Diamonds in Time is the story of a family’s journey to solidarity and strength through incredible odds with wild twists that make us all wonder just what decides our fate.
This story takes us through generations from the pioneers of the American continent to modern times.
We ride along as Gregory McDohnnahoe leads genera-tions of his family through two world wars, devastating setbacks and losses, to find what means the most to a family, Unity and love.
The tale weaves through surprising influence from the mountain in the background of their lives. Riddle Moun-tain reveals its shocking secrets to those who would help others beyond their own understanding. Sit back, get comfortable and enjoy.
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Jerry rolled down his window to listen. There were no bird signs, no crickets, and no wind. There was only a slight gurgle from the creek next to the landing.
Abruptly, a man came crashing out of the underbrush, he appeared confused, and dazed, Jerry climbed out, and cautiously caught up to the hiker. Approaching, he could now see it was Joseph Hatcher, wow, he looked rough.
“Joe, are you alright sir,”
Joe just stared at him with a blank look, without answering.
Jerry took a hold of his arm, “Sir, let’s go over to the truck.” Joseph did not resist at all, going with Jerry as though on a leash around to the passenger’s side of Jerry’s truck. Jerry opened the door and gently coaxed him to sit. Closing the door, he thought this is way too weird, I wonder what could have happened to stun Joe this way. Jerry walked around to the driver’s side while watching the poor soul on his bench seat. Once in beside Joe, he flicked on his citizen band and dialed to channel nineteen.
In moments, he was talking to Eric, the watch commander who was dispatching at the Sheriffs office.
“This is the Sheriffs office. Identify please,”
“This is Jerry Mc Dohnnahoe; I have found Joseph Hatcher the lost hunter that was in the news.”
“I am at the hiker’s staging area at RiddleMountain.”
Chapter 1 History Lesson
The pale light of the dashboard played out the shadows across Gregory’s face as he recounted the family history to his son. Justin listened intently. He was finally going to hear how his family originally came to this mountain strewn state. He was about to really get to know his roots for the first time.
“It all began with Great Grandpa William McDohnnahoe, who migrated out west after giving his all to Captain Musick’s company in the ill-fated war with Canada.
They were trying to shake off the British draft on young American men. Great Grandpa Bill was one of the lucky ones who were able to carry on with a life after the Indian wars and the war of 1812.
He came to Colorado about 1850 with nothing more than a pack on his back, the clothes he wore and about as healthy a constitution as a man could have. Grandpa actually won a ranch in a card game, lock stock and debts. He managed to turn it around and make a real go of the place.
Although life was almost comfortable on the ranch, Great Grandpa Bill was not a rancher and his new wife longed for life in the towns where he could make a wage and go home to rest every night with her. She died in a third childbirth, whispering that wish. My Dad and Aunt lost a little brother and a mother in the same night.
Ranching was a twenty four hour operation that lasted three hundred and sixty five days of the year. My Grandpa had no one to look after his children. He sold the thriving spread to his neighbor and moved his young family to town where he took up a steady job in the Leadville mines. He paid the washer woman to look after his children while he worked.”
Justin sat in rapt attention, absorbing the long overdue history, as he continued..
“Well, my Grandpa died in a mine disaster just a few years later. I think around 1865. They say he was a hero who could have escaped but stayed behind long enough to help several men to escape from the mine in front of him. He was turning back for more when the cave-in ended his life and his heroic efforts. This left my Dad, Andy and my Aunt Jessica alone.
Aunt Jessica was about 12 and didn’t make her teens as she wasted away and died with sheer grief at loosing her beloved father. Suddenly, Andy was all alone, just days before his eleventh birthday.
Fortunately, Jake a well worn friend of Grandpa, a mining engineer who was among the miners pushed out of the doomed mine by Grandpa, took Andy (Dad) in with the promise that he would keep up the house, learn the engineering trade from him and study a couple times a week.
The McDohnnahoe genes were strong in my dad so he thrived. Learning quickly there was only one way to design mine cribbing and beam work, the safe and strong way. No short cuts would come from his design.
This arrangement lasted a few years and Dad earned his way to the pride of old Jake the kindly engi-neer.
About this same time, another drama was creating an orphan on the other side of town. A wagon train ar-rived in town, and camped just to the south. In a few of the wagons, consumption was taking its toll and amongst the dying were a couple who would soon leave behind a 12 year old girl. Her name was Jennifer.”
Justin’s eyes lit up. “Was that Grandma?”
Gregory smiled at the boy, nodded and continued his story.
“Well word got around town quickly, by a barren seamstress in the town who desperately wanted a child but had no husband or ability to have a child, petitioned the wagon master to take young Jennifer on. It was an easy decision for the wagon master, the last thing he needed on the journey to Oregon was an orphaned child.”
“Mom took up residence with the kindly spinster and life worked wonders as the two became close and mom took to sewing like a duck to the pond. I suppose a year passed this way until Dad and Mom were sent on errands to the trading post at the same time. Dad had a pretty decent income for a boy who had just turned four-teen and had a bit of change of his own. Upon seeing this wonderful vision loading her basket and talking with the store clerk, he decided he had to meet her. He noticed her eye glancing toward the hard candy bin a couple of times so he made his move.”
“He stepped up beside her and ordered a bag of the hard candy. He looked her directly in the eye and told her he had noticed her looking at the candy bin. He asked if he could share his bag with her, or better yet, buy her a bag too.”
“Although a little embarrassed at being caught longing for some sugar, she was not shy. She nodded and smiled. Dad asked for another bag, paid the clerk and walked out with Mom to sit and try some of the candy at a nearby bench.”
“While comparing notes, it was immediately un-derstood by both within minutes; they were meant for each other. Their excitement at the mutual attraction al-most made them ignore the shop-keep tapping dad on the shoulder to hand him the extra bag of candy he had for-gotten in the store. Grinning, the clerk left the young ones to their chatter and went back to the store.”
“The relationship grew quickly and Dad was in-vited over to Meredith the seamstress’ house to meet Mom’s benefactor and he quickly won her respect and admiration. “
“Every Sunday after church, Dad could be found at the lady’s house, mending door hinges, drawer slides roof shingles and every other thing a house needed to be maintained. Within a year, Dad asked for Mom’s hand and she readily agreed if Meredith had no objections.
The next Sunday had them sitting with the matron in her parlor, struggling to get the words out. She caught on pretty quick and pulled the story out of them.”
“She admitted she had seen it coming, but had to think hard about it because they were so young. She also acknowledged that circumstance and uncommon sense had matured them far beyond their years. She gave her blessing on one condition.
They would both live with her and Dad would pay the rent by maintaining and building on to the house. Grinning like a monkey, he readily agreed. They were married within a week at the ripe old age of fourteen and fifteen. Dad had one year on Mom. A few months after they were married, Meredith went to San Francisco to look after her sickly sister. A few months turned into a couple of years and finally their neighbor, a banker knocked on the door one day to hand Dad an envelope and a telegraph that told of the passing of not only her sister, but Meredith as well. In shock, they found the en-velope contained the paid deed to the house and it was signed over to them.”
When it was clear Greg had finished the tail, Justin spoke up.
“Why did it take so long to tell me about my great grandparents and your grand dad?”
“Well Son, I suppose it simply never came up. I had no idea it would be so important to an eight year old, but you are about to see all this history first hand so I wanted you to understand the value of this old house you are about to see. It has held a lot of love in its day; I was raised in it and so was your older brother Greg Jr. for a few months while I was in the service. I also wanted you to understand why I am so proud of what your grand par-ents have accomplished over the years. I and your uncle Christopher went off to the Second World War from here and never really returned. As you know, your Uncle Chris was killed in the war, and my career in the Marine Corps has kept us in California. Dad and Mom have missed us terribly, and loosing your grandpa has made it so clear to me just how valuable family is.”
They were silent for a few miles, both deep in thought as the winding highway led them east toward their goal. Gregory looked sadly over at his gangly son, disheveled from sleeping on the seat of the 46 Cadillac.
He silently glanced around the spanking new car he had just bought off the showroom floor. This was its inaugural run.
“Son, I have more to explain. Are you awake enough to talk about some real important stuff? “
“Ya, I guess so.”
“Justin, I know you expect your mom to follow us out here shortly, but I’m afraid she isn’t coming. She is going to stay in San Francisco. She will not move out here with us.
It’s something I have to do. Staying is something she has to do. Justin, you have he right to live with either of us. We talked it over long and hard and you will get to visit the other any time you want.”
“I know Dad; I’ve heard you talking and I saw the writing on the wall. I want to be here in Colorado. I want to see where my family comes from. I have a feeling Mom will change her mind some day. This was her home too wasn’t it? Don’t Mom’s folks live here somewhere too?”
“Yes, they live a couple hundred miles away and your mom will be out to visit often, she just feels her life is in California now.”
“OK, Dad, that’s ok. Mom and I are close, but I feel I belong here somehow. It’s like I always knew it. Something about these mountains seems to need me here. Are we going to be somewhere soon that has a bath-room?”
Taken back by the deep thoughts of an eight year old, Gregory took stock of the landmarks.
“If my memory serves me Son, there is a Texaco Truck stop about five miles up the road. You must be about starved too. My eyes are getting heavy so a break, a meal and some coffee will be welcome. Our new home is less than twenty miles now.”