DOWN THE ROAD
by Melinda Kay Jenkinson
Peace Ridge, Texas is located about
four hours south of El Paso. A small town, Peace Ridge is
reminiscent of the Old West. Located fifteen miles outside of
Peace Ridge is Silver Creek Ranch.
At five years old, Silver Creek was
earning a reputation as one of the best ranches from which to
purchase racing horses. Silver Creek was owned by Kaye Leigh
Rutherford, a woman who had always dreamed of living in Texas
on a ranch and riding the open range.
Six years ago, when she first came to
Silver Creek, Kaye Leigh had been running from love. She had
been dating Jeff for about a year; they had met on the first
day of kindergarten when both their daughters had started
school. From the moment she met Jeff, she had been infatuated
They lived in a small town in
Michigan, Kaye Leigh worked for the state government, and Jeff
was a successful doctor with his own practice. Kaye Leigh had
never thought anything would come of her infatuation with
Jeff, especially after she had to move to another town when
her department was reorganized. They didn’t see each other in
a few years, but then during a visit with her parents, Kaye
Leigh ran into him again. After exchanging e-mails and phone
numbers, their friendship began.
E-mails or instant messages were
exchanged several times a day. Ultimately, after Kaye Leigh
wrote and published her first book, she moved back to her
Having fallen in love with Jeff, Kaye
Leigh wanted him to know everything about her past. She had
gone through some rough times during her life and, for a long
time, had turned away from God. She accepted a speaking
engagement at her church and asked Jeff to be in the audience
that night. Kaye Leigh wasn’t sure if Jeff’s feelings were the
same as hers or not, but she didn’t want to hide anything from
him. Jeff found her afterwards and asked her out on their
first real date.
She and Jeff had both been divorced,
and they wanted their relationship, wherever it led them to be
based on God. A few months into their relationship, they
rededicated their lives to Christ. Jeff had given Kaye Leigh
and their daughters gold chains with crosses on them that day.
Kaye Leigh had worn hers since then; it had become a source of
comfort and strength for her.
When they approached their one-year
anniversary, Jeff hinted at marriage. The thought of being
married to Jeff was incredible, but at the same time
frightening. Her first marriage had nearly destroyed her, and
she did not want to go through that again. Without talking
to anyone, without even praying about it, Kaye Leigh packed up
her kids and everything she owned and took off for Texas. Not
wanting to hurt Jeff; she had tried to explain things in a
letter to him.
When she arrived in Texas, the only
things Kaye Leigh knew were that she was going to continue to
write and she was going to build her ranch. That first Sunday
in Peace Ridge Kaye Leigh and the kids attended Peace Ridge
church and were welcomed immediately.
That same day Kaye Leigh met Curtis
Shaunghnessy. He took her and the kids out to lunch after
church. Curtis would become not only her supervisor, but also
a very good friend. With God’s and Curtis’s help, she built
Silver Creek Ranch. Curtis made sure that no one took
advantage of the fact that Kaye Leigh was a woman, or that she
didn’t have a lot of building experience. Less than a year
after Silver Creek Ranch was completed, it was making a
Curtis listened while Kaye Leigh
talked about the situation with Jeff and about how much she
loved and missed him. He let her cry on his shoulder whenever
things got too much for her to handle and he gave her advice
whenever he could.
When Jeff had received her letter, he
had been hurt that Kaye Leigh had not talked to him about her
fears, but he didn’t give up on her. Kaye Leigh didn’t tell
him where she was going so by the time he located her six
months had gone by. When he found her, he closed his practice
in Michigan, packed up his kids, and followed her to Peace
When he got there he had no problem
finding her. Almost everyone knew Kaye Leigh. When they met
for the first time in Peace Ridge Kaye Leigh had cried and
apologized repeatedly. He knew that she was afraid and he told
her that he would have followed her to the ends of the earth
if he had to.
Jeff rented an apartment in Peace
Ridge. They discussed the possibility of he and his kids
living with Curtis in his house on Kaye Leigh’s land, but they
didn’t want to create temptation and they wanted to set a good
example for their children. They were married in a small
ceremony back in Michigan with their families a little over a
Kaye Leigh was sitting on the porch
swing watching the sunset streaking the sky with an orange and
pink glow. The ranch house was located at the base of the
Santiago Mountains. From the porch you could see the stone
peaks, to the lush greenery of the forest, and finally to the
vast openness of the range. It was another hot day in June;
the temperature reached over one hundred degrees. The only
thing Kaye Leigh missed about Michigan other than her family
was the snow in the winter.
Kaye Leigh noticed a cloud of dust in
the distance; she knew it was a horse causing the dust as its
rider spurred it on. It could be any number of people from
one of the ranch hands to a neighbor. She got up and walked
around the porch to the side of the house to see if she could
tell who was coming. When the rider got into view, she could
tell it was her husband. Kaye Leigh remembered the first time
he tried to get on and stay on a horse. It had taken five
attempts. She had tried not to laugh, but the kids were
hysterical, and the thought of it made her smile.
Jeff had seen Kaye Leigh when she
moved to the side of the porch. He would never get tired of
looking at her, for she was beautiful inside and out. Jeff
remembered when they first met; she had not been the strong,
confident, fit woman she was today. Kaye Leigh had had a deep
sadness in her eyes. When they had first started e-mailing
each other many subjects were off limits; she had built walls
around herself that Jeff wondered if anyone would be able to
get through. He had been determined to try, though and as
their friendship grew, she began to open up to him. When Kaye
Leigh had asked him to go to her speaking engagement, she had
told him that she wanted him to hear her whole story before
their relationship progressed any further. He knew that she
was in love with him and he felt the same for her, but she was
afraid he would think differently once he knew everything.
Her revelations that night, however, had only made him love
her more. After he heard her story, he wasn’t surprised when
she ran at the hint of marriage; what did surprise him was the
fact that she ran to Texas.
Jeff rode his horse, Ambrose, into
the stable where he dismounted and handed the reins over to
one of the grooms. “Take good care of him” Jeff told the boy.
“Yes sir!” the young boy replied.
Jeff normally took care of his own horse but today he wanted
to spend some time with his wife.
Jeff walked toward the house and up
the back porch. Kaye Leigh was no longer on the side where he
had seen her, but he found her on the porch swing. Sitting
down beside her Jeff took her hand, and brought it to his
lips. “Have I told you yet today how much I love you?” Jeff
“No, but you don’t need to tell me
Jeff, I can see it every time you look at me” She replied with
a smile. Kaye Leigh leaned her head against Jeff’s shoulder.
She just loved being with him, it didn’t matter what they
were doing as long as they were together.
“You looked like you were laughing at
something when I was riding up.” Jeff commented.
“I was remembering the first time you
were trying to get on a horse.” she laughed.
“Yeah that first ride was a little
rough, but you have to admit I have gotten better since.”
“That’s true, but you’re still not
as good as I am.” She said saucily. She rose from the porch
before leaning over and kissing him. “I need to get dinner
“Do you want some help?” he asked.
“Sure I’ll put you to work.”
Jeff stood up, grabbed her hand, and
led her inside. Kaye Leigh loved their entire house; she had
helped plan it and build it right down to the last nail. It
was a big, warm, and inviting place. Their faith was seen
throughout the house. They had a least one bible in every
room, and many plaques with their favorite verses. No one who
walked into their house could ever doubt what they believed.
Their kids would be home soon. They
would no doubt have friends in tow. Their house was one of
the favorite places to hang out, but today they had been at
the football coach’s house. They each had a boy and a girl
from their previous marriages. Josh and Grace were Kaye
Leigh’s and Daniel and Faith was Jeff’s. The boys were
sixteen, their birthdays were just days apart, and the girls
were fourteen, their birthdays were exactly a month apart.
All the kids got along great, they had their moments just like
any other siblings, but it was as if they had been brothers
and sisters forever.
They always ate in the dinning room
as a family; they came there every night and discussed their
day. Dinner was ready and the table set when the front door
“Mom, we’re home!” Josh yelled.
“Mom, we’re hungry!” Dan yelled.
“Typical kid.” Jeff laughed.
There were four extra boys tonight.
Once the extra places had been set and the kids had gotten
cleaned up, they sat down, took each other’s hands, and
prayed. Jeff prayed, he thanked God for family, friends, and
for the food they were about to receive, and he prayed for
protection, health and happiness for all of them.
One of the boy’s friends had asked
Kaye Leigh one day why they prayed so much. She had told him
Psalms 37:5 commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him
and He will help you. She explained that even though
God’s answer might not be what you wanted He would still help
you to be where He wants you to be if you allow Him. A short
while later the boy started going to church and youth group
with the boys. That was one thing Kaye Leigh liked about
having kids over, a lot of them had found their way to
salvation through the kids.
Once everyone was settled and served,
the football talk started. Josh and Dan were both on the
football team, this year they were going to tryout for
Varsity. Josh is the quarterback and Dan is a wide receiver.
She and Jeff never missed a game; the boys always said they
could always hear their mom no matter what because she had the
When dinner was over Kaye Leigh went
to clean up the kitchen and to do the dishes.
“We’ll help mom.” The girls said
coming into the kitchen.
“Thanks you two.” She replied. Kaye
Leigh wasn’t surprised that they offered to help, all the kids
did. They immediately started telling her about the boys in
the other room, and about who liked whom. Kaye Leigh just
laughed at them.
When they finished Kaye Leigh stuck
her head in the family room where everyone had gathered, told
the other boys good-bye and told Jeff that she was going out
to the stables. Silver Creek had three stables; the main one
was behind the house. She went out the back door, down the
porch, and headed in the direction of the stable.