“These young’uns is got scarlet fever. You ain’t leaving ‘em for this town to deal with. Jist take ‘em on back where you come from.” The sheriff steadfastly refused responsibility for the children.
“But they ain’t mine. I don’t even know their names.”
“Ya married their ma ago ain’t cha? Then they’s yourn! I hate it for ‘ya, but I ain’t gonna letcha leave ‘em here to sicken the whole town. We’ll getcha some provisions to help out, but that’s it. Ya got to git out’a town with them sick young’uns. Pull this wagon out to that mesquite tree ‘n I’ll git ‘cha some supplies.
Morosely, Joe waited on the edge of the sorry town as a wagon pulled up. Shouting at him to stay back, a gimpy old geezer rolled off a barrel of flour, putting a burlap bag of beans beside it, and piling a few cans of milk, a bolt of material, and a few paper wrapped parcels on top of it. He went on his way, leaving Joe to wrestle them into the wagon the best he could, stowing them so they wouldn’t crush the burning children.
Joe felt as low as he’d ever had, pulling up to his rough cabin. He knew nothing about children or the sick. Maybe these poor wretches wouldn’t suffer too long.