Emerging Writers. Historical Fiction by Mary Ann DiLorenzo
Journeying Back to What Used to Be. Part 24. The Finale.
The months turned to years and Johnny and Sam farmed their places together through them all. Sam and Becky’s five grown sons and now their little boys were all a part of the venture’s success. They had taken on some outside help, all of whom had proved trustworthy and hardworking. It seemed the farms would remain prosperous for some time.
Johnny’s father had died out west several years back. He had actually saved some money which found its way to Johnny after his death. Johnny put it in the rainy day box his mother had kept all those years ago, back before the war, just in case the times got really desperate. “You never can tell,” she used to say. Johnny never had to use it, not yet anyway, though it was a struggle at times before the farm was able to sustain their livelihoods, but they made it through. Just like his ma had after his father left them, all those years before the war.
The Penders, Frankie and Rachel, had become good friends over the years. Many, many suppers of more war stories than they could count! Frankie died on the 20th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg when his stump leg got infected and the doctors couldn’t save him. Sam’s oldest son took over the feed and seed after Rachel sold and moved back home to Virginia. Johnny missed them both and it was good that the farming and Sam and Becky’s family kept him busy, less time to think about such things.
Johnny and Sam had finished up one day with their farming chores and before Sam headed out across the fields to home, he and Johnny sat on Johnny’s porch taking a break from the August heat and stickiness. “You know Johnny, do you realize it’s been over 25 years since the war ended?” Sam pondered. “Where did the time go? Yet in a way, it seems more than lifetimes ago.”
“Yup,” Johnny replied. “I was going out west to meet my father, remember? Glad I stayed.”
“Well, best be getting on home. Never could miss one of Becky’s meals. Have to help the grandkids with their pony after supper. Come on over if you like.” And with that Sam got up and started across the fields for home.
Johnny watched him go and then there appeared over the crest of the hill a traveler that seemed familiar. Sam stopped to chat a bit with the traveler and then went on. The traveler headed toward Johnny it seemed. “Don’t know no one who’d be looking for me,” Johnny thought, but the person was coming nonetheless.
And then his heart stopped, for the traveler’s walk was familiar. He knew that person! From all those years ago, back before the war. Older, yes, but the face was the same, the same sweet face he had loved all those years ago, back before the war. He had forgotten, forced himself to forget, moved on with his life, all those years ago.
Johnny got up from the porch and met Emily on the edge of the fields. Then they walked together along that old dirt road they had known so well, all those years ago before the war. Unlikely as it was, Johnny, after all those years, had indeed journeyed back to what used to be.
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 24 (This one)