Baptism by Fire (by Storm)

Chapter 7:

“Hey Hoss how about you and me go hunt that wolf tomorrow?”

“What about Joe?”

“Pa said he’d keep him busy so we could go just you and me.”

“I’d like that Adam.” This would be the first time since Adam had come home that they would be alone and Hoss found himself a little hesitant. He knew Adam was his brother and all but would they have stuff to talk about? Hoss knew it wasn’t just because Adam had changed, so had he.

“Me too.” Adam didn’t doubt they have things to discuss. He already had one thing in mind.


Adam and Hoss left early the next morning and as on most hunting or fishing trips they were quiet to start with but as time wore on Adam decided it was time to broach the subject he had been wanting to discuss with his brother.

“Hoss pa said that journal was your idea. Thank you. I really needed one.”

“I just figured you had a lot of interesting stuff to write about like knowing Kit Carson and all.”

“You have a lot of interesting things to write about too.”

“I don’t know. I ain’t led a life like you. I ain’t never left Nevada. Probably never will not for long anyway. You was born in Boston but you and pa traveled all the way here. Then you went back east to go to school. I ain’t never gonna do nothing like that.”

“Maybe not but you’ve got a lot of other things to write about. Things I couldn’t. While I was at college you were here helping pa build up the Ponderosa. You helped pa pick out the herd and horses and because of that you know more then I do about animals. Besides if it weren’t for you I might not have gone to college because I wouldn’t be alive.”


“Don’t you remember when I fell through the ice that winter? You were only ten but you got me out of the water and back home. Everyone was still in town so you got the fire started and lit the stove. You even made a pot of coffee.”

“Yeah but it tasted pretty bad though.”

“It was hot.”

“Yeah but all that was nothing.”

“Gee thanks Hoss.”

“I don’t mean it like that I just mean you’re my brother and you would a done the same for me or Joe.”

“Of course I would have but that’s not the point. The point is you knew what you had to do and you were only ten.”

“Yeah and I was big enough to do it.”

“Yes you were and it’s a good thing too.”

Adam always could make him fell good about himself. “Adam you really think I’d have interesting things to write about?”

“Yes I do Hoss and I think you should keep a journal too.”

“What would I write?”

“Hoss you’ve read pa’s journals. What did he write about? Was it all Indian attacks and discovering new territories?”


“Not every day.”

“No I guess not.”

“Tell me honestly what are the things you remember most about them.”

“I remember him writing about the day you first left Boston and all he hoped would happen. I remember him writing about the first time you walked and the first time you said something, he wrote it was pa. I remember him writing about the first day you met my ma. He wrote he thought she was nosy.”

“Yeah he did and if he hadn’t written in his journal every day he wouldn’t have written about those things and we might not have ever known about them. See Hoss those are everyday things. Things that happen to people all the time. Some are things you don’t think you’ll ever forget and maybe you don’t but you forget how if felt or maybe when it happened exactly. I can remember your ma reading that journal and her laughing at how pa wrote that she was a bossy woman who put her nose where it didn’t belong and concerned herself with things that didn’t concern her. Do you think pa would have ever told her those things in quite the way he wrote them? But the way he wrote it was the truth and it wouldn’t have been near as meaningful. I can remember her crying when she read how pa thought she was one of the prettiest, kindest ladies he knew and she knew he felt that way before he’d ever hinted at it because she saw the dates.”

“Adam I can remember pa writing how you and him went fishin’ one day and the fun you had. I remember reading that he thought that you were smart and kind and brave and that he was proud to be your pa. He wrote that just after my ma was killed.”

“I remember pa writing of the day you were born. He wrote how he was so happy and proud. How he thought you were a very handsome baby. And Hoss if you read the journal he keeps now I know he’s written how proud he is to be your pa.”

“You mean he still keeps one?”

“Sure. Pa writes in it every night. Don’t forget it’s something he’s been doing since before he met my mother. Keeping a log is something all sailors do. It’s become a habit Hoss. One that’s hard to break. There are some nights you’re so dog tired you don’t know why you do it but you do. Sometimes you try not to but the thoughts just keep bouncing around inside your head and they won’t give you any peace until you write them down so you do.”

“Maybe I’ll try Adam.”

“Good because one day you’re going to meet a girl you’ll thing is bossy and nosy and when your anniversary comes around you can show it to her and she’ll laugh just like your ma did.

“Hey I’m too young to be getting married.”

“You and me both little brother.”

“Ya think you ever will?”

“Will what?”

“Get married.”

“I don’t know Hoss. I guess I hope so but not for some years. There are still too many pretty girls I haven’t kissed yet.”


Ben came in and found his eldest son sitting and reading. “So Adam how’d the hunting go?”

“We didn’t get that wolf pa.”

“Is that what you really went to do?”

“I guess not. So how did Joe take it? Where is he?”

“He was okay. We made a day of it. He should be in in a minute. Where’s Hoss?”

“He went upstairs to get washed up but that was a while ago.”


“Hey Adam me and pa had a good time today. We went into town and we ate lunch at the café. Then we went and visited with Sheriff Coffee and he let me look at the wanted posters. Did you and Hoss have a good time?” Joe was a little torn because while he had enjoyed being with his pa he also wished he could have been with his brothers.

“Yes we did Joe but you know we didn’t see hide nor hair of that wolf. How would you like to come with me tomorrow to look for him?”

“Sure! Can I pa? Can I go with Adam tomorrow?”

“Of course Joseph. I’m sure you’d be safe with your brother because he wouldn’t let a wolf do you any harm. Now if you two will excuse me I am going to see Hoss.” Ben went upstairs with the sound of his two son’s making plans echoing behind him.


Ben stood in the doorway to his son’s bedroom and watched him as he slept. He drew close and went to pull the covers over him certain that he would awake once the food was ready. As he pulled the covers up the book fell to the floor. Ben picked it up and couldn’t stop himself from reading.

My brother Adam says I should keep a journal because I got interesting things to write about. I don’t think I do but if my brother Adam says I do then I must because there ain’t nothing he ain’t right about. Like when he came home from college and he gave me an acorn. He told me if I planted it an oak tree would grow. He sure was right about that ‘cause I checked on it the other day and it sure ‘nough is growin’. Course Adam did say he found it on his mother’s grave when he went to tell her goodbye so maybe she’s helping it to grow so he can have something of back east here so he won’t miss it so much and won’t feel like leavin’ again. I know she’s gotta know how much pa missed him, and me and Joe too.

Adam said I should keep a journal so if I ever have any kids they can read it just like we do pa’s and they can know how I felt and what I did each day even if it wasn’t important stuff. Well if that’s true and you are my kid reading this then you let your Uncle Adam know that I think he’s a real great big brother and I love him cause I don’t know why but it ain’t always easy for me to let him know that. You let him know that sometimes when I use to feel different on account of the other fellas always teasin’ me for bein’ so big he made me feel good. Sometimes all he ever had to do was call me little brother cause I knew that’s what I was and always would be to him, his little brother no matter how old or big I got. I know that sometimes it bothers Joe but guess that’s cause Joe’s smaller then the other guys and he don’t want to be reminded he’s someone’s little brother. I think, though, when he grows up he’ll like it just like I do ‘cause he’ll know it means someone’s always watchin’ out for him. Sometimes I wonder who watches out for Adam? I guess he got pa but who’s pa got? Guess we’ll all have to watch out for pa cause he’s our pa and we need him and…well we love him. I guess we should tell him that more but it ain’t easy to tell him either. I wonder why that is?

Adam said I should write about the girls I meet just in case they end up bein’ the one I marry. Well there is this one girl her name is

That must have been were exhaustion finally won out and Hoss had fallen asleep. Oh well, Ben thought, couldn’t he have at least written a first name before it had. Ben ruffled Hoss’ hair and thought guess my little boy is growing up, I guess they all are.

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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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