Early the next morning, Rufus rattled up in the wagon with the children just as Emma’s biscuits in the Dutch Oven browned. Sally was ecstatic about her new sister, but Little Joe wanted a puppy. “Well, if you are a good boy, maybe we can git you one of Fred Mason’s brown and white puppies, unless you decide you want another sister.” Joe teased.
” No, no. I want a puppy.” Little Joe insisted.
Joe brought Anya a plate of gravy and biscuits and a glass of milk. “Now you eat all of this. You got to feed that baby.”
“I ain’t never et this much. You must think Rose Anya is a baby pig.” Emma and Rufus chuckled at the happy couple.
They lingered long over coffee while the children played and Anya nursed the baby. While Emma tidied up, Rufus asked if Joe had a part he needed for his windmill. Once they were out of earshot, Rufus passed some news on to Joe. “You remember my boy, Melvin, come up on that peddler somebody knocked in the head. The sheriff come by late yesterday asking some questions. A feller come to Talco saying his brother was supposed to meet him in Amarillo and never showed up. A couple of fellers told him they’d seen had seen him with a blonde woman west of Talco. The sheriff was asking me if I knowed of a blonde woman that showed up around here lately. I told him I didn’t know of none that was unaccounted for. He asked about Anya an’ I told him you wrote off for her and picked her and the kids at the train station and married her before you left town that night. The preacher told him that was the way it happened. He said he might want to come talk to y’all, anyhow. I told him Emma was over helpin’ Anya birth her baby right then and he said he’d wait a few days before stopping by. I just thought you ought to know.”
Joe felt a chill. “I ‘preciate you letting me know. It happened just like you said. I don’t want him bothering Anya, none. That there preacher can vouch I picked her and the kids up at the train and married her before I brung her home. I still got the letter I wrote asking her to come. It ought not to be no problem.”