It had been years since she’d been back to Morgan’s Saloon but she could still see the look on her father’s face as he clutched his chest and fell to the floor. Those were happy times… She missed him.
The old place looked the same. Same picture hanging on the wall. Same glass lamp in the corner. Even the tables were still as she remembered. All worn and scratched but still there. Sitting at a table, she ran a finger across the initials on the table top. Her father had carved them there that day they played.
“Becky??? Is that you???” a familiar voice asked. “Mr. Potts???” Oh it was so good to see him. “Becky it IS you.” His arms scooped her up and gave her a big hug. “You haven’t changed a bit Mr. Potts.” “Ah, just call me Jim…and I’m a little heavier and grayer, but nice of you to say.” They smiled at each other.
“I’m glad you could visit Becky.” I have something to give you…from your father.” His hand reached into his shirt pocket. He pulled out a small brown box and handed it to her. She opened the box with shaky hands. Inside the box was a little gold heart locket. “Your father wanted you to have that… It was your mothers. He made me promise not to give it to you til he was gone... The locket opens up.”
Becky gently pulled the locket out of its box… She opened it. Inside were 2 pictures, one of her father and another of a beautiful lady. The face was faintly familiar. Her dark hair was pulled up in a bun. She hadn’t known her mother. Her father never talked about her, and when she’d ask… he’d just crack a joke and change the subject. “Do you know who she is?” Becky asked. “You look a lot like her, same hair, same eyes,” Mr. Potts said smiling. “She came through here about a year before you were born… looking for a singing job.” A tear ran down Becky’s cheek. She had always wondered where she had gotten her singing talent from. “I gave her a job.” Mr. Potts continued. “She had the voice of a songbird.” He smiled. “Your father came in for a drink that first night, and heard her sing. They flirted with each other and it wasn’t long before he was smitten with her. They spent every moment they could together. They would take long rides in the countryside. He bought her pretty things.”
“She had many men that liked her. But her eyes were only for your father, so of course she said yes when he asked her to marry him. One guy in particular, Bart, was very jealous of your father. When he found out they were going to get married his jealousy grew, and he swore he would kill your father before that would happen.”
“One night when your mother was singing, Bart came in and started drinking. He drank way too much. He started grabbing at your mother. Your father came in and told Bart to leave her alone. Bart pulled his gun. Your father was quicker and shot the gun out of Bart’s hand and with it a finger. Bart screamed in pain and left the saloon.”
“They thought that was the end of Bart. They married and 9 months later you were born. That locket was your dad’s wedding present to your mother.” He paused a moment to pour them both a glass of Sasparilla. He handed Becky a glass and continued his story.
“Your mother came back to sing shortly after you were born. She was happy to be singing again. As the years came and went your father and mother grew apart. She wasn’t happy being a housewife. She liked the attention she got from singing. Men loved her!”
“I still remember that night like it was yesterday.” said Mr. Potts. “Your dad could stand up to the best of `em, but that night he wasn’t quick enough. She enjoyed flirting with Bart in particular. They left the saloon and went out back. I didn’t see them leave. It was a busy night.”
“Your father came in looking for her. Someone told him she’d left with Bart and went out back. He found them in an embrace. Your father yelled at Bart to let her go. Bart pushed your mother away and drew his gun, with the hand with the missing finger. Your father was quicker, but not before Bart got off one shot! He missed your father, but the bullet hit your mother right in the heart. Your father rushed to her side. He grabbed her in his arms. The locket fell to the ground. He was so mad at her… but he loved her so. She died in his arms a few moments later.”
“A week later your father packed up you and his belongings and left Morgan. We’ve kept in touch over the years. He wouldn’t speak of her. I guess he was just too humiliated. I told him I found the locket. He told me to keep it. I told him I’d give it to you, when you were ready. He said to wait til he was dead.”
Becky sat there for a moment. Her father was gone and she had so many questions still unanswered. “I don’t remember her. What was her name?” Becky asked. “Rebecca.” Mr. Potts said. Becky smiled. She was named after her mother.
“You keep that locket close to you Becky. I know your mother loved you, in her own way.” “I will Mr. Potts... I promise.” She got up from the table and walked towards the door. “Thank you Mr. Potts.” She said. “You come visit me again soon Becky” “I will.” As she put her hand on the door to leave, she stopped. Glanced at the piano… Closed her eyes and could hear a woman faintly singing. She smiled… opened her eyes… pushed the door open and walked of the Saloon. She held the locket tight. She knew a little more about her mother. She was happy.