It’s 1845 and Jacob travels to Montana with his wife and son to settle. After hard work, he has a log cabin built and pulls a brass bell from a steamer trunk they brought with them.
His wife, Sara, is bemused, asking what the bell is for. As the man proceeds to hang it from the eaves just in front of the front door, to one side, he answers her, replying, “It’s our door bell.” The family dog, DeeTee runs around and tries to get Caleb, the ten year old son, to play.
Jacob continues, “But it’s more than a door bell. If you use the fire poker to hit it, it can be heard for a mile or more.” He demonstrates and it is so loud Sara and Caleb have to hold their ears. “If you have an emergency, and I am out hunting or felling timber, ring it like that and I will hop on my horse and come as fast as I can.” he adds. Sarah is super pleased and that night, a new child is conceived.
Just a week later, Jacob is hunting small game when he hears the bell. He hops on his trusty horse and gallops home. When he enters the cabin, he sees Sarah cooking and Caleb playing with DeeTee. “What’s the emergency, Sarah?” he asks breathlessly. She wipes her hands on her apron and casually answers, “Oh, nothing now. Caleb had a big splinter and I was having trouble with it. I figured we could use your help. But right after I rang the bell, he got it out. Sorry to bother you.” Jacob was still catcjing his breath as he kissed her and restated the important detail that the bell was for emergencies only. She apologized and all was well.
Four months later, while fishing, Jacob heard the bell. He figured he made it clear it was for emergencies only, so this must surely be something horrible. Once again, he hurried home. This time, Caleb had skinned his knee, drawing blood, but it wasn’t anything their medical supplies couldn’t handle. This time, he just said, “Emergencies!” and returned to his fishing.
When Sarah was a month from her due date, Jacob was stalking a deer, wanting to have plenty of venison jerky on hand after the baby was born and he would be trying to spend more time at home. This time when the bell rang, he wasn’t sure whether to rush home or not. Watching the deer bound away startled, he mounted the horse and hurried home, but not with the intensity he had garnered before.
As he came over the ridge, he could see his cabin in flames. As he rushed toward it, he saw his family dead in front of the cabin. DeeTee had an arrow through him. Caleb laid nearby, lifeless. On the porch, he saw Sarah directly under the bell in a pool of blood, scalped.
Jacob took a deep breath and said, “Well… thats more like it.”