I decided to surprise everyone with a story. I dedicate this to all of you!
“Son, come on wake up! We have to gather our stuff and load it in the car. We got 2 hours till we have to leave.” That is what I heard at 5 o’clock this morning. I didn’t mind though! This is one get away I couldn’t wait for.
Me and my Dad were longing for some Father/Son bonding time. Our fast pace lives were starting to get to the both of us. With my Dads work load and my forever ringing cell phone and friends banging at the door, we really needed to get away from our suburban life for a few days.
A few weeks back my Dad pulled out a map from his desk drawer opened it up and told me to close my eyes and drop my finger. Where my finger lands is where we go. So, I did just that! My finger landed on a small town called North Fork. Wanting to know more information on this small town, I decided to Google it. I was amazed… The history… this place was perfect for me and my Dad. Gunfights, old saloons some guy they once called The Rifleman.
As me and my Dad were heading out on our adventure I pulled out an envelope with papers. “What’s that?” Dad asked me. “ Well Dad, I wanted to brush up on a little bit of history of North Fork and this McCain guy, they once called The Rifleman.”
“I’m impressed, I didn’t think you would take this getaway so serious. I’m glad! So, tell me what does it say?”
“Well Dad, from what I gather .. that this McCain man was the go to guy. He was there when you needed him to be. I guess he had some sorta Rifle he used to carry with him. It says he killed some men but, all in self defense.” As I was reading this I couldn’t help but think how different times were back then compared to now. “ This is kinda cool Dad, Mark was his sons name. Same as mine!”
“That is cool, Mark. We have been driving for awhile. Let’s stop and get some rest. By tomorrow night we should be in North Fork. But not with out a good nights rest.”
“Okay Dad or should I say Pa! You know like they used to say back in the day.” We both looked at each other and laughed.
The second Day of our vacation arrived. I was even more excited then ever. I knew by tonight we would be in North Fork!!
Over breakfast, I explained to Dad what else I had read. The lay out of the town and the people that once walked the streets.
“I guess the town Marshals name was Micah he was buddies with McCain, oh, his name was Lucas. I found that out last night when I was supposed to be sleeping.” I said to Dad with a grin. I knew my Dad possibly couldn’t be mad!
“Alright… Okay… son. Lets get going so we can arrive before dark.”
This drive was taking way to long! When I was just about to bust I seen a sign say Historic North Fork 5 miles ahead.
“Dad…Dad…only 5 more miles!!!”
“Yes, I seen that too. But it took us longer then I thought so we are not heading into North Fork tonight. Were going to sleep at this motel 8 then when we wake up will head on into town.”
“No!” I stated “ We got to stay in North Fork at the Hotel! It was once owned by Lou Mallory”
“Who is Lou Mallory?” Dad asked in a puzzled voice.
“ I don’t know, some hot tempered Irish woman that once owned the hotel. But Mark and his Dad used to stay at the hotel on a regular basis. You can rent the room that was there favorite! Please Dad, Please.”
“Okay, if it means that much to you.”
“Yes, it does Dad. The more I read about Lucas and Mark the more fascinated I am by the two of them.”
I couldn’t believe it we were heading into North Fork and staying at the Hotel!!!
North Fork Bound
“Look Dad, at the flickering street lanterns.” I said as we were nearing North Fork. We had to park our car in a parking lot because cars were not permitted to enter town. North Fork was in it’s original state and that’s the way it was to remain.
“Okay, let’s grab our bags!” My Dad said with excitement . As we were getting a better look at the buildings I heard my Dad say, “ Take a look at this place, WOW! Have you ever seen anything like it?”
“ No Dad, I sure haven’t.” I couldn’t believe my eyes either. “ After we take our bags to the hotel can we check out the town?” I asked with my fingers crossed.
“ No, let’s go to the hotel and get a good nights rest and the go from there.”
“Oh…alright.” I knew I shouldn’t push it. Since I was lucky enough that we were staying at the hotel.
It was so neat to be walking down wood sidewalks and crossing over dirt roads. The town still had no electricity and everything was still handled the old way.
“Okay son, I see the hotel front.”
As we entered the hotel, I could not get over the décor. It was just like I had read and had pictured in my mind. I seen some pictures hanging above a bookshelf. I walked over to take a better look.
“Hey Dad, come over here and check this out. These are the people I was telling you about. There is Lucas and Mark McCain. Oh that must be Lou Mallory… and these…””
“Others must be…”
“Micah and that must be Hattie..”
“And that has to be Mille…”
“Oh, Sorry Dad. I was just so excited to see the faces of the people I have been reading about!”
“I know you are son. We really need to get to bed. Our room is right up these stairs.”
“Dad, I know this is asking a lot but can I please get one of these books. It goes into way more detail about their lives then anything that I have gotten off of the internet.”
“Sure, but after this straight up those stairs to our room.”
The person working the desk was dressed in era fitting attire. He told us that a storm was rolling in and we would have great sleeping weather.
I grabbed onto the staircase banner taking in everything I could get my eyes on. This place was so important to the McCain's and I sure could see why.
“ Watch your step Mark. These stairs are so narrow definitely different then modern day hotels.”
I could here the thunder rolling in as we were entering our room.
I was taken back as I looked around our room. “ Dad, I don’t know what to say. This room is perfect!”
I didn’t hear anything from my Dad. He was standing at the window in a daze. I walked over to take a look at what he was looking at. I couldn’t get over what a wonderful place this was. I felt like my finger landed on North Fork for a reason and a good reason.
My Dad walked over to the book that I had just gotten and said “ Let’s get to know them McCain's.”
So we pushed a couple of chairs together lit a lantern and started reading about North Fork and the McCain's.
“ Dad do you think we might be able to go visit the McCain’s ranch?”
“I’m sure we can fit that in.”
It was getting harder and harder to keep my eyes open. The tapping of the rain and the flickering of the lantern. As difficult as it was I decided to call it a night.
Morning had arrived and I found myself in the room by myself. My Dad was nowhere in sight. I got cleaned up and dressed then went to look for him. I did not have to go far though he was downstairs in the hotel lobby talking with some man.
“Good morning Mark. This is Mr. Roush.”
“Good morning Mr. Roush.”
“Good morning Mark. How was it sleeping in the hotel last night. I heard you slept in the McCain's favorite room.”
“It was great. I can understand why they enjoyed that room. You can see all the way to the other side of town from the window in that room.”
“I think that’s why Mr. McCain liked that room also. It was important to him to see what was going on at all times. Many good and bad folks entered North Fork from time to time. Mr. McCain made sure he was available when needed.”
“Mark, Mr. Roush is going to give us a ride out to The McCain Ranch later on today.”
“That will be great. I can’t wait”
“Have either one of you rode a horse before?” Mr. Roush asked us.
Me and Dad looked at each other and then looked at Mr. Roush and shook our heads no.
Mr. Roush laughed and said “ This should be fun. I will see you both back here later on. Have a fun day around North Fork. Oh and Mark, Mark McCain used to love the hotels apple pie you should make sure to try some during your stay. They still use the same recipe.”
“Oh.. I will make sure to do that! I said.
North Fork Bound
“Well Dad lets check this town out!!”
“Okay Mark, let’s go check out North Fork!!”
When we both stepped out of the hotel we went to the center of the street and took a good look around us. I could see many of the places that I wanted to stop at but which one would be the first. Last night I couldn’t absorb in all what North Fork had to offer. I certainly could today !
We decided to go to the Marshalls Office, I thought that would be the perfect place to stop at first. We walked in and the first thing I noticed was Micah’s desk and chair. I went over and sat in his chair and kicked my feet up on his desk. What an awesome feeling!! I then went over and checked out the jail cell. I imagined all the criminals that were placed behind these bars! I glanced over to a paper that was laying on a table. It was a memo that Micah had written. It stated how much his position as the Town Marshall meant to him and his best friend Lucas was the best Deputy he ever had, even though he wore his badge on the wrong side of his chest once. No matter what was going on in Lucas’s life he was there. I wiped a tear away as I sat the memo back on the table. What a wonderful place this North Fork was and what wonderful people once lived here.
Dad asked me “ Which place next?”
“The General Store!”
Before I left Micah’s office I took one more look. I never wanted to forget this moment. Then off we went to the General Store.
We entered the General Store. What a wonderful sight to see. CANDY, bunches of CANDY!! Dad said “ Go on Mark get yourself some of that Rock Candy.”
We had such a busy day visiting North Fork. I enjoyed it all! Even though there was a lot more to see .I couldn’t help but think about The McCain’s Ranch . I couldn’t wait much longer to go visit it.
“Dad is it about time to head back to the hotel?”
“You getting anxious son?”
“ Yes, Dad I sure am!!”
“Okay we will head back to the hotel and get some of Marks favorite apple pie.”
“Then can we go to the ranch!!”
“We’ll see Mark… we’ll see.”
“What do you mean we will see? Mr. Roush is going to take us out to the ranch! Remember?!”
“Yes, I remember Mark… We were going to surprise you, but I might as well tell you now.”
“Well…. What is it Dad?”
North Fork Bound
“Well Mark, we are going to stay at the ranch.”
“We are?” I stood there puzzled. What my Dad was telling me wasn’t sinking in! I almost thought I heard him wrong! “ Can you say that again?” I asked in disbelief.
Dad chuckled “ We are going to stay at the ranch! We have permission to visit and stay the night.”
“Just us?!” I asked
“Just us” Dad replied
“Hurray! I can’t believe it! I just can’t believe it!” I stood there smiling
“ Well Mark, lets not just stand here. Let’s get going!!!”
“ Dad, can we get that apple pie to go?”
Dad laughed and rubbed my head and said I will see what I can do. I’m not sure if North Fork has a to go menu.”
I headed up to our room to pack our bags up and head to the ranch. Dad went to see if we could take our food with us.
Packing up my suitcase, I felt excited and sad. I was sad that I was leaving Marks favorite room and the town of North Fork. But I was headed to Marks home and I was happy for that!
Dad was waiting at the bottom of the staircase with the food in hand.
“Mark, It wasn’t easy but I manage to get our food to go!”
I smiled, the food was actually the last thing on my mind. The ranch was the first!
Mr. Roush was waiting out front with 2 horses.
“Mr. Roush aren’t you riding out with us?”
“No, I’m sorry I’m not able to make it out to the ranch. I have directions for you to follow.”
“That’s to bad, I was looking forward to hearing some stories about the McCain's.”
Mr. Roush replied “ I think you will be able to figure out who the McCain’s were by spending time at the ranch.”
“ Mr. Roush, one more thing. How we supposed to take all of our things with us on these horses?”
Mr. Roush laughed so hard it was sounded like it was straight from his belly!
“ Follow me Mark.” Mr. Roush said
“Where are we going?”
“We are heading to the blacksmith. There we will find the McCain’s wagon. That is how you will head to the ranch.”
Mr. Roush opened the doors to the blacksmiths and there it was the McCain’s wagon!
My Dad brought over the horses and Mr. Roush showed us how to harness them up. Then we loaded the wagon and we were off to the ranch.
It didn’t take to long, I thought it might take all day but it didn’t!
“WOW! What a place! It looks just like the pictures!” I said to my Dad
“ It sure does, lets unload and then we can put the horses in the barn along with the wagon. I would hate for anything to happen to this.” My Dad said
We got everything squared away with the wagon and the horses. The barn was in great shape for being so old. Things have been well kept. I could tell how much the McCain’s must have meant to North Fork for things to be so well kept.
Walking up to the house with butterflies in my stomach. I didn’t know what to expect when I opened the door.
I stood there for a second took a deep breath and turned the key. I pushed the door open slowly. Absorbing every thing I seen.
Me and my Dad stepped in and stood there for a minute looking at the room. I felt nothing but warmth, compassion, strength and love. I walked over to the table and sat my bags down. I took a seat. Dad sat beside me.
“Mark, what are you thinking?” Dad asked
“ I’m not sure, I’ve never felt like I knew someone that I have never met before.”
“ I feel the same way, son.”
After we sat there for some time we checked out the rest of the place, I enjoyed looking at old pictures. Eating my dinner at their dinner table. Marks favorite apple pie was the best apple pie I ate!
I went out side and walked around looking at the trees and the beautiful grounds. Everything was just wonderful.
It was getting late and I needed to get some sleep I headed on to bed. It was some what sad because I knew tomorrow we were heading home.
I kneeled besides Marks bed and prayed. While I prayed for the first time I cried during a prayer.
After my prayer I fell fast asleep.
I woke up the next morning to the smell of eggs and bacon. I put my clothes on and headed to the kitchen.
“Mr. Roush, why are you here?”
“Well Mark, I came here to ask you something.”
“Okay, well what is it?”
“When your old enough would you be able to come work for us and take care of this ranch? I know your going to need sometime to think about this. Take all the time you need. If your plans are college we have a great one not to far from North Fork.”
I looked at my Dad. Then looked at Mr. Roush,” Well… How could I say NO!”
Mr. Roush smiled and said “ Well it is here for you when your able to work for us.”
Mr. Roush had left while me and Dad had begun to eat.
“ Well, Mark I bet you didn’t expect that?”
“No I sure didn’t. There is one thing that I didn’t expect even more then that though.”
“Really? What was that Mark?” Dad asked
“My prayer was answered so quickly.”
Dad smiled and grabbed my shoulder. “I think you will do just fine here when that time comes.”
It was so hard to go back home and leave North Fork even though I knew I would be back.
I said goodbye to the town folks of North Fork and told them I would be seeing them again!
THE END ( for now)