The Colorado Mountains surround me as I travel through the Gunnison Valley on my way to Denver. I keep my horse at a slow pace as he’s carrying two bodies: mine and my brother’s.
It’s been six months since we followed our friend, Griggs, west to find work in the mines. Alger was the firstborn, and I always looked to him for advice. When Griggs started talking about the money to be made by taking silver from the earth, I listened. Then I went to Alger, and he listened.
We knew all about seeking your fortune in a strange part of the country. When we were young, our parents were homesteaders in Kansas. My mother hated the flat land and told my father her next child would be born in her family home, with or without him. The four of us returned to the green hills and blue sea of Massachusetts in time for the birth of our younger brother.
However, Alger and I remembered well the excitement of the quest and Grigg’s enthusiasm fed our own as we journeyed west. Along the way, we met other young men who were following their destinies, and as we neared Colorado, their ambitions predominantly centered on silver, although a few still hungered after gold.
Alger, Griggs and I settled in Gunnison and found work in the Forest Queen mine. It was a day’s ride to the site so we stayed during the week and came to town on Saturdays. Our rented room was a luxury but it allowed us to feel civilized. It also gave us a clean bed for Alger when he contracted typhoid fever. He fought it for two weeks, and yesterday, he succumbed.
Today, I carry his body away from Gunnison. I’ll bury him in Denver where there’s a proper cemetery. There’s no reason for me to stay as the adventure died with Alger. I’ve ordered a marble tombstone, though, so I’ll be able to find him if I return.