The Rifleman
"Mark's Memories"
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's Story
written by Michelle Palmer

The Wyoming Story 2 Episode 97
Mark’s Story
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Founder

With tears blinding my eyes, I stumbled out of town and climbed as high up onto the cliff as I could. I gasped when I finally met the top. I could see several miles around and saw my Pa’s lonely horse galloping down the road. I could tell he was going as fast as he could, and at the time I didn’t understand why. I sat down on the edge and just watched him go down the road. I could watch for several minutes as he slowly got smaller and smaller.

Soon he was just a dot. Then soon after that there was nothing. But I continued sitting there and staring at the spot where I had last seen my Pa. I cannot begin to describe the ache that was flowing through my entire body. Nor can I begin to tell you the thoughts that went through my mind because suddenly I was numb.

Tears flowed down my cheeks. I closed my eyes. “Come back, Pa! Come back!” I wanted to shout it, but it only came out in a whisper.

The sun was going down, yet still I sat glued to that spot as I stared down at the road my father had traveled down earlier. I watched the sun sink lower and lower. I had been there for hours but was too numb to move.

“Mark?” I heard Micah’s soft voice behind me. I didn’t turn but just continued staring down at the road. Micah came to sit beside me. “You shouldn’t be here, son. You could fall.”

But I was too numb to answer. I continued staring at the road. “Millie’s worried. You’ve been gone for hours.” Micah suddenly reached out and put an arm around my shoulders. “Mark, he’ll be back. I promise – he’ll be back.”

But I shook my head. I found my voice. “I can’t believe that,” I stated. I carefully stood up and started walking away. Micah followed me and put a hand on my shoulder. I looked up into his moist eyes. “I begged him not to leave me.”

Micah didn’t say another word as we walked back into town. When we got there, he led me into his office and firmly closed the door. He motioned me to sit. I shook my head, but his eyes became stern as he looked into mine. He snapped his fingers and pointed at the chair. “I said sit.”

Micah cleared his throat as he sat down across from me. “After he got you to sleep last night, your father rode into town. Did you know that?” I shook my head. “He was having second thoughts, Mark. He came in to tell me that he changed his mind – he wasn’t going to go.”

I stared at him. “But he did go.”

Micah nodded. “I changed his mind. Mark, don’t you know you are his weakness? But he’s your father – the man of your household and he has to make a living. He has to provide for you. Your begging him to stay only broke his heart. He shed tears over that in this office last night.” Micah leaned back in his chair as he lit his pipe. “Now, I’m telling you this for a reason. I want you to understand, Mark, just how hard it was for him to leave you.”

I was quiet as I thought on that, but I still felt so numb. I didn’t eat any supper either. Miss Millie told me I had to eat, but I told her I felt sick. It was true – I did feel sick. She looked at Micah who simply shook his head. “I just want to go to bed,” I moaned.

I went to bed early that night. As I lay on that cot on the storeroom floor, I thought on my Pa. Where was he? What was he doing? Was he hurting for me as much as I was hurting for him? I couldn’t sleep. I felt so very alone in the world. I heard Millie coming so I pretended to be asleep. I felt her put a kiss on my cheek when she checked on me. After she left, I opened my eyes wishing I was at home in my own bed being tucked in by my Pa.

I don’t think I ever went to sleep that night. The moment the first ray of sunshine lit through the cracks of the blinds on the storeroom window, I got up and hurried out the door. Then I ran down to the stable, saddled my horse, and hurried out to the ranch.

I opened the front door. The smell of my Pa drifted out. I walked inside and checked the wood box – there wasn’t much wood in it. Pa would be hollering at me for not filling it up. I looked over at the stove and saw the coffee pot on the back. I lifted it – Pa wouldn’t like there being no coffee. I looked over at the cupboard and saw Pa’s cup and saucer he always grabbed first thing in the morning. This morning it sat up there as if it hadn’t been touched. I saw my dirty plate still in the sink from breakfast yesterday morning. I guess I forgot to wash it. I washed it now.

I slowly walked out to the barn and looked around. There were no cows or horses there, so no hay needed to be changed out. The hay in the barn was fresh – ready for our horses. I went to the door and started to close it – Pa didn’t like the chickens in there. Sometimes they’d try to make their nests in here. But I suddenly remembered – we had no chickens.

Like everything else, they were gone.

I went to chop some wood so the wood box would be filled when Pa got home. I worked on my chore all morning.

Then Millie arrived. She ordered me to go back into town – there was nothing for me to do here and I was just making things worse. But I had to be where I could still feel my Pa. She told me I had chores of my own in town. She explained to me that afternoon as we sat at her table eating what my chores would be. I nodded, knowing she was trying to make things seem better by keeping me busy.

But every morning I took a daily ride out to the ranch. Every day that passed my heart became heavier. Every day that passed, I cried more tears for my Pa.

He left on a Monday. Two Mondays passed with no news. That Tuesday morning, my heart was aching something terrible. I still wasn’t eating and both Millie and Micah watched me worriedly. I remember that day in particular. Millie sat at the table beside me. Her hand was on top of mine as it sat on the table. “Mark, you’ve got to eat!” she pleaded. I shook my head. She sighed. “You’re going to be sick.”

But I only shook my head. I couldn’t bear eating now – not with Pa gone. Miss Millie suddenly sat up straight and gave me a really stern look. “Now, Mark McCain, you are not moving from this chair until you eat what’s on your plate!”

I eventually ate a few bites. Then the bell over the door rang. Millie jumped up and hurried out. “Why, Mr. Davis!” I heard her voice cheerfully call.

I stood and walked into the store room. I saw Billy standing beside his father. “Hi, Mark,” Billy called.

I hurried up to him, happy to see a familiar face. Billy announced they had come back with a few cattle. Things were getting better then. “Pa had to go away for a whole week!” Billy announced then. “He left us at my aunt’s while he worked to buy more cattle, but now we’re home.” Billy turned and looked at his Pa.

I turned and ran out the back door. I suddenly felt sick to my stomach and ran to relieve myself. Then I hid under a tree on the outskirts of town. Micah found me there later. He sat down beside me. “Millie’s worried about you.”

I leaned my head against the tree. “She’s always worried about me,” I stated. She’d been worried about me ever since Pa left me.

Micah must have known my thoughts – or maybe I had said that out loud. “Your father didn’t leave you, you know. He went to find work – earn a living so he could give you the things you need.”

“I just need him. That’s all!” I insisted.

“You’ll have him back, son. When he’s done, he’ll come back.”

I knew there were things I wasn’t being told. “Where is he?” I asked suddenly.

Micah turned and looked at me. He slowly shook his head, but didn’t say a word. “You know where he is, Micah. Where?” Micah only stared at me. “Where?” I cried desperately.

Micah sighed. “School starts back Monday. Several of the families have moved back now. I think you best be ready. Millie wants to fit you into some new britches before it starts.”

“I have too many things to do at the ranch,” I answered.

“Mark,” Micah raised his voice a bit as he turned to me. “I want you to stay away from the ranch for the rest of the week. You can go check on things after church on Sunday.”

“You can’t-“ I started.

“That’s an order, Mark.” I watched as Micah stood and walked away.

School did start that next Monday. I didn’t want to go, but Millie got me up early and sent me on my way. I saw Steve and Jeff Connors and waved at them. I looked around hoping to see my best friend, but he was gone for good. My heart sank. So was my Pa.

The weeks passed so slowly. My heart ached more and more everyday for my father. With each passing day, my faith in my Pa wavered more and more. The preacher on Sundays would make a special point to remind me to keep the faith, but I didn’t listen. I didn’t have the faith anymore. My Pa was gone for good. There was nothing I could do about it.

One Friday afternoon I went to Millie’s after school. I sat my books down and listened to the conversations in the General Store. Everyone was talking about cattle being on the range again. Families were returning. Millie was becoming more and more busy. I was supposed to help her after school – delivering packages and such. Today, I was really sad and I knew why. I walked up to her behind the counter. “May I please have the afternoon off?” I asked.

Millie turned from her customer and looked at me. She was instantly worried. “What’s wrong?” She gently laid a hand on my cheek, but I pushed it away.

“It’s private – between Pa and me. Can I please?” I asked.

Millie looked at me then slowly nodded. “Ask Micah first.”

Micah was busy settling a disturbance at the saloon, so I slowly walked to the stable and got my horse.

I rode Blue Boy up that hill just like we had done that day four years ago. I stopped beside the tree. I could hear Pa’s voice just as clearly as if he were standing next to me. “Well, it’s new and mighty find country, son.” I turned and looked behind me, almost expecting to see Pa ride up behind me. “There’s no looking back, we’ve come too far.”

I closed my eyes. “No looking back,” I whispered. “Pa, how can I not look back when you’re back there? You are no longer in front of me – you’re behind me. What else can I do?”

That day there had been cattle in the yard. There were no cattle there today. There were tumbleweeds. “It’s like a ghost town, Pa! We usually have chickens right there. And pigs behind the barn and horses in the corral and lots of cows. But today…today there’s nothing but these dumb ol’ tumbleweeds – something that indicates that what once was is no more.”

I slowly walked around the yard and stared at the loneliness. Then I walked to the side of the house and looked at the sign. August 1881. That’s when we had rebuilt the house after it burned. But exactly four years today – October 11, 1880, my Pa and I first stood on the spot. I sat down on the porch and cried as I realized how far we had come.

And now Pa was gone.

I buried my head in my hands and wept for my father. I’m not sure how long I sat there, and I didn’t even hear the rider come up. I wasn’t aware of anything until I suddenly felt someone’s arm go around me. My eyes were red from crying. I slowly lifted my head and stared into Micah’s eyes. I gasped as I saw the tears in his own eyes. He just stared into mine.

I turned from him, not able to stand the pain I saw in his own eyes. I looked out over the range. “It was four years ago today that we arrived here on this land.”

“I’m sorry,” Micah said quietly. “You know, Mark, I miss him too.”

Micah’s voice broke. I turned and stared at him. “I’m sorry.” I hadn’t even thought about his own feelings.

“When I was a little boy, we had a drought,” Micah said as he pulled me closer to him. “The drought was so bad that it killed the cows my Pa had. It killed every living thing – grass, trees, animals, and even some men. Most importantly, though, it killed our crops.” Micah sighed heavily just thinking on it. “I remember everywhere I looked there was dirt – dry, cracked dirt.”

He gave my shoulders a squeeze as he continued. “One day my folks were in the kitchen talking when I came in from fetching our ration of water for the day. My Ma…she was crying. Pa was fighting back his own tears. My two brothers were both older then me and had left to work in a town that had been rained on. I still remember my Pa’s words as I stood in that doorway.

“He said, ‘Micah, you are going to be in charge for awhile.’ He said, ‘I have to go away now. You take care of your mother.’ Then without another word, he left. That was it.”

I suddenly looked up at him. “He didn’t tell you where he was going?”

Micah shook his head. “The truth was, he didn’t want me to know. You know why?” I shook my head. Micah smiled. “Because he was afraid I’d go after him. He figured I’d try to go to him after getting so lonesome. My father was gone for six long months. Six months, Mark!”

I turned from him. “He’s all I have. You don’t understand.”

“He’s not all you have, Mark. You have me. You have Millie.” I didn’t want to hear it. I started to stand. Micah suddenly grabbed me by the shoulders and turned me around to face him. “Don’t you know I love you, boy? Can’t you see that?” Micah’s eyes filled up with tears. I looked away from him and bit my lip.

I stood and hurried away. I ran to the barn and began picking up firewood to carry inside. Micah hurried over to me. “Mark, you’ve got to stop this! You’re making yourself sick!”

I suddenly threw down the firewood and turned to him. “I can’t help it!” I screamed. “I can’t…I can’t…” Tears were streaming down my face. I fell to my knees and began shaking with sobs. “I just can’t stand this!”

Micah dropped down beside me and lifted me into his arms. He hugged me close to him. “You’re like a grandson to me, boy. I can’t stand seeing you like this.”

“One month, two days, three hours, and about five minutes,” I whispered as Micah kept his arms around me. “Every minute it gets harder. Pa told me about having faith, but I-“

Micah pulled me back and wiped the tears from my face. “Mark, I wish I could remove the pain, but I can’t. For now, you’ll just have to learn to live with it. I’m sorry.” He stood me up and led me to my horse. “Millie’s worried sick about you. Please try to smile for her tonight.”

But things didn’t get easier. They only got harder. Every morning I got up and ran outside to see if Pa had made it back yet. Every day at school I ran into town to see if there was any news on Pa. And every afternoon as I ran my errands for Millie, my heart would beat at the sound of approaching hoof beats, hoping and praying that it would be my Pa.

But it never was. It was always someone else’s Pa – someone else’s family.

Nothing Millie or Micah did made the ache grow less. But each passing second my Pa was gone, my heart became more convinced of one thing – he was never coming back. He had moved on to a better life somewhere. He had started clean – something that would be easier to do without me tagging along.

I woke up one morning and told Millie I was going to school, but I didn’t go to school. I saddled my horse up and slowly rode out to the ranch. I walked around the yard looking at the cobwebs that had overtaken the house. I looked at how rundown everything looked. I rode onto the range. There wasn’t a sign of cattle until I got to our fence – there were cattle on the other side.

My throat suddenly felt like it was closing up. It wasn’t fair! Why wasn’t Pa here? Why had he given up on me – on the ranch?

I hurried back to the house and looked around. I knew what I had to do. I would begin cleaning this place up and do my best to get by for now. But come spring I would make this a real farm. I – Mark McCain – will not give up! I was going to do this alone if I had to.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and rode back into town. I patted Blue Boy a few times as I slowly rode up to the livery. Nils was inside working on horseshoes. “Nils,” I called as I want inside. My voice was firm and strong. I held my head up high as I spoke. “Nils, I want to sell my horse.”

Nils dropped his shaping iron and walked towards me. The look on his face told me he thought I was loco. “Say that again?”

“I-“ I turned and looked at my horse. It killed me to do this, but I had no choice – it was a matter of survival. “I want to…to sell my horse.” I pushed the tears back – I had to be a man now. There would be no more shedding of tears.

“Why?” Nils asked.

“Because I need to buy a plow mule.”

“You need a-“ Nils shook his head. “You’re a rancher, not a farmer! You-“

“I said I want a plow mule.” I lifted my head a little higher. “Now, being that I’m the customer, you have to go through with this like you would any other man.”

“But Mark, you’re a rancher!” Nils again stated.

“I’m just a farmer! A sod buster! I’ve no cause for a horse as fine as this one on my farm! I need that plow mule.”

Nils shook his head and grabbed his cash box. “Alright, son. Alright. But I’ll give you $15 to make the deal even.” I knew I’d need every cent of that 15. That and the money I had saved in the bank should do good to get me started off. “But a twelve year old boy-“

“An orphaned twelve year old boy,” I shot out. “I’m no longer a boy. I’m now a man – the sole owner of the McCain Ranch!”

I grabbed the mule, turned, and hurried away. On my way back to the ranch I started thinking on everything I had to do. There was so much work waiting for me. I wouldn’t have time to go to school or hang out with the kids anymore. I now had to start acting like a man.

I walked into the yard and immediately looked around. My heart sank when I realized Pa wasn’t there. Even though I’d come to the conclusion Pa was never coming back, I still held out that hope I wanted to sit down and cry right in the middle of the yard, but I suddenly raised my head. I had to stay strong! I had to keep going!

I got right to work by sweeping the porch. I began getting rid of the cobwebs so I’d be able to sleep in the house tonight. I gasped. I’d be sleeping in this house all alone for the first time tonight! Pa had never allowed me to stay by myself all night – and this would be the first of many.

I was all alone!

Suddenly, Micah and Millie rode out on the wagon to meet me. They were the last one’s I wanted to see. I had finally been able to bury my emotions. Now, I was afraid my emotions would all come back up again.

Micah wanted me to wait until my father came back. Who was he fooling? Who was any of them fooling? Were they so blind that they couldn’t see the truth? Or were they just hoping I’d get used to Pa’s being gone and live in town with Miss Millie forever? "Well.....it's been most of two months. He hasn't written a word. Didn't wanna be a dirt farmer. There are no cattle around here.” Saying the words out loud were different then thinking them these past two months.

"Lucas will be back, you've gotta believe that. You’ve gotta have faith!” Millie insisted.

Faith – there was that hollow little word again! Pa tried to tell me that. Micah tried to tell me that. And now…now, Millie was trying to tell me! The Faith of Abraham. Hadn’t I given my Pa to God? Hadn’t I had that knife up – yet God didn’t send something to save him!

"You must believe in you father.....after all, look at what your doing,” Millie stated.

They still didn’t get it! I had to tell them straight out that I was moving back in – no one else – just me! I would have to do all the work! There would be no one else! I’d figure it all out for myself. "You can't do that Mark. You're staying with Millie...that's the way Lucas wanted it,” Micah reminded me.

“Pa's not here anymore." Saying the words made my throat ache. It put a sick feeling in my stomach. I walked over to the plaque and read it to the two of them. "This house rebuilt by Lucas McCain and his son Mark. Guess that makes it half mine and since Pa doesn't see it fit to live in anymore...why...why...I guess that makes it all mine now.” I leaned my head against the post and began crying.

I didn’t want it to be this way! I wanted to be a cattle rancher – not a sod buster! But I had to live with the hand I was dealt. I had no cattle and had no way to get cattle, so for now I’d have to settle with that.

But then Micah spoke. He spoke harshly and firmly. "When are you gonna do all this boy, after school? You can't do it alone, somebody's gonna have to help you. Of course there's another thing...dirt farming's like cattle raising. Man's gotta have faith like Miss Millie said. I don't think you've got enough Mark, not if you lost faith in your own father.” His words hurt me. I couldn’t believe the cruel things he was saying! “Mark, you're just a boy and I've seen grown men buckle up and try and do what you're trying to do. Men like Lucas who lost everything they had, except this house and a piece of land. Goin' off doing whatever they can to save it and then coming back trying again. Now Mark, that’s faith.”

I had tried to keep the faith! For two whole months I’d tried to keep the faith. I just couldn’t…I couldn’t do it anymore! “I tried thinking that he’d come back. But how much faith is a person suppose to have? I lost everything when he did, didn't I? I even lost him. What am I suppose to…suppose to…suppose…”

I stopped. My heart suddenly felt lighter – almost like a release. My body began shivering as I suddenly felt so very close to my father! If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was standing right behind me! “Pa!” I cried. “Pa!”

He felt so incredibly close now! I felt like he was right there! I looked up. In the distance, I saw the most beautiful sight that ever did meet my eyes! “Pa! Pa!” I leapt off the porch and raced as fast as my legs would carry me across the field. The other figure began running with outstretched arms to me too. It was my Pa with a great big smile on his face!

I ran! My legs felt like jelly as I raced across the field. Suddenly, I was close enough to leap into his outstretched arms! The moment I leapt, Pa caught me in his strong, loving arms and wrapped them around me “Oh Mark! Mark!” Pa cried. I kissed him all over his face! He kissed me and we just held each other for such a long time. “My boy! Oh, it’s so good to see you!”

I kept my arms around him, never wanting to let go. Tears streamed down my cheeks and mixed with his own tears. I began crying from joy. I smiled deeply into his eyes. “I’m so glad you’re home, Pa!” I announced. “I’m so glad-“ Then I buried my head in his chest and cried.

“Oh Mark, I missed you so much!” Pa whispered in my ear. “I missed you so!”

He slowly slid me down but I clung to his middle, not wanting to release him yet. “I’m not going anywhere, Mark. I promise!” Pa said softly. But I wouldn’t let go – I couldn’t! I was so afraid that he wasn’t real! Pa bent down in front of me. He placed a hand on both of my cheeks and smiled. “I’m not going anywhere son.”

I finally released him. He turned and showed me the cow and calf he’d brought home with him. I laughed happily, seeing them for the first time. “I couldn’t resist,” Pa stated. “I saw them on my way home and just had to. In a few days we’ll talk to Jackford about buying some cattle. We may have to travel a ways to get them.”

“I’m going with you!” I declared! We had started walking toward the house. Pa saw the buggy carrying Micah and Millie driving down the road back towards North Fork. “Who’s that?”

Tears suddenly filled my eyes as a realization hit me. I stared at Pa and shook my head. “What’s wrong, Mark?” Concern filled Pa’s eyes and he started forward.

But I backed away from him. “I’m sorry,” I whispered hoarsely. “I’m so sorry!” Then I turned and ran. I heard Pa calling after me but I ran onto the range and threw myself under the tree on the bank of the pond. I began crying again as I thought of how I had failed my father.

I didn’t lay there very long before I felt Pa close beside me. He put a hand on my shoulder. “Talk to me, Mark.”

I shook my head and begged him to leave me alone. “I can’t,” he answered. “I’m your father and I love you.”

“You shouldn’t!” I cried. “I don’t deserve it!”

Pa suddenly grabbed my shoulders and firmly turned me around. I immediately sat up. “What kind of talk is that, Mark?” Pa’s voice held a hint of anger and hurt in it.

“You wonder why I was here?” I asked through my tears. Pa nodded silently. “Well, I’ll tell you.” I stood up and started to walk away, but Pa grabbed my arm. “I sold my horse.”

“You what?” Pa squeaked out.

“I-I bought a plow mule!” I cried.

“I don’t understand.’

“Well, there was so much…” I sat down again and looked out over the water. “I mean, one day everything was great. We had more cattle then ever before, I had my best friend Freddie, I had you…Then the next day, it was all taken away – the cattle, my best friend and…you.” I looked up at Pa who only sat there listening. “Well, I…I tried to-to have faith but…but Pa, the pressure was just too much! I was confused and scared and…so very, very lonely! Well, Micah and Millie tried to tell me you’d come back but I was just….just so empty.”

Pa’s eyebrows raised as he stared into mine. He gently put a hand to the back of my neck and nodded. “I can’t imagine what you went through having lost so much at 12 and not understanding why. It’s the hardest on kids.”

I pulled away from him though. I didn’t deserve his understanding words. “You didn’t ask much of me, Pa. You just asked me to have faith. Well…” I closed my eyes as I remembered my words from earlier. “I bought a plow mule so that I could start farming this land. I decided that it was time to be a man and I was on my own.”

“So you gave up on me. You lost faith in me.” It wasn’t an accusation really. There was no hurt or anger in Pa’s voice. It was just a simple statement.

I swallowed as I bowed my head in shame. “I guess that’s one way to put it.”

“Didn’t I tell you I’d come back, Mark?” I nodded. “Didn’t I tell you I was doing this for you?” I nodded again. I heard Pa’s movements from behind me. He was standing right behind me and placed hands gently on my shoulder. “You were so angry with me, son. You were angry with everyone and everything and that’s normal.”

I heard the forgiveness in his voice, but I could hardly stand it. “Pa, don’t you understand? I didn’t have faith! I-“

Pa stopped me by putting I finger to my lips. “You are 12 years old, Mark. As you grow into a man, you’ll gain wisdom. The way to get that wisdom is to learn from your mistakes. If I don’t let you make mistakes, you’ll never learn.” I looked up into Pa’s smiling eyes. He held his arms open and I fell into them again. We hugged as I allowed myself to forgive everything. “Now, let’s not talk about this anymore. We’ll always carry the scars and the memories, but we don’t have to talk about it.”

I nodded. “I just love you so much, Pa!”

Pa backed up from me as we began walking. “So tell me something son, if you were planning on farming this land by yourself, where would school fit in?”

I looked up at Pa with a small grin. “Well, I…I reckon that’s one way to get out of going to school!”

Pa gave me a hard smack on the backside. We put the cows in the barn. I stared at them, not quite believing that they were back. We walked inside the house. “Well, seems we got lots of cleaning to do!” Pa stated as he looked at me. Then he folded his arms. “I can’t do it alone. I may need you to miss a few days of school to help me, son.”

A big smile spread across my face. “Honest?” I asked.

Pa nodded. “But we’re headed into town right now and when we get there, we’ll stop by and ask your teacher for your lessons.” I groaned, figuring that’s the way it would be!

Pa saw the fifteen dollars laying on the table. “What’s this?” He asked, picking up the coins.

“Oh, that’s the money Nils gave me in exchange for the…” I cleared my throat. “Plow mule.”

Pa raised an eyebrow at me. “Let’s get into town and get your horse back!” Pa hurried and got cleaned up then we left. I rode behind Pa on his horse as Pa dragged that old mule back to town behind him. I loved feeling the warmth coming from Pa. I loved being behind him here on the saddle. This was the way it should be!

On the way into town that day, he told me all about where he had been. I asked him if it was worth the trip and he told me he’d much rather earn the money some other way next time. He didn’t tell me much about his experience and I didn’t ask. Pa and me have an understanding. I can tell when a topic is off limits, and this one was DEFINITELY off limits!

It wasn’t but a few weeks later that I came home from school and walked out to the pond to stand on the bank. We had 25 head of cattle. Most of them were cows and Mr. Jackford was lending us one of his breeding bulls for awhile. Pa walked up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders. “Well, what do you think, son?”

“Well,” I answered as I folded my arms. “I think I’m going to stay here with you for the rest of my life!” I turned my head and looked up at him.

He smiled down at me and pulled me against him as he wrapped his arms around my shoulders. “I think that sounds really good…boy!”

*A special thanks goes out to Michelle Palmer for her insight on how Mark had seen these episodes.

Closer than a Brother

Wyoming Story - piddlin stuff.....

Mark's Memories ― Table of Contents
You've heard Lucas' story, now hear Mark's Story

The Wyoming Story 1

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around The McCain Ranch