“Do you know what you’re going to say to her?” Serenity asked as they came near to the home.
“Not exactly,” she replied. “Auntie has had this box for who knows how many years and surely it must have shown its powers to her by now.”
Serenity brought Jeanetta Lynn’s carpetbag close to her. Opening it up, she gazed at the box still wrapped in the brown paper held tightly with twine. “Do you suppose it’s an evil box?”
“I highly doubt it. Why would Auntie want us to have anything evil in our possession?”
“I guess you’re right. This gives me the shivers, even though it’s still covered up with paper.”
Pulling up to the house, Jeanetta Lynn noticed an upstairs window curtain being pulled to the side and then suddenly dropped back into place.
“Serenity, look up. Did you see that?”
“No, what was it?”
“We’re being watched by someone through an upstairs window.”
“Do you suppose it’s Auntie?”
“If it were her, I’m sure she would have waved and called down to us.”
“Now what should we do?”
“I’m going to leave the carpetbags where they are, for something isn't right,” she said in a firm voice, while not taking her eyes off the window. “Also we don’t know who else might want the brass box, like the person in the upstairs window.”
Auntie’s stableman approached saying, “May I help you with your carriage?”
“Thank you,” Jeanetta Lynn smiled. So no one could see the carpetbags, she pushed them way under the seat before stepping out.
As he helped her from the buggy, another man hitched Misty to a post and then turned to help Serenity down.
To their delight, the front door swung open and out stepped Auntie to greet them.
“Come on, you two, climb up here and give your auntie a big hug,” she said with a chuckle to her voice.
“Auntie,” they both squealed in unison while bounding up the stairs.
Once reaching the top they embraced and kissed her slightly wrinkled but still beautiful face.
Sliding her arms about them, Auntie guided the girls through the open doorway and into a room where she announced, “These are my most adored nieces about whom I've been telling you.”
After the bright sunlight from outdoors, their eyes had not yet adjusted to the dimly lit room.
“This is my friend Esther,” Auntie told the girls as she introduced them.
Esther was a tall slender lady wearing a dress of black taffeta that rustled as she walked toward them. “Are you sure it was wise to give them the brass box, being you hadn't told them about it?” she asked of Auntie.
“I didn't feel it necessary,” Auntie answered defensively. “I knew they would arrive filled with questions shortly after opening it. And here they are!”
“Are you sure this is what has brought them here?” Esther questioned.
“Just being here would say that it is,” another voice said from across the room.
By now, the girls’ eyes were adjusting to the low light and they saw Esther as she circled about them.
“Yes, they do have the right look about them. However, can they handle such a gift?” Esther demanded of Auntie.
“If I hadn't thought so, I wouldn't have given it to them,” Auntie insisted.
An unknown voice from across the room spoke up: “Were you alone when you opened it?”
“And did anyone else see the brass box?” came still another voice.
A whining male voice, the type that could easily send chills up your spine, asked, “Did you tell anyone about it, your parents perhaps?”
The questions came so rapidly from every part of the room, that neither girl could comprehend, let alone reply.
“No one has seen it, not even our parents!” Jeanetta Lynn voiced objectionably to his accusations.
“Not either of them?” the voice insisted.
“Let me make it clear to you. In fact, to all of you that no one saw the brass box!” Jeanetta Lynn shouted.
Serenity edged herself behind Jeanetta Lynn, in hopes of hiding from the barrage of questions. Their eyes were now adjusted to the light as they looked about. It didn't take long for them to realize that this was an unfamiliar room to them; one they didn't even know existed. Within the room were both men and ladies of varying ages and dress. They were milling about, while others were seated in groups. A man from across the room stood and walked up to them. His mannerisms and attire were that of a person of great wealth or even a man of royalty. As he approached, his heels clicked together and with a slight bow, he introduced himself.
“My name is Sir William,” he said warmly. “I’m pleased to make your acquaintance. Your auntie has told us much about you both and may I add it has all been most praiseworthy.”
“Thank you,” Jeanetta Lynn whispered.
Offering his arms to the girls, he escorted them toward the back of the room. “Please allow me, for I think you would be far more comfortable sitting upon the sofa. It has been a long journey and seeing all these new faces, I’m sure has been most stressful,” Sir William said gallantly. After seating them, he joined the others in conversation near the far wall. Try as she may to hear what was being said, Jeanetta Lynn was unable to do so.
“Jeanetta Lynn, I wish we had never received that ol’ box,” Serenity whispered angrily.
“I’m getting the same feelings, though it may not be as bad as we’re thinking. It seems that Auntie is a part of this group and have you ever known her to be harsh or unkind to us?”
“Then I suppose we shouldn't fear this.”
Baron Michael von Schlehenried and his lovely wife, Lady Cynthia, were in favor of having the girls join them and came to their defense.
“We need to include those who are of this generation,” the Baron explained. “It’s only through them that our society will survive and remain strong.”
Turning toward the girls, Esther asked loudly, “Serenity, surely you brought the brass box with you?”
“Yes, we did,” Serenity said, now finding it hard to control her fears.
“I think we've scared the poor dears,” said the Baroness Lady Cynthia von Schlehenried, breaking away from the group she walked up to the girls. “Please forgive our rudeness. Be at rest because you both are not in any type of danger.”
“You’re perfectly safe; I assure you,” Auntie comforted them, as the others gathered around them in hopes of calming their fears. “My dears, I’m sure you realized the gift I gave you both was not just an ordinary brass box. Though it’s of exquisite beauty, this is not its true value.” Sir William brought over a dainty parlor chair, offering it to Auntie; she sat down. “Thank you, Sir William. You’re always the gentleman.” Returning her attention to her nieces, she continued, “Standing before you, are members of the Society of Time Travelers. Some are witches and warlocks, some are of royal birth, such as Sir William and Baron von Schlehenried, while others are not. Yet, we are all time travelers.”
“Time travelers?” Jeanetta Lynn asked. “You’re able to go from one era to another?”
“Precisely, my dears, and much more,” said Lady Martha, the society’s leader.
No one knows much about Lady Martha, except that she’s been a member of the society longer than anyone else. She has visited events in history for many decades and helped out when needed.
“As members of the society, we all have a strong desire to serve God by helping others who are in need. To do this, we needed a way to travel from place to place, and from different timelines and all without being seen. This was accomplished by the use of brass boxes that had been blessed with magical powers. Being they appear to be an empty box to outsiders of the society that no one would ever suspect that they are portals into time,” Lady Martha explained.
“There are mortals whose intent it is to fulfill the desires of Lucifer and will do all in their power to destroy our goals,” Auntie expounded. “They wish to change history to meet their selfish needs. We are sent with the blessings of God to intervene otherwise the innocent would be destroyed.”
“How long have you been doing this?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“My dearest, I was given my gift of a brass box a long time ago from a society member from before knights were brave. On the lid of each box is his likeness. He was a brave knight who fought the dragons of evil. This is how we know it’s a portal and not to be deceived by one lacking powers.”
“Are we jumping to a conclusion far too quickly?” asked Charles, a dignified man dressed in a topcoat. “So far you are taking it for granted that they will join us? I don’t remember hearing them say that they will.”
“You’re quite right,” Lady Martha chuckled. Looking at the girls she kindly asked, “We desire you both to join us and our cause. However, if you wish to remain as you are, all you need to do is return the brass box and you will find yourselves back home as if it had never come into your lives.”
“First tell me this, before we give you an answer. How are you summoned when there is an assignment and how does the box fit in?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“These are reasonable questions,” Lady Martha replied. “When one is summoned, we all know who it is, however, only the person chosen will be allowed to respond and no other. At times, there will be more than one needed to accomplish a task. And how this is accomplished is with use of the brass boxes.” Looking directly at Jeanetta Lynn, she continued, “When opening it, didn't you see the bluish-green glow and did you hear the rushing of wind and water?”
“Yes, we did,” both girls said in unison.
“When hearing it, I became afraid and asked Jeanetta Lynn if she would please close the lid,” Serenity added.
“You needn't have been afraid,” Lady Martha chuckled, “yet you didn't know what it was or what it could do. Once you become time travelers and are summoned on an adventure, it will radiate this same glow. When you open the lid, you’ll see a flash of light and be caught up within the rushing whirlwind, being transported to the time in which you have been summoned. Once there, you’ll find a parchment floating nearby telling you what it is you have been called to do. At any time you feel threatened or in fear for your life, all you have to do is desire to return and you’ll be delivered back to where you started.”
The girls looked at her in amazement and even Jeanetta Lynn was at a loss for words.
“Serenity, Jeanetta Lynn,” Lady Martha said softly, “all of us met here for one reason and that is to see if you both are willing to accept the offer of becoming a part of the Society of Time Travelers.”
“Well, my dears, do you wish to join us or not?” Auntie asked excitedly. “No one in our family knows that I’m a member or even how old I am. That is except for the two of you. Now I’m hoping you both will join me in this worthy cause. Do you wish to accept?”
Jeanetta Lynn looked at Serenity, who winked at her in approval. She turned to Auntie, saying with excitement, “It would be our pleasure to accept your offer. Yes, we will join you!”
“Then you both are in agreement?” Lady Martha asked.
“Are you sure about this?” asked Auntie while rushing up to embrace them both.
“Yes, we are,” said Serenity.
Both girls giggled with excitement as not only Auntie embraced them, however, all the members came over to welcome them into the Society of Time Travelers.
Standing before the girls, Lady Martha peered over her lowered spectacles saying, “Being you both have accepted our invitation, it’s time for your first lesson pertaining to being a time traveler. Please rise and follow me.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jeanetta Lynn said as they both followed her to the window overlooking Auntie’s garden.
“What is it that you see out the window?” Lady Martha asked of Serenity.
With imaginations running wild, she stepped forward wondering if there would be witches on brooms, or unfamiliar animals only found in a magical world. However, to her surprise things were just as they had always been. There were no magical cows, witches, or dragons, only Auntie’s side yard. “I see many things,” Serenity said, while glancing quickly back and forth. “What is it that you want me to see?”
“What catches your eye first?” Lady Martha asked more clearly.
“There’s my Uncle William’s buggy. That’s what comes first into my sight. Is this what you are asking for, or do you want more?”
“Is there more you would like to add?” Lady Martha prompted.
“Well, I see Auntie’s helpers. They are bringing in a basket filled with vegetables. I also see some of her animals. Not much more than that. Did I do as you had wanted?”
Lady Martha said nothing but smiled warmly at her. Turning to Jeanetta Lynn, she asked, “And you, my dear, step up and tell me what it is that you see. Please be precise in your description of what it may be.”
Serenity stood back, allowing Jeanetta Lynn to approach the window. Placing her hands on the windowsill, she stretched her neck as far as possible making sure not to miss a thing. “I also see the buggy with Misty still hitched, and standing quietly. Over there are trees with birds flying around them. I see mountains, sky, and flowers. There is a very large red flower to the left with smaller white ones around it. And wait, I can see them, there they are! There are the swings!” she squealed with excitement, realizing how they had remained untouched for all these years. “And there’s Auntie’s dog. And off to the right is the vegetable garden. That’s where he landed after grabbing hold of my shoe while we were swinging. It was funny to watch, though you had to of been there to think so,” she laughed while looking up at Lady Martha, who didn't see the humor in this at all. “Do you wish for me to continue?” she asked shyly while trying not to look her in the eyes.
Lady Martha chuckled softly, relieving Jeanetta Lynn’s stress while saying, “You do see many things. I dare say if I had asked you to continue, you would have added much more to your list. And you, my dear Serenity, you also told me what caught your eyes first. Being you used the buggy to travel here in and will need it for your return, it’s fitting that it has much importance to you both. Even you, Jeanetta Lynn, have not seen all that there is. Yes, there is much more out there, though at this point it is still invisible to you.”
Overlooking the “invisible” part, they both rushed back to the window, searched even harder to find anything that they must have missed. However, try as they may, they failed to see any more than what was viewed on their first attempt.
“My dears, as time travelers you’ll be able to see far more than what’s before your eyes.” Glancing out the window, she continued, “I not only see what you have spoken of, but events that have taken place in the past. Some have been good while others evil. There has been laughter and tears, peace and battles, health and sickness. Soldiers once marched upon these grounds and fought hard for their cause. These battles were bitter and long, bringing tears that would flow along with their blood. After the wars came peace, which was sweet and at times lasting. At other times, it was not. Babies have been born. Some of the elderly lived out their lives in comfort while others did not. So much history can be seen through the eyes of a time traveler. I dare say many more events will take place upon these grounds and you may well become a goodly part of them.”
With this, Serenity pushed her face harder against the glass in hopes of seeing at least one of the events mentioned.
“You can see all that by just looking out this window?” Jeanetta Lynn asked, looking into Lady Martha’s eyes. “If we’re also time travelers, then why can’t we see it, too?”
“In time you will,” Lady Martha assured them. “However, first you must learn how to be a time traveler.”
Leaving the window, Lady Martha took her place with the others sitting upon the sofa and chairs. Wanting desperately to see any of these past events, Jeanetta Lynn stayed behind trying to visualize what they must have looked like, while Serenity joined the others. However, soon realizing that visualizing and actually seeing these events were not one and the same. Slowly, she walked over and joined Serenity.
Taking her place in the middle of the room, Lady Martha spoke to the others. “We must make it perfectly clear to our new members how we’re a society which wishes to serve mankind and not to be served. They need to rid themselves of the natural desire to lust for gain and immortality. God finds this intolerable, as so do we all. However, it is well known that those who follow God’s commandments, while serving out their assignments, shall be truly blessed.”
“Many times I've felt God’s blessings when facing difficult circumstances while on an assignment,” said Charles.
Lady Martha continued, “Dears, when you receive your calls it will be in the capacity of observers, for you will be joining Auntie. And it is her assignment that you will be on. You are only to help when she calls upon you to do so. You must remember this: at no time are we to take sides in a conflict. Occasionally, you may need to step in when you see evil being ruthlessly brought down upon the oppressed. However, this is to be your last resort for the power of good.”
Baron von Schlehenried walked up to Lady Martha and whispered, “It would help if they were to know of Lord Bantam and how their own auntie fought against evil.”
“Yes, you are right,” she replied. “Auntie, will you please tell them about Lord Bantam?”
“Thank you. I would be honored to help teach my nieces this lesson. Though I wish you both never had to hear of Lord Bantam,” Auntie replied.
With a wave of Auntie's hand, the room grew suddenly dark and was immediately replaced by daylight. They were no longer standing in Auntie’s home, but in an open-air market of about the 16th century. It was filled with people both buying and selling wares. Not far off was a group of military milling about while others were sitting astride their horses. Close to the soldiers was an officer conducting his affairs with a merchant. The girls were shocked when a man walked through them, as if they didn't exist and went on about his business. With this, Serenity grabbed for Jeanetta Lynn’s hand and held it tightly.
“We must find Auntie,” said Jeanetta Lynn while turning about to locate her among the crowd.
“I don’t see her,” whispered Serenity, fearful that if staying where they were something else unnatural may happen.
“Look, over there,” said Jeanetta Lynn, pointing to a lady standing by a man with his legs held tightly in stocks. “Isn't that her? That man she’s near must be her assignment.”
As the girls looked on, they noticed a man hastily approaching Auntie and even though they were a considerable distance away, the girls could hear every word.
“Lord Bantam, what are you doing here?” Auntie asked, while walking toward him. “Your assignment is Lord Tanner and he’s on the other side of the city.”
“He can fend for himself for all I care. I have other matters to tend to,” Lord Bantam grumbled.
“What’s more important than your assignment?” Auntie questioned.
“Only this,” Lord Bantam answered. “A long time ago I had heard of an object created by elves that would give the owner powers unheard of by man. It seems that Sir De LaSaul knows where it might be. So all I have to do is become him and it will be mine.”
“You were placed here to watch over your assignment and not this Sir De LaSaul,” Auntie insisted.
“What are you going to do about it if I choose not to?” Bantam smirked. “Too many times I've been forced to use my powers for others, but no longer! Now it’s my turn and no one can stop me. Not Lady Martha, not even God Himself can stop me. So what makes you think you can?”
“I’ll do whatever is needed!” Auntie threatened.
Her threats meant nothing to Lord Bantam as he removed his wand and edged closer to his mark. Auntie slowly drew her wand while never taking her eyes off him. When seeing him aim his wand at Sir De LaSaul, Auntie shot out a spell of her own causing him to become a bantam rooster.
“There,” Auntie said triumphantly, “that should keep you in line!”
While he flopped about in his new body, Auntie reached down for his wand and brass box that had fallen upon the ground. Placing them into her pocket, she said coldly, “Now let’s see you try to destroy another’s life while in this form!”
Moments later the girls were surrounded in darkness and when able to see again they found themselves back in Auntie’s home with the society members.
“How humiliating it is for one as proud as he to be imprisoned in the lowly form of a rooster, a breed that even bears his own surname,” Baron von Schlehenried laughed.
“I only wish my spell would have kept him this way with no hope in sight,” Auntie responded.
“Whatever happened to him?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“I fear he’s very much alive,” Lady Martha replied. “The last we've heard of him was from a society member who had refused to help him. We were told that Lord Bantam’s desire was to destroy your auntie and all that we stand for.”
“Our auntie is in danger?” Jeanetta Lynn gasped.
“She always will be until we destroy Lord Bantam and his followers,” Lady Martha explained. “However, as long as he remains as he is she’ll be safe.”
“What are the chances of him finding a brass box?” Serenity asked.
“Not all members are loyal to the society,” Lady Martha replied. “Some like Bantam have ventured into the realms of the black arts. When discovered, we take from them the implements of our society, mainly the brass box. We’re told that during a blue moon Lord Bantam is able for a time to return to his former self. When doing this he seeks out others like him and bids them to follow. However, to keep from returning to his lowly state, he must use the brass box.”
“And what would he do if he were to find one?” Serenity asked.
“He would go back in time. Then just before your auntie casts her spell upon him, he would cast his own spell upon her,” Lord Phillip explained.
“Does he look like any other rooster?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“At present he’s a rather small and ridiculous-looking rooster with a flattened cockscomb. His disposition, from what we've been told, has become most distasteful,” Lady Martha replied.
Fearing this might be Crazy Bill, Jeanetta Lynn said, “We know of a rooster that fits that description.”
“You've seen him?” Lady Martha asked.
“Yes. He showed up at our home a short while back,” Jeanetta Lynn explained. “We ended up calling him Crazy Bill because of his actions.”
“Is he still at your home?” William questioned in alarm.
“My father removed him from our home. He set him free where there was water, plenty of trees, and vegetation. As my father was walking back to the buggy, Crazy Bill attacked him and Father barely got away unharmed.”
The room grew still and then Lady Martha spoke up, “Yes, this could very well be him. Tell me, do you have the brass box with you or did you leave it back home?”
“It’s still in the buggy, in my carpetbag,” Jeanetta Lynn answered.
“I’ll retrieve it,” Baron von Schlehenried said as he sprinted from the room, returning within minutes with the carpetbag.
Jeanetta Lynn removed the wrapped gift and gave it to Lady Martha. “You feel this is what he’s after?”
“Yes, I do,” Lady Martha replied. “If for any reason you must leave the box unattended, it needs to be protected by an incantation. When on an assignment, it will be automatically protected by a charm, causing it to become invisible until you need it.”
“We never did let it out of our sight all the way here. It was not until we drove up and saw someone peering at us through an upstairs window did we become alarmed. Wanting to keep it safe I shoved it far under the seat of the buggy,” Jeanetta Lynn explained.
“We can see that you both have acted wisely and we are well pleased,” Auntie said while beaming proudly. “I knew I was doing the right thing by giving it to you both.”
“It appears that you did use great judgment in doing so, for they acted with caution, even though they didn't know what it was they possessed.” Lady Martha smiled as she removed the wrapping and placed the box upon the table.
Once on the table it started to glow, filling the whole room with a bluish-green light.
“Jeanetta Lynn, Serenity,” Lady Martha said cheerfully, “it seems you both are being summoned to your first assignment.”
“What do we do?” Jeanetta Lynn asked while turning toward the source of the light.
“Don’t worry for I’ll be with you,” Auntie assured them.
“You will now learn the role of a time traveler by being one,” Lady Cynthia von Schlehenried encouraged. “Enjoy your assignment and it will help you to become wise.”
“Remember all that you have learned here today,” Lady Martha reminded.
Auntie smiled at the girls and then asked, “Are you ready?”
“I think so,” Jeanetta Lynn replied with excitement.
“And you, Serenity, are you also ready?” Auntie inquired.
“As long as you’re with us,” she responded while grabbing Jeanetta Lynn’s hand and holding it tightly.
Auntie reached over to lift the lid and their adventure began.
The sound of rushing wind and water echoed throughout the room as everything went black. Within an instant, they found themselves falling through emptiness broken up by glimpses of warriors in battle and cities in conflict while others enjoyed peace. They witnessed fires, earthquakes, and brief flashes of everyday life as if they were actually living the moment. Being held captive by a storm of rushing air, they feared all was lost and they would never again see their own era. When suddenly came the crackling of thunder and lightning, followed by a gentle, warm breeze of amazing calmness that allowed them to land safely upon the ground.
“Auntie, please tell me that it isn't always like this,” Jeanetta Lynn stated breathlessly. “The landing was fine, but I almost lost my stomach several times during the fall.”
“I don’t know if I wish to do this again,” Serenity complained while trying to stand without falling.
Jeanetta Lynn brushed at her skirt, trying to rid centuries of dust that had settled onto it while they stood hidden in a town’s alleyway.
“I too was a bit surprised on my first travel, but you do get used to it. Other than that, how did you like it?” Auntie asked. “Quite truthfully, now I find it very exhilarating.”
“How can you possibly find anything exhilarating about this?” Serenity questioned loudly.
“There’s our assignment,” Auntie announced while changing the subject. Reaching for the parchment floating nearby she grabbed it saying, “Being this is your first, I’m sure it’s going to be a good one. You are to…” With a puzzled expression she stopped in mid-sentence.
“What is it?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“All that is written is the word ‘Faith,’ and nothing more,” Auntie replied, holding it out for them to see.
“Auntie, what does it mean?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“I have no idea,” she replied. “It could mean almost anything from us to have faith in what we've been sent to do, all the way to it being a place or even a lady’s name.”
“Is this typical?” Serenity asked.
“Most of the time the parchment is very explicit, leaving nothing to guesswork,” Auntie replied. Touching it with her wand, it vanished into a puff of smoke. “I know this place. If I’m not mistaken we’re in Boston, Massachusetts. Oh I hope we’re not too late.”
“Too late for what?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“A party!” Auntie exclaimed. “Come on now, we must be there on time.” She beckoned them while approaching a dimly lit street. “Just what I suspected, it’s the 16th of December, 1773. I can tell by the Indians sitting up there,” she said while pointing up to a balcony. “I can hardly wait; you both are going to have the most wonderful experience. You’re going to witness history in the making!”
“I thought we were going to a party,” Serenity said.
“Yes, we are and it will take place at Griffin’s Wharf,” Auntie said as they scurried along. “However, first we need to proceed to a place called the Green Dragon Tavern.”
"So this is Boston,” Jeanetta Lynn commented while following Auntie down the street. “Outside of the sea air, it isn't much different than Sweetshire.”
“Ah, but girls, it truly is,” Auntie replied. “Have you heard of the Green Dragon Tavern?” she asked once coming up to a huge, brick building. However, before they could answer she continued, “I suspect not. If you were to look in the right books, you might find an artist’s drawing of this very same tavern. Written below would be the words: ‘Where we met to Plan the Consignment of a few Ship loads of Tea, Dec 16, 1773.’ To our very day, no one knows for sure who planned the Boston Tea Party, though it’s said it was the Freemasons and I side with this idea. What is known for surety is why it was planned.”
A British soldier, never seeing them before, grew suspicious and walked up to question Auntie. Waiting until he was close, she smiled, nodded, and politely said, “Good evening,” which appeased his concerns, as he nodded back and walked past.
“Auntie, why are there so many soldiers wearing red?” Serenity asked.
“They are the British, and it’s they whom our forefathers had to fight to gain our freedom and liberty,” she quietly answered. “With the unrest of the times even I’m somewhat fearful of being arrested for some minor infraction. This building we’re going to was purchased in 1764 by the St. Andrews Masonic Lodge. It’s now a community center where people come to spend time and clubs hold their meetings within these walls. The main floor is used by the St. Andrews Lodge and another group called the Ancients, or otherwise known as the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Downstairs we’ll find a tavern. There are also many smaller rooms, closed off with doors that are used by different organizations, one of them being the main headquarters of the American Revolution.”
“The American Revolution?” Jeanetta Lynn asked in alarm. “Are you trying to tell us that we’re here as our forefathers are about to demand our freedom from England?”
“Don’t be fearful because the battles are still years to come,” Auntie said quietly. “This is where it all began. Within these hallowed walls, the Boston Committee of Correspondence was formed and so were the Sons of Liberty who held their secret sessions here.” Pride welled up within her as she dried her tears of joy with a hanky.
“Auntie, I don’t believe it…we’re here where it all began,” Jeanetta Lynn whispered. Taking better notice of the building she asked, “Look up there; I see a small green dragon. Why is it that color?”
“It’s made of brass and has turned green with oxidation from exposure to the weather,” Auntie replied. “Many things in our history have been omitted, feeling they were trivia at the time and never taught in the classrooms. Such as this very building, along with the many taverns where patriots met to discuss our freedom. In addition, did you know that the Sons of Liberty wore a jewel around their necks? It is said to have had a picture of the Liberty Tree on it. And they were also known to have a special language all their own for recognition.”
“Do you think we might see one of these jewels?” Serenity asked.
“Who knows, anything is possible. Though I highly doubt they would have it where people are able to see them wearing it,” Auntie replied. She became quiet as another group of British soldiers passed by. Once they were several feet away, she continued. “There were other groups that were born within these walls. One of them was called the North End Caucus. They were formed to publicly guard the ships bringing tea into port. One of their tasks was making sure that none of the tea could be unloaded.”
“How do you know all of this?” Jeanetta Lynn asked, finding this far more interesting than when sitting in a classroom back home.
“I not only have read of these events, but I've been there and met some of the participants,” she said, with a faraway look in her eyes. “I still call some of them friends to this very day.”
“Do they suspect that you’re a time traveler?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“No, this is information we must always keep to ourselves,” she replied. “You will meet so many famous and some who are not, in our assignment. Such as the men who are part of the North End Caucus. One is Edward Proctor of the St. Andrews Lodge, who was known to be their leader. There is also Paul Revere that served with them. Later on, Revere served in another guard called the Selectmen. They would walk the streets of Boston, two by two, observing the movements of the British troops. All of these groups would meet right here in this very building you’re about to enter.”
Crossing the street gave the girls time to think over all of what Auntie had told them.
“Good day,” said a young man, holding open the door of the Green Dragon Inn for them to pass through.
“Thank you, kind sir,” Auntie replied with a smile.
As they entered into the darkened room they found the main floor filled with men of every age, trade, means, and education. Some were financially affluent gentlemen, while others were not. Nonetheless, all were accepted as members of a brotherhood, united in a cause, and that was a desire for freedom.
Heading for the stairwell, they stepped carefully downward leading to the tavern below. “A meeting is taking place in this room,” Auntie whispered, as they passed by the closed door. “It’s being held by Dr. Warren and Paul Revere with the North End Caucus. They’re talking over what to do about the tea being shipped here by England.”
They couldn't help but hear the men singing loudly within the room.
Rally, Mohawks — bring out your axes!
And tell King George we’ll pay no taxes
on his foreign tea!
His threats are vain — and vain to think
to force our girls and wives to drink
his vile Bohea!
Then rally boys, and hasten on
to meet our chiefs at the Green Dragon.
Our Warren’s there, and bold Revere,
with hands to do and words to cheer
for Liberty and Laws!
Our country’s brave and firm defenders
shall ne’er be left by true North-Enders,
fighting Freedom’s cause!
Then rally boys and hasten on
to meet our chiefs at the Green Dragon.
“What is vile Bohea?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“It’s another name for the tea of the East India Company,” Auntie answered, trying not to be overheard by those close by. “It’s a cheap tea that has been rotting away in warehouses in England. The East India Tea Company needs to get rid of it as soon as they can. The British Parliament gave them a monopoly on tea, thus telling the colonies that they are not to buy any other. They've also placed a tax on it just to prove that they have the power to do so. Taxation without representation, along with this East India monopoly has caused the colonists to feel Briton’s tyranny!”
“I would be upset too if this was happening to me,” Serenity declared.
“Who are the Mohawks they’re singing about?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“These Mohawks are not Indians, but patriots who will be taking part in the Boston Tea Party tonight. Some of them are here while others are meeting in homes, putting lamp black and paint upon their faces as a disguise. They can’t afford anyone to recognize that they are taking part in this rebellion. This is why they are calling themselves Mohawks. It’s said that they are also in Edes Printing Office getting ready. One of those men is none other than Paul Revere himself. There are also some who will wrap themselves up in blankets and sit on the balcony of the Old South Meeting House, with others mixing in with the crowd to become the eyes and ears of the rebellion.”
Soon the door to the room flung open and out walked a number of men, mostly disguised as Mohawk Indians. They were whooping as they climbed the steps and into the darkness of the night, all heading to Griffin’s Wharf.
“Come, girls, we can eat later,” Auntie said with much excitement, “for the party is beginning and we mustn't miss it.”
When reaching the wharf, the girls were surprised to find a crowd of over two thousand standing in awe, witnessing an act they had supported from the very beginning, that of dumping the tea into Boston Harbor. Captain Hall and Captain Bruce commanded two ships, along with a brig by Captain Coffin. These were the vessels that groups of sixty Mohawks were directed to come on board to dump the tea.
“Auntie, how did they know that none of these Indians were British?” Serenity asked.
“They had secret signs and countersigns for recognition,” she replied. “One Mohawk would say, ‘Ugh.’ And the second would raise his hatchet and say, ‘Me know you.’ Then the first would countersign by raising his hatchet again, giving another ‘Ugh.’”
“That sounds silly. Though it was ingenious of them to think of something so simple, yet effective,” Jeanetta Lynn responded, brimming with excitement while the Mohawks boarded the three ships and proceeded to dump the tea overboard.
“In less than three hours these men will have broken up 342 chests, consisting of 90,000 pounds of rotting tea, tossing it off the ships and into the salt water,” Auntie whispered.“Afterward, they will disembark and disappear among the crowd. Later on, no one will want to identify them to the British or to each other. One man will say how he would be willing to be a witness against these men, only providing the trial would be held at least 3,000 miles away in London,” she smiled.
“I know I sure wouldn't say anything to the British,” Jeanetta Lynn responded in a whisper, unable to take her eyes off the ships.
“I want our freedom and they say that the only way to get it is for a rebellion to start somewhere,” insisted Serenity.
“Wouldn’t a rebellion just mean death for a lot of people,” replied Jeanetta Lynn. “I doubt if that’s a good idea.”
“This is so exciting just being here!” Serenity softly squealed. “Look at all that tea going overboard and into the water.”
“You mean to say that these people feel destroying another property will make it all better?” asked Jeanetta Lynn.
“You read it in our history books,” said Serenity, “this act is what helped to start the Revolution.”
“What will they say if they were to be brought to trial?” asked Jeanetta Lynn.
“Because of the sentiments of the colonists and the flurry that might prevail, the British will never bring anyone to trial over this. Governor Hutchinson himself said that he would not have a trial in Boston being the jury would either turn out to be sympathizers with the cause, or worse yet, some of the perpetrators.”
“I wouldn't doubt that,” said Jeanetta Lynn.
When the tea had been successfully dumped, the Indians came off the vessels, some returning to their homes, while others headed back into town with the onlookers trailing behind. On the way, Auntie realized that none of them had eaten since early that morning, so once returning to town she guided the girls into the Green Dragon.
Inside, they found men milling about while discussing how King George’s tea looked as it fell in large rotting clumps from the ships. Some even wished they had been able to dump the king into the water along with the tea.
Auntie and the girls had to sidestep these groups as they made their way down the stairwell. By now the room was dimly lit and filled with pipe smoke along with loud conversations. Though as soon as Auntie and the girls appeared in the room it grew uncomfortably quiet, except for a mug crashing to the floor behind the bar. Walking past a group of men, Auntie headed toward an empty table against a far wall with four chairs surrounding it.
“This looks clean enough,” Auntie said while pulling out a chair and sitting down. The girls sat opposite of her, not wanting to be seen in fear of what could happen next.
Moments later, the tavern keeper, wiping his hands on a dirty apron, came up to the table and asked gruffly, “What can I get’ya ladies on this cold night?”
His eyes darted from Auntie to the girls and back, giving them an uncomfortable feeling.
“We’d like to have supper,” Auntie said with an air of authority to her voice.
“And do ya have the means ta be pay’en for this?” he snapped, feeling they may well be beggars from off the street.
However, before Auntie was able to answer, a nicely dressed man of middle age got up from his table and approached them. Seeing this, the tavern keeper’s demeanor changed drastically.
“Yes, it’s a pleasure to serve fine ladies such as you. And we've some good food here in our tavern, do we not, Mr. Wright?” the tavern keeper said sheepishly.
“Ladies, being I've not had the pleasure of making your acquaintance, may I introduce myself?” he said with a slight bow. “My name is Joseph Wright and I have a place not far from here. I see that you’re without a male escort, so may I be of service?”
“Thank you, Mr. Wright, this is most gracious of you,” Auntie responded as he took her hand and kissed it.
“It would be my pleasure,” he said, charmingly.
As Auntie and Mr. Wright talked, a dashing teenage boy walked up and stood next to him. Serenity’s heart leaped as he smiled down at her and she could feel her face becoming flush with excitement. She couldn't help but smile back, which caused her to blush even more brightly.
“May I introduce my son, Master William Wright?” he said, placing his hand upon the boy’s shoulder.
William could not have been more than fifteen years of age and every inch the spitting image of his father.
“I’m sorry, ladies, but I've not yet acquired your names,” he said, looking questioningly at Auntie.
“My name is Mrs. Vernetta Hunnicutt, but you may call me Auntie as everyone else does. And these two charming ladies are my nieces,” she replied to them as she first nodded toward one and then the other. “These are Jeanetta Lynn Parker and Serenity Stewart.”
“It’s indeed a pleasure,” Mr. Wright said.
“Yes, a very great pleasure,” young William added, as he continued smiling at Serenity.
“Being the lateness of the hour, may I take it upon myself to do the ordering of supper for you?” Mr. Wright politely asked.
“Thank you, that would be most gracious of you,” Auntie answered.
Mr. Wright looked around and when seeing the tavern keeper, he motioned for him to return.
“Yes, Mr. Wright, what can I do ya for?” he smiled and with a willingness that seemed to have come out of nowhere.
“Please bring your finest and spare not,” Mr. Wright ordered. “I’ll pay you tomorrow upon my return.”
“So be it, Mr. Wright and I’ll bring ’em the best and plenty of it, too,” he said. Turning about he vanished through the kitchen door located behind the bar.
“We’d be honored if you two would join us,” Auntie suggested, gesturing for them to sit down.
“Yes, that would be delightful,” Serenity interrupted. “I mean, it would be nice if you’d join us. I meant for the both of you to join us. That’s if you would like to, I mean; that’s if you have nothing better to do.” Looking at Auntie, Serenity’s eyes were pleading for her to be rescued.
“For some time now my nieces have had only me to converse with, being sorely deprived of the company of those of their own age; your son would be a welcome change,” explained Auntie, to Serenity’s relief.
“As delightful as that would be, my dear lady, I regret that we are needed elsewhere,” Mr. Wright said, as he looked at his son, who had not taken his eyes off Serenity. “So we’ll take our leave and hope to see you again very soon.”
Auntie and the girls sat silently as the two men slightly bowed, walked away, and disappeared into one of the side rooms.
Within a short while, the tavern keeper arrived with mugs of water and ale, along with three plates complete with utensils, and placed them upon the table. Heading back to the kitchen, he soon emerged carrying a platter piled high with roasted pork, beef, sausages, baked potatoes, squash, and bread, and placed them in the middle of their table.
“I hope this will fill ya,” he said. “There’s more if you’re in need of it. Enjoy.” With this, he returned to tend his bar.
Once those within the room saw that they were no more than just hungry customers, they settled back to mind their own business. The conversations amongst the other customers that had died down became as loud as before, putting Auntie more at ease.
When seeing this, Jeanetta Lynn uttered, “I’m so hungry I could eat all of this by myself.” Filling up her plate to overflowing, she then stuffed a forkful of food into her mouth.
Serenity and Auntie were completely astonished, wondering how anyone could swallow that amount of food without choking on it.
“Serenity, I think we’d best take our share before there’s nothing left,” smiled Auntie.
Jeanetta Lynn, glancing at her reflection in the flat side of the pewter mug, saw the resemblance between her and a chipmunk with cheeks filled with acorns. She put down her fork before swallowing hard.
“I realize that you are very hungry, however, don’t try to eat it all in one mouthful,” cautioned Auntie softly. “Slow down and try to eat sensibly for we’ll be here for some time.”
“It’s just that I haven’t had anything to eat since we left home and I’m ever so hungry,” Jeanetta Lynn said while trying to defend her actions.
“I understand,” Auntie assured her.
“Do you know what’s going on within the room they entered?” Auntie asked.
“No,” Serenity replied.
“They’re talking over the happenings of this night,” she said.
As Serenity looked up, two men walked past them, headed directly to the same room the Wrights had just entered.
“Auntie, who are they?” Jeanetta Lynn inquired.
“One of them is Paul Revere and I’m unsure of the other,” she whispered, while not taking her eyes off them until they had closed the door.
“Their actions tonight in dumping the tea took such courage,” Jeanetta Lynn admitted. “And to think we witnessed this memorable event.”
“Remember, once home you’re not allowed to ever mention whatever you’ve seen, said, or accomplished while on a mission,” Auntie directed.
Moments later the door opened and out strode Paul Revere. When near their table, he said politely, “Ladies, this is a good night for coffee.”
“Surely it is,” Auntie replied, now that coffee was soon to be considered the official drink of the colonies, thus replacing tea. “And may God be with all the Mohawks,” she added.
“I’m sure God will, my dear lady. And may He be with us all,” Revere replied, pausing for a brief second before continuing toward the stairs.
Soon the door reopened and one by one, those in the meeting came out. Some went to nearby tables, while others joined Revere as they climbed up the stairs.
As Mr. Wright and William followed the others, they noticed how Auntie and the girls were still there. Excusing themselves, they went over to join them.
Bowing slightly, Mr. Wright asked, “I pray I’m not being too bold, but may I inquire where you ladies are staying the night?”
“Could you recommend suitable accommodations?” Auntie inquired.
“Yes, The Prancing Colt Inn. I’m sure they’ll be able to put you up for a few nights. When you’re departing for the inn, turn left and walk about a block or so from here. You’ll see their sign out front, for its close by, and you can’t miss it. William and I will make arrangements and they’ll be expecting you. These are troubled times and you shouldn't be out this late. If I weren't needed at home we would stay and escort you there. However, this can’t be. So please head for the inn as soon as you've finished your meal.”
“Thank you and we’ll do as you have advised," Auntie assured him.
“Good, then with our minds at rest,” he said with a parting bow, “we’ll take our leave and Godspeed.”
Heading up the stairs William kept glancing back at Serenity, whose eyes had never sparkled more brightly than now. Even Auntie noticed that Serenity hadn't looked away until all that could be seen were his boots and then nothing more.
“I do hope we see them again,” Serenity sighed, in hopes he would reappear.
“I doubt if they’re going to be returning tonight, so let’s finish our meal and head to the inn,” Auntie said, bringing a forkful of pork up to her mouth.
“Are we going to stay in the inn or will we be going elsewhere tonight?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“I feel this is the safest place for us, at least for tonight,” Auntie replied. “In the morning, we may know more regarding our assignment and faith.”
After their hunger was satisfied, though unsure where their next meal was coming from, the girls hurriedly placed bread and meats into hankies and stuffed them deep into their pockets, just before following Auntie toward the stairs. As they ascended, Serenity stretched her neck to see if William Wright may still be in the room they were entering.
Most of the crowd had departed for the evening, which made the room seem larger than before. With only the glow of a single lantern that sat on a counter, the room remained dark as they made their way to the door. Once out into the night air, Auntie and the girls turned to their left, and headed up the street toward The Prancing Colt Inn.
It was a crisp spring morning in 1868, as Jeanetta Lynn heard the clanking of pans coming from the kitchen below. Snuggling deeper under her bed-covers, she held a pillow tightly over her head. Finding it didn't stop the noise, she allowed it to fall upon the floor in despair.
“Jeanetta Lynn, are you up yet?” her mother called from the foot of the massive staircase. “If you still want a ride into town to meet Serenity, then you had best get down here. Father has supplies to pick up, and he’ll be leaving right after breakfast. Furthermore, Lucy needs you to collect eggs for breakfast. So, please hurry!”
“Yes, Mother,” she replied, while longing for more sleep.
Stepping out of bed, she headed for her wardrobe, yanked out a dress, and then tossed it onto her bed. While dressing, she noticed a picture sitting on her vanity. It was one of a beautiful lady she had torn out of a magazine a while back. Her hair was just right and not a blemish could be found on her face. Once dressed, she sat down and compared her own refection to that of the picture.
“If I style my hair just like hers, maybe I too could be beautiful,” she whispered. Picking up her brush, she ran it through her long brown curls. “Admit it, I’ll never look like her,” she muttered. Giving up, she brushed her hair back and tied it with a black ribbon. As she was doing this, a brass box with medieval symbols appeared upon her vanity. When she went to touch it, it disappeared.
“What was that all about?” she asked herself, while moving everything about and searching for it.
“Jeanetta Lynn, we need you down here at once!” her father ordered.
Hearing her father’s voice, and especially in that tone, caused her to stop the search, and to scramble down the staircase. After swinging herself around the newel post, she slid to a stop just inside the kitchen.
“Good morning, Father, Mother, and Lucy. You said you needed eggs?”
“Yes,” said Lucy, a free black woman, who was skillfully swinging a pan of hot biscuits out of the oven and onto the counter. “If you can take your jolly self out to the hen coop, I’d be oblige’en to have a dozen or so.”
Grabbing an apron from off the back of a chair, Jeanetta Lynn slid it over her head, and tied the sashes. “I’ll have them here in a jiffy,” she said as she went out the back door and hurried toward the chicken coop. With Serenity, her cousin, visiting their auntie for an entire week, Jeanetta Lynn longed to hear all about it. So the sooner breakfast was over, the sooner they would be heading into town to meet up with Serenity.
When rounding a corner, Jeanetta Lynn remembered to be cautious of a rooster aptly named Crazy Bill. He was a small black and tan banty that recently wandered into their yard. His disposition was aggressive and as sour as lemons. He caused trouble for anyone with the misfortune of coming near. Just the thought of him
caused her to become chilled with fear.
Opening the shed door, she got out a metal pail of grain and a basket for collecting the eggs. After closing the door, she looked about knowing Crazy Bill had to be watching from somewhere. Carefully she ventured toward the coop and went in, leaving the grain sitting just outside. She proceeded to collect the eggs, and it didn't take long before her basket was nearly overflowing.
“Look at all these eggs,” praised Jeanetta Lynn. “You've truly earned this meal!”
Exchanging the filled egg basket for the grain, Jeanetta Lynn tossed handfuls out to the waiting hens. She enjoyed watching them scramble in every direction trying to grab the most. They settled down peacefully as soon as the bucket was empty and started pecking at the stray specks lying about. Stepping out, she locked the coop door and picked up the basket of eggs. After dropping off the empty grain bucket, she headed toward the house. “One, two, three,” she counted aloud. “There has to be almost three dozen!”
Without warning, Jeanetta Lynn felt a sharp pain in her left leg. The shock caused her to toss the basket high into the air, while glancing down to see what caused it. There stood Crazy Bill ready to attack with vengeance. Frantically, she kicked at him as she leaped up for the basket that by now was suspended in midair. When returning to her feet, he was only a couple yardsticks away from her. As he advanced, she managed to get in a few blows. One of her kicks sent him flying into the air and landing several feet away. He rose unfazed, ruffled his feathers, and then headed in for another try. Jeanetta Lynn put down the basket and looked about for something to defend herself. Seeing an old broom leaning against the shed, she snatched it up, and kept it between her and the rooster’s advances. Then with a swoop of the broom she sent him head over cock-spurs into the air. With a loud squawking, he landed about ten feet from where she was standing. Unlike before, he staggered around in a daze, knocking into fences, walls, and machinery. Seeing her chance, Jeanetta Lynn ran toward him screaming, “I’ll teach you to attack me!” Grabbing him by the neck, she plunged him deep into a watering trough. “One, two, three,” she counted slowly. On the count of five, she brought him out and flung him to the ground. “Get out of here and go back to where you came from!” she screeched while stomping her feet. Crazy Bill got up and wobbled around the corner and out of her sight.
By now the screen door flew open and everyone within the kitchen rushed out.
“What in the world is going on here?” Mother cried hysterically.
“Mother, when I forgot to watch out for Crazy Bill, he attacked me.”
“I know that ol’ rooster; he’s nothing but trouble,” Lucy grumbled.
“That does it!” Father exclaimed. “I should have done this long ago!”
Excusing himself Father took off to apprehend the rooster. Meanwhile, Lucy held open the kitchen screen door for the others to pass through.
“Those hens of yours are truly doing a fine job, Jeanetta Lynn,” Lucy said while placing the basket on the counter. “Why, look at all these eggs, and with what you went through, there’s not near as many broken as I had expected.”
“They all would have been fine if it weren't for that crotchety rooster!”
“I hear you, Child. He’s not even fit for the pot, being he’s such a tough ol’ bird!”
“We might as well call him a Rebel!”
“Are you still complaining about the past wars?” Lucy sighed. “And now you’re going to add that ol’ rooster into it. Child, when are you going to realize what a wonderful country this is?”
Shrugging her shoulders, Jeanetta Lynn replied, “I just think it’s all crazy. What good did it do when we broke away from England, or even the Civil War? We would have this land regardless.”
Now frustrated, Lucy replied, “Ever since I've come to work here, all you ever do is grumble about everything pertaining to our government. Jeanetta Lynn, look here, you are free to do whatever you please.”
“Yes, but that had nothing to do with the wars, not even this one,” snapped Jeanetta Lynn.
While wiping her hands on her apron, Lucy admonished, “It mattered to me and to those like me, and in fact, it should matter to you, too!”
Hearing the conversation from the parlor, Jeanetta Lynn’s mother was most interested in what her daughter was going to say next. Walking into the dining room she quietly sat down.
“Wars and the government are what keep us from progressing in life,” insisted Jeanetta Lynn. “Look at my father; he wanted nothing to do with the Civil War, so he hired another to take his place so he could stay home.”
“Jeanetta Lynn!” Mother shouted. “Where did you ever come up with that?”
“Well, isn't it true?” Jeanetta Lynn asked from within the kitchen.
“Stop it now, because it’s not true!” Mother demanded. “You come in here right now and sit yourself down! I’m shocked that you would ever believe this of him.”
Taking a seat at the table, Jeanetta Lynn stared across the room at a vase of flowers, making sure not to make eye contact with her mother.
“Jeanetta Lynn, listen to me. I was born and raised in Virginia; this makes me a Rebel. Your father was born here in Pennsylvania, and his family leaned toward the North. When seeing that our families would be fighting against each other and with your Uncles Ernest, Frank, and Don fighting for the South, I begged your father not to go. I didn't want to think of him shooting at my brothers. Your father fretted about it for days. His own older brother, Bob, was fighting for the North, so he too wanted to enlist. However, knowing how I felt, he found a solution that would satisfy us both. He hired a replacement to go in his stead and then he wouldn't be shooting at my brothers. It cost him plenty, but knowing I would be able to sleep at night, he was willing to do this. When he got word that Bob was killed it almost tore your father apart. He felt that if he had enlisted, then he might have been able to protect him. So, don’t you ever call your father a coward again! You think you know everything, but you don’t!” Wiping away her tears she continued, “Maybe one day you’ll be as wise as you think you already are.”
“But what was the harm if we had stayed with England?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“You’re impossible,” whispered Mother.
Once Father had the rooster securely tied into a burlap bag, he came inside. When looking about he could see that all wasn't well with his family. “What’s going on?”
“It’s our daughter and she’s at it again,” Mother complained.
“Not another debate over the Revolution and Civil War. Jeanetta Lynn, what is it that gets into you at times? Please believe me when I tell you that if it weren't for these wars, our government would be very different. Freedom wasn't fought for the rich alone, but for all Americans,” he said.
“How do you know,” insisted Jeanetta Lynn, “being you weren't there?”
As if death itself cast a spell into the room, it grew uncomfortably quiet.
“I may not have fought in these wars, but I know their history and I’m aware of this recent one from firsthand experience. Jeanetta Lynn, we fought so we could govern ourselves without an outside power lording over us,” said father before leaving the room.
“Jeanetta Lynn, how could you have hurt your father so?” asked Mother.
Jeanetta Lynn struggled for words, “Father may feel that way, but I don’t. Maybe it’s good that I’ll be spending the night at Serenity’s.”
“If you can’t bridle your tongue, then maybe it is,” Mother replied as she headed upstairs to console her husband.
After breakfast, Jeanetta Lynn excused herself from the table and hastened to her bedroom. She stuffed her carpetbag full for spending the night, while father got things ready outside. Minutes later they were stepping into the buggy, she saw a grain sack at her feet. “Father, is that Crazy Bill?” she asked.
About halfway to town, Father pulled to the side of the road and climbed down. Standing next to the buggy, he lifted out the grain sack and carried it to an area lush with green foliage surrounded by tall trees and a brook running through it. Taking his knife, he cut the cords keeping the sack closed. Crazy Bill peeked out from inside the sack and then staggered into the sunlight. At first, the bird seemed stunned by the brightness. Though after tottering about for a few minutes, he seemed fine. Feeling confident that the rooster would do well, Father headed back to the buggy. However, unbeknownst to him, Crazy Bill was heading right for his leg with all the fury of a tornado. With spurs bared, Crazy Bill viciously attacked with rage, tearing through Father’s Sunday trousers. Kicking wildly at the rooster, Father leaped back into the buggy. Grabbing the reins, he slapped them hard on Misty’s back, causing the mare to take off at a full run and not slowing until reaching town. “Whoa,” he called out while gently pulling on the reins, “settle down, girl, we’re okay now.”
Nostrils flared red and breathing hard, Misty was dripping with sweat when she came to a full stop.
Hurrying out of Father’s store was Jake, his hired storekeeper. “Mr. Parker, what happened to you?”
Pulling up a section of his trousers that was flapping about, he replied, “I decided not to kill that rogue rooster, but instead I turned him loose in a beautiful grove. And this is how he repaid me for my kindness!” Handing the reins over to Jake, Mr. Parker headed toward the store. “I’ll change into another pair of trousers before heading out. Jeanetta Lynn, when Uncle Erwin arrives, please tell him I need to speak to him.”
Following her father inside, Jeanetta Lynn spotted decanters filled with candies and headed for them. There was the usual; however, there toward the end of the row was a new one. She carefully lifted the lid and removed a long, pink candy stick.
“What type is this one?” she asked Jake.
“I’m unsure being it’s a new one. Does it taste good?”
“It tastes like strawberries and cream and is really good. You should give one a try,” she suggested.
“I’m not all that interested in eating candies, Miss Parker. I’ll go on what you've told me if anyone should ask.”
Soon Mr. Parker returned looking very much like a gentleman. “Jeanetta Lynn, isn't that Serenity’s stage pulling up in front of the hotel?” he asked.
“Yes it is, Father,” she said, while removing another candy stick for Serenity. “When Uncle Erwin arrives I’ll let him know that you want to see him.”
“I want to make sure that it’s still okay for you to spend the night,” he replied, while reading over an inventory list.
Serenity spotted her immediately as the stage slowed to a stop. A box was placed under the opened coach door for the passengers to step onto as they headed toward the hotel. The girls were soon embracing as the stage driver tipped his hat and walked past.
“Here, I brought this for you,” said Jeanetta Lynn, holding out the pink candy stick. “It’s a new item Father put into the store. I think you’ll like it.”
“Thank you, I've missed these treats,” said Serenity as she savored the first lick. “Auntie thinks we’re much too grown up for such confections. However, little does she know,” she giggled. “Oh yes, before I forget, she gave us a gift to share. It’s in my trunk, so we’ll have to wait until we’re in my bedroom to see what it is. Her instructions were that we must be together when it’s opened.”
“I wonder why she’d say such a thing.”
“I don’t know, only she did.”
Remembering the brass box from early this morning, Jeanetta Lynn asked, “Did anything strange happen while you were with Auntie? Like seeing something and then it wasn't there?”
“You mean vanishing? No, nothing like that took place. Why do you ask?”
“No reason, just conversation I guess. Though, are you sure nothing strange took place?”
“Jeanetta Lynn, why are you asking this?”
“I guess I’m just curious about things.”
“What things?” asked Serenity. “So far nothing has vanished that I’m aware of. Has anything strange happened in front of you?”
Not wanting to appear crazy, she quickly changed the subject. “While you were riding in that nice stage coach, I was having a battle with Crazy Bill. This time I got even with him by holding him under water until I counted slowly to five.”
“You did that to Crazy Bill?” Serenity squealed in delight. “As often as we've been attacked by him, I’m so glad you got even for the both of us. And to think I wasn't there to see it!”
“Also we won’t have to worry about being attacked again. Father captured the rooster and released him in a lush area far from our home. I felt he should have killed that bird, and after what Crazy Bill did to him, he may wish he had.”
“Why, what did he do to Uncle William, and was Aunt Virginia with him?”
“No, Mother stayed home this time. However, after Father let Crazy Bill loose, that crazy bird attacked him as he was returning to the buggy. We barely got out of there alive!”
“Poor Uncle William. I hope he’s okay?”
“He is, though I’m sure if he ever sees that rooster again, it won’t be alive for very long,” she laughed.
A buckboard came around the corner, driven by Serenity’s father, Erwin Stewart, and the best uncle Jeanetta Lynn could ever ask for.
“Serenity, my precious, it’s so good to have you back home,” greeted Uncle Erwin as he pulled up. “And Jeanetta Lynn, I’m glad to see that you’re ready to come back home with us. I see your father’s buggy, where is he?”
“He’s in the store and wants to visit with you while we put our things into the buckboard.”
“I’ll do that,” he said while tying the reins to the post. “After we speak, we’ll soon be on our way.”
“This is the trunk that has the gift in it,” said Serenity as they both hoisted it in.
“Besides the gift, what else do you have in it to make it weigh so much?”
“Would you believe I took it there empty? When Auntie and I were in town, she bought all kinds of things for us. However, the most important is the gift and it’s been on my mind all the way here.”
“Then I’m glad you resisted temptation,” chuckled Jeanetta Lynn.
Mr. Parker and Erwin Stewart walked out onto the sidewalk, laughing.
“I’ll be delighted if Lydia and I get a minute of sleep tonight. I’m sure these two will be talking all night long,” said Erwin. “We’ll be driving out to your home early. We have a lot to get caught up on.”
“Sounds good to me,” said Mr. Parker, as he gave his daughter a kiss upon the cheek. “You mind your aunt and uncle.” He smiled.
“They’ll do just fine,” assured Erwin. “Be sure to tell Virginia hello for Lydia and me.”
“I’ll do that,” said Mr. Parker as the buckboard moved away.
The girls laughed and talked during the trip to Serenity’s home. Once arriving, they ran up the steps and disappeared inside the house. After Erwin carried the luggage up to Serenity’s bedroom, he almost collided with them on the way downstairs.
“Whoa, where are you two going?” he asked.
“Papa, we were hungry, so we got some cookies. Guess what? Auntie gave us a gift with instructions that we must be together when opening it.”
“Did she tell you this or do you two just want it that way?” he questioned.
“She was most insistent that we both be together. And I assured her that we would be.”
“Then I know you’ll have fun opening it. Did she give you any clues to what it might be?” he asked.
“No, Papa, she said nothing.”
“Being it’s from Auntie, it most definitely will be a surprise,” he laughed, slowly shaking his head while walking to the kitchen.
“We will, and thank you, Papa, for bringing up our bags,” Serenity called back.
Closing the bedroom door behind them, they opened the trunk containing the gift.
“Hurry and get it out,” coaxed Jeanetta Lynn.
“It’s right here on top,” Serenity replied, as she removed the gift. Pushing the trunk to the side, she placed it in the middle of her bed. Wrapped simply enough in brown paper and tied with twine, there was nothing to indicate what could be hidden within.
“She didn't give you any clues?” Jeanetta Lynn asked, while picking it up and slowly turning it over in her hands.
“Only that we must be together.”
“Okay, which of us will be doing the honors of unwrapping it?”
“How about if you do the twine and I’ll remove the wrapping?”
With this, Jeanetta Lynn untied the twine and pulled it from under the package leaving the paper intact. Serenity then cautiously unwrapped it, thus revealing the contents of the gift. There before them lay a beautiful brass box with the finest of embellishments. It was so exquisite that it must have been owned by royalty, or at least a person of considerable wealth. The lid was embossed with depictions of a knight on horseback fighting a winged dragon. There was also a castle with trees in the background. The hinges, sides, and latch were very ornate. This was truly the most breathtaking gift they had ever received.
“Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?” Jeanetta Lynn asked as she turned it from side to side. A sudden chill hit her when remembering her earlier experience. “I've seen this brass box before.”
“How could you? Even I hadn't seen it until now,” whispered Serenity, her eyes still transfixed upon it.
“When I asked about things vanishing, I wasn't just making conversation.”
“What are you telling me?”
“Well, this very box was on my dressing table this morning. When I reached for it the box vanished.”
“Jeanetta Lynn, you’re scaring me! It’s a box and nothing more.”
“Okay, don’t believe me, but I know what I saw!”
“My sweet cousin, it’s only a box. So now, what do you think is hidden inside? I’d like for you to be the one to open it.”
“Thank you,” said Jeanetta Lynn as she studied the box before reaching for it. She was positive that it was the same one from this morning.
Unable to wait any longer, Serenity kidded her with, “In what year are you planning to open it?”
Snapped back to reality, Jeanetta Lynn chuckled, “Oh, yes, right now.” Reaching over, she raised the lid and found that it was totally empty. “I guess the box is the gift. We can both keep our treasures in it, such as notes or even jewelry, if we ever receive any.”
“One week it can be here and the next at your home. It can go back and forth between us,” suggested Serenity.
“Since it’s already here you can be the first. This is so exciting and I can hardly wait to show this box to my parents.”
“I know my parents would also like to see it,” said Serenity as she headed for the door.
“Serenity, I think you’d best not go anywhere,” Jeanetta Lynn said as she took Serenity by the arm and turned her about.
The room was flooded in a bluish-green glow that radiated from within the brass box. Soon the roar of rushing wind and water engulfed them as the glow became even brighter. Startled by this, both girls leaped backwards, hitting the wall. They stood motionless, fearing that something horrible might happen if they should move.
“Shut it! Please, shut it now,” Serenity whimpered.
Taking a quick step away from the wall, Jeanetta Lynn slammed the lid shut and then flattened herself back against the wall.
The room slowly returned to normal, however, neither girl moved away from the wall due to fear.
“What was that?” Serenity blurted.
“I don’t know. I told you this same brass box vanished from off my vanity. So, now do you believe me?”
“I have to now.”
“Serenity, we need to talk with Auntie and hopefully she’ll tell us what’s going on.”
“I agree, and the sooner the better.”
It seemed like an eternity before they left the wall for a closer look at the box.
A gentle warm breeze drifted through the open bedroom window causing the curtains to sway softly. Once again, the room took on its normal appearance. It was Jeanetta Lynn, who slowly wrapped the box back up in the original wrappings and secured it tightly with the twine.
“I’m so glad that you’re spending the night, for I couldn't sleep knowing the brass box is in my bedroom,” said Serenity, still obviously shaken.
“Even I’m a little nervous. Okay, now that it’s out of sight, where can we put it until tomorrow morning?”
“I guess we could put it inside my washing stand. I’ll put the washbowl and pitcher on top of the stand, so you can place the box inside. Then at least I won’t be able to see it.”
“Yes, that will work.”
Not wanting to stay in the bedroom, they went outside to enjoy the sunshine until called in for supper. Coming to the shade of a large oak tree, Serenity leaned up against it. Jeanetta Lynn lay in the cool grass, while resting her head on her hands. Both girls watched butterflies flutter from flower to flower as the bees buzzed about.
“It’s not going to be easy to convince your parents to allow you to visit Auntie so soon after your return,” said Jeanetta Lynn, now pulling up a handful of grass and allowing it to trickle through her fingers into the breeze.
“I’m unsure how to go about asking, without them wanting to know why.”
“You could tell them that I’m going to visit her and you want to tag along.”
“I don’t know if that will work. However, I do want to go.”
“Good, for I don’t want to go alone,” Jeanetta Lynn said while tossing the grass high into the air and watching it fall.
“I’m unsure how to ask, but I’m thinking about it,” she replied.
“Well, you had better hurry up because your papa is almost here,” said Jeanetta Lynn, looking over at Uncle Erwin.
“Your mother asked me to come and get you both for supper,” said Uncle Erwin.
“Serenity, wasn't there something you wanted to ask him?” Jeanetta Lynn prodded.
“What is it?” he asked as they walked along.
“Jeanetta Lynn wants to drive to Auntie’s for a visit, to thank her for the gift. Papa, may I please join her?”
“You’re hardly unpacked and now you want to return? Surely, your mother would want to voice her thoughts before I say anything. When we’re at the table, we can discuss it,” he answered as he put his arms around them both and pulled them close to him. “I’ll give it some thought before I bring it up in conversation.”
Walking silently, they climbed the steps and went into the kitchen. Supper was on the table and the aroma filled the house causing Jeanetta Lynn to become very hungry. “Oh my, does that ever smell good," she said.
“Thank you, and there’s plenty to go around,” assured Aunt Lydia.
“Lydia, dear, Serenity has something to ask,” said Papa.
“Serenity, what is it?” said Aunt Lydia.
“May I please ride with Jeanetta Lynn as she goes to visit Auntie?” she said quickly.
Turning toward Erwin, “Did you know about this?”
“They told me just before coming to the house. I said we would talk it over before deciding whether she can or not,” Erwin said, bringing a forkful of potatoes up to his mouth.
“Why are you returning so soon?” Lydia asked in bewilderment. “It makes no sense to turn around and go back.”
“We wish to thank her for the gift,” said Serenity.
“What gift?” Lydia inquired. “And couldn't you have thanked her before returning home?”
“She couldn't because Auntie sent it for the both of us. After opening it, we decided that we wanted to ask her about it and to thank her as well,” explained Jeanetta Lynn.
“Erwin, should Serenity be returning so soon?”
“I feel if Jeanetta Lynn’s going, then Serenity should join her. There are still soldiers out there with chips on their shoulders about how the war turned out. And being together they will be much safer.”
“Soldiers? We’re going to allow them to be in harm’s way with angry soldiers?” Lydia gasped, looking wide-eyed at her husband and then at the girls.
“Do you girls feel confident enough to face such perils as this?” Erwin asked.
Before answering, Jeanetta Lynn looked at Serenity. “We’ll ask Heavenly Father to protect us. Then we’ll know what to do when the time comes.”
Lydia couldn't question Jeanetta Lynn’s faith and she knew what her niece was saying was true. However, this still didn't put her fears to rest. “What would you do if a soldier should venture up to your buggy?” she asked.
“I’d ask him what he wanted,” Jeanetta Lynn said.
“That may not be a wise choice,” Lydia replied.
“How can they know unless they are confronted with it?” Erwin responded. “Even I couldn't tell you what I would do.”
“You’re right, for even I couldn't answer this myself,” she said hopelessly. “Erwin, I just pray that we won’t regret this decision.”
“I’m sure we’re making the right choice. If they leave early in the morning, they’ll arrive while it’s still light,” he explained. When looking down at his empty plate, he reached over to refill it with more meat and gravy before continuing. “And on their return, if they depart in the early hours, they’ll arrive home before evening. That way, we won’t have to worry, nor will Virginia and William.”
“You truly feel this way?” Lydia questioned. “If so, then I guess they can go with our blessings.”
“Papa, can we be excused so we can start packing right away?” Serenity asked, hoping her parents would agree.
“You do need to have your things ready in case your Uncle William says Jeanetta Lynn can go,” he replied. Then turning to Jeanetta Lynn, he added, “Hopefully they will and tomorrow you both will be on your way.”
When realizing how badly they both wanted to start their packing, he said, “Off with you both and be sure to pack enough for your full visit.”
As the girls flew out of the kitchen, Erwin helped himself to a third serving saying, “Youth, they’re always in a hurry and never stop to enjoy the finer things in life, like your cooking.”
Lydia only smiled.
All Fifty State Preambles.
Alabama 1901, Preamble
We the people of the State of Alabama , invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.
Alaska 1956, Preamble
We, the people of Alaska , grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.
Arizona 1911, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Arizona , grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...
Arkansas 1874, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Arkansas , grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...
California 1879, Preamble
We, the People of the State of California , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom...
Colorado 1876, Preamble
We, the people of Colorado , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe...
Connecticut 1818, Preamble.
The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.
Delaware 1897, Preamble
Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.
Florida 1885, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Florida , grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution...
Georgia 1777, Preamble
We, the people of Georgia , relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...
Hawaii 1959, Preamble
We, the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine Guidance ... Establish this Constitution.
Idaho 1889, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.
Illinois 1870, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil , political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
Indiana 1851, Preamble
We, the People of the State of Indiana , grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.
Iowa 1857, Preamble
We, the People of the State of Iowa , grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish this Constitution.
Kansas 1859, Preamble
We, the people of Kansas , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.
Kentucky 1891, Preamble
We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties..
Louisiana 1921, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Louisiana , grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties 'we enjoy.
Maine 1820, Preamble
We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity ... And imploring His aid and direction.
Maryland 1776, Preamble
We, the people of the state of Maryland , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty...
Massachusetts 1780, Preamble
We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction
Michigan 1908, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Michigan , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, establish this Constitution.
Minnesota, 1857, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Minnesota , grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:
Mississippi 1890, Preamble
We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.
Missouri 1845, Preamble
We, the people of Missouri , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness - Establish this Constitution...
Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution..
Nebraska 1875, Preamble
We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom. Establish this Constitution.
Nevada 1864, Preamble
We the people of the State of Nevada , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, establish this Constitution...
New Hampshire 1792, Part I.. Art. I. Sec. V
Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.
New Jersey 1844, Preamble
We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
New Mexico 1911, Preamble
We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty..
New York 1846, Preamble
We, the people of the State of New York , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.
North Carolina 1868, Preamble
We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those..
North Dakota 1889, Preamble
We, the people of North Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...
Ohio 1852, Preamble
We the people of the state of Ohio , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common.
Oklahoma 1907, Preamble
Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty, establish this
Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I Section 2.
All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences.
Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble
We, the people of Pennsylvania , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance...
Rhode Island 1842, Preamble.
We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing...
South Carolina , 1778, Preamble
We, the people of the State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
South Dakota 1889, Preamble
We, the people of South Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties.
Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III.
That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...
Texas 1845, Preamble
We the People of the Republic of Texas , acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.
Utah 1896, Preamble
Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.
Vermont 1777, Preamble
Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man.
Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI
Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other.
Washington 1889, Preamble
We the People of the State of Washington , grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.
West Virginia 1872, Preamble
Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ....
Wisconsin 1848, Preamble
We, the people of Wisconsin , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility....
Wyoming 1890, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Wyoming , grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties, establish this Constitution...
After reviewing the preambles of all 50 states, it is noted how they acknowledge Almighty God as being at the heart of our nation, and under His protection. As long as we worship God, and keep His commandments, we will remain a free nation to enjoy our liberties. To think otherwise would be wrong.
Click on the Liberty Bell to return to the top of the page.