After his discourse on fruit, Cody leaned back, “Well, I think that’s enough for tonight, we’ll talk more about the other good fruit at another time,” he said as he stood. “Let’s get to bed early, as tomorrow I will be going out and checking on John’s cattle.”
Amy looked shyly at him. “Do you think we could talk a little about your background before you go to bed?” she asked.
Cody looked down, “Well, I really don’t like to talk about myself,” he said as he looked up with a smile, “but for you I’ll do that.” And he sat back down.
“So where are you from? What was your family like? How did you end up out here?” Amy asked. Everyone else was also looking at him with interest.
“I was born in Tennessee. My father was a farmer there, a hardworking man who was also a good hunter. He loved God and the Bible and taught me a lot out of it.
“He also took us all to a good church where we heard the gospel, the story of how Jesus died for us, rose from the dead and calls us to Himself to be his children. And I responded to that message, surrendering to Him.
“My father also taught me how to shoot, starting when I was five and by the time I was seven, he’d send me out to get something for supper. Unfortunately he was killed in a hunting accident when I was eight.
“My mother was a fine woman, industrious, loving and wise. She often talked with me about God and read to me from the Bible. But she died when I was ten, pneumonia.
“This resulted in a greater dependence on God and His guidance, for I had lost the guidance of my parents. I began to pray earnestly about each step I took.
“I had two brothers older than me and one sister. By the time my mother died, they were all married. I went to live with one of my brothers for a while, then hired out on another farm.
“People kept talking about the West being a place of opportunity, so, after praying about it, when I was fifteen, I pulled up stakes and came West with a neighbor family.
“Made it as far as Missouri. There I got a job on a river boat, went down to New Orleans. There with my earnings I bought a horse, a rifle and an outfit and headed to Texas where I began to work as a cow puncher. And here I am.”
“So, what do you plan to do now?” Amy asked.
“Well, I’d like to have my own spread, like John here. Raise some beef, breed and sell horses. And, if I can find a good wife, raise some sons.” He got a bit red in the face.
Amy smiled, but said nothing. Amada could see, though, that she was thinking about being that wife.
“How about you, Amy, tell us your background,” Amanda said.
“Well, I was born here, but my mother died when I was five. My father took care of me the best he could. As I told you, he had a hard life, with Indians and rustlers to fight. In the end he sent me to the East to live with his sister. I was there for eight years, went to a school where they tried to make a lady out of me. But I’m not sure it worked!
“I missed my father and the ranch, so two years ago I returned and have been glad to be here to take care of him.”
John smiled, “I thought that there was an extra ‘ladiness’ about you,” he said. “Now we know where it came from” as he got a bit red in the face.
“Well, as I said,” Cody stood, changing the subject, “I am ready for bed with a busy day tomorrow. So, I’ll bid you all goodnight.” He gathered up his things and headed out to the stable where his horse awaited him.
Picture: crew from a river boat like the one Cody worked on as a teenager.