"Tom Named By Horse" is coming soon, I promise. In January ... Sorry for the delay. Our dear friend Bobbie Jo Lieberman has finished her final edit and Troy Locker Palmer is working on the cover - I've already had my first look – Fantastic!! – So keep a watch here in the Coffee Clutch, and my Facebook page for more updates. Please enjoy this first excerpt after Bobbie Jo's final edits ... She is remarkable ~ Gitty Up, Dutch Henry.
The next morning, before the sun broke over the horizon, Tom led the horses and mules to the stream. He sat on the bank near the spot where the evening before he watched the herd of horses in the distance. In the early morning shadows the prairie laid empty. Tom relaxed, enjoying the calm of the little grove of trees and wide stream. Tom Gray waded into the stream and lay down in the water. ‘‘Are you trying to tell me I should take a bath? I got pretty clean last night catching trout.’’
‘‘I like your way with horses Tom, they can trust you.’’ Soft Cloud's tender voice surprised him. Lost in his thoughts, he had not heard her sneak up on him. “And this place, here by the stream, the trees, it suits you doesn’t it?”
‘‘It 's a peaceful place, it feels right to be here. When we return to your village and I give Red Cloud the buffalo hunter’s scalp I am returning here. I will spend the winter here in this cabin, among these trees, and by this stream. There is game to hunt, fish to eat, and it’s only half a day’s ride to your village ... I would like us to be friends.’’
‘‘We will always be friends.’’ She stood on tiptoes and gave Tom a hug, then playfully turned and dashed to the front of the mud cabin. He ran after her. Catching her by the well, he scooped her up and sat her on the little wall by the well. ‘‘I like being with you.’’ He almost kissed her, but suddenly wondered if he knew how. Instead he helped her down and started to load the wagon.
They loaded everything they needed on one wagon and were about to harness the mules when Tom changed his mind. ‘‘I’d rather ride my horse. If you take Buck’s cavalry horse we can ride together, instead of bouncing along in the wagon.’’ He opened the rope corral with a request to the mules and horse being left behind to not wander too far.
The cool morning breeze seemed just right for a lazy trip across the prairie. They rode quietly, leisurely through tall grass and the occasional patch of fall blooming prairie flowers. A perfect ride for two people becoming good friends, who both were pondering, in their own way, where the future might take them.
~ Gitty Up, Dutch Henry