Word count: 685
Johnny sat, leg draped over the pommel, looking down at the beauty that was Lancer. He began talking to his confidant, his amigo Barranca. “I’m sorry I had to pull you outta your nice warm stall, but I had to get away from those people for a while.” Barranca snorted his displeasure but he seemed to understand.
“Boy, I don’t know where Boston comes up with these things. He told us about some Indians and Pilgrims, that is what he called a bunch of settlers, got together to eat and share their harvest. Thanksgiving. I heard of it but it was not celebrated where I grew up. In fact, if we got any food at all that would be reason to celebrate. ‘Course that never happened much. He said this shindig happened up in Massachusetts. Them folks in the east sure do some strange stuff.”
Barranca gave a nod of agreement.
“Ol’ Boston has everyone all into this celebration thing. The ladies have been cooking and baking for days. They won’t even let me in the kitchen. I wonder if that really happened, that the Indians and the ‘Pilgrims’ sat down together to share their food.” Johnny started thinking about that meeting and how it must have been.
“Wouldn’t it be great if everyone got along together and helped each other? Sure would be a nice world if that ever happened. Folks would accept each other no matter what their skin or eye color was nor where they came from or what their beliefs are. I mean all the time, not just one day a year.” As he thought about that, Johnny began scratching Barranca behind the ears.
“Thanksgiving ought to be more than just getting together to eat. Now, I ain’t complaining about eating. I can always eat, and I guess Scott has a good idea. He says before we eat everybody has ta’ say what they are thankful for. The ol’ man thought it was a great idea. Guess I better try and figure out what I am thankful for.” Johnny headed toward the stream to let Barranca have a drink. Gracefully dropping down from the saddle and loosening the cinch, he led the horse to the stream. Finding a fallen log, he sat down to think.
“Let’s see if I can think of something to be thankful for. I am thankful Murdoch sent for me, saving me from the firing squad. I am thankful for the family I never knew I had, especially Scott. He is the best big brother a guy could have. When I look out over Lancer I am thankful for all the beauty I see. I am thankful for friends like Val who always has my back, and Doc Jenkins who patches me up whenever I am hurt. I am really thankful that Madrid is fading away, and Johnny Lancer is here, but I can still count on Madrid when I need his presence. Of course I am also thankful for you, my amigo. You were my first and best present from Murdoch.” Lifting his head up from the stream, Barranca nodded in agreement; water still dripping from his muzzle was hitting a laughing Johnny.
“I guess we better head on home. Teresa will be hunting me and Scott down to help setting up the extra tables and such. Maybe I can sneak us an apple or two without being caught.” Mounted up, he headed back home. He passed several hands out working, and each stopped to wave or toss Johnny a greeting. After stopping briefly to joke with Frank he continued on.
“Ya’ know Barranca, I met some nice people since I came home. The hands and even most of the town are just good folks. Some won’t forgive my past as Madrid, but most now see me as Johnny Lancer, rancher and Murdoch Lancer’s son. I really have so much to be thankful for now. Guess I can say I am thankful for life.” Johnny gave Barranca his head and let him have a good run to the arch.
~ end ~
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