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THE OLD COWBOY Part Fifty
Grandboy, you come back tomorrow and I'll finish up. I'll tell ya 'bout 'Ol' Tanner' comin' down the side of that hill with the loose shale.
I went out and got on 'Ol' Tanner' number two, said I'll see ya later sheriff, and sped down the trail like I was tryin' to catch some bad guys.
Mom had some gars set out and I was just in time to put the lids on after she filled them. She was hot and I could tell why, it was nearly noon and no rain in sight to cool the day off, and steamin' them tomatoes, made it down right hot in our kitchen. After dinner I tried to read a book, but I was so tired I don't remember dad waking me up to go to bed, though he said he did.
Next morning I woke up to the sound of thunder. Great! It could have come along yesterday at noon. Oh well, I can get caught up on my chores. I milled around working at them a little at a time, and by eleven twenty the sun came shining in to my bedroom. Mom made lunch and I was off chasing bad guys a gain.
Grandpa was in the rocker on the porch tryin' to read a little 'Mark Twain'. He put the book down when I joined him, and grinned that cowboy grin. "So'd yer ma get them 'mators canned up?"
"Yes sir," I answered. "Mom and me canned up a hundred quarts yesterday, but the pantry still looks somewhat bare."
"Well it's still early in the season Grandboy. I'm sure she's had you out there hoeing by the looks of those arms."
"Grandpa mom made the garden even bigger this year. She said I've grown some and what with the war we just need more from the garden."
"So ya don't mind a little extra work this summer long as ya got good vittles in the pantry?" I nodded in agreement.
"There I was followin' them cattle thieves 'cross the top of the hills when a dang gopher popped up ten feet in front of us. Well he caught us both off guard. 'Ol' Tanner' wasn't one for gettin' spooked so he side-stepped to the right, (I'd lern't to trust he knew what to do and where to go long before this), but when he couldn't recover, down the loose shale we went.
He went one way and I the other 'bout a hundred feet down. The good thing was we went behind the hill from the thieves. We looked each other over. There were small cuts here an' there. When we got up on the next hill top, there they were puttin' them cows in a big pen." Grandpa spit over the railing, and continued, "we got 'em. The next day I brought the sheriff and posse.
I stayed on that spread 'til just a little while back, 'til I come here I guess. You know Grandboy, My days are gittin' short and 'Ol' Tanner been waitin' on the orther side for quite some time."
I rode off that after noon tryin' not to think 'bout what Grandpa said, but with the war ragin' on and people dyin' all around us I couldn't get home without tears runnin' down my cheeks. I was gratful for the time the Lord had given us together. When I told mom what he had said, she gave me a big hug.
I couldn't get back the next day an that was the last time I saw Grandpa alive. We buried him with his boots on just like he wanted, when he said he wanted to be ready to get back on 'Ol' Tanner when he got to Heaven.
THE OLD COWBOY Part Fifty, To Grandpa Copyright © 2005
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