Emerging Writers. Historical Fiction by Mary Ann DiLorenzo
Journeying Back to What Used to Be. Part 20.
It was early March, almost a year now after the war ended, and the days were getting longer once again and warmer. Johnny and Sam were going to work together and farm their places as a team. They were going to pool their resources and split everything and they figured by doing that both of them would fare well. Sam’s wife Becky was determined to play matchmaker for Johnny, to which Johnny would feign embarrassment so they could all have a good laugh. Quite frankly, without Sam and his family, Johnny thought for sure he would have found it too difficult to pick up life in Georgia again after all that had happened with the war and the aftermath filled with its many disappointments and challenges. With their support, Johnny was getting his feet back under him and finding his life again, though all of it was not quite what he would have imagined.
Johnny thought he would have been out west by now to find his father and make up for lost time, but his father’s letter over the winter had changed that. His father was a part of his life that he had to let go again, as he had all those years before the war, but it was okay. They both needed to move on. Johnny’s moving on kept him right where he always had been, except for during the war, and he didn’t quite know what to make of that, when he had time to think about it anyway. Seemed like the farm would be fixing to occupy his mind and his time once again, like it had for Ma all those years ago, Johnny would recall and he had to smile. He did miss her and the way she could make everything run so smoothly, with so little effort it had seemed to him anyway, back then. And her sweet smile, that his pa had remembered, he missed that most of all. So much had changed since the day he left for the war.
“Oh, it would be so easy to blame all the change on that war!” Johnny often pondered at night sitting on the porch, listening to the early spring evening noises and breathing in the smell of the moist earth and awakening vegetation. “It was all gonna change anyway, war or no, time changes things, good or bad, war just helps it along I figure,” Johnny thought to himself.
Sam had told Johnny that Percy’s widow finally got a buyer for the feed and seed, a Frankie Pender, from Ole Virginny as Sam liked to say. “There isn’t a piece of news in these parts that Sam doesn’t know,” Johnny would conclude every time Sam brought him the latest goings-on.
Frankie fought with General Lee until the end. An exemplary soldier, courageous, lost a leg at Gettysburg, but was determined to go on with his life in spite of it. Refused to feel sorry for himself, that man would not feel sorry for himself. His leg was ripped apart in the Peach Orchard fighting and yet Pender would not go down. He kept fighting those Yanks and would not quit until he could no longer stand or ride and then the doctors took the leg. Sam said Pender told him he still feels the leg, but looks down and it’s not there.
Journeying Back to What Used to Be. Original historical fiction that follows a Confederate soldier back from War. Delivered in brief vignettes, the series depicts this defining time in the history of our nation. Follow this Civil War Story About Going Home.
Journeying Back to What Used to Be, Part 20 (This one)