“She said that Chavous was her mama’s family name, didn’t she? Wonder what happened to her daddy?”
Tira answered “And I wonder if she’s related to those Chavous.”
“Which ones? There’s folks named Chavous and Chaves all over the place in Tuscarora country.”
“You know the ones I mean. The French ones. She sure ain't no Tuscarora.”
Kennia just shook her head. “Please, just let it be for once. We’re just on a mission together. It ain’t like we’re getting married or nothing. Let’s just focus on our work,”
Tira frowned. “I’m just saying, that’s all.”
“Well, let’s just say something else. What about your mechanics magazines? You bring some of them with you? There must be something interesting in them. That’s what you’re always tellin’ me at least.”
Tira smiled at her friend’s choice of an alternative topic.
“Yeah, we weren’t in port long enough for me to get caught-up with my readin’. I have a whole mess of readin’ to do when I’m not working. I do wish I’d had the time to give her a good look-over before we left Charleston, though. There’s always somethin’ that needs adjusting, don’t ya know?”
Kennia patter he shoulder. “I know you’ll be busy keepin’ everything running right.” She signed as she looked at her pocket watch. “Now I must relieve our Captain before he gets too cranky from being cooped-up in that little cockpit. Maybe you oughta invent or design a bigger one for tall folks! See ya later in any case.”
Meanwhile, back at the mining camp (for that was what it really was), spring had come to stay even in the higher reaches of the Appalachian Mountains. With the milder temperatures the men were becoming increasingly boisterous. No longer content to huddle around the wood-stove and drink coffee for warmth, a few had made some half-hearted attempts to plant a small kitchen garden as a way of passing the time. No one made any effort to plow and plant a commercial crop. The pair of oxen spent most of their days standing and chewing their cud. For better or for worse, the group had abandoned all pretense of starting a real farm. Some had taken to panning for gold in a nearby mountain stream but without much success.