“What time ya gonna go?” asked Francis.
Isaac shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know, I figger in the afternoon. I can finish my chores early an’ get there to the landing afore pa knows I’m gone, what ya say?”
Francis nodded, “Ok Isaac, I be meetin’ ya there noontime.”Isaac stood up and wiped his hands on his trousers, the sun was setting lower in the sky. “I gotta go Francis, ma, she’ll be making dinner and pa will be plenty sore if’n I’m late again.”
Francis waved him off, “I’ll see ya tomorrow Isaac.”
The young boy ran back to their small two room cabin which he shared with his father, mother and older sister, Martha. When he opened the door he saw his sister busily setting the table. Martha Dunn was 15 years old and considered one of the prettiest girls in town. She had a smile that could brighten a room or anyone’s day. She always had time to help when it was needed and didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody that she knew. She had long red hair and dark brown eyes that could enchant any boy or man. In this case, her spell fell on a young U.S. Army lieutenant named Miles Svenson, who stationed at Camp Ripley which had been established just two years before.
Martha raised her head and frowned when she saw her younger brother come into the cabin. From the grass stains on his clothes, she didn’t need to ask what he was doing. “Isaac, wash up now. Supper will soon be set on the table.”
The boy nodded. “Yes’em Martha,” he walked to the wash basin and poured some water from the pitcher close by. Rolling up his sleeves, he threw some of the cold spring water on his face and feeling refreshed, began to wash his hands and arms.
“Did you catch any fish?” asked Martha.
Young Isaac shook his head, “No Martha, but to be honest, me and Francis spent some time wrestling and swimming.”
His older sister smiled and winked at him, “Well, we’ll just tell pa they wasn’t biting today.”
Isaac smiled, “Thanks Martha.” He always had an ally with his sister.
“Besides, I think pa will be feeling good tonight. Mr. Simon brought a letter from Pennsylvania, so I expect you could do no wrong today Isaac.”
Isaac shrugged his shoulders and looked at the floor. A letter from Pennsylvania meant Gettysburg, where their older brother Jabez Dunn, the pride of their father, was attending the Lutheran Theological Seminary.
“Yeah, well I guess pa will be in right spirits tonight,” he said. There was a hint of disappointment in his voice. Martha could feel her younger brother’s pain and she sympathized with him. He was the second son and not Jabez. Not in temperament, not in character. Isaac would not easily bend to the will of their father.
Even at an early age, he was proving to be independent and Pastor Dunn, a man of strict Irish/Swedish stock, was not happy about it. As far as he was concerned the father always knew what was best.
Over the next twenty minutes their mother came into the room followed by the serious stern faced Pastor Dunn who, unlike others he could mention, had spent his day toiling against the wages of sin and battling the demons of corruption! With the table set, everyone seated and prayers said dinner started. It was a somber affair with little or no talking unless initiated by Joshua Dunn or sometimes on occasion, his wife Elizabeth.
“How was the fishing today?” asked Pastor Dunn fixing a cloth under his chin as his wife scooped some mashed potatoes onto his plate.
Isaac shrugged his shoulders, “Didn’t catch nothing today pa, they just wasn’t biting.”