Second Harvest (Chapter Four, page 2 of 14)


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Obtaining scarce local trees, William managed to gather sufficient logs to assemble a crude home of five hundred square feet. A natural cave existed in the rock wall of the hillside, so to protect his mine William placed the back of the log home against this opening. Over time, William enlarged the cave and dug a deep tunnel in search of minerals. The tunnel stretched almost five-hundred feet beneath the mountain and represented not only a man's determination to find riches but his enduring spirit to persevere when all reasonable indicators said quit.

William never recovered from the loss of his Rebecca. Although his heart ached for a woman whom he only knew two years, he refused to accept another to replace her. For the next twenty years, he and Thaddeus worked on the homestead and in the mine, rarely stopping except for meals and rest. One day, while opening a vertical shaft for air midway through the main tunnel, William was trapped by a landslide. His son Thaddeus furiously clawed through the earth, screaming for his father, but to no avail. Thaddeus spent three days digging through rock and soil before he came across the lifeless dirt-covered form of his father.

At twenty-three, Thaddeus felt isolated and alone. A few days afterward, a simple funeral service was hastily arranged. At their austere homestead, William Folsom was laid to rest, next to Rebecca, his young bride, and the tiny grave of her stillborn daughter Clara. The family burial plot sat alongside an ancient cottonwood tree growing near a creek on the property. Thaddeus spent hours in solitary efforts to repair the tunnel damage which resulted in his father's untimely death, but it was hardly any comfort. With no plan to guide him, Thaddeus worked tirelessly to restore the tunnel to a functioning state.

Without a mother, to teach Thaddeus the softer or feminine aspects of life, he mirrored his father's behavior. The rewards of his hard work were more labor and intensified determination. Initially, Thaddeus resisted the strict ethics of his father, which created friction between the two men, but eventually he adopted them first-hand when he recognized their benefits. The desire for independence would either make or break any human struggling to survive the trials of Arizona, yet somehow; Thaddeus effortlessly faced the daily obstacles presented. He was a determined young man who desired to change the future away from the harsh circumstances that life had dealt.

Slightly friendlier than his father William, Thaddeus found it easy to make acquaintances with folks nearby in the town. With a keen interest and natural knack for mechanical things, Thaddeus often peppered anyone considered an expert with enough questions to satisfy his personal curiosity. Self-sufficient, he took pride in the ability to accomplish anything his mind desired. The only thing he lacked was a family, but because he lived so remote, his opportunities seemed limited.

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