Editor's Note: This is an ongoing series which runs each Thursday morning titled the Richland Chronicles, by author Paul Lintern. It is set in the 1860s and tells the story of Richland County through the eyes of young people. The books are available from Lintern for $25 a set, tax and shipping included. Each book is about 120 pages written for intermediate readers (4th grade) with local illustrations. Volume I is Amelia Changes Her Tune. Volume II is Isaac and Wolf Paw Find Their Home. Volume III is Autumn Keeps Her Secret. Volume IV is Mr. Gamble Starts a School. Volume V is Jacob Blows his Horn. Volume VI is Cassie Fights the War. Volume VII is Emilene Adopts Her Family.
“Do it again, Smokey,” Ice Wagon shouted, as the bottom of the eighth got underway.
And doggone it if he didn’t do it again!
A shot to right center and a three-bagger. Bull felt obligated to get him in, so he hit a single to left, and while Ice Wagon ﬂied out, Jacob, with his new-found conﬁdence, stepped into a throw that landed in deep centerﬁeld. Right in the centerﬁelder’s hands.
“‘Hand dead’ should be my new nickname,” Jacob muttered to David as he sat back down.
Don’t say that too loudly.
Still, with two hands ready dead, Gopher, Glue and Spider all hit singles, and Ice Wagon ﬁnally made it in. When Mo and Birdlegs did the same, Smokey walked back up for the second time that inning, something every ballplayer dreams of, because it means his team is having a good inning.
And Smokey didn’t let the crowd down. The high throw he had called for went ﬂying into left ﬁeld, landing in front of the ﬁelder, and because there were two hands down, Mo was running from second, ready to score right behind Spider.
But baseball is a game of ups and downs, and a good throw from an outﬁelder and a terriﬁc catch and tag by a catcher can make even the best runner come up short. And Mo was not the best runner.
The Red Stocking combination of Hurley to Leonard made Mo a runner “no mo’.”
Bottom of the eighth inning: Cincinnati 46, Mansﬁeld 13.
+ + +
The ﬁddlers had entertained with some recent war songs in between innings, such as “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” and “Tramp,Tramp, Tramp.”
When they played “Goober Peas,” the crowd bellowed out the chorus, more shouting than singing:
Peas, peas, peas, peas,
Eating goober peas.
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
The crowd also found its voice when the ﬁddlers mustered up “Marching Through Georgia.”
“That’s a song about General Billy Sherman leading the Yankees through the middle of Georgia,” Jacob told David, when he should have been getting ready for his turn at bat.
We bring the jubilee!
The ﬂag that makes you free!
So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea
While we were marching through Georgia.
“Everyone here likes it because General Billy is the brother of Senator Sherman. You know, who lives up the street from us,” he added.
Up the street and over in Washington, David thought. He may live a block away, but it’s a diﬀerent world.
When the ﬁddlers began Battle Hymn of the Republic, the crowd softened and the shouters became a choir, so that by the time they were singing,
“Glory, glory, hallelujah,” it was as one voice singing a prayer.
Martin and Cassie had been good sports, coming to the game, after two days of cleaning the smokiness oﬀ of whatever they had saved, and waiting for their old new house to stop smoldering.
The men had spent most of Sunday and much of Monday just pushing logs into the middle of the pile, to ﬁnish burning up that which was of no value now anyway.
The job was hard work for the men and just plain sad for the women.
Knowing that Tuesday’s game was special to Jacob, and so to the whole family, they came and sat with the Zimmermans on the knoll, but never were their thoughts far from the empty spot at the old farm.
“I’d like to oﬀer some things to you, Cassie,” a voice spoke as Cassie looked up to see the silhouette of a tall, slender woman holding a violin.
Next to her was a shorter ﬁgure, also with a violin, except it was called a ﬁddle by Grace who held it. Miss Vasbinder knelt down beside Cassie.
“When I moved here from the country, I left a lot of furniture behind, because Mother had a lot more than I needed. I would like to oﬀer it to you — dining table, chairs, bed frame, rocker, dressers, that sort.”
Oh my goodness. All that? Grace thought.
“Oh, Miss Vasbinder, that is so generous, but I couldn’t accept such an oﬀer. That is too much,” Cassie gushed.
Yes you could, accept it!
“It was left there for a reason, and it can stay there until you have a place to put it,” she replied.
“But I would feel so indebted. I don’t think I could repay you.”
I don’t think you’d have to, that’s what gift means.
“I see,” she said, then appeared thoughtful.
Soon, an idea came to her eyes.
“Maybe you can repay me,” Miss Vasbinder suggested. “Ever since I moved into town, I have been eyeing that public square to consider what sort of improvements can be made, so that everyone could be proud of what is currently more of a barnyard than a park.”
“That’s true. I heard Miss Vasbinder and Mama talking about that last week,” Grace blurted out, and the two of them turned to her, looking surprised.
Guess they didn’t know I was listening.
“It is true,” Miss Vasbinder said.
“And I am looking for someone who will help me organize a committee to propose such improvements and see that our good citizens pony up and see it through.
“Will you help me in that?”
“I have felt the same way about that square,” Cassie said, and thought a bit, before saying,
“That’s a deal. Let’s turn the square into a park.
“And a pile of ashes into a home.”