Ye Olde Tavern Manchester VT, Circa 1790 21

Abraham picked his head up from reading the most important documents he had ever seen in his life, then looked around the room he was sitting in. He looked at the cheaply framed diplomas and sparse pictures on the barn wood walls. The well used on loan law books set in milk crates had started to get mildew from the weather. Abraham looked at the donated cot folded up in the corner of the room and then at the card table he called a desk. No matter how hard he squinted it still was the same tool shed around the back of Ye Olde Tavern in Manchester Vermont. Even the Attorney at Law shingle on his door had “STOP”  in red letter stenciled on the reverse side. So what was he really looking at? He was looking at the life of a man who really did not know what he was, let alone who he is? Or maybe he was just looking at a man who would probably live and die with a small amount of change in his pocket and if lucky a few people he could call friends. Like a melody of the slow sad song, “Is that all there is” began to play over and over in his head. That sing song drone on long enough for the soft fog of discontent and disillusion to set in. Was he going to be just another unsatisfied and unfulfilled dreamer drifting through history? Not now or ever again he thought and breathed out,  “I will not be a failure, I am Abraham Lincoln the Third.”

The next morning came early as a banging on the other side of the office/tool shed wall. It was Mandy the owner of  Ye olde Tavern. All she said was that breakfast was ready and would not stay ready very long.  The newly awakened Abraham Lincoln III rubbed sleep from his eyes and took his tattered and burned box with him to the restaurant side of the Tavern. He sat at a window seat just below old framed pictures of men in beards and women in bustled dresses. They were standing in front of the tavern as if it had always been there and always would. Abraham just looked out at passing traffic until the head waiter brought his favourite breakfast bowl of country scrambled eggs on top of spiced diced potatoes with a three link of sausage overlay, beside that was a wedge of glazed cornbread. The coffee was hot and filled a large mug with the words, “Boss” stencilled on the side.  Mandy created this breakfast for him and never served it to anyone else. She called it the, Linc 3 special but would not tell him why. As far as he knew, he was the only one served breakfast at the Tavern, because the doors opened for business at 5 o’clock pm.


“Lawyer my ass,” the waiter said to him when passing his table. “You’re just a free loading bum drinking out of the Boss’ cup”.

“Two seconds later Mandys voice came from the kitchen,  “yeah, and he’ll be drinking out of that cup when your looking for another job if you have anything else to say.”

The waiter was quiet all the way to kitchen with a rather worried look on his face. Only Mandy cooked his breakfast. She let him use the shed as payment for representing her in court on a expansion zoning law for her restaurant. It was an old law that was more bent than broken, but he managed to convince the Mayor on a Sunday that the statute was unfair to her and should be removed.  She became impressed not so by his knowledge of the law but his sincerity and powers of persuasion in court. She won the case and told him she couldn’t pay him in money by would allow him the use of the shed to conduct business. She knew he needed a place and regular meals far more than the fifty dollar charge for his services. He accepted and had been living and working there for the past six months.

After breakfast he had about 20 minutes to get to the Manchester town hall. He arrived early and stood outside the building. The town clerk could see him though the window. It was five minutes before opening. Abraham tapped on the window and she looked at him and shook her head. She knew him. He had been there often enough to be an annoyance, with his long lean face and those penetrating eyes, searching eyes that seemed to probe her very thoughts if they strayed from the information he was looking for. He would have to wait until nine am like any other person, because he was not special, even if he did grow up on the Heldene Estate.


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The Legacy of Robert Todd Lincoln 20

Many questions fill your mind now and as such I will try to address them. But being long since dead I can now speak in an unflinching manor and not feel threatened by the consequences of such action. I am not so well versed in the democratic America you live in as opposed to the republic that I live in now.  The treachery and deceit of politics in my time have taught me bitter lessons of guard and defend at all times. One such bitter lesson came while in England and took from me the life of my son Abraham. Unlike my father I entered politics with the ideals of a child on his first walk in the forest, thinking only of the fragrance of pine and wild flowers, the cool waters of a spring fed creek and the shade of an old oak tree. Yet in all this beauty I failed to see the hidden dangers of such an ancient profession. My mother long since before me had beliefs in all manor of superstition. She felt our family was cursed from an ancestor who had wronged a farmer with a wife thought to be a witch. We rarely saw eye to eye on this subject and remained strenuously opposed. But not even witchery, conjuring, or the spirit world can match the conniving, back stabbing, and bald faced deceit in the government of my day. One cannot tread lightly in this arena or sheath his sword and not be impaled on the words and deeds of those standing as close as a hand shake or speech away.

I chose to leave the profession that took the life of my father and so many others close to me and moved in a sideways direction. I put my law degree to full effect and found out why my father ceased defending corporations. I then entered into the rail road business. I had a fine mentor in George Pullman and when he expired a large well oiled door opened and I assumed the helm of the Pulman Palace Car company.  The work was not easy but paid very well and in a short time I was able to afford 412 acres near our old summer home in Manchester Vermont.  I named it Hildene after your great great grandmother Hildene, (pronounced Hill de nea).  She is buried on the land just below the north hill, next to my son Jack, and all heirs after them if they wish. I have insured there will always be enough money for the estate to remain intact for quite some time.

So now you will learn from a dead man how you have come to be in the world of the living. While in the service of our country as Ambassador to the United Kingdom I was approached by a rather stout man at a coronation ceremony. He introduced himself as a business man with the opportunity of great wealth to come if I would only follow his directives and those he represented. My duties were not so great or taxing but as I stated before one has to tread carefully in a room full of snakes. Not yet versed in the movement of vipers I was offended by his manor and opportunities and brushed him off as if he were a pesky fly at my coat collar. Later, I found out in America that one of our newspapers had printed a story about my equal in America and he was told clearly to discharge all his duties and leave the country. It was a most embarrassing and undiplomatic slap in the face of the United Kingdom.  One week later my son Jack became ill in Paris. He had contracted a blood borne disease and was being treated by a French doctor. I was not comfortable with this and had him moved to my Ambassadors suite in the United Kingdom. I had what I thought was the best physician to take care of him and was assured that recovery would be soon. I should have paid closer attention when the Parisian doctor told me that the man taking over care of my son shouldn’t be trusted to lance boils on livestock, let alone care for my son.  Jack went from bad to worse in the coming weeks and  on his death bed confided he met a young woman in the suburbs of Paris and fallen deeply in love with her. Jack’s final request was to find her and take her home with me for she was carrying his child.  I made the promise knowing quite well it would take months to find her. Yet I did find her in the care of an ailing grandmother and young cousin.  Her release in terms of money cost a twenty acre farm and to pay off all debts in her keeping. But, the young woman I found out was in fact very much in grief when I told her about Jack’s passing.  I had to keep  Jack’s body in Kensal Green Cemetery for six months while searching for her.

Hildene had no money, no job and she was carrying the only generation beyond myself in her womb. I would have moved heaven and earth to accommodate her and she was grateful for my generosity. She also agreed to leave for America as personal secretary assistant to my wife Mary.

With special tutors, she quickly lost all trace of her French accent and I being in government and having such privileges of high office had citizenship papers, birth certificates and all manor of documents prepared and stamped with my personal seal.

The time for the baby’s arrival had come but there were complications and much as we tried it was God’s will that she not survive but the baby boy delivered to us in good health. I named him Joshua Robert. Now from lessons learned I became a cautious man, not wanting to invite more vipers into the den than the usual. I had birth certificates made with the name Joshua Robert Lincoln and Joshua Robert Jackson.  It was fitting that he be called Joshua Robert, Jack’s son.

I assume you would ask, why not name him Abraham as in my father’s name?  I must say that name ever since biblical times has not gone without sacrifice to this day. In doing so I created alternate names to live by and by choice all my descendants will have. You can choose to live a life in relative obscurity or a life with the light of the world shining on your every move from now on and with it the dangers. Your father and his father had this same choice and I have not dissuaded them in any way. But, now as a long dead man I can say the choice your grandfather made to restore his name to his birth right brought him tragedy not too long after when he and his beloved Annabele died in a most horrific train accident. Both were buried on the Hildene estate, as your father, you and all after.

So let me say right here, every man should have a choice in how to live his life. I chose a path of relative obscurity far from the political arena and have lived some eighty-two years of life. In that time I do not regret leaving the political spotlight however brief it may have been. But, I do say to you in the remaining hours of this night that some men are chosen by fate, God or driven by the sheer will to do what they feel is right. For no man ever lay on his death bed and shouted out that he was glad he did nothing when his fellow man cried out for help.


God Bless America

God Bless America


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Quickie….HUH? 19 1/2

Sorry for the long delay, but I wanted to get this right. Sooooo if you hold on you will read a whopper of a twentieth instalment. Only hope I can keep up this mental energy. Trying to make Ayn Rand seem like oat meal next to a fire hot taco is daunting to say the least.

Mixing a little history with a dash or two of embellishment to come up with a recipe that could satisfy an American appetite.

Truly thank the tiny, tiny cadre of diligent eyes who have taken the time to read this undertaking into the heart of America. Your distinction will come when you can say that you read the work as it was being created.

With hat in hand I thank you

Rod Thorn

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Blood of My Blood, Flesh of My Flesh, A.L. III 18

“What’s not safe? It’s just an old box. What do I do with it?”

Papa Links eyes opened wide and focused directly on the son in front of him and shook his head from side to side.

“Far more,” he said, “and this belongs to you and only you. You’ll find the key is the adjustment bracket on the observatory telescope at Hildene.”

“Where did you get this?”

“It was hidden in a secret compartment inside the Sunbeam car. It came from the rail road car that you father and mother travelled in. Now you must get that key and open this case. You will know what to do after you open it.”

Papa Link, smiled down at the man he had raised and loved for so long and sighed one final time and left this earth one happy man.

When the doctor took the pulse of his patient, it was only to verify the time of death and to comfort the young man clinging to the shell that once was his father.

The funeral held at The Hildene Estate was grand to say the least. Through the years Papa Link had made many friends, but non so close as those who worked with and for him. Their tribute to him was all sixteen Hildene workers dressed in period attire.  The men wore simple black clothes with stove pipe hats and the women wore full bustled dresses. They conducted the eulogy in the beautiful estate garden. The height of the sermon was a reading by Papa Link’s son. He read from a purple covered bible loaned to the estate.

Psalm sixteen ended with “Keep me safe, my God.”

Papa Link had been given the right to be buried on the Hildene estate. He was put to rest next to the grave of his father and mother that had been granted in the will of Robert Todd Lincoln himself.

The former Hildene worker and Manchester lawyer laid flowers on the fresh grave of his father. Later under cover of darkness he went to the observatory and took only ten minutes to find and take off the adjustment bracket. The shape was the most unusual he had ever seen but so was the lock on the box.telescope1

He tucked the key in his pocket and strapped the box securely to his scooter.  Then he drove to his apartment next to the town tavern and rolled thoughts over and over in his head; what could be so important that it was his father’s last wish? Was it money? It couldn’t be that much, not on Papa Links salary. He was always lending money and not in a hurry to get it back. Maybe it was his unfinished will. So many times he had asked if he could make one up for his father. Just as many times he was told it could wait. Now it was too late. It didn’t matter though, he was a capable lawyer and knew all the documents that were needed to complete anything that could be in the box. He set it down on the folding card table used for his law practice.

“Christmas comes early,” he said to himself and put the key in the box lock and opened it. What he took out was the original deed of ownership to the Hildene Estate. Included in the box were documents giving all properties and holdings to his heir and son Joshua Robert Lincoln. The next paperwork he took out were the original birth certificates of his grandfather, his father and him. They all had the right dates and times of birth. He read them over several times as his legal training made him do with all legal certificates. All the last names ended with Lincoln. The last birth certificate was his and the name on it was Abraham Lincoln III.

“What!” he said out loud, “What?”

He sat there on the edge of his folding chair and wondered why this happened? Why was he  raised to believe he was a Jackson?  Why was his grandfather, father and him not told they were Lincolns? For every question he had no answer until he looked in the bottom of the box. He found a very old letter in a red wax sealed envelop. The seal bore the initials R.T.L. He broke the seal and read the letter written by Robert Todd Lincoln.

The top of the letter had the date July 26, 1926, and began; If you are reading this letter written in my hand then you are the blood of my blood and the flesh of my flesh.

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The King Solomon Effect 17 1/2

Of the very, very, very few sets of eyes that pass over these letters on the pages before you, I beg forgiveness for my intrusion. I only wished to aid you.

In my opinion, at this point I feel compelled to interact with the reader.  What I have written so far has taken minor turns and twists that can be quickly followed with a few bread crumbs along an easily walk-able path. But the reason for the intrusion contains enough merit to bend if not break that unspeakable law between writer and reader communication.  What I speak of now is to be clearly understood as fiction pure and simple. It has been created from the mind as entertainment and should be taken in that value.

Of course there are those who say there is no such thing as fiction. They claim all things from the mind eventually come to be, (just read Jules Verne)  and in that sense there is no such thing as fiction, only the timing of events.

Yet, we live in an age of psudo-blended reality, an age of thought, creation, and then application before the next guy makes it obsolete; very little if any is given to impact. Did I say impact? Yes, but impact to what? Is it impact to the idea, the principal, or that great greedy god of cash in hand?

No, the impact I speak of is none of these. The impact I speak of is that of humanity. Everything in the world can be deduced down to one simple and primary fact, and that fact is the person typing these words and the person reading them. I did say person. When you get cut, or bruised or suffer a fever or anything that is discomforting, you tell someone. Do they really feel your pain?  Do they experience the torn tissue, or the ache when it truly hurts? Mom or dad or sis or big brother or the neighbour or anyone even standing next to you does not feel it. They say they feel your pain, but at that time they really do not.

So, by now I am sure the reader is thinking okay, yeah I get it. When it hurts me it hurts me, I get it–so what’s the point here?

The point is what hurts you does hurt your son or daughter or grandson and every mothers-son or daughter that will walk the face of this earth . Eventually given enough time and circumstance anything that happens to one happens to all.

Remember the baby splitting incident in the Bible? You know the two women laying claim on one child? When King Solomon said cut the baby in two, the real mother gave up the child rather than hurt it; because it would hurt her if that happened. Just the same if the child belonged to the other woman she would do the same. When it hurts anyone directly then it’s not funny any more, right? In all cases the “King Solomon Effect” trumps all.

With that single piece of information firmly in mind, the writer graciously bows out of the readers way.

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Ring, Ring, Wrong 17

The phone and not the alarm woke young Jackson from a sound sleep at two am in the morning.  Who could it be? Hopefully not another client with a question that could wait until he got to the office.

“Yes, this better be good,” he said yawning and rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

The voice on the other end was slow but very clear. “It’s your father, I’m afraid he needs to see you immediately. He’s in Grace hospital. Do you know where it is at?”

“I grew up here. I know where it is at,” he said into the receiver and dropped it on the floor.

He didn’t waste time and got to the Hospital on his scooter in less than twenty five minutes time.

“It’s me Papa Link, I’m here,” he said walking into hospital room three seventeen.

He took the large rough hands of the man lying in the hospital bed. They were the hands of a man who worked the soil and all that grows from it. His own hands though softened from being away from the soil, were long and tried to wrap around Papa links hands. He looked at the scars and weathered cuts on them. The seventy-five year old Head Caretaker of Hildene opened his eyes and smiled. His boy was here and that was all that mattered.

“Glad you could come. I know you are a busy man.”

“Not too busy for family Papa Link. How do you feel?”

“Never better,” Papa Link answered and coughed into the pillow beside him.

“Okay, then we are going to get you well, wait and see.”

Just then doctor Guntar Lendus came into the room and saw the situation. He motioned that he would wait outside. In another ten minutes he was standing on the other side of the door talking to the doctor in charge. His barrage of questions were answered by the facts. Papa Link had contracted a blood borne disease and the white blood cells were attacking the red cells at an ever increasing rate. They were doing everything but the disease seemed to have a mind of it’s own and was rapidly destroying his body.

“You know he’s seventy-five years old,” the doctor said looking up from the chart in his hands.

“I am well aware of that Doctor. He’s my father. But he’s always been so healthy. I don’t think he’s been sick more that two times in his life. He got sick just after my mother died and once just after I was born.  He’s had a hard man to stop. How bad is it doctor?”

“The aggressive treatments for a man of his years and state are out of the question. We could eventually stop the disease but he wouldn’t survive the cure.”

The look of helplessness on the young lawyers face begged for more than this explanation.

“If it’s money, I will get it, somehow. I just want him better. He’s the only family I have.”

Doctor Lendus looked up at the ceiling and sighed. He had done this so many times before almost hoping the answer would fall like rain. He wanted to say it was all right and the man in the bed would be better in a few days. Instead he said, “We can make him very comfortable for this short period of time.” He put his hand on the young man’s shoulder in front of him and gave the best medical advice for the moment.”  I think he needs you now.”

The doctor turned and walked away to see a patient he could help. This left the young lawyer to try  and lift that big smile of his, the one that tipped the balance of favour in a courtroom full of doubt. It was the kind of smile that gave people hope, only now it refused to lift this one time when he needed it most.

“So Papa Link, are you going to grow more of that summer squash this year? I have some time, I can help with the cheese making too. You know we make a good team.”  That was all he could get out before he buried his head on the big shoulder of his father and cried. The big man laying down lifted his arm and comforted his son. He remembered how he did that once before when his mother died in the horrific rail car accident so long ago. The loss of his mother brought them very close. Papa Link knew he had a good boy with a good heart and a will as strong as his own. That same will took him off of Hildene and the land and started him on a law career. He wanted to help people more than he wanted to work the land. Papa Link saw this and had no objection to him living in the east to get his law degree. He had no objection to the young man who left everything to follow his calling.  What made Papa Link much happier is when he came back and opened his law practice in the town of Manchester Vermont.

Papa Link picked up the sobbing head of the young man he was so proud of and said, ” I have something for you.”

“I only need you Papa.”

“No. You need this.” He pointed to the clothes closet on the other side of the room. “Bring me the case from the bottom drawer.”Box22c

The dutiful grandson brought back an old leather bound box that had been badly singed by fire. The very light metal underneath was not fazed. It had a sturdy built in lock.

“I don’t have the key,” Papa Link whispered into the ear of his grandson, “It’s not safe here.”



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Hildene, home, home on the Range 16

“Okay, so Mrs. Mendoza can you tell me everthing that happened that day?”

“Si, I mean, what?”

“Yes, Mrs. Mendoza if I’m to help you in court and properly represent you then I have to know all the facts.”

The old and deeply sun tanned woman named Mrs. Mendoza had been distracted looking around the room. So when she brought her tired head up to the man sitting across the desk from her, she felt shy and intimidated. Why not, he was tall even sitting down and his full head of coarse dark hair needed to be trimmed. He was lean but not skinny and had the kind of completion that made it hard to guess where his ancestors came from. Yet all of that did not matter to her as long as she could look into this man’s eyes, the window to the soul. She looked into the green eyes of this one and it made her nod her head. He was special, she just knew it.
Now she looked at him as a señorita would; no ring or ghost of a ring meant he wasn’t married. She also knew he was not the kind of man who would bow down his head to anyone. But, what was most interesting to her was the big smile that seemed to wrap itself around his face and shine down on her.

“Mrs. Mendoza, are you with me?”

“Si”, the woman answered, “I am.”

According to your statement, you worked for two weeks at the Meyer Farm and Mr. Meyer said you destroyed property. That is the reason why he didn’t pay you for your work.”

“No, it is not true. All I did was step between the flower beds. That is all. How was I going to plant the flowers? I am small, but not that small.”

“Well, I’m going to talk to Mr. Meyer first before we take him to court. Sometimes the honey method works with the right persuasion behind it. I’ll see what I have to do first.”

“Okay, she answered and went back to looking at the framed diplomas on the wall. “What is this one for?”

He looked up from his notebook, drew in a sigh and said, “It says I graduated from a school not too far from here. It’s called Burr and Burton, my high school.”

“And this one?”Diploma 2xaa

“It’s my one and only first you could say. I had a convincing way of debating that took first place. It seems that is my strong suit.”

“What of this one?”

“It’s just my law degree.”

She nodded her head and looked for more wall paper.

“Is this suit a strong one too?” She pointed to a framed certificate next to the door.

“Let’s just say I wasn’t at the top of my class,” he looked the framed degree over, “that piece of paper reminds me, I didn’t give up.”

When she pointed to two men shaking hands, one still a boy and the other seemed to be looking rather sadly down at him. Behind them was a large house with beautifully manicured grounds and a rolling hill side.

He answered before she asked, “Well, the boy on the left is my grandfather, his  name is Joshua Robert Jackson. He was born, lived and worked on the Hildene Estate.”

Who is the other man, he has sadness in his eyes. Maybe he has seen too much, no?”

“I don’t really know about that. The photo is very old.  I never met the man, but he is Robert Todd Lincoln. My grandfather eventually became the head caretaker at his estate.”

“And you?

“Yeah, me too. I worked and lived there until I went to law school.”

“Okay,” Mrs. Mendoza said, nodded her head got up and turned to leave the room.

“You mean you’re not going to ask me about this one?” He pointed to a green and yellow ribbon with a small copper medal hanging from it. The emblem on it was a winged shoe. “This is my second in a running event.”BandB medal1

“Oh I am so sorry Senior.”

“It’s okay. That medal reminds me everyday that if I don’t believe in what I’m doing then I will always be in second place.”

She left the tiny one room law office with her head held high and a smile on her face.  She truly felt her problems were in the hands of a man who could change the world if he wanted.  She just knew it.

The thirty-three year old lawyer with the big smile finished the last of his notes and closed the door of his law practice. He looked at the hand painted shingle on the door and wondered why his father had given him his name? The playground taunts and snickering that went with it hurt, but he grew a tough hide and refused to show it all through his school years. If that were not enough, the higher expectations from his law professors at college were always a sore spot with him. Yet all this disappeared when he came home. It dropped off at the door when he saw his “Papa Link”. Papa Link was never to tired to listen to him, never too tired to help him with school work or how to deal with bullies. Even the other workers there felt like his family and that made him strong. But, friendships at school seemed to be made by breeding, stature, and the money that made it happen. All of this came down to one thing, he was just another hand working on a rich man’s estate.

He read the sign aloud,” A. Jackson attorney at law”.

He stepped off the porch and fired up his trusty scooter. It wasn’t much but got great gas mileage and was fair enough payment from a client who couldn’t afford to pay in cash.








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