First Day of the Year

by Amelia

The day had dawned cool and crisp as a cold wind blew down from the mountains causing strands of long brown hair to dance in the breeze. Today was the start of a brand new year and Vin had much to be thankful for.

This last year had passed quickly and he was happy with the thought he hadn't been injured in any of the bust. It had been a truly good year for him, though he couldn't say the same for his teammates. Vin thought as the different images of his friends, one of Chris with his left arm in a sling, one of Ezra with his right arm in a sling. And poor Buck catching that one bullet in his behind right before the ATF's 4th of July's celebration. He couldn't stand right and he couldn't just sit down, the man had stayed miserable all day. Well, until he left with those two secretaries. “Only Bucklin” Vin shook his head.

He paused for just a moment longer, letting the new day wrap its arms around him in the first light of the day. Before he finally started to move off. Vin had come out early, long before the sun even thought about rising. He was going to make sure that this first day of the year was going to be right. He had enjoyed the quite solitude in the darkness before the new day fishing. Catching enough, he had made his way up to the top of the rise to watch the crest of the first rays of light over the mountains.

Now it was time to head back to the house, before Larabee had everyone out looking for him. Going back to the stream and pulling out the line of fish he had caught, he dropped them all into a water hold bag to keep them fresh and hooked it around the horn on the saddle on Peso. Stepping back over to the water´s edge to collect the rest of his stuff, he caught a fast movement out of the corner of his eye and he reacted without thought and with swiftness.


“So what time did Vin leave out?” Josiah asked as he started another pot of coffee.

“Somewhere after midnight and before 4, knowing him. He said he wanted to have the fish caught before the sunrise so he could watch it from the top of the rise.” Chris answered, looking out the window again like he had been doing for the half hour.

“Shoot, you know him, Chris. He's just taking his time and enjoying the ride back,” Buck assured knowing Chris was starting to worry with it now going on 10am and their friend wasn't back.

“Mr. Larabee, didn't Vin say he was going to that lower part of the stream to catch our brunch? That is a good hour´s ride in itself. When you factor in the time it will take for him to watch the morning rise, which I'll never understand why anyone in their right mind would want to do. But when you figure that in as well as gathering all of his items and has mounted that devil he determinedly says is a horse, I think you will find he isn't late, but will show around . . .” Ezra stated confidently up until he looked up at the clock and saw it was an hour past the time he was about to say.

Chris, knowing what his friend just realized, said, “Yea he should have been back about an hour ago.”

“Do you want me to saddle up the horses Chris, we could go ride in that direction and see what´s holding him up.” JD offered.

Chris looking out the window once more, “What the hell is that he's carrying?” As the words were mumbled, Chris quickly went out the back door.

The others quickly getting up and glancing out the window also made their way out the back door.
Crossing the deck and down the steps, the six men gathered in front of the returning seventh.

“I thought you were going to catch trout for our Brunch, Mr. Tanner, not a monster of a turkey.” Ezra frowned at the extremely huge bird Vin held out for someone to take so he could dismount.

JD, reaching out, encircled the bird in his arms, “Wow, he's heavy Vin! But why did you hunt a turkey?”

“Didn't,” Vin said as he climbed out of the saddle. Seeing they were all waiting for him to explain, he continued, “Was getting ready to pick up my stuff at the stream when I saw a fast moving blur out of the corner of my eye right at my shoulder, I reacted. I didn't know it was a Tom that had been roosting on the limb above my head.”

“So how do you remove the feathers from this creature? I must say I have never given it much thought for having always bought them ready to cook.” Ezra questioned.

“It's easy Ezra. Just grab a handful of feathers and pull,” Nathan answered.

Ezra looked unsure. Josiah took the bird from JD and held it in front of him, “Go ahead Ezra and give it a try. Just grab a feather and yank it.”

Reaching out slowly and grabbing a hold of a couple of feathers, he yanked back quickly.

And suddenly Josiah had an armful, then a face full, of a very alive and angry turkey.

With survival instinct Josiah pushed the wing beating gobbling clawing bird away. Unfortunately, Ezra and Nathan were right in the way. One minute the turkey was on Ezra's head flapping, then the next its claws were in Nathan's heavy padded coat. It was hanging on at such an angle giving Nathan the look of having a big beard that was flapping.

Chris and Buck, both reaching out, grabbed a hold of the bird, pulling him off and tossing him away from everyone.

“Vin you missed!” JD exclaimed.

“What!! My fellow associates and I have been attacked by that vicious creature and all you can say is he missed!” Ezra exclaimed.

“But Vin missed his shot. The turkey is alive and Vin missed his shot. Vin never misses what he shoots.” JD said his eyes wide.

“Never said I shot him JD, never had my gun out.” Vin told.

“Then how did ya 'think' you killed him.” Chris asked now he was intrigued to hear the answer as he saw Vin´s face turn a slight tint of red.

“Just reacted, didn't even know it was a turkey, until after,” Vin softly said, turning to get the bag of fish hoping to get the attention back of the early lunch or that word that Ezra called it.

“And just how did you react there Vin?” Buck started grinning, having picked up on the smile in Chris's eyes.

“Spun around is all. Hey Ezra I got a whole bag of rainbow trout here, guess we need to start getting them ready to cook if we want them for our early lunch,” Vin tried to redirect by mentioning the fish.

“It's called brunch, Mr. Tanner. And we have time. I too would like to hear how you subdued that creature that just rained terror down on us.” Ezra smiled curiously.

Seeing they were going to let it go, he let out a sigh. “I spun around thinking it was a person, so I decked them.”

“Let me get this right, you decked the turkey as it jumped off the limb it was roosting on. You punched it? You knocked out a turkey,” Chris said with his lips twitching with each added line.

“Yea I punched, it hit the tree, thought it was dead.” Vin grumbled as he handed the bag of fish to Josiah and headed to the barn with Peso to untack him, knowing he was going to hear every joke they could come up with about this.

Hours later after a wonderful lunch for by the time they had finally prepared the fish for grilling and had them cooked it was lunch time. The men settled all around the house. Three voice were heard talking,

“I cannot believe you had Buck and JD re catch that turkey to put a band-aid on its leg when you saw a spot of blood on it,” Ezra stated.

“Yea Nate, startin´ the year off early ain't ya with your doctorin´,” Vin grinned.

“Well with you lot I always have to be prepared. And it wasn't his fault you punched him out,” Nathan defended with a smile.

“You´re quite right Mr. Jackson. I can't believe our dear sensitive friend would attack a bird like that,” Ezra teased

“Least I don't wear'em on my head Ez. Or as a beard Nate,” Vin laughed.

The End