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A work of fiction written by:

William A. Gardner

4612 Miramar Drive NW

Albuquerque, NM 87114


All of the characters in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


Chapter 1

Jeremiah Beeson had a business problem nagging at him as he sat in his oak-paneled study in his ranch-style home in Knoxville. Another burst of wind-driven rain pelting the windows that Saturday morning served only to exacerbate his mood. On the wall opposite his desk hung the several portraits of his family business predecessors. He felt he did his best thinking here among these pictures of his forebears; their rather sober expressions helped to coalesce his thoughts. His eyes fell on the portrait of his great-grandfather, Adrian Beeson. Looking for some kind of inspiration or revelation or guidance or he wasn’t sure what, he went to a bottom drawer of the credenza and pulled out some old albums and shoeboxes where he ran across several old letters to the family discussing the death of Adrian Beeson. Jeremiah gleaned the following information: Adrian Beeson passed away in 1960 at the ripe old age of 96. Having outlived all of his contemporaries, he had been recognized as the oldest man in eastern Tennessee. Many of the folks at the funeral mentioned how he seemed to have a smile frozen on his face. His had been a hard, but full life. He was one of those so-called hillbillies in his day. He was not a descendant of a Stuart or a Jackson or a Davis or a Beauregard. His was not of plantations and debutante balls, but he had succeeded in bringing all his offspring on their own through the years. A shirttail relationship to Davy Crockett was his biggest claim in life. Adrian knew what it was like to talk to a mule all day long and he frequently dined on squirrel or possum, but he knew how to survive just on hushpuppies if need be.

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