In his first novel, Bud Fussell has penned an epic: a struggle between two very different brothers; a pioneer man of the early 19th century building a family and an empire; a troubled soul far from home encountering travel and grace. Jake is the Scoundrel, an unforgettable character living out a saga that remains in the reader’s mind and heart long after the book is finished.
Lying awake, thinking, something came over Jake, unlike anything he had ever experienced. More than just a thought, it was like a command he must obey. A revelation telling him what he was to do. Initially, it shocked him. He struggled, then, finally acquiesced to do what he must to help the people of Mexico. Immediately, he was at peace and went right to sleep.
He woke up the next morning and did something he may have never done before; he got on his knees and prayed. “God, was that you last night? I believe it was, Lord, and I just want you to know that I’m going to do what you told me to do.”
At breakfast, he sat down with Leann and Ina. “I want to talk to you for a moment. Do you remember looking at the Gonzalez Ranch? I asked if you would like to live in Mexico and live on that ranch? You both said you would. Leann, have you thought about it? Have you?”
Then Jake said, “Well I hope you thought about it more than a little and decided you would like to live here because I think we’re going to move.”
“What made you decide to do that?” Leann asked.
Jake told them about the experience he had last night. “It was like a vision. I’ve never had anything like it before. I think maybe it was God, telling me what I have to do to help these people. I could probably live at the J I Ranch and do the same thing, but I feel strongly that I should be here, and I hope you two will agree to do it.”
“Ina, since you and I are not technically married, you don’t have to, but I hope you will.”
“I would like to move here with you. I love you and Leann, and I want to spend my life with you.”
“What about you, Leann?”
“If this is what you want, then, I do too.”
“Great. I’m going to talk to Joey and President Ruiz this morning. When I get back, I’ll tell you what I have decided to do, so please don’t go anywhere until then.”
He asked Isabella to have his horse saddled or a carriage brought around. Either would do. He had to go to Joey’s office right away.
Jake raced up the stairs to Joey’s office. “Son, will you please ask President Ruiz to come in here? I have to talk to both of you about something very important.”
Joey didn’t question Jake and left immediately to find the President. As soon as they were back to Joey’s office, Jake began. “I’m pretty sure God appeared to me last night, telling me what I must do.”
“First of all, Leann, Ina, and I are going to accept your offer of the Gonzalez Ranch and move down here.”
The president was pleased. “Wonderful.”
“I plan to go home next week and hope you will send two or three guards with me as escorts. When I get home, I’m going to get my sons together and tell them I’m moving and what I want to do with my ranch. I’m going to retain ownership of the J I Ranch and will put my oldest son, Raymond, in charge of running it.”
“I have seen how hard it is for some people to get grain and necessities because they have no money. The fifteen thousand dollars I gave has helped, but not enough, so I will give you twenty-five thousand head of cattle, five thousand head of sheep, one thousand hogs, and fifty percent of our vegetable crops from the upcoming harvest.” ….
President Ruiz was dumbfounded. “Jake, I don’t know what to say. First, Joseph foretold this horrible drought and then through some kind of divine intervention, you were brought into our situation. Your son saved our people by predicting the drought years ahead of time, so we had time to prepare, and you have come offering more than anyone could ever imaging, saving countless more lives. Joseph told me when I first met him that he believed God was responsible for his being able to see the drought in his mind. Coming when you did must be part of that plan, too.”
Bud Fussell was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee and moved to Mount Airy, North Carolina in 1967, where he currently lives. He is 76 years old and has been married to his high school sweetheart, Jane Ward, for 57 years. Bud and Jane have 3 sons, 7 grandsons, 2 great-grandsons, and one great-granddaughter. He is retired after spending many years in the apparel and hosiery industries. In addition to his new-found love of writing, Bud loves to hunt and fish.