Little Toby Smith
Toby Smith was picked on because he was a small boy, but he had a sister named Stephanie that took nothing off no one. At recess she would shout toward the school yard, “Don’t mess with Toby Smith! Don’t you boys pick on him!”
She would rush into the school yard and help Toby to his feet then kick that bully right between the legs. As he lay there kicking like a dog scratching fleas she would shout, “I told you not to mess with little Toby Smith!”
Over the years Toby had gotten where he would repeat over and over in his mind, ‘Don’t mess with Toby Smith’.
Even his younger sisters, Carrie and Sondra would beg the older boys not to mess with Toby. Sondra was the brains of the family and always made straight A’s in school. Carrie loved animals and was always with her father, helping out.
Kentucky farm land was poor, with parcels too small for a growing family to make more than a fair living. April 14th. 1882, the Smith family got a letter from Uncle James. ‘Been a good spell coming, but got us that farm we’s wanting. Come to a stage stop called South Fork, Colorado.’ It had been seven long years since any word was heard. Paul, at times had thought perhaps James was dead.
James was Paul’s older brother and had gone west several years after the war. He had heard the mountains of Colorado were full of silver and gold. Before he left he said, “Now Paul, when I strike it rich I’ll send for y’all. With enough gold or silver either one, we can buy us a big farm, as big as we want.”
“You do that James and we’ll sell out here and come running.”
Two weeks after that letter arrived, the farm was sold and they would be leaving the next morning. Toby Smith was now fourteen years old and still small for his age, but had muscles as hard as a rock. He got those from working the farm right along beside his dad. All of his short life bigger boys had bullied and picked on him. That afternoon he saddled his horse and rode into town, looking for Brad Stone, the largest bully in Paducah. He found him on Main Street right in front of the sheriff’s office. “Hold up, I need to talk with you Brad!”
“What dah ya want yah little runt?” Brad was two years older than Toby and outweighed him by seventy pounds.
Toby dismounted, “It’s you I want. Remember for years you was told over and over again not to mess with Toby Smith? Well here’s Toby and its payback
Toby drew back and hit him right in the nose, knocking him flat of his back. “Don’t you dare get up; I’ll hurt you Brad Stone!”
Brad never moved, looking up in shock with blood pouring from his nose, tears flooded his eyes. Toby smiled while stepping into the saddle and turning the horse toward home. “So long Brad, enjoy your summer.”