five year old mind I could not understand why, since I knew he saw this view nearly every day of his life. Years later I understood. There was something about the lake and the Ponderosa that renewed your spirit each time you looked upon it. 

A moment after we shared our expressions of wonder, the slushy ground supporting me gave away. In the blink of an eye I landed hard at the bottom of the embankment. I could not breathe and everything hurt. I could hear the panic in Uncle Joe’s voice as he called to me – ‘Amanda!’. Through the Blackness of the darkness surrounding me I could barely make out his face, and that is when I heard his last words to me – not to worry…stay where I am…he will get help. That’s when Black took on a new meaning. Black meant Fear. My sight was growing dim and my heart pounded. I was alone and Black surrounded me as the tears came. 

My next recollection was of gentle hands and softness surrounding me. A quiet voice told me I would be fine and to trust the one to whom it belonged. My Black fear began to release its grip on me as Hope brought light to my heart. It must be Papa. He came and I am safe. Feeling brave enough to open my eyes, I almost panicked. It was not my father’s kind face that I saw, but one with a fuzzy gray beard and pale gray eyes. It was his voice I had heard and he must have seen my fear for he smiled a radiant smile and insisted I rest in his arms until I felt stronger. Something about him begged me to trust him so I closed my eyes and saw not Black darkness but peaceful Light. I knew Papa would come for me. I trusted Uncle Joe’s last promise to me, and I knew I would be safe until then. 

The next time I awoke, a warm breath brought quiet words to my ears, and damp droplets caressed my cheeks. Someone was rocking me and when I rolled into the broad chest I opened my eyes to a familiar Blackness. The softness of the Black shirt and familiar scent confirmed I was in my Papa’s arms. I lifted my eyes to find him looking at me. Enveloped in his strong arms and against his Black shirt Peace and Love filled me as I closed my eyes to calm slumber. My father was there and I was safe. Nothing else mattered in my small world.*

A deep shaky breath brings me strength as I gaze upon so many familiar faces. I recall my stalwart Grandfather, the top of this grand family pyramid before me. My three uncles and aunts and my cousins look at me with love. My younger brothers and sisters, and my own husband and children offer me silent encouragement. And all my nieces and nephews show me the path to the future. 

“Today, as we gather in love, we wear Black. But it is not the Black of sadness nor of grief. It is the Black of love, of strength, and of authority. Today, and always, when I wear Black it is in honor of a man who emitted not only power, intelligence, and authority but gentleness, kindness, and love to all who encountered him. Today, I proudly wear Black in honor of my father, Adam Cartwright.


*A/N – This memory is Amanda’s point of view of events in my story Keeping Watch, to be posted soon.

Written for the 2023 Man in Black challenge in honor of Pernell Roberts’ birthday.


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Author: AC1830

Like many, I grew up with Bonanza. I'm an Adam gal from the beginning but I love all the Cartwrights, Candy and Jamie. In 2015 I reconnected with Bonanza through forums and also found my love of reading and writing fan fiction.

12 thoughts on “Black Means Love (by AC1830)

  1. What a nice tribute to Adam. It’s amazing how one color can mean so many different things to different people.

    1. I thought so after I looked up what Black could represent. I was amazed how much of it fit Adam. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. They are always appreciated.

  2. Oh, AC this brings forth so much emotion with few words. I can’t wait to read the complete story!

    1. Thank you, Lisa. That it touched you emotionally is the greatest compliment. The other story, Keeping Watch will be posted soon.

  3. AC1890, I loved your story. I found it to be full of warmth, and family love, full of the spirit of Adam Cartwright, and it’s a wonderful way to look at the color black…that it is not a color of sadness and grief, but the color of love and strength and power.

    Thank-you for your beautiful story.

    1. Thank you so much Heather-Chrysalis for your lovely comments. I’m so glad you felt the warmth of the family. I felt Adam’s the one who put a new twist on Black. Thanks for reading. Your comments mean a lot.

  4. Existe t’il une étoile noire ? Et pourtant elle brille de tout les feux d’un cœur en or.
    Bon anniversaire Pernell /Adam 💝
    Ou que tu soit, paix et amour 💞

    1. Merci, Monika for your lovely thoughts about Pernell/Adam. I’m glad you enjoyed this tribute to him on his birthday.

  5. OMG. This is a cliffhanger.
    I am so afraid of the rest of the story. Please do not wait to post them. The suspence is killing me.

    1. Thank you Jose. i’m glad you enjoyed this story. I did leave it for the reader to wonder but don’t think too hard about it. It’s the circle of life. I will post the other story (called Keeping Watch), which is the story Amanda recalled. This story takes place many years after that one. It’s part of the world I created for Adam and the future generations. Some of them are in the Library already. Thanks so much for reading.

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