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October 20, 1849

Dearest Luanne

It’s still summer, been that way for a year now. It don’t feel right though. The leaves ain’t got them colors of pumpkins and squash like they do back east. I been waitin for the crunch of the leaves under my feet for twelve months. Guess I oughta stop waitin.

It’s a differnt kind of purty here. When the sun sets down behind them mountains, why - it’s like the sky catches fire! The sky is so big here, you’ld be amazed by how wide open it is. But when the sun has gone to bed I get to missin you the most. There ain’t no lightnin bugs to catch. Remember how I’d catch them in my hands and open a crack in my fingers for you to see? I was catchin the stars for you. I miss sittin up late on your Mama’s porch, holdin your hand, and listenin to your soft purty voice. All them dreams of fine houses and fancy clothes. I keep that picture of you in my head, sittin on the porch swing, your eyes closed, dreamin dreams and smilin.

I swear I’m gonna make them come true. I ain’t found no gold yet, but when I do I’m buyin you the biggest house in town so you can throw them big parties you wish for. I sure do miss you LuLu. This ain’t no place for a lady like you or I’d come fetch you straight away. It’s a hard way to live. I keep busy mostly during the day. Jimmy’s put me onto a new lead for a strike. Me and him’s gonna pool our money and make a go of it and stake a claim. Soon, Lu. I’ll be home soon with my pockets full of gold for you. I’m bringin you the stars.

I want you to do somethin for me. Go outside and catch one of them lightnin bugs. Catch yerself a star, make a wish on it, then send it on up to me. I’ll be here workin to make it come true. Write me soon Lu. Give me somethin to keep me goin.