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Thursday, December 26, 2013

RANCHO REYES Chapter 13 The Horse and Cattle Business

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Juan decided to take a Train Ride and go East

After they had returned with the horses and made the decision as to what the horses would be used for; attention turned back to the five rustlers who had helped them to retrieve the herd.

All talk about hanging them had ceased and they had become as one of the regular hands.  Juan called them in to talk to Senior for he was the one who would make the decision as to what would be done with them.

While it was pretty much a forgone conclusion as what Senior would decide, nevertheless it was a process they must go through.

There wasn’t any law available to sort things out so to have order they needed to be adjudged as not guilty and this was the decision.

With things settled down the five daughters took a shine to the not guilty rustlers and after a reasonable amount of time all of Senior’s daughters were wed to the young men.

Raul kept after Barbara until she agreed to marry him and the rest of Senior’s kids were married or soon would be.

For the most part Pablo and Reynaldo dealt with the raising and selling the cattle and the five new husbands were put in charge of the horse herds.

Juan found himself having to look for something to do.  Once a month there would be a party and some of the richest families would be invited along with people from the east who were the buyers for the people back east.

Juan was getting restless and decided he should move on.  He advised Senior of his decision who said, “I was hoping you would have married one of my daughters but that didn’t work out.”  He went on to say, “How can I help you on your way?”

Juan said I have enough money to see me through for sometime but you might keep a welcome light in the window in case I return.  The next person he needed to tell he was leaving was his sister Barbara.

She was pretty well situated so he didn’t have to worry about her but not seeing her often would be hard to deal with.  Soon he would be an uncle and he would also miss that.  

Just before he was leaving Barbara took him into the barn where her wagon was kept and she told him to lift the floor boards of the wagon.  It had a double bottom and after he lifted the first layer there was a lot of gold under the boards.

He asked where it came from.  She said, “While I was with the rustlers they hid all their loot in the wagon where no one would find it.”  She went on saying, “I never mention it because I thought someday we might need it.

She told him to take what ever he wanted; especially the paper money for no one knew how long it would be worth anything.

Juan put a thousand dollars or so of gold coins in his saddle bags and most of the paper money.  He said, “Don’t mention this to anyone for they will just worry and want it.”

The supply wagon was going to pick up some supplies in Santa Fe so Juan hitched a ride with him.  He carried his saddle bags with him but that wasn’t too unusual to see a trail hand do that but it did tweak people’s curiosity.

Since Juan had no idea where he was going but he saw there was a train leaving shortly for Albuquerque and points east.  Purchasing a ticket he quickly boarded the train.

Juan saw there was an obvious difference between him and many of the passengers on the train.  The further East he went the more the difference was evident.  

Starting with his clothing we move on to his long hair and him packing tied down six guns, people moved away from him as far possible.

By the time he got to Dallas he decided that people had made their point and that was they wanted conformity in the persons they associated with.

He got off at Dallas and proceeded to become more civilized with bath, haircut, shave, and new clothes.  He bought a new suitcase to put his money and guns in except for the two derringers he kept on his person.

The one other thing he decided was to change his name.  He was now to be known as John instead of Juan.  

The one person who he felt comfortable with on his trip to Dallas was the conductor. In his spare time he would sit with John (as he was now known) and advised him of how to avoid the pitfalls of the East.  The conductor said, “The only difference between a rustler and an eastern banker was the hat.”

He had many such comparisons between the East and West which later on were very helpful to John and saved him much money.  Before he left the conductor he said you can’t shoot all the crooks because there are too many of them so you have to out smart them.

All of this talk made John uncomfortable about his decision to go east so he turned south until he was in Florida.  He spent a year there making deals and a lot of money.

He would ride the ferries on the Mississippi and watch the gamblers play cards and occasionally play a few hands.  
At first he would just ante up and throw in after getting his cards for he didn’t want to challenge the professionals until he got the drift of how they played the game.  

After six months he got to the place where he could match their skills.  He discovered he could make more money playing cards on the weekends playing the amateurs than he did with his other enterprises during the week.

Along with that he figured the key to success in gambling was to avoid a certain kind of woman for he saw them get the best of many men.

It wasn’t that they were inherently bad but they distracted you and changed the direction you needed to be headed.

To be Continued  

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