The bitter wind blew across the streets of Goodland winter has finally arrived, everyone was either inside or running to get home. The stores had tinsel and small decorated trees in the windows and the words happy holidays on the windows. Inside the only Saloon in town one Hannibal Heyes was surveying the scene, the men drinking and gambling to their hearts content and beside Heyes as always was Jed Curry.
He and his family had come into town for Christmas as always Angel, Heyes wife said it was nice for them to get away from the farm for a while.
Jed’s response to that was,
“Well, in that case Angel you better pray it don’t snow and you know why”
“Yes, I know for it snows then you won’t be able to get home until spring”
Heyes liked Jed being with him it reminded him of old times when he and The Kid as he was known back then were on the run and they’d spend all of their days playing poker or blackjack in the saloon of the town they had arrived in.
But those days were long gone now he and Kid were settled and happy with their lives as they were.
Heyes’s son Hannibal Jr arrived in the saloon taking his father’s mind off his reminiscences of times past. He noticed he had a bag with him. Heyes’s natural sense of curiosity made him leave the bar where he had been leaning and follow Jr into the office.
Jr had left the door a jar, so he didn’t hear his father come in behind him. So, when he spoke it frit him to death.
“Jr, what ya got there?”
“Oh, Pa you scared me half to death, It’s your Christmas present I couldn’t leave it at the house under the tree mamma’s in the lounge with Aunt Lizzie, so no peekin’ pa”
A sarcastic laugh came from the door,
“Hannibal Heyes, not peek Jr not with his natural sense of curiosity that’s what brought him in here. He wanted to know what you got in that bag” said Jed Curry.
Heyes turned with a hurt look on his face
“Kid, I can restrain myself, not to peek”
“Five dollars said you can’t resist peekin’ at sometime today”
“Alrighty, you got yourself a bet partner mine”
So, Jr went out on the floor with his uncle Jed, and he hoped his father wouldn’t peek inside the bag.
Meanwhile at the Heyes house Angel and Lizzie were sat chatting and drinking tea.
“Oh, Liz it’s so nice to have you here”
“Yes, it’s nice I can do things if I want to”
The girls of the Heyes family sat talking to the girls of the Curry family.
“Annabel when are you going to have your baby?” said Jasmine Heyes
Annabel Curry or Mrs Jenkins as she was now, was one of the eldest of Jed’s daughters she was eight months pregnant with her first child. Her husband Peter worked out of state and was on his way home from Washington. She just hoped he’d get here in time for Christmas. For here it was the twenty third of December and still no sign of him.
Mary her sister was engaged to be married to one of the ranch hands on their father’s ranch she wasn’t surprised in the slightest that her sister was going to marry a cowboy. She was always the one to ask their father to tell them of his adventures as an outlaw and Gunfighter with their uncle Hannibal.
Sarah Heyes sat with her cousins she told them that she was stepping out with Charles McFadden the bank managers son.
“Which pleased pa no end” said Jessica Heyes.
“Jessie, that’s enough” said Emma Heyes her sister Emma had concerned herself with making the bakery a success and saving her money to buy a little house of her own, then she would contemplate men and marriage.
The younger boys were out the back playing a new game called baseball they all had a turn at hitting the ball it had to happen sooner or later and it was Indiana that did it, Tyrone Curry threw the ball Indiana Heyes hit it and it flew across the lawn and smashed into the kitchen window.
Masie screeching brought Angel, Lizzie and the girls into the kitchen and there was the baseball in the batter for the Christmas cake. Angel looked up and there stood Indiana with the bat in his hand she said nothing she just beckoned him with her finger.
He swallowed hard as he walked up the path and into the kitchen
“Indiana Phoenix Heyes, I am going to send for your father and if I were you I would look contrite very contrite for he is going to kill you if he doesn’t I will” she said in a low menacing tone.
“Jess, go and fetch your father”
So, Jessie went over to the Saloon to fetch her father who was having a hard time not looking in Jr’s bag Jessie made a timely arrival for Heyes was about to give in to his curiosity and open the bag.
Jed opened the door for her,
Thank you, Uncle Jed, Hi Pa”
“Jessie what do you want?”
“Mamma wants ya Indiana’s broken a window and she wants you to deal with it”
“Alright, come on you better come to” he said to Jed as he got his hat and coat on
“Why? Do you think my boys have had somethin’ to do with it?”
Heyes looked at him but said nothing
“Alright I’m with ya partner” he said as he and Heyes went out of the saloon together with Jessie not far behind.
He arrived and went in the house Mary Angel’s maid from England took his coat and hat and did the same with Jed and Jessie.
“Thank you, Mary”
“Your welcome sir”
“Alright, Indiana Phoenix what have you been doing?” said Heyes crossly as he entered the living room
Jed came in behind him and said,
“Well, were any of you boys to blame for this and remember don’t lie to me.”
Tyrone owned up and said,
“I threw the ball and he hit it”
“Alright the rest of you can go, Tyrone you stay here”
Heyes turned on his son and his nephew “now boys I was going to tell you off, but I don’t want any unpleasantness over the holiday period I will forgive you this once as long as you two go and apologise to Masie for ruining her Christmas cake”
“Yes Pa, Ok Uncle Hannibal”
Heyes let them go out of the room and he looked at Jed and said, “am I getting soft in my old age?”
“No Heyes you ain’t”
“Heyes, you’re not gonna punish him?” said Angel as she came in the living room
“No, it’s punishment enough that I’ve shouted at him he won’t do it again”
“You know best my dear”
“Right I’m going back to work”
“I’ll come and finish the game of poker I was playing” said Jed as they both fetched their hats and coats and went back out into the cold.
Over at the saloon Jr had opened the bag and took what was in it out he held it gently and lovingly he turned his father’s chair round with his back to the door he sat down with it in his arms. Heyes came into the saloon and straight into the office Jr jumped up out of the chair and turned round Heyes’s eyes widened as he looked at what was in Jr’s arms a sleeping baby.
“Jr, where’s the baby come from?”
He’s my son pa your grandson you were right about Juanita she didn’t care about me she told me she’d had my baby and if I wanted him that was my affair she didn’t so I went and fetched him from the orphanage where she’d put him and brought him here”
“What’s his name son?”
“Joseph Andrew Heyes”
“Well, why don’t you take him over to see his grand mother and on the way out show your uncle Jed”
Just before he did Heyes went out and told everyone to shut up and why then Jr came out carrying Joseph and went out into the street and over to the house. His mother was overjoyed to see the little one and as was his brothers and sisters.
When he came home Masie met him at the door and said,
“Mr Hannibal it may be a little early but young Jr he’s just given you the most wonderful gift for Christmas”
“Masie, you’re right” he said as he went into the living room
“Heyes, our first grandchild it’s the most wonderful gift”
“I’d say it was the Perfect Gift” said Heyes as he sat down in his armchair and held his grandson for the very first time.