Abraham brought his scooter to a stop at the front of the Hildene Estate. He sat there with only the put put sound of his scooter and tried to take in the the breadth and depth of four hundred and twelve acres that sprawled over rolling hills and valley. Almost as an afterthought Hildene Mansion sat smack dab in the middle like a brick and mortar flower. As many times as he worked the the gardens, cleaned stalls and planted flowers and got the working farm ready for the new season, he had never looked at it as more than a place to live and work. On the day he left for law school in New York he remembered his father standing in front waving at him. He wore that old straw hat, patched dungaree’s and that big grin on his face like he owned the place. Maybe he did know that he owned the place; who knows? But, never in a thousand years could Abraham ever entertain the notion that it was his too. What the hell was Robert Todd Lincoln thinking when he set this all up to keep everyone in the dark? Did he have more plans yet to come? What new surprises could unfold later? Abraham didn’t know, but he did know his great, great grandfather had enough bad things happen to him in politics to vow to stay out of them. And maybe that’s why he lived so long? Was this his way of getting back at those who took the lives from the Lincoln family? For now it was entirely too much to wrap his head around. He gave the scooter handle a twist and the little motor growled through it’s pipes.
“So let’s find out what’s next,” he said out loud and drove up the drive to Hildene Mansion.
Over the front face of the big house hung a large white banner with five words on it, ‘Welcome Home Abraham Lincoln III’.
The head caretaker Jim Simson walked across the drive and greeted him with a big bear hug and then shook his hand. He was barrel chested and always clean cut and knew every chore personally on the estate. Jim was hired when Abraham left for school in New York. All he could say after looking at Abraham from head to toe was, “Abraham it’s so good to see you. I mean, Mr. Lincoln sir.”
“Jim, always good to see you, and it’s still just Abraham.”
When your father passed away, they made me temporary Estate, and grounds manager. I don’t know if you want to change that right away.”
Abraham put his hand on the caretakers thick shoulder and looked him directly in the eyes man to man.
“Well Jim, do you know what’s wrong in the barn, the house and the grounds?
“Yes,” Jim said and looked a little puzzled.
“More important Jim, do you know how to fix it when no one else does?”
“Sure, that’s what I do, ” he answered to the man who seemed to be listening to him with more than his ears.
“Then, Jim as long as I am around you’ll have that job. Now I’m going to take my stuff and put it in my old room in the servants quarters and then figure out what to do from there.”
“Abraham, your room is gone, they needed more space for the kitchen and now it is a storage room.”
“Then where am I going to stay?”
Jim took his box and what little clothes he had and said follow me Abraham. They walked through the wide open front doors and after hugs, hand shakes and every manor of astonishment subsided they climbed the main staircase upstairs. At the top of the landing Jim headed directly into Robert Todd Lincoln’s room and put his things on the bed.
“I’m gonna put these things on the bed, because this is your room now Abraham. Hope you don’t mind but they’re planning a little shin-dig, later on. I’m not supposed to say anything but I just can’t keep it a secret a minute longer. There is going to be someone to tell you much more than I can a little later. Again, thank you….Mr. Lincoln.”
Abraham looked around the room briefly, ran his hand over the bed head board then laid down on the pillow and looked up at the ceiling. He’d done this before as a boy, only because he couldn’t understand why the room was so important. He got quite the scolding and his father was told it better not happen again. Well, it did happen again Abraham thought, yes it would happen again and again.
He laid on the bed of Robert Todd Lincoln as Abraham Lincoln the third and did what great men, working men, robbers thieves and saints and every failure of every walk of life eventually do; they dream.