Ranch Romances is near the trailing end of that time frame. I'm not quite as old as dirt yet and so I know quite a few people do recall the 1940s, especially the tail end of them. It is kind of shocking though to realize just how many changes have come in this sixty some years!
Here again is the cover I am really enamored with. And below one more little excerpt about Darnell's arrival in New Mexico. To read more, you have to buy it ;-).
Wade didn’t want to get the kids’ hopes up too high or too soon. He had not told them about his effort and didn’t even announce that someone was coming. For now, everything went on as it had for the last twenty-some, long weeks. However, once the telegram came to tell him that D. Davis was indeed on the way and would arrive in less than twenty-four hours, he could hardly keep from saying something. Buck had gotten the yellow envelope, such an unusual occurrence that he was fidgeting like a little kid when Wade came in from checking fences so he could move most of the herd to the upper summer pasture.
Winnie met him at the kitchen door, stuttering with her excitement. “D-d-daddy, you got a special letter. Uncle Buck says it’s gotta be important ’cause a telly-gram is always real serious. What does it say?”
Wade ripped the envelope and pulled out the short message. “We’re going to have a visitor,” he said. “She may stay here and take care of the house for us if we like her and she likes us. But don’t get too fired up about it, okay? Don’t want to scare her off right away.”
He looked down at Winnie’s wide eyes, saw the hesitant smile tugging at her little mouth. “Oh! Like a new mama?”
Wade shook his head. “No, not like that, just a lady to cook and stuff. Maybe. Don’t be counting those chickens before the eggs are laid.”
The next morning, he fired up the old truck to drive down to the depot in Frontera. He thought about taking the team and the wagon. He’d done that a lot during the war when gas was rationed, but he figured an eastern woman, even if she said she could handle primitive and remote, might be put off by such transportation. Not that the truck was anything to brag about. Still, it did have a cab and a padded seat and roll-up windows. Not quite like the fancy new cars coming out of the factories now, but it was the best he had.
He got there about ten minutes before the eastbound arrived. The Sunset Limited was not the absolute top, but it was a classy train, one of Southern Pacific’s fine fleet that ran across the southwest to
California. The big
engine rolled in with a billowing cloud of steam and smoke and a piercing
whistle. It came to a halt about half the train’s length past the platform. Not
too many folks got off.
Wade waited, beginning to wonder what Miz Davis might look like. Would she be young, middle-aged, or grandmotherly? Tall or short, thin or hefty? No solitary woman appeared, though. There were three couples, one pair with two kids, and a couple of men that seemed to be alone. He waited.
Then one of the men started toward him. “Would you be Mr. Walters?”
Wade snapped around when he heard his name. “Yep, that’s me. How did you know my name? Where’s Miz Davis?”
Though the young man’s clothes were worn and the suitcase he carried had seen better days, he was neat and clean. He had a kind face and gentle blue eyes that contrasted with his very dark hair, hair that shone like a grackle’s wing in the strong morning sun.
“Miz? No, I’m Darnell Davis. I’m the one you sent a ticket to, the one who hopes to be the person you need for your family. I didn’t intend to mislead you. It just never occurred to me that you might think I was a lady.”
A mixture of anger and disappointment filled Wade for a moment, but on its heels came an odd sense of inevitability, the same hand of fate feeling that had overtaken him when he first saw that section in the magazine. Still, he had to voice some of his doubts and suspicions.
“Can you really cook, keep house, take care of children? That’s hardly a normal man’s work.”
Although Wade could read the fear the young man felt, young
Davis squarely met his
gaze. “Yes, sir. I can do that and do it well. As I told you initially, I did
the housewife’s role while growing up since my mother was working, and there
were four younger children in the family when my father disappeared. I’ve had
about ten years of experience keeping house, and then I went through cook’s
training in the army as well.”
“Then why couldn’t you get a job back east?”