THE OLD COWBOY Part Four
“Than I remember a couple of nights later when the sun was settin’ over the prairie. The coyotes howlin’ in the not such perfect harmony, as coyotes do. The air was so thick you could cut it with a butter knife. The boss man said we were about ten miles out’a ‘Big Tree’. I’d never been ta ‘Big Tree’.
Big Tree was another couple of short days drivin’ away from Santa Fe. Up in the hills, where the wind blows all the time. The kind’a place most would just ride on by. Maybe take a look. Maybe think about goin’ up that way. Maybe, . . . Maybe not.
Not that all that mattered much, ‘cause we was goin’. We had arrived at just that fork in the road, where that wind was just a bit nipper comin’ down off that mountain most every other day, ‘cept that day. Or rather I should say that night.
It was ‘round ‘bout an hour after dark. That ‘ol hot sticky air, the kind that reminded me of bein’ back home in Oklahoma. Yes sir I knew it was comin’. . . That ‘ol thunder rattler struck, like the viper that it was, and all jumped up, and some settled back. Not me. I knew dang well more was on the way.
‘Tanner’ was ready, he knew them cows would go ev’rywhere they thought the storm wasn’t. Eight of us drovers, Cookie and the foreman, ten in all, spent the next six hours battlein’ the rain, the wind, the mud, the leather that sticks to your skin and rubs you raw and them dang stubborn cows. We picked ‘em out of the cre-vac-es and sage brush we could see in the dark.
Next day we was tired, and mournin’ found half the herd layin’ down. The rest was easily retrieved from a few small ravines nearby that we couldn’t have seen in the dark. I s’pose we was more lucky than not, considerin’ this little valley we were in only had three ways for the cattle to leave. The way we came in, the road to Santa Fe and the road toward the summer pasture, where we was takin’ them.
Well gran’ boy, ya comin’ back on ‘ol ‘Tanner number two’ . . . . . .
To Be Continued . . .
THE OLD COWBOY Copyright © 2001