|Home on the Range|
Friday, July 18, 2014
THE WRANGLER - Chapter four
Smith said, “I don’t know what Boss wants you to do but for now you are a stable hand and see to it that everything is kept up.”
In the bunk house all the hands wanted to know how he had managed to ride a wild horse like this one.
Joe said, “if any of you want to try to ride him let me know and I will saddle him for you.”
Mrs. Huston saw Joe and called him over and said, “You pulled one over on my husband and no one ever does that. She said now don’t try to deny anything for Maria has told me everything.” She continued, “My lips are sealed for if you rode him it doesn’t matter when, you deserve the horse.”
Joe said, “I will still pay for him.”
She replied, “Nonsense he is yours. I know you are supposed to work the stables but I will have things I want you to do for me so be ready.”
Joe said, “You only have to ask.”
The two girls Cindy and Lynda wanted to know what the mother was talking about with Joey as they called him and she said, “Oh just some things you don’t need to know about.”
Cindy said, “Ma, you aren’t flirting with him are you?”
She laughed and said, “Hmmn, now that you mention it, maybe.”
“Ma you can’t be serious!”
“Well don’t ask ridiculous questions unless you don’t want me to answer like that.”
“Okay Ma but don’t get Mad if we flirt with him.”
“You do that and your father will go crazy. You aren’t to have anything to do with no cow hand and you know that.”
“Just teasing Ma,” as the girls left laughing.
As the days went by Joe had time to spend with his new horse. His old horse Windy was his favorite from his home ranch but this new horse he calls Swifty is learning to be a first class cow pony. He was fast and could cut out a steer from the herd better than any of the ranch’s stock. Joe worked with him every day and was getting prouder of him as time went by.
Huston called Joe over and said, “Roundup is starting and I wondered if you would like to get away from stable work and do some real cowboying?”
Joe said, “Yes sir I would.”
Huston said, “Pick yourself out a couple of cow ponies and git on out to the roundup site.”
Joe said, “I will use my two horses if it is alright for there aren’t any better than them.”
“You don’t mean the bucking bronco?”
“Yes he is the best horse in the bunch and you will see it when we start working the cattle.”
The roundup went well, all the cattle had been retrieved from the hidden canyons, and the herd was all together.
A storm had been brewing and as everyone knew the lightning was spooking the herd. Then it happened, they stampeded.
The cattle ran for five miles before the hands were able to circle them but in the process of turning them Joe had been forced off a cliff and badly injured.
A couple of the other hands were hurt but not like Joe. He had helped save the herd from running off a cliff but had paid the price for it. They managed to carry him to a wagon and get him to the doctor.
The doctor said he was lucky to be alive with all his injuries. After working over him the doctor said he needed to go to the hospital and get the care they could give him.
Huston managed a couple visits which Joe appreciated but Mrs. And the girls spent quite a bit of time with him.
It was obvious that Joe wasn’t going to be the same as he once was.
His days of cowboying were over as far the ways he had practiced them before he was injured.