Baptism by Fire (by Storm)

Chapter 3:

Ben had noticed that Adam didn’t seem to mind too much going on this round up as much as he might normally. Of course that could be because he was well aware that it would be the last one he would be going on at least for a few years. In less the two months his son would be leaving for college. Ben knew that he should be leaving sooner in order to give him time to settle in but Adam had said he wouldn’t leave until after the memorial service they would be holding for Marie. Ben was well aware how bad his eldest son felt about leaving so close to the anniversary of her passing and he tried to reassure Adam that all would be fine and he hoped he’d accomplished that because he didn’t want his son to go feeling too bad. He reminded Adam that it was Marie who was his ally in fighting to make this dream a reality and she wouldn’t want to be the reason that his adventure was delayed any longer. Ben also knew that this was something his son desperately wanted but he also knew he would put it off if his father asked him to. He only hoped his son wouldn’t find something to make him want to stay back east.


“So Adam did you finish all your visiting?”

“Yes pa. I think I’ve said goodbye to everyone in the territory. They all said to tell you that it was a beautiful service and that they were all happy to see you doing so well.”

“Yes I guess most of them didn’t think I would ever recover.”


“Well I never had my doubts.”

“I know son and thank you for that.”

As usual when things appeared as if they might get a little too emotional Adam tried to find something to redirect the conversation and he used the usual topic. “Hey pa where’s Little Joe?”

“Right now in the kitchen. He and Hoss are helping Hop-Sing.”

“Poor Hop-Sing.”

“Yes but I do believe even if he would never admit it Hop-Sing does enjoy your brother’s attentions.”

“Perhaps but I believe what he enjoys the most is the attention Hoss gives his cooking.”

“True enough.”

“Well I think I’ll go and get cleaned up.”

“That’s a very good idea. Dinner should be ready soon. Oh by the way there’s a letter for you on my desk. I picked it up when I went into town earlier.”

“Who’s it from pa?”

Ben was glad that Adam didn’t ask why he had gone into town when this morning he had said he was feeling tired and would Adam mind if he didn’t go with him to visit with their neighbors. “Go and read it and you’ll find out for yourself.”

Adam could tell from the grin on his father’s face it was someone he would like to hear from.


Adam had glanced at the envelope and he decided to wash up first because he wanted to let the anticipation grow about what was in the letter. After he was sure his hands were dry and would not make the paper wet he sat on his bed and opened the envelope and read.


I was very happy to hear from you and I’m glad that you’ll be leaving for college. The west could use smart men but it also needs ones that don’t let that smart interfere with what their heart knows to be right. I believe you could be such a man Adam.

I hope that we can meet again. Maybe I’ll be able to come and see you after you graduate. I’d like to see how education will change you or how being with all those civilized people will change you, I only hope it ain’t too much because I’m kind of partial to the young man I know.

Want to hear something funny? I heard tell that this fella was gonna write a book with me as the hero. I don’t see me as no hero. You know what I would consider a hero? A hero is a boy who fights against all odds to put out a fire because he knows to not do that would mean all his pa worked so hard for would be lost. There are a lot of boys who wouldn’t even see how hard their pa was working because they would be busy with things that keep boys busy. To me a hero is that same boy who fights just as hard to keep his family together through a real tough time. He puts his hurt and grief aside because he has to be the strong one for his little brothers when, for a little while, their pa lost sight of what was important because he was blinded by his heartache. That boy to me is a hero and I do hope the man he is on his way to becoming can live up to that boy because it would sure be a tragedy if he doesn’t.

I don’t think I’ve written a letter this long in some time because my hand is starting to cramp. So I will finish up by letting you know that I wish you the best of luck at school and warn you to not let those pretty eastern gals distract you too much.

I’ll be seeing you again

Kit Carson

“I certainly hope so Kit.”

Adam put the letter back into the envelope and laid it on the table beside his bed. He knew he would probably read it again before he went to sleep. Funny but just like Kit he didn’t see himself as a hero but he did believe Kit Carson to be one. Adam knew he had only done what needed doing at the time. Maybe in some ways that’s what a hero was. Doing what needed doing even if you didn’t want to or was sometimes afraid to. He remembered Hop-Sing once told him something Confucius, a great Chinese philosopher, said about courage ‘To see what is right and not to do it is cowardice’. That’s all Adam felt he had done, what was right.

Adam could hear his name being called and he prepared to go and join his family for one of the last meals they would share together for a while.

What Adam didn’t know was what they had been planning all day. It’s why Ben had given Adam a list of people to go see knowing they needed time to prepare everything. Ben had been happy, well not at the time, when they found they were short on some of the needed ingredients because when he had gone into town he had picked up that letter from Kit and he knew that hearing from him would make Adam happy. Ben knew that neither he nor his sons would be in mood for a big party but he was not about to let his son leave home without some kind of a celebration. So that’s what tonight would be. All of Adam’s favorite dishes and a very special cake for desert. It was that cake that Hop-Sing had allowed Hoss and Little Joe help decorate. It may not be the prettiest of cakes but Ben knew that his eldest son would see it as the most perfect and prettiest cake every baked because like his father he would see only the love that had gone into making it not the fingerprints in the icing.

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Author: storm

1 thought on “Baptism by Fire (by Storm)

  1. Excellent story with characterizations of Adam, Ben, and Marie that help understand not only their behavior but their relationships too.

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