Summary: Hop Sing plays a central role in this tale of bringing a family member back where he belongs.
Word Count: 1129
Sitting at his desk, Ben had been sitting and rereading letters from his son. He sounded so depressed. It was if some tragedy had befallen him, but it was just life that had gotten him down. Ben thought his son truly needed to get back here to the Ponderosa to clear his head and relieve the stress that had made him so morose and anxious. With a family and a career that required long hours and a great deal of travel, Adam tried to balance things by having his family travel with him. However that only added more stress to his life even if he did have his family close. Even though he was in San Francisco for business, he had said there wasn’t time for a side trip to the Ponderosa this time. There never seemed to be enough time for a trip to the Ponderosa, and Ben had yet to see his grandson even though the little boy was going on three years old already.
Sitting by the fireplace and doing a bit of whittling, Hoss tried to talk about the same subject but found he couldn’t. What had made things worse for him was Hop Sing deciding that he needed to visit his family in San Francisco just when the family needed him here. He had not wanted Hop Sing to leave, but the small cook had said family was most important, and he needed to go to San Francisco. Hoss could hardly object to that and his father had agreed too that if Hop Sing needed to go to his family then he would let him go for as long as he needed to go. Hoss had wished he could be the one to go because Adam was supposed to be in the city for a short time, but he was too busy to make a trip out to the Ponderosa before he set sail for the next stop on his business trip. Unfortunately Hoss had too much work to do on the ranch to take that much time away.
Sitting in the blue chair by the fireplace, Joe was trying to be interested in his latest book, but Ben could see he hadn’t turned a page for twenty minutes at least. Joe loved these short exciting novels, but he would have preferred to have his brother sitting in that chair at least for a while. They had at least gotten word that Hop Sing was coming back soon so now he waited with his father and brother for his return at least.
When they heard the carriage wheels in the yard, Ben walked to the door expecting to see Hop Sing. But when the door opened, Ben had to grin his widest grin and rush out to greet not only Hop Sing but two guests, one he knew and one he wanted to know very much. Hoss and Joe wondered at his reaction and got up to follow him out the door. Once they got there to see who had arrived with Hop Sing, they were still worried, but relieved that now at least part of the family was back where they belonged. They went out to greet Adam’s wife and son.
Hop Sing had jumped down from the carriage to help the pregnant dark-haired beauty to the ground. Then the slender dark haired toddler was helped down to stand with his hand in his mother’s. As Ben got close, he continued to grin for this was the first time he had seen his only grandchild. The little boy tilted his head back to stare up at the tall silver-haired man who resembled his father a bit.
“Are you my grandpa?”
“Yes, yes, I am. And I am so happy to finally meet you.”
“Papa says you bellow. Are you going to bellow?”
“No, no, of course not.”
“Good. What’s a bellow?”
“It’s a loud yell. And if your papa wasn’t such a stubborn man, I would never have bellowed at him either.”
Ben grinned again and the little boy smiled and moved forward to offer his hand like a man after his mother released his hand and gave him a gentle nudge. Ben shook his hand, and then opened his arms wide for a hug. The little boy looked up at his mother, and with her nod, he moved into his grandfather’s hug. Hoss and Joe each got tears in their eyes at that moment.
Joe wondered though about his oldest brother. “And how did you do this without Adam stopping you?”
“I take family when he so busy. He no see they gone.”
“He’s gonna be real upset with ya, Hop Sing. Dadburnit, I didn’t know ya had it in ya ta pull off something like this. Ya shur made us happy though.”
“Mister Hoss, Hop Sing know much about healing. Know this is medicine my family need.”
Suddenly all the Cartwrights understood Hop Sing’s request to go take care of his family in California. Addressing Adam’s wife next, Ben asked Kerstin about Adam.
“Well, he was still buried in his work when we left. However as soon as he found out his old friend hijacked his wife and son, I imagine all thoughts of work went out the window. I should think that we can expect him here within a short time. We had to travel slowly because of my condition. When he finally gets here, he’ll remember what’s important. I just want to make sure you and his brothers are between Hop Sing and Adam until he calms down. You know about that temper of his.”
Ben had to grin again, and even Hoss and Joe had to smile a little at the audacity of their cook and friend.
“Oh, we’ll do that. We owe a lot to Hop Sing, and Adam will too when he realizes what Hop Sing has done for him.”
“I think that Abel is going to find out that his father can bellow too, but Adam needs to slow down. He’s letting work kill him slowly. I think you’ll see that when he gets here. Hop Sing is right. This is the medicine he needs.”
“Hop Sing usually knows the right medicine for all of us. I don’t know what we would do without him.”
About then, there were numerous Chinese curses that came from the kitchen. All three Cartwright men grimaced. Ben looked at Kerstin. “I guess we didn’t do a good job cleaning up his kitchen.”
“I’m sure he’ll forgive you.”
“I’m sure he will. It’s what family does.”