Author’s notes: There are 412 river miles between St. Louis MO and Memphis TN and the river flows at 1.2 knots which is about 1.38 mph. Riverboats at the time traveled at about 5 mph and so it would take about 3.3 days to travel one way. Author’s notes:
The information about the St. Louis Browns was taken from the History of the St. Louis Cardinals on the St. Louis Cardinals web site. Outfielder Tip O’Neal did win the batting crown, the only one in the American Association’s history in 1887. The Chicago White Stockings were the precursors to the modern Chicago Cubs in the National League. The Brown Stockings had two contests in the American Association League while it was in existence and one ended in a heated tie and the other was won by the Brown Stockings.
After their tour of the Herman Oaks Leather Factory Dan and Cole planned a trip to Memphis on the riverboat. They had spent nearly a week doing that and enjoyed it immensely. Cole had seen some of the colorful riverboat gamblers, but had steered clear when Dan had given him a stern look. He stayed close to his partner, not wanting to spoil their time together, but not being able to help looking at the gamblers in their flashy dress, their mannerisms and listen to their smooth ways of talking.
After the riverboat trip they took the next several days to continue to roam around the city and visit the sights. Dan had picked up a copy of the daily newspaper, the Daily Pennant and they learned about what was going on in the world and the city. They visited the Shrine of St. Joseph and located Sportsman’s Park where they were going to go to a baseball game and visited other attractions they had read about. They were anticipating going to the fair as well, having read more about it in the newspaper. They were hoping to watch the horse race and attend the horse auction afterward.
They arrived at Sportsmans Park late the next morning to view the baseball game. They found their seats and looked over the program they had obtained. Dan said, “It says here that their pitcher and outfielder Bob Caruthers led the league with an ERA of 2.07 and had forty wins in 1885 and finished in the top six in both ERA and wins in 1886.
Cole grinned. “What is ERA?” He asked.
Dan replied, it stands for Earned Run Average. The average runs the pitcher allows in a game averaged by the number of games he’s pitched.”
Cole smiled. “You seem to know a lot about baseball Dan.” He remarked.
Dan grinned. “I looked it up. There’s a chart here that explains things.”
Dan went on. “It also says here that He led the American Association in OBP, On Base Percentage, .448 and OPS, On Base and Slugging Percentage, .974 in1886 and finished fourth in batting average in 1886with a .334. It also tells us about outfielder Tip O’Neil and that he’s going for the batting Triple Crown. That means he’s led the American Association in batting average, home runs and runs batted in, called RBI’s. Apparently he’s been leading in all three areas so far.” Dan explained.
Cole grinned. “It should be excitin’.”
Dan laughed, “I’d hope so, but we’ll see.”
A hot dog vendor came around and Dan bought them each one, not ever having had one before, but both men willing to try new things. Dan took a bite and smiled. “Well, this is pretty good…better than my chicken soup.” He teased Cole.
Cole, taking a bite grinned. “Yes it is and yeah…better than your chicken soup.”
Daniel laughed. The teams came out onto the field and they were introduced. The bleachers had been filling up and everyone clapped and cheered especially as Bob Caruthers and Tip O’Neil were introduced.
The game began and Dan and Cole found themselves caught up in the excitement of the crowd standing and cheering loudly when the Browns scored or made a great play. They also found themselves booing and heckling the umpires like the rest of the people when a play didn’t go the way of the home team.
The Browns won the game, as well as the American Association pennant. Dan said as they were leaving. “Apparently winning the pennant allows them to go on to play the Chicago White stockings in a contest between the National League and the American Association to see which team is the better team.”
Cole smiled. “It sounds like it would be very excitin’.”
Dan smiled. “Yes it does.” They left with the crowd and were grinning happily.
“That was a really terrific game.” Cole said, “We should bring Brett and Jalen along next time.”
Dan chuckled. “Who would be left to protect Diamond Springs?”
Cole said, “Jalen can deputize someone he trusts to hold down the fort while we come back here and have some more fun.”
Dan grinned. “You have this all planned out already.” He teased.
Cole just gave him an impish grin. “They’d like it.”
Dan smiled. “Yes, I do think they’d enjoy it.”
They were able to finally hail a cab and returned to the National Hotel.
Although it was a bit later in the afternoon than the last time they had engaged in their favorite activity Dan believed it was still safe enough for them to not be overheard. He hadn’t heard any movement in either room on either side of theirs and hadn’t heard any voices from across the hall and decided they could take a calculated risk and engage in an intimate encounter. Cole smiled at Dan as they entered their room and flopped down on the bed. The baseball game was fun Dan. Thanks for takin’ me.”
Dan went over to the bed and tickled Cole. “You’re welcome. I enjoyed it quite a bit too.”
Cole tried to brush away the tickling hands and laughed softly.
Dan bent and kissed Cole, then began to remove his lover’s clothing, little by little and piece by piece.
Cole’s quiet giggles quickly turned into soft moans of pleasure as Dan’s fingers worked their magic on his sensitive spots. It wasn’t long before Cole also divested Dan of his clothing and the two men satisfied their need for each other in the manner that they were accustomed to and that brought total pleasure to them both. Spent, they collapsed in each other’s arms and slept for the rest of the afternoon, into the early evening. When they awoke they again dined and afterward enjoyed each others company, walking around the area of the hotel and viewing the sights before turning in for the night.
The next day was spent shopping for things they wanted and couldn’t get either through the catalog or in Diamond Springs. They bought gifts for their friends and spent a pleasurable day. “Dan, we goin’ to the fair tomorrow? Are you still goin’ to buy me a horse at the horse auction at the fair?” Cole asked a bit anxiously.
Dan nodded. “Yes, you know I told you I would and I don’t go back on my word and you’ve been so well behaved on this trip you deserve a reward.”
Cole grinned. “Yes, I’ve been trying very hard Dan...”
Dan smiled. “Yes I know and I appreciate your efforts. So as a reward for your good behavior we can either buy the leather you’d like to make a saddle for your new horse or we can buy the tack before we leave.”
Cole’s hazel eyes lit up and he grinned. “Let’s buy it…I’ve seen some very nice tack in some of the saddlreys we’ve window shopped at.”
Dan nodded. “All right. I was hopin’ that by lookin’ at others work we’d get some new ideas.”
Cole smiled. “Most of what we’ve seen we already do, or found the patterns for at Herman Oaks Leather Company in the store after the tour.”
Dan nodded. “Yes, but I’ve seen some that weren’t there.”
Cole nodded. “Yes, me too…perhaps if we are lookin’ to buy the owner would be willin’ to share?”
Dan said, “It’s a possibility, but I’m sure like ourselves there are some things about their work they wouldn’t want to share because then it wouldn’t be unique to them as a craftsman.”
Cole nodded in understanding. “Yes, I’m sure you are right Dan.”
Dan smiled and ruffled the younger man’s dark hair.” Well, let’s see what kind of horse you end up with and then we can find just the right tack for it.”
Cole grinned. “That sounds like an excellent idea Dan.” Cole leaned on Dan in the way of a younger man who had an older man as a mentor. People glanced at them as they passed and just smiled.
The next day dawned bright and sunny. It promised to be a perfect fall day, not too cool or too warm either. Just right for wandering around at the fair.
As Cole and Dan got to the fairgrounds they were amazed at the number of people up and about already. They strolled among the vendors and when they saw the sign for the pancake eating contest Cole grinned. “I’d like to take a try at that Dan. You know I can eat lots of pancakes.”
Dan chuckled. “Yes, you can, but don’t eat so many you get sick. That would be no fun at all.” He cautioned.
Cole grinned. “No it wouldn’t and I won’t I promise.”
Dan chuckled. “All right, go ahead.”
Cole went up to the table and registered. The man seated him and waited as others came and were also seated. After a bit when all the seats were filled the man went over the rules of the contest. Dan watched and smiled at Cole encouragingly.
When the man started the contest, Cole dove into his pancakes. One by one men were eliminated until it came down to just three. Cole had to stop. Dan smiled as he was eliminated and put his arm around the younger man. “You did good.” He told him as they stayed to see the final outcome. Cole was surprised when he was awarded a third place white ribbon. “Dan! I got a ribbon!” He cried.
Dan grinned. “Yes you did.” He pinned the ribbon onto Cole’s shirt and squeezed him tight and close in a big bear hug.
Cole relished the closeness for a moment and then disengaged and leaned against Dan, smiling up at him. “Let’s see what else there’s to do.”
Dan smiled and nodded. “All right, but I think we should stay off the rides for a while until you digest some of those pancakes.” He teased.
Cole grinned, but nodded. “All right.”
They went and saw the animals, Lambs, sheep, goats, kids, steers, cows, calves, horses, ponies, foals, turkeys, geese, chickens, pigs and hogs. Many children were showing their best animals and judges were giving them ribbons. They saw the booths with the quilts and clothing on display for judging as well. They bought some pretty embroided handkerchiefs for the girls at the saloon and wandered after a while to the food booths and saw the judges giving prizes for the best jams, jellies, pies, cakes and cookies. “You know Dan? The judges have the best job. They get to taste everything and then give prizes.”
Dan chuckled. “Yes, they do.” He watched as the judges were judging pickles and other pickled items such as beets and eggs. “I don’t know I’ve ever eaten a pickled egg.” Dan remarked.
Cole wrinkled his nose. I don’t think I’d like one.”
Dan chuckled. “Well, we wouldn’t know until we tried one.”
Cole gave Dan a look. “Uh uh…I’m not tryin’ one.”
Dan laughed. “Well if we were to try one it would be only a little piece.”
Cole nodded. “All right…sort of like what the judges do?”
Dan nodded. “Yes, like that.”
Cole nodded and acquiesced. “All right, I’ll try some different things.”
Dan went with Cole to the booths and they sampled many things and found they liked most of them.
As they strolled around the fair they came across the Ferris wheel and Dan smiled at Cole. “Let’s go up on this. It should be real nice to see things from up at the top.”
Cole smiled. “It looks like fun.” He stood and watched as they loaded the wheel and then let it spin around, moving the cars up and down for a bit and stopped it to let the people off. “I’d like to try that.”
Dan smiled. “All right, let’s go. I’d like to try it too.”
They bought tickets and stood in line and waited to be seated. Once they were locked in and they moved up a bit they grinned at each other. They rose higher and higher as the wheel was loaded and once the last car was locked the operator spun the wheel.
Cole laughed as he felt his stomach drop as they descended and marveled at the view each time they reached the top of the wheel.
Dan also laughed at the odd sensations and grinned over at Cole.
Once they were released Cole said, “I’d like to do that again Dan.”
Dan chuckled. “So would I, let’s come back if there’s time after we do some other things.”
Cole nodded. “Yes Dan.”
As they wandered around the fair grounds Dan recognized the music of a carousel. “Cole, have you ever ridden on a Carousel?” Dan asked.
“No…what is it?” Cole asked.
Dan smiled. “I rode one once before I met you when I was riding around from town to town. They’re kinda fun. You sit on a horse that goes up and down while the Carousel goes around. There is a place where rings comedown and if you can catch one you get a free ride the next time around. Would you like to try?”
Cole considered it. “It sounds kinda odd, a horse that goes up and down…not a real horse?”
Dan chuckled. “No, come on, we’ll go over and watch and then you’ll understand.” Dan began to walk toward where he heard the music from the Carousel and grinned at Cole’s wide eyed stare as they came close enough to watch and see how it worked.
Dan smiled as he watched the younger man’s first sight of the carousel. He remembered his first reaction to it and waited to see what Cole would say.
Cole watched for a bit and looked over at Dan. He’d never seen such a thing, no less heard of one. He finally said, “That’s amazing…and the people seem to enjoy it, especially the children.”
Dan nodded. “When it stops we’ll get on, but let’s pay the fee to ride and get in line.”
Cole smiled. “All right. They got their tickets to ride and waited their turn to get on.
When the carousel stopped, the people stepped off and the line moved as new people stepped on. Dan led Cole over to one of the horses he knew would pass by the rings and watched as Cole got on. Then he himself took one nearby. Other people and children got on as well and when all the horses and seats were filled the operator pulled the switch and the carousel began to move as well as the horses.
Cole grinned at Dan as he glanced over to see Dan’s horse going down when his was going up. As they approached the rings Dan said, “Cole…there’s the rings, try to grab one.”
Cole reached up to get hold of one, but just as he was about to reach it his horse went down and he missed it. He frowned.
Dan chuckled. “You have to be faster, try again when we come around.”
The next time they came around Cole was able to snatch one of the rings and grinned. “I got one!” He called to Dan.
Dan grinned and said, “Good, you’ll get a free ride.”
Dan tried for a ring on the next turn and was also able to snag one as well.
When the ride was over they got back in line and turned in their rings and rode again. They didn’t try for rings this time because they wanted to go on to do some other things. Dan smiled at an elderly couple who had taken one of the decorated benches to ride around as well as a young couple with twin girl babies they held on their laps. As he stepped off the carousel he assisted the older couple off and Cole helped the young couple with their babies.
Once they left the carousel Dan and Cole wandered through the fairgrounds some more and Dan saw a sign for a pie eating contest and grinned. “Cole, I’d like to enter the pie eatin’ contest.”
Cole laughed and said, “Okay, I suppose it’s only fair since I entered the pancake eatin’ contest.”
Dan grinned and signed up and was seated at a table. Cole grinned as he watched his partner.
The man went over the rules and the contest began. Dan was doing quite well and Cole was cheering him on.
When it came down to Dan and one other man Cole was beside himself with excitement. When Dan finally gave in and the other man shoved down the last bite Cole grinned.
Dan was awarded a red second place ribbon and Cole gave Dan a huge bear hug and then pinned the ribbon onto his shirt just like Dan had done to him earlier and the two men laughed and grinned.
They continued to walk around the fair and when it began to get to be late afternoon Dan had recovered enough from his pie eating that they stopped at a vendor and had a couple of hot dogs and some cotton candy.
When it was time for the horse race Dan and Cole headed over to where the horses were held for the race. Dan and Cole looked them over and then placed small bets on the horse of their choice.
They sat in the bleachers set up near the finish line and cheered for their favorites. Neither one of their horses won the race, but they had had fun anyway.
“That was fun, even though we didn’t win. The horses were great to watch.”
Dan nodded. “Yes, they were…let’s go over to the auction area to see what horses there are available and see if we can find a couple we could bid on for your new horse.”
Cole, his hazel eyes twinkling grinned. “Okay…let’s go!” He walked hurriedly over to where the horses were being held for the auction and Dan grinned, his long strides keeping up with the younger man.
Dan and Cole carefully looked over the selection.
Cole saw a dark chocolate gelding with white stockings. “Dan…he’s a good lookin’ horse.” Cole said as he went over to examine the animal more closely.
Dan spoke with the owner and checked the horse’s mouth and his legs, running his hands down them; looking for any problems. He also checked the horse’s hooves. He had spoken to Jack Hillyard, who owned the livery, before they left, telling him of his plans and he had given Dan tips as to what to look for and what to watch out for when purchasing a horse. Dan was satisfied and smiled at Cole. “Yes, I’d say this was an acceptable animal to consider.” He told the younger man, not wanting to tip his hand to the owner.
Cole nodded. “Okay Dan.”
Dan said, “Let’s see what other horses are available.”
Cole nodded and they went around looking at others. There was a grey one that was well mannered and in good condition as well.
Cole smiled. “I think this one would be worth considering too Dan.”
Dan nodded. “Yes, I agree, let’s see what others would be good candidates.”
Cole and Dan looked at several other horses which would also be good mounts. There was a buckskin and a Roan that looked interesting as well as an Appaloosa and a paint.
Cole told Dan he’d like to try for the chocolate gelding with the white socks first, but if it went for more than they could afford any one of the others would be acceptable to him and he wouldn’t be unhappy.
Dan nodded. “I’m so proud of you Cole, being so acceptin’ of our limits and not poutin’ or getting’ upset if we can’t get the horse you have your heart set on.”
Cole grinned. “Dan, I’m happy to just get a horse. I never thought I’d be able to have one of my own.”
Dan squeezed his arm and leaned in close. “I expect you to take good care of it too and if not you’ll have a hard time sittin’ in the saddle to ride it.”
Cole blushed. “Dan!” He protested glancing around to be sure no one had heard.
Dan chuckled. “Don’t worry my wild one. I wouldn’t say or do anythin’ if I saw people were listenin’ or watchin’. You know I’m very careful.”
Cole leaned on Dan and nodded. “I know, but you shouldn’t say things like that.”
Dan grinned. “Why not? I want you to know what to expect.”
Cole gave him a sour look. “I know what to expect. You have a way of making your expectations very clear.”
Dan laughed. “They’re startin’ the auction. Let’s get closer.”
Dan and Cole watched and listened. Dan knew Cole really liked the one horse and when it came up made a bid. Several others were bidding as well and Cole couldn’t help but shift and squirm about as the price went higher and higher. He didn’t know just how high Dan was willing to go, but hoped that they would be able to get it. As bidder after bidder dropped out and it was between Dan and one other Cole bit his lip and finally when the other man gave up and Dan won the bid Cole couldn’t help but let out a whoop of joy and jump up and down like a little boy.
The others around smiled at the young man’s excitement and Dan grinned as well. “Let’s go and pay for your horse.” Dan led Cole to the table where the purchases were made and the man who was selling the animal smiled as he handed the halter over to Dan. “Congratulations Sir. You have a fine animal here.”
Dan said, “Thank you, and you’re right. He’s a fine animal and my friend here will be very happy with him.”
The man nodded.
Dan led the horse away and he smiled at Cole. “Let’s go back to the hotel now and then you can spend some time with your new horse at the stables there before we go to sleep tonight. We’ll take him to the saddlery we choose tomorrow and get him tacked out.”
Cole smiled. “All right. That sounds very good to me.”
Dan grinned. “The poor beast will need a name. What do you think you’ll name him?” Dan asked as they led the horse into the street, Dan looking for a cab.
Cole furrowed his brow. He looked at the horse studying him and then said, “I think I’ll call him Boots. Those white feet make him look like he’s wearin’ white boots on him.”
Dan grinned. “All right…Boots he’ll be.” Dan hailed a cab, told him he had a horse he needed to tether to the back of the cab. The driver nodded and waited while Dan tied the good natured horse to the back, then he and Cole climbed in.
When they arrived at the National Hotel Cole jumped out and quickly untied the horse and stood there stroking his ears and nose and talking to him quietly like he’d seen Brett do with Spirit many times. Boots also seemed to like the attention and nudged Cole gently with his nose.
Dan paid the driver and grinned at Cole and Boots. “Let me go inside and ask the clerk about stabling him. I’ll be right back.”
Cole grinned and waited while Dan went inside.
Dan addressed the Clerk at the desk. “My partner and I bought a horse at the fair and intend to take him back to Colorado with us. I need to ask about stabling him for the next two nights.”
The Clerk nodded. “There will be an extra charge for stabling, for the feed and hay and the groom’s fee.”
Dan nodded. “That will be fine.”
The clerk completed the transaction and gave Dan a written receipt. “Take the horse to the stables out back. Show this to the groom and he will take care of the horse.”
Dan nodded. “Thank you very much Sir.”
“You’re welcome Sir. I’m happy to serve you.” The clerk said.
Dan smiled and headed out to where Cole was waiting. He showed him the receipt and said, “All we need to do now is bring him around back to the stables and show this to the groom and he’ll take care of feedin’ him, waterin’ him and groomin’ him as well as puttin’ him up for the next two nights until we board the train back to Colorado .”
Cole smiled. “All right. I’ll stay with him for a while, getting’ to know him if you don’t mind.”
Dan smiled. “I don’t mind. Tomorrow we’ll get him tacked out and I’ll make the arrangements to have him placed in the stock car so we can bring him back to Diamond Springs.”
Cole nodded. “Will we have any problems transferrin’ him in Denver from the Burlington to the Denver and Rio Grande ?”
Dan shook his head. “We shouldn’t. I’m goin’ to make sure we let them know he needs to be transferred there. The stock handlers will make sure he gets on the train and we can watch to make sure as well.”
Cole smiled. “Good. I wouldn’t want him to get lost.”
Dan chuckled. “Neither would I.”
Cole asked, “Can I send Brett a wire to let him know about my horse?”
Dan grinned. “All right…you may do that.”
Cole bounced up and down. “Thank you Dan!” He said excitedly. “He’ll be so surprised! He doesn’t know about my surprise, just like you held it back until you told me on the train.” Cole grinned.
They walked together, Dan’s arm around Cole’s shoulders as Cole led Boots to the stables.
Cole couldn’t help give Dan an adoring look as they walked along. He hadn’t felt this happy in a while, not since Dan had told him they were going to settle in Diamond Springs for good. Settling down there had been the best thing. He had a friend, Dan also had a friend, they had another couple who were like them and who also believed discipline was an important part of things and Cole no longer felt so odd or alone.
Dan smiled at Cole and left him with his new horse and went back to their room. He felt good about what he had done for his young partner. Giving him pleasure helped him to feel happy inside.