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Sweeter Than Elderberry Wine
They are Gamblers

“I’ve made up my mind,” John made flat out statements. “I’m selling out on this place. We’ll be movin’ tah town, as soon as we can get things in order around here. I need to be in closer to my saloon and bicycle shop.”

“I know you have been dissatisfied but I didn’t think you would go so far as to want to sell out. I just don’t know what to think about this.”

Zona sat down on the chair close to the kitchen table. Suddenly, her heart was heavy and her legs seemed too weak to support her.

“Why would you want to sell? Don’t you know you’d be selling a part of us? What about the blood, sweat and tears we’ve shed for this place? You run your life at risk for it and that’s not to mention your horse. Zona was accusing and questioning at the same time. Her mind was trying to sift through things and she wondered what her family might think.

“What will Mom and Dad think about this?” Zona spoke to John aloud. She felt this was the end of any respect from her family. Their kind and gentle ways did not allow them to criticize him but they were less than happy, already, with his drinking. She knew, too, they weren’t originally overly happy about her marrying into this Jones family. “Like oil and water,” her mother had said, but as was her way she said nothing. After any weakness was conquered, then they often told about it and laughed heartily.

“How in the world did Old John ever get through that tight place when he was out of his mind on the spirits?” Some one or other of the family would talk about some incident and everyone enjoyed the memory of it not in a cruel way but as an acceptance of the man and his overcoming his demons.

“They are gamblers, Zony Girl,” Elizabeth Ann, her mother, had told her daughter. “They work hard all right, but if they see a chance that looks better to ‘em, well, they’ll risk it all. It’s just the challenge that is important to them. The winning is what they like, the competitive race. They can’t help it. It’s in that Welsh blood. After they have fought for and won a prize, then, it is no longer interesting to them. They have to move on to the next battle.”

Now here it was, it had all come home to her. John did risk it all on that race horse he’d run for this land. Now he was going to risk everything, again, on a whim of making money in town.

“I won’t leave, I won’t, I’ll stay here myself. I’ll keep the place and I’ll stay here. My name will have to be on those papers, too, and I won’t sign them. If he thinks he can make more money at that saloon in town, then he can just “go-to-it.” I’ll not be a party to his gamblin’. If he can make that pay, he can do it by himself. We’ll just see. She tossed the last of the green beans she had herself picked, into a large container so they could be snapped and readied for canning. There is corn enough for three times a week, June through to June of next year, 156 jars already on the shelves.”

“We’ll just see,” Zona muttered while she went about her chores.

“There are so many green beans I’ll just have to take some these to the market in town. I don’t need all these.”

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