0utside the store a heavy-set man was standing on an upturned barrel and waving a hammer. He turned to the group standing behind him and asked “This look straight, y’all?”
“Naw, raise up the left side a bit, just an inch or so.”
“You just had me raise-up the right side.”
“And ya raised it too much” was the answer.
“An yer a half-blind old coot, so maybe ya can’t see if the dang thing is even or not!”
“Aw, just nail it up and be done with it. I’m gettin’ a chill and my mug is empty.” He held his tin mug upside down to demonstrate.
Nate Grumbley laughed and pounded one last nail into place. He climbed down from the barrel and surveyed his handiwork with satisfaction. A newly painted sign stated that the building housed Grumbley’s General Store. Personally, he would have preferred to call it an emporium. That sounded so much finer and like a big city department store in one of the modern, tall buildings in Baltimore or New York. Some of them were 10 stories tall! He’d even heard tell of a newfangled contraption called an elevator invented by a fellow by the name of Elisha Otis.
“That’ll do. My arms are fixin’ to fall off my shoulders. I’ll put a fresh pot of coffee to cook and Jed there can add some of his secret ingredient.”
“What makes ya think I got enough to share?” demanded Jed.
“Don’t ya usually? I’m tired of standing out here in this cold mountain air. I am goin’ inside!” and he did just that.
At the Great Council House of the Shawnee Nation:
Several of the elders warmed themselves at the fire and discussed a matter that was causing them increasing concern.
“Perhaps this is larger than a simple incursion. I think that we should confer with our friends to the east.”
“That is agreeable to me as well.”
A third man turned to an ancient man sitting a small distance apart from the others.
“What do you think, Grandfather? We need your guidance. I know that you do not approve of consulting outsiders about our affairs but perhaps it is necessary.”
The others nodded differentially. Although extremely old, the elder still had a sharp mind and his advice, though rarely given, had great weight with his people.
“Yes,” answered Tecumseh. “We must meet with our friends and see what they know of this situation. Years ago I fought the white man so that we would be able to live freely and without interference with our traditional ways. Many times I nearly died in battle fighting side by side with my brothers from other nations. Now we must meet and talk together yet again and see if we face a new threat to our sovereignty.”
I also apologize for taking so long to add the second bit of this chapter! Mea culpa!!!