Shorty worked year-round to save all the money he could. He gathered wild cattle, broke the rough-stock, and mended miles of barbed wire and wood fences.

He was to marry the woman that worked behind the mercantile counter. Shorty planned to use his savings as a down payment on a piece of nearby land.

After drawing his final pay, he drove into town. There Shorty picked up a newspaper and saw the announcement saying she had married the local bank president.

He returned to the ranch the following day after tying-one-on and asked for his old job back. The ranch foreman was happy to have him back, sending him out to line-shack once again.

Hours later, he arrived at the shack and settled in for the night. He had a long day plan beginning the following morning.

With the buckboard and mules, Shorty set out to cut some firewood. Three loads later, he was ready to build a fire in the shack’s old pot-bellied stove.

He left the door open so he could watch the flames burn up a set of initials bordered by a heart carved into the bark. It was the only way Shorty stayed warm that winter.


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