by Alex A. Kecskes
Upon entering the cabin, I stood in silence while the agent pulled back the curtains to every window. The place was clean and had been well treated. I approached an unusually fine roll-top desk that sat in front of one window. I ran my fingers across its ribbed cover. A strong presence emanated from it. The feeling was familiar, comforting.
“Partly furnished?” I asked.
“No, I’m afraid. Don’t know why he left that handsome desk.”
“Curious fellow. A recluse of sorts.” He opened a few windows to let in some air.
I couldn’t help but notice the absence of medical scents--alcohol and other chemicals that so often permeated a doctor’s office.
“How long has it been vacant?”
“A week or so.”
My hand remained on the ribbed desk cover. “Where is he now?”
“Helping the Indians or something. Would you like to see the kitchen?”
A quick tour of the cabin proved it was just what I was looking for. It would need furniture—table, chairs, a bed, mirrored dresser, and a nice copper bathtub. I turned to the agent. “This will work. I’ll stop by your office tomorrow to settle the details.”
Our next stop was the Thomson property for a look at their horse and buckboard. Their simple cabin was nestled into the side of a gently rolling hill surrounded by buckeyes and dogwoods. It was small and appeared cobbled together with scavenged building supplies from the nearby mine.
When I introduced myself, the Thomsons were as curious about me as I was about them. Their young son, Jes, asked me endless questions about what I had in my medical bag. Virginia, a robust woman with apple cheeks and tanned arms, stood erect and listened guardedly to my every word.