David’s Song

by: Essy Jane

Luke and Daisy were looking around for Bo. He had been having a very bad day, it being his birthday and all. Bo’s mom died giving birth to him and a year later on the same day his father too was killed. Bo never got to meet his parents nor would he ever. So he always considered what they would be like but never knew beyond the fact that they gave him life.

Bo knew that not even Uncle Jesse could make up for the lost years that Bo had missed. But maybe he could give Bo some mental picture to how his father had been. His mother would never be able to be told as well as Uncle Jesse could speak of his Dad.

It wasn’t possible to sum up all the wonderful things she did in this world. But that was because everyone would cry even when they heard her name. Marie-Lynn was such a beautiful person in all aspects. She had all the grace and understanding as anyone would or could ever have.

Luke and Daisy found Bo in the barn feeding the baby goat some milk. “Hey y’all how are ya?” Bo asked. He brushed away his tears softly.

“Bo, you can’t be driven to this every time you have a birthday. You have to be happier than that,” Daisy commented as she sat down beside him. Bo shrugged and turned towards her.

“I am poison Daisy, they died because of me.”

“You can’t believe that!”

“I don’t, I’m just sick of not having any parents. At least you know your dad is alive Luke. I know you don’t want to see him but you know he’s alive. Daisy, your Mom and Dad wanted you to live a good life instead of moving around with the army all the time. You know your Dad is alive at least.”

They stopped for a minute, they realized the depths of Bo’s sorrow and how he felt towards his parent’s deaths. How many people had to deal with that at such a young age? Bo had to see the reality at a young age how bad things happen to good people.

Uncle Jesse walked in and sat down on a bundle of hay. He looked at Daisy and at Luke and knew that they wanted to help Bo. Uncle Jesse wanted to keep him in good spirits. He loved all of his brothers and sisters. But the one that meant the most to him had to have been David. Bo’s dad was a miracle worker in Jesse’s eyes.

“You see this is when I’m supposed to tell you that everything is going to be all right. But every year you tell me that you know it is. However every year you’re sad again. So I am going to tell you something about your daddy that you can tell yourself every year,” Uncle Jesse said.

His words seem to fade into a story, a story that would be remembered for a very long time.

<Jesse’s story>

Jesse woke up that morning and stretched to his arms out far. He turned off his alarm clock smashing it hard. It was almost hard enough to break it. He couldn’t believe he had to wake up this early. 3:00 Am to make sure all the chores were done around the house. It was his curse. It had been six months since his parents had died but it almost seemed like an eternity. Jesse had just turned 18 years old and was already the head of the family. He would have to get everyone’s lunch made and feed all the animals. Then look after the crops.

Sometimes his friend Jefferson Davis Hogg would help. He wasn’t that bad, Jeff had a nice personality to him. Jesse liked him as a friend though sometimes his ideas were twisted. But Jesse liked him just the same. Jeff was a little bit on the chubby side; even then he had quite the desire for food. When Jesse was finished with the animals, Jeff was just driving up in his 1936 ford car. “Are you still working with the farm Jesse V. Duke? Boy oh boy, we could have gone and made a run of shine all ready. Your family needs the money,” Jeff told Jesse.

“Yeah well it’s hard to send seven kids off to school and try to get this farm in order. John and Tommy had to get jobs as janitors. I hated taking them out of school but I had no choice. This is the worst! Those kids earned the right to go to school,” Jesse exclaimed.

“I’m sorry; this must be murderous for you. But I hear each and every one of your brothers and sisters are making quite the grades. I bet you’re proud of them.”

“Oh I am very proud to even know them. I mean David has got straight A’s on every test. He’s going to be a great man one day.”

“I believe it! With an older brother like you, none of these guys can go wrong you are amazing.” Jesse smiled at his friend. He wondered how he could go wrong in life. With his brothers by his side nothing could happen to him. No one could hurt them.

Jenny walked out of the house bare foot. “Jesse, I had a bad dream!” She screamed. Jesse put an arm around his youngest sister who was nine years old.

“What was it about Jenny?” Jesse asked.

“Mom and Dad’s funeral again; I can’t get it out of my mind. I miss them so much.” David came running outside.

“Jenny you’re bare foot. I can’t believe that you would go out like this in the middle of the morning. You know how cold it is,” David stated he looked at Jesse- “Don’t worry Jess, I’ll take her into the house and give her some hot cocoa. Jenny you had a terrible dream again? I have that dream all the time but I have to remember…” Their voices faded as they went into the house.

“I better wait until those ankle bitters go to school before taking you anywhere. It wouldn’t be right. Your place is with them,” Jeff mumbled.

“Why are you such a good friend?” Jesse questioned.

“Well because without a good friend you’d crumble.”

“You’d crumble without nine meals a day.” Jesse slapped Jeff’s fat gut.

“Are you talking about this old bowl of jelly here? Why this is just office furniture. It will go down in a few years.”

“Yeah sure, slide down on account of it’s too big for the belt.”

“You’ll see Jesse; I’m going to be the skinniest man in Hazzard.”

“In your dreams Jeff, you’ll keep that. Every little bit of it and you will probably gain more fat.” Jesse’s predictions were right, Jefferson Davis Hogg would be larger than a house with a wife to match but let’s get back to the story.

Now after the kids were all at school, Jesse and JD out ran the law as usual. They delivered Jesse’s finest shine just to make sure they got the finest money out of it. The strangest thing was that when they ran Jesse’s shine, the two boys received more money.

“Jesse you can keep this round of it, you’re trying to save up for collage funds here. I’m just working for myself. I mean I am almost done law school. I’m going to be a man that works over police. It will be great,” Jeff told Jesse. Jesse smiled at his friend knowing how wonderful this man must be. He couldn’t believe the times that they had together. Jeff knew everything about Jesse just as Jesse knew everything about Jeff.

As they drove home in separate vehicles Jesse thought a lot about his life. He didn’t like taking care of his family all that much. Maybe it was because he wanted to go traveling or was it because he just wanted to seek a life beyond the farm? No one could really tell with Jesse. It wasn’t that he didn’t love them…Jesse was too young to be a parent. He didn’t have the urge to do so anymore. Being a teenager is one thing. But raising a family and being a teenager was a whole different ball game.

His brothers all had to take jobs. Even David babysat other kids to make money for the family. It was hard for Jesse to ask them to do stuff like that but he did. Time went on, things got easier for the Dukes but there was always still that challenge.

Two days later…

As Jesse got home from running errands, David was already there. “Why are you home?” Jesse asked. It was still two in the afternoon and most kids would be at school working hard on their studies.

“I had to play hooky from school for the past two weeks to baby-sit for the Henderson’s and they have some sort of rash all over them. I didn’t know what the heck it was but thought it could be chicken pox. But I’m not sure,” David replied. Jesse looked at David with distress. He thought that for sure this had something from one of those kids. Jesse felt his forehead. Sure enough Cooper had a fever.

“Show me your palms Cooper!” His palms were covered in a rash. Jesse screamed out loud. He was infected with small pox. This is a very infectious virus and could easily result in death.

“What’s wrong Jesse?”

“You have small pox! I don’t want you to get scared but this is a deadly virus. A lot of people die from this. None of the kids can come in this house until it is sterilized completely.”

“You’re saying I’m going to die?”

“I’m saying this is a deadly thing. I’m not saying that you aren’t going to live. Nevertheless people who have come out of this have become blinded. Some people don’t live either. But we aren’t going to let this stand in our way. We are Dukes and Dukes are strong. You are not going to give up, I won’t let you.”

“I’m scared.”

“So am I.” David began to tremble. He didn’t want to face the fact that he might die.

Jesse arranged that the whole family would stay at his friend’s farm. His name is Magnus Strate. He has a high school sweetie that Jesse turned down constantly. This was only because the Magnus loved her more than anything else. Kimmie Jackson is a wonderful person and those two were made for each other. With that big smile of hers and those eyes of blue, it’s not a wonder she was sought after. But Magnus would always be Jesse’s friend.

The next few days would be the most critical for David. You could hear a mild moaning noise from the next room as Jesse got David’s broth ready. “Jesse! My back it hurts!” David exclaimed.

“I know David, hang on,” Jesse replied. There wasn’t much he could do for his brother. Keep him comfortable and hope he lived. Jesse knew that he may get sick. Then again her may not.

“Jesse!” Jesse walked into the room and set the bowl of broth down on the night stand and sat beside David. The rash had spread all up his arms and legs, almost reaching his stomach but not quite. Jesse had to sit David up to give him the small sips of broth. His back ached with the pains of the small pox.

“I’ll get you a hot compress for your back okay? It might make you feel better.” David nodded. Jesse shook his head and sighed. He didn’t know how to ease David’s suffering nor could he. All that Jesse could do was try to make him comfortable.

Jesse first turned David onto his stomach. He walked out of the room leaving poor David to sit on his own thinking about things. Now teenaged boys can’t usually think about the finer things of life. He wanted to give up and die. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t miss anyone because he would. David was in so much pain and he didn’t want to go through it anymore that’s all.

Jesse walked back in. He looked at his brother just lying there. “Jesse, kill me please. I would rather not live through this,” David mumbled.

“Don’t you dare talk that way boy! You have more to live for than anyone of us put together. You’re ahead in your class. They moved you up a grade and you’re going to go to collage. You’re not going to die! Do you hear me?”

“I can’t do this!”

“You are a Duke do you hear me? You can’t die.” The rage built inside Jesse. He wouldn’t let his brother give up the ghost. He had to live. He was Jesse’s little brother. More than that, he was the best friend that Jesse ever had.

When their mom and dad passed on, Jesse didn’t want to go on. But David put a hand on his shoulder and said, “You finally get a comfortable bed huh?’ Jesse laughed and realized that he was the only one who could take care of his family.

“I don’t want to die but I don’t want to live. I can’t stand this pain.”

“David, you should write a poem for me.” David turned his head and wondered what was up with his brother. He was in no mood to write his prize winning poetry. “Something sweet, about anything you want. I don’t care what it is.”

“I’m in pain, in life there seems to be nothing to gain. I look at the drapes on the walls and look down the dark dreary halls. There’s nothing left to live for today, but dying isn’t an option especially this way. I love my family so much; I love them right down to the touch.” David closed his eyes in pain. He couldn’t go on with it. His head hurt and back ached more than anything he’d ever felt. His breathing was getting heavier and heavier.

“What’s wrong?” Jesse jumped right on the bed. He began to rub his brother’s back. He was hoping that nothing would happen to him. Jesse sobbed hard. He didn’t want this to happen to his brother.

“It hurts!” David said from within his teeth. Jesse cradled him in his arms he didn’t know what else to do. David’s breathing regulated and he fell asleep in Jesse’s arms. That night, Jesse didn’t sleep, he couldn’t. He just sat there listening to the wind rattle on the window. His eyes fluttered but not once did he fully close them. Jesse’s brother needed him now more than ever.

Three days later…

That morning David moved his head ever so slightly. He looked up at Jesse who was happy to see he made it through the night. He had a tired smile on his face. David let out a small giggle. “Did I fall asleep like this?” Cooper asked. Jesse rubbed his fingers through Cooper’s hair.

“You made it little brother. I told you that you were strong,” Jesse mumbled. David slid onto his pillow. He was so happy that those nights passed. He was sick as a dog with high fevers. On those days, David could barely move.

“What do I look like right now?”

“You look like you have a bad case of pimples all over you. They must hurt huh?” Cooper tried to pull his arm up to touch one but it just hurt too much. “David, just relax that blond curly hair of yours. Are you planning on letting me give you a hair cut ever in this life time?”

“I told you, Jesse you always cut too much off. I’d rather let Cindy do it.”

“I’m older and wiser than Cindy.”

“Yeah but she doesn’t ruin my hair. I just hope she remembers me if I…”

“You don’t look dead to me so don’t think like that little boy.” Jesse knew that negative thinking wasn’t going to get David any better. It would only make him worse. “You don’t ever talk like that you understand me?”

“When do we know if you’ve got small pox?” The whole room went silent. Jesse didn’t think about that he was going to get it. He didn’t know what he would do with David if he got them. The signs would show from 7 to 21 days. If David lived, he would be infected for three weeks. The first week wasn’t over yet and he was still getting worse. Jesse couldn’t take care of David if he had the same problems as his brother was facing.

“You’ll know in 7 to 21 days.”

“You mean in two days you could have back aches? In two days you could have a rash? What will happen?”

“I will have a fever David like you. Maybe a headache or back pains. Maybe both of them will be there.” David buried his face into his hands and cried. He didn’t want his brother to have to face the same thing as he was at that moment. David loved his brother dearly. He felt that this was a mistake that he could never fix for as long as he lived. If Jesse died, David would never forgive himself.

“This is all my fault.” Jesse’s head popped right up. He knew that David blamed himself for this whole mess but to young Jesse, he blamed himself. After all, Jesse was the one that forced David to take the job. There was no way in the world that Cooper could’ve prevented being infected. The minute he walked into that house he was in danger of being infected.

“If I get sick that’s my own fault. I touched your rash you didn’t stick it on me. But I do have to get some back-up.”

“Well who wants to die right along with us?”

“Once you get smallpox and live you can’t get it again. So who do we know that has had smallpox?”

“Marie-Lynn and if I am not mistaken, your Livonia has had them too.”

Jesse paused and thought about Livonia and how they used to date. He remembered those walks under the moonlight as he sung songs of sweet happiness softly in her ear. That beautiful brown hair and those eyes of deep green drew Jesse near to her. He couldn’t remember the last time when his heart skipped a beat. Jesse could almost smell her sweet perfume as the young man day dreamed away about this gentle flower.

David chuckled softly to himself. He knew how much Livonia meant to him. The only reason why Jesse didn’t ask this wonderful woman to marry him was the children that he was currently looking after, namely his brothers and sisters.

But David had a devilish scheme. A conspiracy that just couldn’t fail, David wanted his brother to be happy. Unfortunately right now, Jesse wasn’t all that happy and it wasn’t fair. David’s plan was simple; he would get his unselfish brother together with the lovely Livonia.

Jesse called up both girls and each came running. School was over anyway and Marie-Lynn knew that she could help David. She loved to help people more than any other thing she had ever did. Marie-Lynn had a crush on David since grade school, which was the other reason she did so.

Livonia on the other hand was willing to drop any chores in the house for Jesse. She knew how much that man sacrificed for his family. She loved his style and Jesse’s patience. He knew what he was doing. She was in love with the man of her dreams.

“Thank you for coming ladies, I didn’t expect both of you to come,” Jesse commented.

“Well David needs me and well…I think that it’s a good idea. I really want to help the boy,” Marie-Lynn stated. She ran towards David’s room in surprise. There was David covered in pimple like spots. She wondered if she was going to be able to help the young boy.

“My dearest Marie-Lynn, I am so glad you are here!” David exclaimed

“David, Are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine, now that you’re here.”

“Sick yet you can still charm a woman.”

“Well I am a Duke.” Marie smiled and touched David’s feverish brow. She looked deep into his eyes and smiled.

“I know you are.”

“I was worried about Jesse doing this while he was sick. It wouldn’t be fair if that happened. I wouldn’t want him to do it,” David replied.

“You love your brother a lot don’t you?”

“Yeah, he’s going to marry Livonia if it’s the last thing we do. He has to. Those two are meant to be together, I know it in my heart Marie-Lynn.”

“We’ll do it together.”

<Present Day>

Bo looked at his Uncle. He wondered how in this world this was possible. “So let me get this straight. Mom and Dad, my mom and dad got you and Aunt Livonia together?” Bo asked. Jesse nodded his head.

“How sweet is that? Uncle David must really love you. I mean he knew that you two were meant to be together,” Daisy added.

“Not only that, he did it while I was about to become sick. I was going to be just as sick as him, probably worse than Cooper was at the time. I didn’t have any will to live my life. It was because I felt that no matter what I did it wasn’t good enough. I felt that I was insignificant and not anything I did was going to change that. I was depressed. I didn’t think that Livonia would want to marry me. When she said yes it was the most amazing thing. But I didn’t roll out of my depression,” Uncle Jesse replied.

“Why wouldn’t she want to marry you Uncle Jesse? Aunt Livonia loved you more than anything. She loved everyone. Aunt Livonia loved you with all her heart and beyond.” Uncle Jesse thought about it with an open heart. He had to remember back to when he was selfish. Uncle Jesse had one of those moments where he wished he wasn’t in a different situation but found that each day made him stronger. Every day he viewed life as a blessing.

“I didn’t think she would want the baggage of nine kids. It wasn’t that I didn’t love her, it’s that I didn’t think she could do what I did every day.”

“She was strong though, you said so yourself. You told us once that she was the strongest woman you knew and that she could tackle any task. A long time ago she looked at us and told us that you were the only man she ever wanted to marry.”

“I was the only man she wanted to marry and Livonia was the only woman I wanted to marry. I needed her just as much as she needed me. Especially the night when I got the rash all over my poor hands that was a night I will never forget.” Everyone edged closer.

“Tell us about it.”

“Na, I think you three had to hear enough.”

“You said this would be a story to remember, keep going. I want to know,” Bo stated.

<Jesse’s story>

David began cry that night as he stared at his brother’s hands. He couldn’t believe it had happened.

“No Jesse! This isn’t happening!” David exclaimed. He stared at his brother coolly.

“David, there’s nothing you could have done. You knew there was a chance I would get it. Nothing you could have done would have prevented it,” Jesse tried to comfort him. His efforts would fail.

“No! You’re the only one who can take care of this family and now you could die.”

“I am not going to die and neither are you.”

“Neither am I? How would you know what the future holds?”

“I don’t, I just know that we can’t let this beat us.”

“I know what you’re going to say, Duke Pride right?”

“Do it for yourself, not for me and not for this family.”

“Oh spare me the lecture Jesse, I don’t want to be here without you.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“How do you know?”

“Because, you’re still here and without you, I can’t make it.” Jesse began to sob. He pulled away and walked out of the room. On the same day, David was getting even worse. He was at stage three and his fever had returned to haunt him. This time, David’s fever was worse then before.

It seemed to take over all his other senses. It was terrible and it got even worse as they went along. For you see, Cooper’s pimple like rash had turned into big budging blisters that hurt more than his muscle pain. He could barely breathe let alone move. All poor Marie-Lynn could do was wet him down with cold towels.

Jesse lied down beside him hoping that the girls could run around freely helping Cooper as he went. “So Jesse,”-David said from within clenched teeth-“How many kids are you going to have?” Jesse looked at his brother wondering if he was a mad man.

“I don’t plan on thinking about children right now,” Jesse replied.

“Well I just wanted to know.” David grabbed tightly onto the bed sheet and closed his eyes tightly.

“I think I will have none.”

“Why no children? You’re great with them.”

“I don’t know, I just think you guys are all I can handle.”

“You have got to be kidding me.” Cooper began breathing hard. He didn’t know what to do about the pain so he clung onto his sheets tighter. Jesse decided that he would tell his brother about his plans. He didn’t want to enclose too much to his little David.

“Well I might have one if I ever marry.”

“You mean when you marry.”

“No, I mean if. Who wants an 18 year old taking care of all these people?”

David’s plan was taking shape; he knew what his next line was going to be. David was sure to get Livonia and Jesse together. His brother deserved happiness more than any other person he knew. Cooper wanted his brother to have the same chances as everyone else. “Why aren’t you getting married?”

“I don’t know if she’ll except.” As Jesse said those words Livonia was standing over him. She tapped her foot impatiently. He smiled and waved to her, not realizing that she had been listening the whole time. It’s weird how people appear at the right moment.

“I would if you asked me Jesse Vance Duke. You just never thought that I would like helping you take care of your brothers and sisters. When all along I have wanted to help you; you know it in your heart. I love you more than life itself and I will be condemned to the outskirts of the universe before I would ever loose you,” Livonia grumbled.

“You mean it?”

“All you have to do is say the word and propose. I will get all the arrangements made. We can be married as soon as your three weeks of sickness are up.”

“I don’t even have enough money for a honeymoon.”

“Who needs a honeymoon when you have each other? It can be just as special at home or at some fancy hotel. You don’t need to have it all.”

“But I want everything for you. Wait a minute…” Jesse ran over towards his mother’s Jewelry box and pulled out a ring that had been handed down from Duke to Duke to put on their bride. Jesse got on one knee he looked at Marie-Lynn and David. Marie-Lynn had tears in her eyes and David, a smile on his face. “Livonia Tracy Colvin, will you do give me the honor of being your husband?”

“I will. I will Jesse I want to be your wife.” Jesse places the 24 karat gold ring on her finger. He then kissed her for a long time. Livonia and Jesse were engaged. There was nothing that was going to change that. But Jesse was still depressed and out of sink with what was important.

He didn’t want to do this anymore. He knew that the smallpox would just affect his attitude even more. Jesse looked at him fiancée and wondered how he was going to pull this off. His muscles ached and he knew it wouldn’t be long before he couldn’t move any more. The thing that hurt most was Jesse’s head. He could barely hold it up.

Jesse toppled over on the floor. “Jesse!” Livonia screamed. David got out of bed and went to his side. Though David had much pain, he lifted his brother and put poor Jesse on the double bed.

“Didn’t that hurt?” Marie-Lynn asked.

“Oh yes, it hurt badly. That’s why my eyes are watering,” David replied. He dropped on the bed in immeasurable pain. Not a muscle on his body was incorruptible. The hurt that the smallpox had brought into his life seemed to only be getting worse. He was howling softly. David looked up at ceiling and stared at the small crack in the soft finish. “That’s where Jesse threw his metal Frisbee and that’s how razor sharp the edges were. We played with that Frisbee so much that the edges went ragged and started to cut our hands. I hated when Dad told us that we had to throw it out.”

“I bet you did.”

“There are so many memories within these walls. There are so many lost thoughts and forgotten trails.”

“Oh David, sometimes that’s the hardest part, remembering. I write everything down.”

“I wish I did. I remember so many things like when Mom and Dad died. There was a big fire and it destroyed half of the house. That was a downside that sent us working faster and harder than ever before. Jesse worked for four months for the money and then built a wall so we wouldn’t have a chill coming in. But he made one slight adjustment. There was a secret tunnel that only he and I knew about. Jesse said it was our hiding place.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about that tunnel? That might cool y’all off. You both have quite the fevers.”

“We can’t walk that far. Besides that I would not think that you could carry us.”

“Is that a challenge David?”

“No but it would be funny to see you carry me.” Marie-Lynn grabbed Cooper by the pants and pulled him across to the kitchen. She pulled him over her shoulder and dragged him around.

“Are you satisfied?”

“How are you doing this?”

“David I am surprised at you. I am a farm girl. I can haul three bundles of hay at a time. You can do more can’t you?” David nodded. “You have to be about the size of nine hay stacks. So I think I am getting better but when you’re well we will test out our strength.”

“That’ll be cheating.”

“Why?” There was a grin on David’s face. Marie-Lynn tapped her foot with impatience. She thought that Cooper would be thinking that it wouldn’t be fair for a girl to go against a young man such as himself.

“Well it’s quite easy to explain actually.”

“Well I am listening David Charles Duke.”

“Well, I might be weakened by this thing and it will be a while before I can do even normal work.”

“Why would you worry about work?”

“The farm isn’t being tended; I can’t let that happen. I have to go feed the chickens and water things or we’ll loose everything.” Marie-Lynn took David back to bed. She knew that he couldn’t walk past the amount that he did when David carried Jesse. It wouldn’t be smart to let him try and do chores.

“You’re not going anywhere. Besides, your brothers are working on the chores. They didn’t want to leave the farm.”

“Which brothers stayed Marie?”

“John and Tommy stayed and they are crazy if you ask me. They’re just there doing chores. I don’t understand how anyone could sleep in the barn.” David couldn’t believe his brothers would do that. One at age 15 and the other 17; both were scatterbrained and never helped around the house as much as they could. Maybe they were starting to grow up.

John put his face to the window and peered in. He looked at Jesse lying on the bed and then at David as he was put down. John knocked on the window as hard as he could. David sat up and waved. Tears ran through John’s eyes at the sight David. He couldn’t believe the sight of his brother.

Marie-Lynn noticed the expression on his face and walked outside towards the young man. She knew the pain that John was facing. She didn’t come in for a few hours. Cooper watched from the window. John seemed to be writing something down. Marie-Lynn brought it in faster than you can say Bob’s your Uncle.

“This is from your brother to you David,” Marie-Lynn stated as she walked out of the room. Her eyes were filled with tears. Cooper opened the letter from his brother. He didn’t know what to expect from him. But the words that he would say could never leave Cooper or Jesse:

Dear David and Jesse,

I looked into that window and saw you two lying in that bed. Jesse, you look like the hope you once had is running out of your belly button. This isn’t good for him or you. I know that you are young but I am going to give you a challenge. You will be better after he is and that’s a fact.

I don’t want to hear none of this I am dying junk because I can loose either of you. Jesse you’re the only one that can keep this family together and I ain’t gonna loose that. Look what you have done for this family.

I mean I see every child going out there with a smile on their faces. Even if that doesn’t mean much to you it means double that to me. We need your guidance. I can’t take care of this family. I am so irresponsible that it scares me.

David, don’t give up on yourself because I never do. I know it seems like this will only get worse but it’s all up to you buddy. I can’t tell you to get well. But I need your help, keep Jesse alive for me. He needs you more than anything right now.

This is the one thing that Jesse needs, you. I need you too. So buckle down and get the job done. David, keep writing while you’re in bed it is important you know. Write something inspiring, something that can help both of you see the place you are at. Make it beautiful and inspiring.

Boys, don’t think about all of us kids. We’re fine and you know that with all your heart. The family Jesse put them with treats them well. But I guess sometimes things like that work out. Jesse, you have a good choice in character. Don’t loose that my friend. I see it in everything you do.

I know if David had a son and if something would happen to him that you would be the one to take care of him. Everyone has that trust in you. Aunt Bess couldn’t be prouder of you. I called her and told her what you do for us everyday. She cried. Bess said that you probably are just like Dad. You know how he never thought about himself either? Well that’s what I see when I look at you.

But Jesse please think about yourself for once in your life. You have so much to live for. A lot of adventures are just waiting for you. This farm needs you and so do we. Mom and Dad were right to leave it to you.

Jesse and David, don’t let it this beat you. I know that you both have the strength to carry on. Just because we want to give up sometimes, doesn’t mean we should.

I love you both and I am hoping to see you two again when you both walk out those doors and give us big giant hugs.

Love your brother,


David didn’t waste any time after he read that letter. He thought that whole week and put together a poem. He wanted to read it to Jesse right away. But Jesse was getting worse and didn’t have any will to live. Even with that letter, dying seemed to be the best option.

“Jesse you have got to eat something,” Livonia pleaded with him.

“I ain’t hungry,” Jesse replied.

“Then drink something. You’re looking more and more like a skeleton everyday. You can’t go on like this.”

“I know and that’s why God is going to take my life.”

“You can’t ask for something like that from the almighty.”

“I can try Livonia I mean in all honesty there seems no point to me being alive.” That’s when David cut in. His attitude was worse than David’s when he had the fever. He didn’t want him to die nor did he want Jesse to talk about death. It wasn’t right. Jesse had everything. He had a warm family and a woman who cherished him. How much more could a man ask for? Well a lot more but this was a start.

“Not a chance you’re putting that on her. Livonia has feelings and she loves you. Remember she is your fiancée!” David exclaimed.

“Yeah well I am sorry but I shouldn’t have proposed when I am on my death bed,” Jesse mumbled back.

“You’re worse than I am.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I talked about death and you talked me out of it.”

“You’re young, I am older, I have lived my life.”

“Lived your life? Oh come off your high horse Jesse, you are 18 years old. You are young and you have many years left before you kick that bucket!”

“I don’t, tomorrow I’ll die.”

“You aren’t being yourself.”

“This is me like you have never seen before.

“Come on, death is far away, don’t do this to yourself. I love you.”

“I know, but I can’t get out of it. If he wants me, he can have me.” David pulled out his poem. He had to read it to Jesse even if he didn’t listen. This was something that had to be done. Jesse looked at Cooper as he cleared his throat.

How many times can people change your mind?
Oh there is a way to see today.
How many times are people singing about someone letting them down?
There is a way to see this day as being…

One step further in this journey of life,
Singing of more than the hopes and more of the dreams.
Quit living for what went wrong before and please live for what lasts.
Stop listening to those voices of the troubled cast.

I sing for what means most and not for what others decide of,
It’s not for me to judge what happens above.
I can’t quite place my finger on it but I will have to learn,
About true love and the fire that can burn within you and it is…

One step further in this journey of life,
Singing of more than the hopes and more of the dreams.
Quit living for what went wrong before and please live for what lasts.
Stop listening to those voices of the troubled cast.

Stop living for the death of people, places and things,
How would they feel if they knew that’s all you think about?
Remember all the memories that came about from wonderful events in your life,
Be happy for what they did for you.

It’s not that things don’t happen in this world,
It’s that harmony is waiting there as expand beyond the bound curl.
It’s hard to see the expression in the world,
And how life is supposed to be…

One step further in this journey of life,
Singing of more than the hopes and more of the dreams.
Quit living for what went wrong before and please live for what lasts.
Stop listening to those voices of the troubled cast.

End thinking your better than everyone else is hard I know,
But does life goes on even when your friends abandon you?
Don’t be stuck in the dark any longer than you have to,
I am not expecting you to be my slave at all but think of it as…

One step further in this journey of life,
Singing of more than the hopes and more of the dreams.
Quit living for what went wrong before and please live for what lasts.
Stop listening to those voices of the troubled cast.

Do not think that we are all against you,
Live your life more fully and live up your dreams.
Do not wish for the wronged to be right when it has been so long,
It happened in the past please let it go.

Jesse began to cry. He didn’t know what to say. This wasn’t just David’s wave length, it was his statement. Everything he had been taught to him was in those words. It was David’s greatest work ever.

<Present Day>

Everyone was in tears as Jesse put both the letter and the poem in Bo’s hand. He looked at it and wondered how his father could be so amazing. Even Uncle Jesse had given up on himself. Bo wondered if the poem had made the difference to make him want to live. He wondered what would’ve happened to Luke, Daisy and himself if it would have been different.

“So did this poem make you want to live?” Luke asked. Bo was happy someone finally spoke up. He didn’t have the voice to say it at the moment being all choked up with tears.

“No it didn’t,” Uncle Jesse replied.

“Then what did? Was it Livonia?”

“No it wasn’t her either.”

“Come on Uncle Jesse, tell us.”

“You see after he read that poem it made me think about what had happened to your grandparents. I thought about how wonderful they were. It was a blessing to have them in my life. But when they passed on I figured that it should’ve been me. Something inside me just wasn’t willing to go on.”

“How did you ever get through all these years with thoughts like that?” Daisy questioned her Uncle. She wiped away the tears that were swelling in each eye.

“Well it was your Uncle David that did it for me Daisy. Not with those words but with his attitude. You see, David was getting better day by day. He was flirting with his future wife and loving it.”

<Jesse’s story>

“Hello nurse,” David said as he gave Marie-Lynn a kiss. Marie-Lynn laughed as he did it but still pulled away.

“You ‘hello nurse’ me one more time and I will have to glue your lips shut,” Marie-Lynn replied. David lifted her up and began to run with her. She began to slap his butt constantly but he still wouldn’t let her down.

Lavonia giggled and looked at Jesse’s smile which was bigger than a chessy cat. But still the sickness was upon him. His arms and legs ached and his head just throbbing constantly. But everything seemed to be as it should be. His brother David was laughing and playing. Lavonia didn’t want to go nor did Marie-Lynn but David insisted that he take care of Jesse.

Jesse seemed to get better as David sang to the radio. But poor old Jesse would jump at the sound of dishes breaking. That kid brother of his must’ve broken 10 glasses in one week. That was a record for him. “Jesse I swear, we’s gonna run clean out of glasses!” David called out from the other room. Jesse let out a roaring laugh and began to cough hard. He didn’t know what to do anymore but something kept him holding on. Jesse was strong but still would he be strong enough?

Their nights were long and the days even longer. David read books to Jesse to keep him entertained. Sometimes reading was the only thing keeping Jesse alive. He would listen to David when he was having attacks on his body. Some nights Jesse would beg to die but soon he looked at David’s face. By then Jesse wasn’t willing to even think about death.

David would also do these plays that involved about seven to nine people. He would use a different voice for each one. Jesse was amazed at how high he could go for some of the women’s voices. It had to have been the strangest thing he’d ever seen. But some how David managed it every night; sometimes he would try too hard and David would fall over.

One day, Jesse’s blisters scabbed over. It was the happiest day of David’s life to see his big brother all better. They hugged each other and soon, family was all around them.


<Present day>

“Uncle Jesse thanks for the story,” Bo said. He walked out of the barn and into the house. He grabbed his guitar case and pulled it out from under his bed. He put it in the pickup and drove off. “Do you think he’ll be okay?” Daisy asked.

“Of course he will,” Uncle Jesse answered.

Now Bo was gone for many hours before he decided to visit his parent’s grave site. He sat beside the tiny tombstone and rubbed the dirt from the black rock. He touched his mother and father’s names and put the flowers down. He went back to the pickup and grabbed the guitar. He began to strum it ever so softly and he began to sing:

I never really had a chance to thank you,
To tell you how much you mean to me.
I know that you will see my life through,
Even though I’ll never be able to see.

David you knew what you were doing,
When you brought me into this land.
You maybe gone but I’ll carry you with me,
Daddy this is your song.

You were more than carrying,
When you held Mama tight.
You did more than sharing,
When you took care of me during the night.

I know I just don’t remember,
All the things you wanted for me.
I missed you birthdays and in December,
When you weren’t by the Christmas tree

David you knew what you were doing,
When you brought me into this land.
You maybe gone but I’ll carry you with me,
Daddy this is your song.

I never really had a chance to thank you,
To tell you how much you mean to me.
I know that you will see my life through,
Even though I’ll never be able to see.

David you knew what you were doing,
When you brought me into this land.
You maybe gone but I’ll carry you with me,
Daddy this is your song.

Bo looked up from the guitar and smiled. He stared at the grave with tears in his eyes. “I love you Daddy and I always will,” Bo mumbled. He swallowed hard. “I know you wouldn’t want me to be sad. You know, I didn’t ever think about why you left me to Uncle Jesse but now, I know, I guess I will always know. I am going back to my family and try to remember the living like you said and not worry about going so fast. My time will come when it comes.”

With that, Bo walked away. Somehow, he felt as though someone was walking beside him. He felt a hand on his shoulder but when he looked, nothing was there. Bo merely shrugged and smiled.

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