The Goldston Chronicles

The Goldston Chronicles

by James D. Dailey

Paperback

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781587364495
Publisher: Wheatmark, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/25/2005
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.67(d)

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Sitting here on the hill, looking down on the small town below, my thoughts seem to drift back over the last few years since we settled in this valley. We have been through so much since the disaster that destroyed forever the world we knew in the twenty-first century.
I can see the first log houses going up, where the square is today. The storehouse, where we first put the precious few commodities with which we arrived, is now a huge warehouse, several times larger than the original.  The whole valley is alive with people, old ones and new ones, all bent on one thing or another, some task to satisfy their needs or those of someone they are attached to by blood, marriage, or commercial endeavor.
Almost out of sight, the sawmill-completed just over five years ago-has changed the face of the town so much that expeditions returning from north or south are hard put to believe they're returning to New Virginia. But it was all to be expected-these people are pioneer stock. Colonists who took a virgin land and changed it in so many ways, over such a short period of time.
I would imagine the turning point in the life of the people and the town below was the day the dam on Elbow Creek was completed. From that day to this, there has been an ever-increasing flow of ideas and inventions to make life easier.
After the dam came the mill, where they grind all manner of grain. People from small villages, far and wide, came to see the ingenious operation, and to have their own grain milled. Now, even the sawmill has become such an everyday fixture that it's taken for granted. There's talk, now, of constructing a generator for electric power, something unheard of for over thirty years. What a benefit that will be to the people of this valley.
Someone's coming up the trail. It's not steep, but it winds quite a bit. I built it that way on purpose. If anyone from the town wants to see me, for some reason, he or she is going to get a good workout.
"Good even', Mr. Darby."
It was Rodney, the young man who has, in the past year or so, taken to writing a history of our times and travels since the great upheaval. He is well-suited to the job. His father was an excellent historian, and his mother has prepared him well to accomplish the job his father started years ago. But for Stephen, Rodney's father, the pressure of building a town and seeing to its administration has left precious little time for writing.
"Hi, Rodney. What brings you up here? Don't tell me you've taken your father's seat on the council and are looking for a couple votes."
"No, sir, nothing like that at all. I'm still working on the history of our times, and everyone's been telling me that you were with the band that settled the village. I thought that we could arrange for a few days of your time, to go over the past."
Rodney stopped, and with a smile, held his hands up, palms facing me, a gesture I took to mean, "Wait a minute, before replying. I have more to say."
"I know, I know-when you and the other old ones were voted off the council and retired, you stated that from that day forward you would never go near the town and that you didn't want anyone from town bothering you, unless it was a dire emergency. I believe your words were something to the effect that anyone venturing upon your land would most probably be thrown off the mountain?"
I had to chuckle at this revelation. I didn't know I was taken with such seriousness in the town.
The old ones, of which I was a member, were treated with great respect, and as our ranks thinned out, the ones left seemed almost mystical.
How could I say we were treated with great respect and have such a strong reaction to being retired? Well, I think the answer was twofold. First, the "new people," or those born after the great earth upheavals of thirty years before, have depended greatly on the ones now called the "old people," meaning those born before the catastrophe. Being called old had nothing to do with age, until recently, but was directed at those of the old society-a world long gone.
And second, I had seen this coming for a number of years. The young ones, now approaching middle age, wanted the old ones to move out of their way, let them show that they could do the work that needed to be done. As if to say, "thank you, but now it is our turn to run the show."
"Well, Rodney, I didn't mean to be so harsh in my last statement to the townspeople, but I was hurt that they would retire me against my will, just as they did your father, last year."
Rodney was busy writing a note on his scratch pad, so I continued.
"Susan and I have not completely cut ourselves off from you and the rest of the people below-she still goes down once or twice a week and helps your mother with school problems, if she can. She and I have a lot of friends, down there-some old people, some new. I don't mind her going down there so much as I mind the lecture I get when she returns and wants something done about straightening out the trail."
"Here's what I'm looking for. I want to let those that follow know how we got here, where their fathers and mothers came from, who started the first school, why a dam was built, by whom, for what purpose. I have a thousand questions that one day will be asked by a thousand children not yet born."
"I don't know, Rodney. I don't know if I can remember that far back."
"I'm sure you can. And if you can't remember some things, I can help you. My father knows a lot, and Mr. Foxworth and his wife were both from the original band."
"Sounds like a big project, but it may be fun. I don't have much to do, since being canned by the town committee." I tried to sound hurt, but winked to let him know not to take me entirely seriously.
"Do you think Mrs. Darby would like to help with the writing, with the history? I understand she and Mother were quite a pair."
"Susan? Sure! She was a history student, once, herself."
Thoughts of those days of long, long ago suddenly brought a mist to my eyes.
I couldn't help it.

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