Word Count: 1239
Hey big brother!
As usual when a holiday or someone’s special day rolls around, I’m out of town on business. Working the lumber camps might not be ‘real’ business but it sure is work. I suppose I was set up for this…again…being as how we had to draw straws and the shortest straw got stuck doing the dirty work. Somehow I think that you and Hoss planned it that way. You’re always grumbling about how I never pull my weight when it comes to doing the chores or the really hard work…hahaha…you know me pretty well, don’t you Adam?
It’s nice here, up in the mountains. There’s still a little snow showing, which is nice during the day. Everything’s turning green and I’ve even seen some of the wildflowers starting to peek through where the snow is thinning out. But I didn’t send you this note to talk about flowers…that’s girl stuff…
I just wanted to wish you happy birthday and to tell you I think you’re about the best big brother a kid…as you call me…could ever have. There have been plenty of times that I’ve gotten myself in some sort of fix and deeper than I should and somehow you’ve always been there to bail my butt out of trouble. I don’t know how you find out about these things, but I’m grateful you do. Someday, Adam, you’ll make a great father…what with all the training you’ve had looking after me and Hoss…well…me mostly. Oh, don’t forget about that girl I invited to your party. Her name is Lulu…I told her to be sure to introduce herself to you. Be nice to her, big brother…she’s just your type!
Save me some cake, will you? You know chocolate is my favorite…hey…and dance a dance with my girl for me alright? Tell her I’m sorry I missed the party, and tell her too, that I promise to make it up to her…
I hope you like what I got you. It isn’t much, but I had to send all the way to San Francisco to get it for you. I looked in your bookcase to be sure you didn’t already have a copy of that title and you didn’t, so you won’t have to worry about having a duplicate. I started to read the book first, but golly dang, Adam…I couldn’t pronounce half those words and what words I could say…I didn’t know what they meant and none of it made any sense to me. I guess that’s where your education comes in handy…I’ll just stick to busting broncos!
Pa and Hoss have a special surprise for you too…I can’t tell you what it is, but I have no doubt that you’ll like it and if you don’t, I’ll take it…cause he sure is a ‘beauty.’
The men are starting to come back to camp now, so I guess I’d better close and give this to a messenger. I have a fellow who said he’d deliver if for me just for the price of a piece of your birthday cake, so be sure he gets one, will you?
Again, Adam…happy birthday…and thanks for being my brother. I know I can be thorn in your side most of the time, but honestly big guy…most of the time I don’t mean too. I think you’re the very best and I just wanted you to know. Have a great night…I wish I could be there with you to celebrate your special day. I can’t, but I’ll be thinking about you…You’re what now…30…or is it 31? Another year or so and you’ll be an old man…hahhaa..
No…really, it’s me, Little Joe!
Adam chuckled softly to himself and folded the note up and tucked into his breast pocket, close to his heart. For all the kid’s faults, he loved his little brother… “Thanks kid,” Adam muttered. “I wish you were here too…”
“Who are you talking too?” Ben said as he stood behind his eldest son.
Adam spun around, embarrassed to be caught talking to himself.
“Well?” insisted Ben.
“You won’t laugh?”
“Of course not, son…at least not on your birthday…” smiled Ben.
“I was talking to…Little Joe.”
Ben’s eyes widened. “Little Joe?”
Adam tapped his breast where the note was hidden away in his pocket.
“He sent a messenger down from the mountains with a note for me,” Adam explained.
“Oh…what did the note say?”
“He wanted to wish me happy birthday and to tell that he…that he…” Adam swallowed hard. It wasn’t often that he got choked up, but the sentimental remembrance made by his little brother had touched him more than he had realized until right at the moment.
“He wanted to tell you that he loved you…didn’t he?” smiled Ben.
“Yeah…but how did you know?”
“How did I know? I’ve always known, son…that your brother…brothers, loved you. Oh, they might not show it often, especially Little Joe…but they do. I know you and the boy aren’t always able to see eye to eye on things, but he’s loyal to you…just as you are to him. And no matter what problem arises between you two…you both seem to always be able to work it out. You’re a good role model for the boy, Adam. You’ll make a great father someday…”
Adam chuckled softly.
“What’s so funny, son?”
“Joe said the same thing…about being a good father someday. I was just wondering if you and he are plotting together on something I should be aware of?”
Ben faked a surprise, but he grinned broadly. “Us? What makes you think we’d do that?”
“Well, maybe not you, Pa…but definitely my little brother. Something tells me he’d like to see me get married and move out…”
“Well, he’s said more than once that he’d love to have a bedroom as big as mine…sooo…”
Ben laughed again as he slipped his arm about his son’s shoulders. “I have a notion that even from a distance, Joe has made you somewhat nervous about this party tonight…am I right?”
“Probably…he did say that there was a girl coming that he wanted me to meet…when he said, ‘Adam, she will knock your socks off’, I got to thinking…I’d best make sure the kid draws the shortest match…”
“Shame on you…”
“I know…something tells me I’m gonna regret it…”
“HEY ADAM! LOOKY HERE…THIS HERE IS LULU BELL SOCKSOFFT’ Hoss said none too quietly. “Joe wanted you to meet her!’
Adam turned around to see Hoss heading straight towards him. Hoss’ arm was slipped over the arm of a young woman…all the guests had turned to stare in awe at the voluptuous woman with the low cut dress. He suffered himself not to look below the woman’s neckline, but there was no way to avoid seeing her…virtues.
“Oh for Pete’s sake,” Adam muttered under his breath as he quickly assessed the woman. “I’ll kill him for this…”
Behind him, he heard his father snicker. “Be nice son…remember your manners…”
“Oh…don’t worry, Pa…I won’t forget a thing…”