Dry Divide

Dry Divide by Ralph Moody Read Free Book Online

Book: Dry Divide by Ralph Moody Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ralph Moody
Tags: Fiction / Westerns
wouldn’t never amount to nothing ’cause he was rough on stock. Myron, he was working for old man Macey then, got fired the next day. He blamed it onto Paw and told him he’d get even, and he did, too.”
    â€œHow, Judy?” I asked.
    â€œGetting Sis to run off with him, that’s how,” she told me. “He had Kitten then; had her when he come riding into Beaver Valley looking for a job. Well, when he got fired he was gone away for a week or two, and when he come back he was leading Vixen, almost a spittin’ image of Kitten, only she wasn’t mean and ornery. She was the one ought to have been named Kitten—just as clever as a baby kitten. Sis fell in love with Vixen, and run away with Myron to get her. She’s been paying for it ever since.”
    â€œThey couldn’t have run far,” I said. “Isn’t that Beaver Valley where the little town sits at the bottom of the divide?”
    â€œUh-huh, that’s Cedar Bluffs,” she said, “where I live in the summertimes. In the winters I go to high school over to Oberlin, and get my keep for doing dishes and minding the baby for a lady. Her husband’s in the bank over there, but Myron hates him, ’cause he won’t let him have no more money. There won’t none of the bankers. That’s why he’s having to fix that old header now.”
    As Judy spoke I saw Doc coming down the lane toward us, so when she’d finished I called to him quietly, “Did you find the salt, Doc? I’ll be along in a few minutes.”

    â€œOkay, Bud,” he called back just as quietly, “I’ll get some brine ready for those blisters,” then he kept straight on.
    Judy had half risen when I called to Doc, but I’d drawn her back beside me. As soon as he’d passed she started to rise again, and said, “I’d best go in now. Sis might worry.”
    I could hear the whine of the separator from the kitchen, so I told her, “Wait till Paco finishes the separating. She won’t worry while she’s busy with the milk. Besides, you haven’t told me yet about her running away with Myron. Was that when they came up here?”
    I hadn’t sat in the moonlight with a girl for a long, long time, and Judy’s hand was soft in mine, so when I drew her back beside me that second time I drew her closer. She didn’t really pull away, just ooched over a little, leaving two or three inches between us—and I liked her better for it. She sat for a moment, looking up the golden pathway the moonlight made across the wheat field, then said, “Uh-uh, not up here. This would have been too close to home, and Paw would have come to fetch her back. They run off to the sand hills, up in Nebraska, but Myron didn’t do no good up there so they come back . . . right at the beginning of harvest, it was . . . the week before Marthy was born. All they had was Kitten and Vixen . . . and a filly foal out of each one of ’em . . . not even saddles . . . and Sis rode all that ways bareback . . . and her within a week of her time.”
    There was a catch in her voice as she said the last few words, but it didn’t seem right to have any sadness that evening—not there in the moonlight—so to take her mind off her sister I said, “That’s a shame, Judy, but you were going to tell me how Myron got the way he is.”
    â€œWell, that’s when it started,” she said, “Paw, he was awful mad, and cussed Myron out, and told him again that he wouldn’t never amount to nothing. And Myron cussed Paw back, and told him he’d show him . . . and right under his own nose, too . . . and for a little bit it looked like he was going to do it. Myron ain’t lazy. He hired out for a harvest hand to the banker over to Marion . . . that’s on the Nebraska side of the

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