The Advertisement was simple and read:
“Wife Needed. Christian. Younger than 25.”
Joseph was beside himself as he shuffled through the multitude of letters. Yearning for the so-called women’s touch that was needed in their lives had driven him to place ads in city newspapers back east. The response was overwhelming. Joseph sat there trying to read each one, amazed at how they all held their own story. Narrowing it down to six candidates, he set the rest aside figuring he would narrow it down to the four he needed after dinner.
“Dinner is up!” shouted his daughter from the kitchen. Joseph stood up from his desk and walked towards the dining room off to the left. Something didn’t quite smell right. The overpowering smell of something burnt with a strong whiff of garlic almost stopped him in his tracks. He chuckled to himself knowing what lie ahead for dinner.
The room was large, with a solid oak table set smack dab in the center and twelve chairs around it. Jenna, his youngest, had attempted to make the table inviting by setting out two place setting and a small vase with daisies to brighten the stark simplicity of the table. Jenna entered the room carrying a large pot and a plate of cornbread resting on top, grinning from ear to ear. “Chili and cornbread,” she announced proudly.
“Smells delicious,” lied Joseph. He didn’t want to hurt his daughter’s attempt at cooking. Although he knew he was going to miss his regular cook Sal. Sal had left this morning with his four sons to mend fences. They would gone for the next couple of days so, Joseph knew he would be in for some interesting meals.
“Awe, Dad don’t lie,” replied Jenna giggling. After setting the pot down she set the plate of cornbread next to it. She reached for her Dad’s plate and scooped out a large helping of Chili. “Sorry, but I ran outside to catch a better look at the bird atop the clothes line and lost track of time and it burnt.”
“No problem, hon,” replied Joseph. He smiled to himself as he watched her. Memories of her mama, dishing up food as she chattered on and on, coming to mind. Jenna looked a lot like her momma with the long, light brown hair pulled back with a blue ribbon and tiny petite frame. Joseph doubted that Jenna remembered her mama. She had died when Jenna was three. That was nine years ago.
Joseph finished his meal and returned to his office feeling refreshed, although still hungry. He settled in to review his choices and send out replies. Selecting the four he thought would suit his needs, he penned four letters exactly alike. “I look forward to meeting you. Sincerely Joseph Turner.” As he was finishing up addressing the last envelope he heard Jenna come into the room asking “do you need anything Daddy?”
“No, I’m going into town. Would you like to come along?” he asked.
“What you going into town for?” asked Jenna.
“Just going to run some errands.” he replied.
“No, I think I’ll stay here and plan the dinner menu,” she answered sweetly.
“Okay,” he said as he finished the envelope and got up from the desk. “I shouldn’t be gone long.”
The ride to town took about thirty minutes on horseback giving him a lot of time to reflect on his four sons. They were all strong healthy young men and in need of a good woman to settle down with. He knew they would not be happy with what he was doing but something had to happen. The women around here were already married or entertainers in town–not quite marriage material. He also knew that Jenna needed some womanly influence in her life, especially when it came to the cooking.
His thoughts turned to Jeb, his oldest son, who he knew had taken a special liking to Kate, one of the new girls down at the Silver Star. This was one of the main reasons for Joseph to take such a bold step in finding suitable wives for his sons.
Stopping at the railroad ticket office, Joseph purchased four tickets that had all four young ladies arriving next month–on Saturday April 3rd–and slipped one ticket in each envelope. Then he sealed them as he walked slowly towards the post office. He hoped and prayed he was doing the right thing bringing these young ladies out west to wed his boys. If it didn’t work out, he didn’t know what he was going to do. Well, he thought he would cross that bridge when it came down to it.
He handed the four envelopes over to the post master and, smiling, he turned around and headed home. He knew he was taking a gamble but he had to cast this bet for his boys. Next month would prove to be very interesting.
This “short” is a continuation of a previous one titled “The Pearl Necklace.” We will continue the story so, keep checking back in to see what Joseph gets himself into, and how his sons react when they meet the women their father has picked for them!
We will also be posting other “shorts” from time to time (not related to this story) so there will be a wide variety of things to read! We’re always looking for suggestions for stories/ themes, so let us know what you want to read, and we’ll see what we can come up with! =)