Read an Excerpt
One More Sunrise
By Al Lacy Joanna Lacy
Multnomah Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2004 ALJO PRODUCTIONS, INC.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe lone rider bent low in the saddle as he kept his sleek, muscular gray roan gelding at a full gallop on the rolling prairie, leaving small clouds of dust in his wake. Riding due east toward Cheyenne in the bright morning sunshine, his angular jaw was set in a grim line.
Beyond the scattered cattle ranches and the foothills behind him were the towering Rocky Mountains, the lofty peaks taking their magnificent jagged bite out of the azure Wyoming sky.
Rancher Earl Monroe squinted against the wind produced by the speed of his horse and said aloud, "You've just got to be in your office, Dr. Logan. You've just got to be."
At the office of Dr. Jacob Logan on Main Street in Cheyenne, the doctor's wife-who served as receptionist-busied herself freshening up the waiting room. At the moment, there were no patients in the chairs, so she was taking advantage of the lull in appointments to do a little dusting.
Although she was in her early fifties, lovely Naomi Logan could easily pass for a woman in her forties. While using the feather duster adeptly, she was humming a lilting gospel tune. When the waiting room had been cleaned and adjusted to her satisfaction, Naomi moved behind her desk and placed the feather duster in the cabinet behind it. When she started to sit down, the desk calendar caught her eye and she realized that she hadn't flipped it to the new month since coming to work an hour earlier.
She turned the calendar's small page and sighed as she looked at it. "Tuesday, June 1, 1880. Where does the time go?"
Suddenly her attention was drawn out the large front window to a gray roan horse skidding to a stop at the hitch rail in front of the white clapboard building. The rider hurriedly left the saddle and dashed across the boardwalk, heading for the door.
Naomi immediately recognized rancher Earl Monroe and remained standing behind the desk as he came in, an anxious look on his face. She brushed a stray wisp of hair from her forehead and smiled. "Hello, Earl. You look worried. What's wrong?"
The rancher wiped a palm over his mouth. "It's an emergency, ma'am. Is Dr. Logan in?"
"My husband is delivering a baby on a ranch about twenty miles east of town, Earl, but my son is here. He's taking care of a patient in the examining room with Nurse Ella Dover's help."
Monroe's brow furrowed. "You have a son that's a doctor?"
"Yes. Dane is an M.D. He just joined his father as partner in the practice a week ago. He's been doing his internship right here at Memorial Hospital for the past two years. He's a good doctor. What's your emergency, Earl?"
"It's really not my emergency, Mrs. Logan. You are aware that our nearest neighbors are Abel and Betty Donaldson, who are also your patients."
"Yes. They own the Rocking D Ranch. What is it?"
"You know their twelve-year-old son, Joshua."
"He got bucked off a horse about half an hour ago and landed on his shoulder. It's hurt bad. The boy's in extreme pain, and they were afraid to try to put him in a wagon to bring him to town. I happened to be visiting the Donaldsons at the time, and since I had to come into town anyway, I told them I'd ride like the wind and come tell Dr. Logan about Joshua, and ask him to get out to the ranch as soon as possible. Could-could your son go out there right away?"
Naomi was used to seeing frantic people in the office. She told him to sit down and she would be back shortly. Earl Monroe watched her hurry through the door at the rear of the office and then sat down on the designated chair.
Less than a minute had passed when Naomi reentered the office. Earl stood up. Naomi said, "Dane-ah, the young Dr. Logan is almost done with his patient, Earl. He will head to the Rocking D immediately. Can you write down the directions to the ranch?"
"If you'll give me a pencil and a piece of paper, I'll draw him a little map."
Naomi quickly produced the items from the top of her desk and handed them to him. Earl sketched the map for young Dr. Logan to use, and thanking Naomi, excused himself, saying he had to go tend to his other errand.
At the Rocking D Ranch, Joshua Donaldson was sitting up on his bed with a pile of pillows at his back. His parents were sitting on wooden chairs beside the bed, with their other two children-ten-year-old Sarah and eight-year-old Ruth-standing between them. Both girls were looking at their brother with compassion as he cradled the arm of the injured shoulder up tight against his chest.
Blinking rapidly, Joshua was determined not to cry as he bit his lips in an effort to keep the tears from forming. His pain-filled blue eyes stared at his parents. Ever so slowly, though, his eyes began to fill up, and one lonely tear slipped from the corner of his left eye.
Betty patted his arm. "Son, it's all right to cry. Don't worry. There's no one here but us, and we certainly understand."
As she spoke, the mother rose to her feet and gently brushed back the blond hair that had tumbled onto his forehead.
She glanced at the clock on the nearby dresser, noting that it was almost ten o'clock. "Dr. Logan should be here soon, honey. Earl's horse is a fast one. Dr. Logan will have medicine to ease your pain, and he'll fix you up good as new."
The tears were now flowing from both eyes, making twin streams down Joshua's pallid cheeks.
"Your mama is right, son," said Abel, laying a hand gently on the boy's leg. "There's nothing wrong with crying when you're in pain."
Joshua wiped the tears away with the back of his hand, then quickly returned it to support the arm of his injured shoulder.
"I love you, Josh," said Sarah, tears in her eyes.
"Me, too," put in her little sister. "I would take the pain for you if I could."
Joshua let a tight smile curve his lips. "Thank you, Ruthie. I love you both very much."
Suddenly through the open window of Joshua's room, they heard pounding hooves and the sound of a bouncing buggy approaching the house.
Rising from the chair and heading for the bedroom door, Abel said, "That's gotta be Doc Logan. Be back with him in a minute."
Breathing a prayer for his son as he dashed through the house to the front door, Abel thanked the Lord that Dr. Logan had arrived. When he opened the door, he was surprised to see a young man alighting from a buggy with a medical bag in his hand.
He stepped out on the porch. "We were expecting Dr. Logan. Who are you, sir?"
Dr. Dane Logan was twenty-four years of age, tall, slender, and dark-headed. Hurrying up to the rancher, he said, "I'm Dr. Jacob Logan's son, Dane, Mr. Donaldson. I just became his partner a week ago. Dad is delivering a baby on a ranch east of Cheyenne, so when Earl Monroe came to the office and told Mom about Joshua having been bucked off the horse and suffering a shoulder injury, I headed this way as soon as I could."
Abel smiled, extended his hand, and Dr. Dane grasped it. "Thank you for coming, Doctor. Follow me."
Seconds later, as Abel and the young physician hurried into Joshua's room, surprise showed on the faces of Betty, the girls, and the patient.
"Mama, children," said Abel, "this is Dr. Dane Logan. He's Dr. Jacob Logan's son. Dr. Dane just became his father's partner a week ago. When Earl got to the office, Mrs. Logan told him her husband was delivering a baby out of town, but this fine young doctor came in his father's place."
"Thank you for coming, Doctor," said Betty, affording him a gentle smile. "We'll stay out of the way while you examine Josh."
Dr. Dane moved up to the bed, glanced at the girls, then looked down at the boy. "I'll do my best not to hurt you any more than necessary, Josh, but it will have to hurt some in order for me to determine the extent of your injury."
Joshua bit his lower lip and nodded. "Yes, sir."
The boy winced and sucked air through his teeth a few times while the doctor made a careful examination of the damaged shoulder.
When he finished, Dr. Dane ran his gaze to the parents. "It is definitely dislocated. I'll have to put the shoulder back in place." Then he said to his patient, "Josh, I'm going to give you a strong dose of laudanum. It will take about thirty minutes for it to take full effect. It's going to hurt when I put your shoulder back in place, but the laudanum will make the pain much easier to withstand."
Joshua looked up at the doctor solemnly. "Yes, sir."
Dr. Dane opened his medical bag and took out a bottle of syrupy liquid.
When the heavy dose of laudanum had been administered, Betty said, "Since it will take about half an hour for the laudanum to do its job, Doctor, how about some hot coffee? I have some on the stove that I was going to offer your father."
Dr. Dane smiled. "Sounds good, ma'am."
Betty hurried from the room.
Dr. Dane stepped up close to his patient and took hold of the pillows at his back. "Let's get you in a horizontal position, Josh."
Abel stepped up and offered his assistance. With the father's help, Dr. Dane carefully eased the boy down on the bed and placed one of the pillows under his injured shoulder. Gently squeezing Joshua's hand, the doctor said, "Just try to relax, Josh, and let the medicine do its work."
Dr. Dane noticed that the evidence of the pain Joshua was experiencing in his shoulder was already beginning to ease from his face.
Moments later, Betty, Abel, and the doctor were sitting at a small table in the corner of the room, sipping coffee, while the girls remained beside their brother.
Betty looked toward her son. "He seems to be in less pain already, Doctor."
Dr. Dane nodded. "We'll get that shoulder put back in place, and we'll have him all well in a few weeks, ma'am."
Abel took a sip and set the cup down. "I wasn't aware that Dr. and Mrs. Logan had a son. Do you have brothers and sisters?"
"No, sir. I need to explain that I'm adopted. They adopted me several years ago."
"Oh. Have you been elsewhere until now?"
"Well, the past two years, I've been doing my internship at Memorial Hospital here in town."
Betty's eyes showed keen interest. "So when did the Logans adopt you?"
Dane grinned. "Nine years ago. You see, I was born and raised on Manhattan Island in New York City. Just before my fifteenth birthday, a street gang murdered my parents, Craig and Fay Weston, and my twelve-year-old sister, Diane, and my nine-year-old brother, Ronnie."
Betty's eyes widened and her hand went to her mouth. "Oh, how terrible. I'm so sorry."
"That is terrible," said Abel. "So how did you end up being adopted by the Logans?"
Dane glanced toward Joshua, then looked back at the Donaldsons. "It's a long story, but I'll shorten it so I can start on Joshua's shoulder in another twenty minutes. I had a burning desire inside me to be a physician and surgeon since I was very small. While I was living on the streets, I was befriended by a doctor and his wife. My relationship with Dr. Lee Harris and his dear wife, Maude, whetted my appetite even more to become a medical doctor." He pointed to his medical bag where it sat beside Joshua's bed. "That medical bag used to belong to Dr. Harris. He gave it to me as a keepsake to remember him by."
Both the Donaldsons smiled and nodded.
Dane went on. "Well, eventually I ended up with the Children's Aid Society in New York and was put on an orphan train. On my way west, the train stopped in Chicago. Dr. Logan had been doing a series of lectures at Northwestern University Medical College, and Mom-Mrs. Logan-was with him. They boarded the train to go home to Cheyenne. We got acquainted along the way, and before the train reached Cheyenne, they told me they wanted to adopt me. I was overjoyed and quickly accepted their offer."
Abel shook his head in wonderment. "Isn't that something?"
"Wonderful!" said Betty.
"That's for sure. Well, I finished high school here in Cheyenne, then Dad and Mom sent me to Northwestern University Medical College in Chicago. I graduated in May 1878."
Abel nodded. "This is why we didn't know the Logans had a son. We moved here from Nebraska in 1875. You were away at college. And, of course, since you were interning at Memorial Hospital, and none of us have had to be hospitalized in the past two years, we had no way of meeting you. Well, Dr. Dane Logan, we're sure happy that you're working with your father!"
"We sure are," said Betty. "I'm so glad you were able to fulfill your desire to become a medical doctor. And you must be thrilled to be partner to your adoptive father."
A smile spread over the young doctor's handsome face. "Words can't even describe it, ma'am. Of course, someday I want to have a practice of my own, but until then, I'll relish every moment working with Dad."
Dane then looked at the clock on the dresser and glanced to Joshua's bed where his sisters stood beside him. "Well, I'll finish this cup of coffee and go to work on my patient."
When the doctor drained his coffee cup and headed toward the bed, Betty sent Sarah and Ruth to their room, knowing that Joshua was still going to experience some pain.
A drowsy Joshua opened his eyes and looked up at the doctor when he felt him touch his arm. He gave him a searching, uneasy stare.
Dr. Dane squeezed the boy's arm. "Son, I know this is still going to be painful for you, but I'll do it as quickly and gently as possible."
Joshua licked his lips and nodded. "Okay." His voice cracked.
The parents moved up close to the bed and looked on, wincing, as they watched the doctor set the shoulder. As was expected, Joshua experienced some pain, especially at the instant the shoulder was snapped back in place.
Dr. Dane commended him for being such a brave boy, then wrapped the shoulder and put Joshua's arm in a sling, keeping it close to his body. When he had finished, Joshua set dull eyes on the doctor and said with a slurring tongue, "Th-thank you, Dogtor. Thad wasn' as bad as I thoud id would b-be."
"You're welcome, Joshua. Now, I want you to lie here quietly and let the laudanum relax you so you can go to sleep. And, Joshua?"
"No physical activities until I say so. And no horseback riding!"
A lazy, lopsided grin formed on Joshua's lips. "Yez, zir."
"I'll be back to check on you soon. You are a very good patient, and you're a brave boy. I'm sure your parents are proud of you."
Abel and Betty smiled at each other, then at their son. Abel said, "We sure are, Josh."
Joshua let another crooked grin curve his lips, then closed his heavy eyelids.
Dr. Dane stayed at the boy's side until the laudanum took effect more heavily, and Joshua finally slipped into a deep sleep.
The doctor turned to the parents. "He'll be fine. I'll leave you some powders to give him when he awakes.
Excerpted from One More Sunrise by Al Lacy Joanna Lacy Copyright © 2004 by ALJO PRODUCTIONS, INC.. Excerpted by permission.
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