In truth, it's not the first I've thought of what to do with the idea of having one of the Owens go to California to start a horse ranch. Two or three years ago, I wrote a short story in which just such a place is mentioned. That piece was publishing in--of all places--an anthology of boxing stories. I plan to publish it as a stand-alone story later this year.
As I mulled over how to place some Owen family members on the ranch, at first I thought it would be a continuation of James's story. We all know how much he loves working with horses. Then, since Rulon's son, Roddy, popped up in the final moments of the aforementioned short story, with the ranch on his lips, I thought it would be Rulon who moved to California.
It is someone else's turn.
I have figured out the timeline and know a few things that must happen to establish that ranch. And how Roddy gets there. Now the story must stand in line for its turn to be written. I have two or three other pieces of fiction that must be completed first.
But I will share some of what I wrote yesterday. Behold! An Adventure with Clay Owen (and that most certainly is not the title!).
Clayton Owen paced the floor of the rustic cabin. One yellow pine board squeaked under his feet each time he trod upon it. Pa needed to get another nail in that one. He drew up, facing the small window with the prairie view and leaned heavily on the sill. The sun had slipped behind the mountain to his back, but the light persisted still.
He turned. Pa sat rigidly in his chair, white knuckles gripping the wooden arms. Ma knitted in her chair, the click of her needles as she fashioned the blue wool into a garment now the only sound above Clay's harsh breathing. Her eyes were on her work. She would not intervene.
"I want to learn the skill. It's only two years."
"You're able enough at the forge. You don't need to apprentice to the blacksmith."
"Horseshoes! I can make horseshoes. I need to know more, Pa."
"How can I spare you for two years? Rulon and Carl are all I've got to help me."
Clay approached his father and knelt before the chair. He laid his hands on the backs of his father's. "You have Bertie. You have Henry and the rest of the hands. You can get by without me for two years."
I hope you enjoyed this little Sample. Stay tuned for further bits and pieces as I get back to writing fiction.