My shadow fell long in front of me as I entered Pawnee. The sun was almost down, but the town was a hubbub of activity. Sounds of hammering came from all sides. Businesses and homes were going up everywhere. Men swarmed around a pile of stones, moving them to the walls of a huge building. Wagons filled with lumber rolled by. I hurried to the side of the street to keep from getting run over and bumped into a lady leaving a store, knocking a package wrapped in brown paper from her hands.
"Excuse me." I retrieved the parcel and held it out to her. "I hope nothing is broken."
"It's just material," she said. "But are you all right? That wagon almost hit you."
"I'm fine." I stepped away and saw she was neatly dressed, her calico skirt spotless and unwrinkled. A sunbonnet shielded her face, but I figured her to be about Ma's age. "If you don't mind, ma'am, could you tell me what that big building is going to be?"
"That's where the new governor and the Territorial Legislature are to meet on July 2. With only five weeks to go, there's worry about getting done in time." She raised her chin and narrowed her eyes. "You must be new in town not to know that."
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