The Mockingbird's Ballad (Chapter 2, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 2

He rode into the front yard on the old gray horse "Fog," she on the small sorrel mare, "Lady." The riders each had a lead rope tied to the back of their saddles. Norman trailed the studs and Nancy tended the jennies. He'd learned a life-changing lesson at the north Georgia gold mines: he was absolutely no miner. He had also learned life does bless one with luck sometimes, and in surprising ways. Now he came home with some wisdom, pride, possibilities and a wife.

His home-leaving adventure was not a complicated or especially long story. He had gone away to strike it rich. With his dreams of gold and riches shattered in Dahlonega, he had come home within two months. A mean sore back, blistered hands, and trouble breathing in the dark, dusty holes had brought him to the realization that he required fresh air, nature's greenery, and home.

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Being smarter than stubborn, Norman gave up his gold prospecting. Mad at himself and disgusted with his foolishness, he got drunk in a canvas-covered saloon on foul home brew. With $18 left and in a hung over stupor, he was drawn into a poker game that developed into a two-hour whirlwind of win some, lose more. In the last hand, the liquor was wearing off. He had lost all but his clothes, hat, brogans, worn leather satchel with a few necessities and his rifle. He bet the Kentucky long gun in an all or nothing declaration. His father had given it to him for his sixteenth birthday. It was an old Kentucky rifle converted from cap and ball to percussion, but a prize, his only prize.

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