One night at supper, Wilson handed a slip of paper to Frances and Ruth. He told them it is where my sister Naomi was staying. Somehow I knew what that meant. Tears filled my eyes. Ruth asked me if I wanted to stay with them. I could hardly answer at that moment. I wanted to stay, I loved them and I loved the land. My sadness was for Wilson and Chowder, I was going to miss them terribly. I could tell they were thinking I might not want to stay, because of my tears. I couldn’t hold them back. Frances and Ruth looked real concerned.
Wilson took my hand and excused us from the table to go talk. He took me out by the fence that overlooked the horses in the pasture. Wilson looked straight in the eyes and told me to give it to him raw. Through much sobbing I told him I wanted to stay, but I would miss him and Chowder. Wilson looked down at me, his eyes were wet too. He admitted that it was hard for him too, but it was for the best. He assured me that they were good folks and I would be happy there. I know I couldn’t give Wilson what he gave me but I wanted him to know I loved him. We embraced and he took me back inside. Ruth and Jonathan stared at us. I ran and hugged them. “I want to stay,” I said. They both cried tears of joy. There was no doubt, this is where I belonged.
That night Wilson sat on the porch for quite a while. He just rocked back and forth in the rocking chair while puffing on his pipe. Frances sat with him some, but it got late so went in to bed. I cradled Chowder in my arms and eased out the door to say goodnight. He glanced my way and then turned back to staring out in the distance. “Wilson,” I asked, “What made you help me and my sister out like this. You traveled so far to find us a home?”
Wilson didn’t say anything right away. He pulled the handkerchief out of his front pocket and wiped his face. After a few moments longer he cleared his throat and spoke.
“I never intended to travel this far Antonio. The way I saw it, my prayers had been answered. Me and my wife would finally be able to have some children. But, that’s not the way it was supposed to be I reckon. I helped you and your sister because for years I stored up all these feelings that I would give to my own kids… well, since it didn’t happen, I needed to give it away. I don’t regret anything I’ve done. I’d do it again.”
I ran over and hugged Wilson’s neck. As fast as I could, I ran back into the house. I couldn’t let Wilson see me cry again. I loved Wilson for what he did for us. He was as brave as my father.
The next morning was hard. Wilson was up early preparing to leave. Ruth packed him a basket filled with food and Frances loaded him up with some supplies. He gave me one last hug and thanked Ruth and Frances for their hospitality. After he climbed into the coach, I held Chowder out to him.
“He’s yours boy. He has a new home too.” I watched Wilson until he was out of sight as I held Chowder close.