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Town of Friendship Texas, the Old West
“Why can’t our scarecrow have a real face?“ Amy asked Audrey who was adjusting the well-worn cotton shirt over the extended straw arms.
“Because he doesn’t need a face,” she assured, expecting more questions - knowing how inquisitive a six year old could be.
She had raised the child, their parents victims of tuberculosis following Amy’s second birthday. Audrey had been twenty-one at the time, immediately discarding dreams of a life in the east when her parents had sent word to her, pleading for help. She had made a deathbed promise to them that she would care for Amy as if she were her own - a promise which she had fulfilled albeit with strained funds.
They had been left with a five-thousand acre farm embedded with some of the poorest soil in the region. Hills, rocks, boulders, tumbleweeds and cactus threaded the bare earth. The only area containing rich soil for planting crops resided alongside the creek which ribboned through the east side of the boundary lines, but the ruthless Gallagher lived adjacent to the creek - so that area was out of consideration.
Even the small tribe of Cherokee Indians which had set up camp on the north area of the property had refused to farm there, instead opting to settle on the west side of the property. They had not asked her permission to settle, and Audrey had not protested their presence, allowing them safe harbor. Although they kept their distance, Audrey felt safer due to their occupation.
They shared an unspoken, mutual understanding. Besides overlooking use of the property, Audrey provided them with about four gallons of milk daily - although her milk cow Buttercup had produced up to five gallons on rare occasion.
After the morning and evening milking she would place the full covered pails on a sill outside of the barn. Rarely did she see a Cherokee take the pail; they were masters at the art of camouflage.
Before Gallagher had moved into the area, Audrey would visit the creek quite frequently, spying sealed jars of the white milk cooling in the water - placed there by the Cherokee squaws.