Summary: Here is my story for the June challenge. As always hope you don’t think it was a waste of your time to read.
Rated: K+ 1100
“May I please have everyone’s attention?”
Ben stood before the crowd and waited until he felt it was quiet enough for everyone to hear what he wanted to say. Finally it was. “I am sure you are all aware of the reason why we are gathered here but just in case there are some who heard the celebrating and thought that one or more persons wouldn’t be noticed I will tell you. We are here celebrating my son Adam’s return home.”
Sheriff Roy Coffee, who was a good friend to Ben, knew that Ben Cartwright could go on for hours especially when talking about his sons and Roy wanted to celebrate a little more. He thought perhaps to point out to Ben what he was guilty of might take some of the wind out of his sails. Roy should have known there was no one who could do that today, or almost no one. “You sound awful proud Ben.”
Truth be told Roy was feeling a little proud himself. After all he had known Adam for more then half of that boy’s life and to Roy he and his brothers were like his own.
“And why shouldn’t I. After all he did graduate at the top of his class.”
Adam was not one who enjoyed having his accomplishments announced and he knew that normally his father would have respected that without needing to be reminded but he also knew his father had been celebrating so he thought perhaps a subtle reminder would help. “Paaa.”
Ben knew of his sons wish for privacy where his successes were concerned so he decided to honor it for the most part. “Oh come on Adam this celebration is a culmination of all your hard work so let the party commence!”
Adam knew they would all try to help Hop-Sing clean up tomorrow he also knew that chances were Hop-Sing would have everything cleaned up before they even awoke. It would be as if a party of that magnitude and length had not even taken place. “Pa thank you.”
“For what son?”
“That was a really great party.”
“It was fun. I just wish that…well that we had been able to give you one just as fun when you had left for school.”
Adam had caught his father looking around almost lost a few times during the evening and he just seemed to know he had been looking for his step-mother Marie. Adam had caught himself doing the same. Things had happened so quickly when he’d left for college there had been little time to mourn her passing just a few months prior. While back east he could almost convince himself she was still here with his father and brothers and that when he came home… “Pa I…”
“Pa we’re bachelors right?” Joe knew it was late and he had never been allowed to stay up this late before. He knew that questions were always a good way to stall his father.
Ben wondered where this might be going. “Yes Joseph we are.”
“And Adam is too right?”
Like his father Adam wondered where this would lead. “Yes Joe I am.”
“Then why would all those girls at the party be sayin’ you was a most desirable bachelor and that I would be one too when I got a little older. I mean I thought all girls wanted to get married and bachelors don’t get married right?”
“Joe all men are called bachelors before they get married.”
“But pa Adam ain’t gonna go and do that not when he don’t have too.”
“And just why is it you think I don’t have too little brother.”
“Cause what else are girls good for ‘cept cooking and cleaning and stuff and we got Hop-Sing for that.”
Ben thought there were quite a few things his son had yet to learn. “That may be Joseph, but there are other things girls are good for.”
“Oh you mean kissin pa? Adam don’t need to marry no girl for that.”
Ben thought maybe his youngest knew more then he thought he could also see his eldest son starting to squirm slightly. “And why do you say that Joe?”
“Because pa Adam kisses girls and he ain’t married to none of them.”
“Oh really.” Ben didn’t miss that Joe had used the plural.
“Yeah pa I even heard some of those girls sayin’ that he was like some medieval knight, the kind all girls dream of. They even said he should have a white horse. Ain’t that silly cause Adam’s got a perfectly fine horse it don’t matter that he’s a chestnut.”
“Little brother you sure heard a lot you shouldn’t have.”
“That’s not true Adam. They knew me and Hoss was there. Right Hoss?”
Up until now Hoss had stayed quiet. He didn’t really like to push his way into a conversation and when it came to his little brother sometimes pushing in was the only way to get a word in, but now that he had been brought in maybe he could ask a question of his own. “That’s right. They saw us standing there. Hey pa can I ask you a question?”
Ben felt certain Hoss’ question wouldn’t be anything like Joe’s and boy was he right. “What is it Hoss.”
“That tassel a Adam’s you said he wore it on his hat when he graduated?”
“Yes but that hat is called a mortarboard son.”
“Do girls wear mortarboards?”
“Hoss they aren’t hats you wear everyday. You only wear one when you graduate.”
“Oh. Then why is it Adam I heard a girl sayin’ how she would like to wear it to a dance with you ‘cept that she would need a matching pair?”
Adam quickly got to his feet. “I gotta go pa.”
Ben grinned as his eldest son looked for a place to escape too. “You don’t even want to try to answer this Mr. College Graduate?”
“Pa not even college can give us the answers to everything that’s why God gave us fathers.”
Ben smiled as Adam disappeared upstairs. He knew that he’d just been given a very great compliment from a man who didn’t give them freely. That’s when it really hit him. His son was a man.
At the sound of his youngest son’s voice Ben turned his attention back to the two boys he still had. Two boys who were looking at him with great curiosity. Even they couldn’t imagine what the answer their father would give them would be because right now their father was still trying to think of one.
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