Baptism by Fire (by Storm)

Chapter 5:

Ben appeared strong but in reality, at this moment, he was quite vulnerable.

“Hey mister you want me to take that or not?”

Ben again looked at the letter he held and handed it to the waiting gentleman. “That’s to my son. He’s away at college in Boston.”

The man just nodded and gave Ben an unconscious smile. He could hear the pride in Ben’s voice, it would be hard to miss, but he didn’t have the time to recognize it. Ben watched as the gentleman threw it into the bag with so many other peoples written messages of love. Ben knew that if you were to read each one you would only see written banal chores and descriptions of everyday life. He knew though that the recipients would be able to read the hopes, dreams and love hidden in those common words. He hoped his son would at least. When Ben sat down to write these letters he wanted them to be so grand and full of such important news but that’s not what they ended up being. They ended up being filled with daily chores and the silly things that Hoss and Joe had done since the last letter. This letter was a little different though. Ben had found himself in quite a reflective mood when he wrote it.


Adam sat quietly at the table and took out the letter. It was his habit to wait until most of the town was asleep to read these missives from home. Most of his classmates, or at least those from a distance, would rip open and read their letters as soon as they were received but Adam chose to wait until he was alone. He knew then he would be as his father was when he wrote it. Adam carried the letter in the pocket closest to his heart all day and he could feel the love it had been written with and it warmed him.

He knew it would probably contain descriptions of everyday things. Such as moving the herd to different pastures or what Hop-Sing had made for supper that evening. His father would most likely write of his brothers’ latest antics. What the letter contained really wasn’t the point behind them. Adam knew his father had written every word. He knew that he had taken the time to sit after a long, hard day when he was probably so tired he could hardly keep his eyes open just to let his son know that Joe had brought one of the piglets into the house or that Hoss had yet again talked Hop-Sing out of a cookie or two before supper. They were such trivial things most wouldn’t think to write of them but his father knew they helped Adam feel like a part of the family. Helped him feel like he was home.


My dearest son,

How many letters have I sent you now? Have you really been gone for almost 2 years? I can remember when we first started out west with nothing but a promise. I can remember when you were but a toddler but I knew you were so very smart. I use to take great pleasure in pointing out the constellations to you. I remember it was one night in 1833 while I was pointing out the constellation Leo when we became witnesses to a wondrous sight. At first I think you were frightened, afraid that the stars were falling out of the sky. I told you they were only coming nearer to Earth so they could hear the wishes of the people standing below them. I told you to make a wish on each one you could and that it would see it was brought up to heaven. I believe you ran out of wishes before you ran out of falling stars.

I recall reading in a newspaper how it had just been a meteor shower. The man who wrote that must have been quite an unimaginative fellow to be able to call the wonder we had witnessed just a meteor shower. To you and me it was so much more. It gave us a way to escape the troubles we were suffering through. To watch that most superlative display of God and nature made us, or at least me, try to imagine what other great discoveries lay ahead of us.

I also recall reading some years later that they called that meteor shower the Leonids because their radiant was the constellation Leo we had been looking for that night.

Now you are off making discoveries of your own but please son don’t ever forget you radiant is the Ponderosa. Adam please believe me that to me you are a wish come true.

Well enough of that, you know how I can get when I am tired.

I was glad to read in your last letter that you had heard from Kit again. Let him know that Little Joe is really enjoying that book he sent, Kit Carson: The Prince of the Gold Hunters by Charles Averill. I know I shouldn’t have let him read it at his age but he saw the name and he knew he had met him so he just had to read it. At first I found him sneaking it into his bed at night and trying to read it by moonlight. I guess getting him to read voluntarily is hard enough I didn’t want to discourage him.

Do you know that your brother Hoss has asked a girl to the school dance? I could hardly believe it myself but I guess he is growing up and the girl he is taking is a real sweetheart. When he asked me if I liked her I told him just that. Then he asked me if I thought you would like her. I hope you don’t mind but I told him I was sure you would.

Well there goes that old clock chiming the next hour. I guess I better get to bed and let you do the same. I have a dance to chaperone tomorrow night, or according to the clock tonight, and you know the things boys and girls can get up to so I will have to be diligent and on my toes so I will need my rest. Hoss and Little Joe said to let you know their letters will be coming soon. Hoss wanted to wait until after the dance to write his and Little Joe wanted to wait until he’d finished the book. I guess by then I will be ready to write you again, so much can happen in a few days.

We all miss you son.

All my love

Your Father

Adam folded the letter and placed it back into the envelope. As foolish as it was he knew it would spend the night under his pillow and he prayed it would inspire his dreams.

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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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