**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


The Finding Of Zach
by [?]

“Dis is a mighty fine place you got hyeah. Hit mus’ be a kind of a hotel or boa’din’ house, ain’t hit?”

“Yes, something like.”

“We don’ have nuffin’ lak dis down ouah way. Co’se, we’s jes’ common folks. We wo’ks out in de fiel’, and dat’s about all we knows–fiel’, chu’ch an’ cabin. But I’s mighty glad my Zach ‘s gittin’ up in de worl’. He nevah were no great han’ fu’ wo’k. Hit kin’ o’ seemed to go agin his natur’. You know dey is folks lak dat.”

“Lots of ’em, lots of ’em,” said Mr. Turner.

The crowd of men had been augmented by a party from out of the card room, and they were listening intently to the old fellow’s chatter. They felt now that they ought to laugh, but somehow they could not, and the twitching of their careless faces was not from suppressed merriment.

The visitor looked around at them, and then remarked: “My, what a lot of boa’dahs you got.”

“They don’t all stay here,” answered Turner seriously; “some of them have just dropped in to see their friends.”

“Den I ‘low Zach’ll be drappin’ in presently. You mus’ ‘scuse me fu’ talkin’ ’bout him, but I’s mighty anxious to clap my eyes on him. I’s been gittin’ on right sma’t dese las’ two yeahs, an’ my ol’ ooman she daid an’ gone, an’ I kin’ o’ lonesome, so I jes’ p’omised mysef dis Crismus de gif’ of a sight o’ Zach. Hit do look foolish fu’ a man ez ol’ ez me to be a runnin’ ‘roun’ de worl’ a spen’in’ money dis away, but hit do seem so ha’d to git Zach home.”

“How long are you going to be with us?”

“Well, I ‘specs to stay all o’ Crismus week.”

“Maybe–” began one of the men. But Turner interrupted him. “This gentleman is my guest. Uncle,” turning to the old man, “do you ever–would you–er. I’ve got some pretty good liquor here, ah–“

Zach’s father smiled a sly smile. “I do’ know, suh,” he said, crossing his leg high. “I’s Baptis’ mys’f, but ‘long o’ dese Crismus holidays I’s right fond of a little toddy.”

A half dozen eager men made a break for the bar, but Turner’s uplifted hand held them. He was an autocrat in his way.

“Excuse me, gentlemen,” he said, “but I think I remarked some time ago that Mr. Shackelford was my guest.” And he called the waiter.

All the men had something and tapped rims with the visitor.

“‘Pears to me you people is mighty clevah up hyeah; ‘tain’ no wondah Zachariah don’ wan’ to come home.”

Just then they heard a loud whoop outside the door, and a voice broke in upon them singing thickly, “Oh, this spo’tin’ life is surely killin’ me.” The men exchanged startled glances. Turner looked at them, and there was a command in his eye. Several of them hurried out, and he himself arose, saying: “I’ve got to go out for a little while, but you just make yourself at home, uncle. You can lie down right there on that sofa and push that button there–see, this way–if you want some more toddy. It shan’t cost you anything.”

“Oh, I’ll res’ myself, but I ain’ gwine sponge on you dat away. I got some money,” and the old man dug down into his long pocket. But his host laid a hand on his arm.

“Your money’s no good up here.”

“Wh–wh–why, I thought dis money passed any whah in de Nunited States!” exclaimed the bewildered old man.

“That’s all right, but you can’t spend it until we run out.”

“Oh! Why, bless yo’ soul, suh, you skeered me. You sho’ is clevah.”

Turner went out and came upon his emissaries, where they had halted the singing Zach in the hallway, and were trying to get into his muddled brain that his father was there.

“Wha’sh de ol’ man doin’ at de ‘Banner,’ gittin’ gay in his ol’ days? Hic.”

That was enough for Turner to hear. “Look a-here,” he said, “don’t you get flip when you meet your father. He’s come a long ways to see you, and I’m damned if he shan’t see you right. Remember you’re stoppin’ at my house as long as the old man stays, and if you make a break while he’s here I’ll spoil your mug for you. Bring him along, boys.”

Zach had started in for a Christmas celebration, but they took him into an empty room. They sent to the drug store and bought many things. When the young man came out an hour later he was straight, but sad.

“Why, Pap,” he said when he saw the old man, “I’ll be–“

“Hem!” said Turner.

“I’ll be blessed!” Zach finished.

The old man looked him over. “Tsch! tsch! tsch! Dis is a Crismus gif’ fu’ sho’!” His voice was shaking. “I’s so glad to see you, honey; but chile, you smell lak a ‘pothac’ay shop.”

“I ain’t been right well lately,” said Zach sheepishly.

To cover his confusion Turner called for eggnog.

When it came the old man said: “Well, I’s Baptis’ myse’f, but seein’ it’s Crismus–“