Samm, I would like to Thank you for all the stories you have written for all of us. We do appreciate them very much.
A Horse's Tale, Chapter 14, An 1862 Union Civil War Cannon and Caisson.
Rob's driving back home, having just finished his shoeing job, "How am I supposed to find Mark Flanigan?", "He doesn't have any horses, otherwise I would know of him. hmmm." "Well as a last resort, I will ask someone." Rob pulls into Floyd's Ace Hardware, as Rob enters the store, he looks around. "Ah, Hey John." John, the assistant manager walks over, "Hey Rob, what can I help you find?" Rob looks around, "Well not really looking for anything, more an anybody." John looks confused. Rob continues, "Looking for a fellow, by the name of Mark Flanigan, supposed to work on restoring horse drawn wagons." John didn't even have to think about this one, "Oh, yeah, he comes in every few weeks to get something.", Rob smiles, "do you know where he lives?" John says, "Yes, lives over on Oakleaf Avenue." Rob thanks him and heads out.
Oakleaf is not that far, across the highway, "So let’s see if I can find Mr. Flanigan." Rob turns on to Oakleaf and heads north. One cross road, and Rob spots what he thinks maybe the place. Nice place, house in the center of the property, like most places, but this one has a rather large barn and three or four wagons and carts sitting outside. Rob pulls up to the gate, he looks around for a sign, no sign, but the mail box has 'M. Flanigan' painted on side. Rob gets out of the truck, and walks toward the gate. As with most places, the gate is closed and locked. Rob looks around for a buzzer or something. "Hmmm," Rob continues to look around "They must have something." "Ahh, there it is I guess." Hanging just behind the gate post, is a metal triangle, like you would see on a chuck wagon. Rob reaches for a small metal bar tied to it. He strikes the triangle, once. "Don't want to overdo it." Within a minutes an elderly gentleman begins walking up the road. "Well Good Day young man, what can I do for you?" Mark looks over to the sign on the side of the truck. "I don't have no horses." he smiles broadly. Rob returns the smile, "I am looking for Mark Flanigan." Mark's smile broadens, "You have found him." Rob smiles again. "Well sir, I understand you work on restoring wagons?" Mark looks over this shoulder, toward the barn, "That I do, its a hobby, I don't do it on a commercial basis." Rob asks, "Have you worked on a red hitch wagon in the last couple of weeks?" Mark says "Yes wasn't red when I started, you want to come in and look around." Rob nods, "Yes please." Mark opens the gate, and Rob walks in. As they walk toward the barn, Mark asks "Have you seen the Red Hitch Wagon?" Rob says "I am sorry, my name is Rob Pierce, my wife Stephanie, runs the Miracle Horse Rescue up on the north part of town and to answer your question, seems we were giving the wagon just before Halloween." Mark says, "Ahhh, the little fellow from the Desert Green Retirement Community didn't say who it was for. All he said it was a rush job for some of this best friends." Rob nods, has Mark points over to a Covered Wagon, "Been working on that wagon for nearly two years, and that Army Wagon for nearly three years." Rob looks at each wagon, each in a partial state of restoration. "How did you manage to get the wagon done in such a short time?" As Mark opens door to the barn, and steps inside, "Well it was in pretty poor shape, I only had to replace the floor boards, and the sides, and the axles and ahhh, several other things." Mark walks up to a Stage Coach sitting the in the center of the barn. How do you like this?" Rob looks up at a beautiful restored Stage Coach, Rob says, "It is beautiful, the detail is fabulous." Mark nods, "Its a Western Concord Mail Stagecoach, I have had an offer of $70,000 last year, I just hate to part with it, but I guess I need more room." As Rob looks around the barn, tools very neatly placed everywhere, table and band saws, drills, lathe's each in their own area. "If you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost to repair the red wagon?" Mark answers, "Oh, I don't mind, it was free." Rob replies, "Free?" Mark nods, "Let me tell ya the story."
Mark continues, "Well a couple of days before Halloween, the bus from the Desert Green Retirement Community pulls up, with the wagon in tow. I go out to the gate, the little fellow from the retirement center gets out with goat, and a dog, the little fellow who must been 80 plus years old explains the deal, his friend, Fred, has asked to get the wagon fixed up, its a rush job for some friends of Fred." Rob butts in "I think I know Fred, she is a goat." Mark looks around as if someone was listening. "Ahhh, yes, I didn't want to mention that part. someone might think I had lost it." Rob nods "Yes, I know what you mean." Mark continues, "Well they explained what they wanted, something close to a Budweiser hitch. I told them, it would be two maybe three months, they walked over to the wagon, and lifted a tarp covering something in the back. The little fellow said two days!, and pulled the tarp off." Rob asks "What was in the back of the wagon?" Mark smiles, "An 1862 Union Civil War Cannon and Caisson. I looked at the little fellow and Fred and said 'ahhh, two days are not a problem, let’s get this unhitched and moved inside." Rob slowly moves his hand up and pushes his mouth closed. "You mean you did the work for trade for the cannon?" Mark replies, "Oh, yes, I have looking for ages for something like this, it’s over here come look at it." Mark walks over to the back of the barn and pulls on the tarp. Reveling and aged but wonderful cannon, Mark "This thing even in this condition, its worth $100,000, its been outside for maybe 100 years, but its all there. I have no idea where they got it, but I couldn't resist. So I worked for two days straight on the wagon, I think it came out great." Rob nods, "Yes it did, I have to thank you for the excellent work." Mark nods as they head for the barn door, "I do owe ya at least two more restorations. I don't want you to think I am trying to pull something over." Rob says, "Oh, no, I know you wouldn't do that. I am just trying to figure out where they got the cannon." Mark closes the barn door, "You mean the little fellow from the retirement home?" Rob replies, "Well I think Fred has a major lead in this along with maybe some of our horses." As they get to the gate, Mark asks "Was the dog yours?" Rob asks, "What did it look like?" Mark replies, "Big, clumsy, grey, not too bright, if you don't mind me saying." Rob says "Oh, no problem sounds like one of ours." "Mark, I must thank you for the information, it has filled in several gaps in what we knew about the wagon." Rob and Mark shake hands, and Mark closes the gate and returns to the house. Rob climbs in the truck. "Well at least its a fairly short trip home, he heads north on Oakleaf.
"Wait!, I need to find out who this 'little fellow' is." Rob turns right at the next cross road, and heads toward the highway, and heads for Desert Green. In a couple of minutes he pulls into the parking lot. He notices the big white bus, over to the right as he enters the office. Rob walks up to the counter, looking around, its a very nice place. As he gets closer, the young lady at the counter "Sir how may I help you?" Rob not sure what to ask, "Well I am looking for someone." The young lady asks "Their name?" Rob replies, "Well don't know his name, all I know is that he is a 'little fellow' that drives the bus." Rob turns and point out the window. The young lady asks, "Oh, I hope there hasn't been a problem, Charlie is a good driver most of the time." Rob replies, "Oh, no problem, I would just like to talk to him." The young lady behind the counter lets out a breath, "Oh, thank goodness, let me call him." She replies, "He will be here in a couple of minutes." Rob nods. Rob looks around as he is waiting, down one hallway, is what appears a large common room, big screen TV, and what appears to be a Wii on a table. Within a couple of minutes Rob hears a strange noise, sounds like hoof falls on a tile floor, Rob looks down the other hallway, well Rob sees 'a little fellow' and following behind him is a goat. The little fellow stops at the counter, the young lady point over towards Rob, the little fellow smiles and walks toward Rob. As he approaches Rob, the goat grabs his arm, and yells "Its a raid, run." the goat turns and runs down the hallway. The little fellow gets to Rob, and looks over his shoulder, "silly goat.", "Hi, I am Charlie." Rob takes his hand and shakes hands. Rob starts off "I am Rob Pierce, from Miracle Horse Rescue." Charlie smiles. "Ahhh, you are here 'bout the red wagon." Rob nods, "Well that and a couple of other things." Charlie lowers his head, "I am sorry sir, I didn’t' mean to cause no problems." Rob answers back, "Oh, there are no problems, I just wanted to get some answers to some questions." Charlie looks up, "Oh, good, what are your questions?" Rob says, "Well I think most of the questions are about the goat?" Rob points down the hallway. Charlie, looks around, over his shoulder, "Let's step outside." Rob and Charlie walk outside, Charlie continues, "I can't really talk about the goat around others here, they will think I am nuts, and you know what that means?" Rob replies, "Well kind of, is the goat called Fred?" Charlie replies, "Yes it's Fred." Rob nods, "So Fred told you about the wagon and had you pull it over to the wagon Wright." Charlie looks down, "Yes sir." Rob smiles, "No need to call me sir, I am just a Ferrier. So does Fred do this kind of thing often?" Charlie smiles, "No not really, but since I taught her to drive, not sure what she does at night." Rob looks around, "Are you the only one that Fred talks to? Charlie says, "She talks to a lot of people around here, but the staff don't believe them, ya know, kinda an old people thing." Rob smiles, "Charlie you have answered a bunch of questions I had, thanks.", Charlie smiles, and says, "Do you want to see where Fred lives?", Rob says, "Sure, shouldn't be more surprising than most of things I have learned about Fred.
Charlie, walks around the front of the building and heads toward the back, as they get to the back of the building, Charlie points to a 60ft RV parked in the back of the lot. "There", Rob starts to say something then stops mid word. Charlie says, "She used to have a small shed with a fence around it. But then one day this showed up." Rob for the second time today, pushes his mouth closed. "Well its appears pretty fancy." Charlie nods, "Yes, Well I have to leave I got a Wii bowling game in a few minutes." Rob nods and turns to walk back to the truck, Charlie says "Thanks for coming by its nice to see younger folks come by, ya know, there are a lot of old folks here." Rob shake Charlie’s hand, "Charlie, thanks for all the help."
Rob gets in the truck, and heads out the parking lot, "Boy Steph will not believe this."
To Be Continued. Author.....Samm