Grayson had always heard tales of his great, great, great grandfather, William G. Braden. But they were always just that … tales, so long ago no one in the family really remembered. Stories embellished over the years and handed down from mother to son, father to daughter and re-embellished along the way. Oh well, he had his move to think about at the moment.
Grayson was heading with his wife and two young sons to a new job in the west, San Francisco. It was more than several days drive and he was not looking forward to it. There were great open spaces to cover and two boys sure to be bored and restless. Yes, a long drive indeed. But right now, he had a whole house to sort through and pack.
Grayson was born in this home, as was his father, and his grandfather. All of his family, except for a sister and brother were gone. His older sister and brother moved away last year when father died. Their life in Tennessee and their family story was about to become just a note in history.
Oh well, change is inevitable and it was time to move on. Time to see what the attic held in store. There was always so much dust and cobwebs that Grayson seldom ventured into the attic. But the house had been sold and he needed to clear everything out. He’d thought about an “estate sale”, but somehow he just didn’t have the energy, nor did he think that it would be time well spent. The best approach was to sort through the cobwebs and dust, donate anything that looked worthwhile and haul the rest to the dump. Yes, that would be the most expedient.
As expected, Grayson found mostly junk and nick-knacks. There was one unexpected surprise, an old spinning wheel in excellent condition for 100 years old. Finally, having cleaned out everything, it was time to sort thru the various boxes and trunks laid out in the yard, prior to their final resting place – the local landfill.
One huge trunk was quite heavy. Sifting through papers and old photos was a bit tedious, most of them were falling apart from years of storage. At the bottom of the chest, Grayson spotted an old satchel, somewhat stiff but still in good shape. Opening the satchel, Grayson found a drawing. It was a drawing by his great, great, great grandmother, Rachel. He could feel the excitement of such a find. A piece of his family history and in such wonderful condition. The drawing was of a beautiful rose entwined in handcuffs, how curious.
Within the satchel was also a small book. Opening the book, Grayson saw that it was Rachel’s diary. Rachel had just turned fifteen and had started her own journal. Her first entry was the one where she met a mysterious man.
That evening, Rachel was brushing the horses when she heard a noise in the back of the barn. As Rachel went to investigate, a young man stepped out from behind the hay bales and beseeched Rachel for some water. Clad in prison garb, with handcuffs, the young man assured Rachel he meant her no harm.
Half starved and thirsty, and looking quite forlorn, Rachel could not help but provide him with some sustenance and a bit of ale. As he ate, the man who would become Grayson’s great, great, great grandfather introduced himself as William Grayson Braden.
Grayson was ecstatic – he was named after the family patriarch.
William told Rachel of his escape adventure from the road gang. Listening to his tale of false arrest and swift imprisonment Rachel fell in love. William had worked for a short time as a butcher’s apprentice when he was sixteen, and earned the monicker “Billy the Butcher”.
Now Grayson knew where all of those tall tales originated.
Rachel drew the rose and handcuffs that night as she pondered her future. And, as they say, the rest is history.
This story was inspired by Shafali’s drawing from her most recent event, the Creativity Carnival. She gives participants cue-art to do something creative with. This is my response.
Thank you for reading,
Your Lazy Old Dog Tim