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Sunday, August 28, 2016


Cattle Drive
Chapter three

The rancher’s sons were both putting a whoop on me but good.  Their sister picked up a stick and knocked one off of me and was hitting both of them as hard and fast as she could.

The result was all three of us were pretty well beat up; except for her, for she didn’t have a scratch on her. As we walked back to the house the brothers were threatening me with great violence to which I paid no attention for I was hurting from the kicking I had received.

I was thinking I have only been here an hour and I have been choked, treated to the sight of a naked girl and kicked in the ribs. I was wondering if I was going to last till the morning.

I told the girl Jenny she was very brave attacking her brothers the way she did and she said, “They don’t dare touch me for my father would beat them with a strap till they couldn’t walk.”  I just said, “Oh.”

That evening Pecos said, “We are invited to eat in the big house where the vittles are better.”

I told him I wasn’t hungry and he said, “Yes you are.  When you’re invited up to the big house, you go and you will eat and brag on the food.”

Jenny told me to sit next to her and she would protect me.  She pulled her dress up as she sat down and she caught me looking at her skinny legs.

I was embarrassed and whispered that I couldn’t believe those skinny legs could have squeezed me like they did. She just giggled and said, “You better watch out for them weapons of mine.”

The dinner was delicious and I ate more than I thought I would. Pecos retired to the parlor with the rancher and his wife while they talked about the coming roundup.

Jenny and I went to the porch swing.  She put her skinny legs across my lap as we swung back and forth. She heard her mother open the screen door and quickly she straighten up with her feet on the porch.  Her mother asked if I wanted some lemonade and I said, “No thank you, I was too full from supper.”

She said, “Jenny it is near your bedtime so don’t be late.”

Once we were alone she snuggled over closer to me and said, “This swing is for kissing and I am waiting.”

I said, “You are the most forward girl I have ever met and if you are this way with every boy you are going to be the most popular girl in these here parts.”

She kissed me and said, “Only with you my Randy boy.”

I said, “I wish I could believe you but I just don’t know if I do.”

She kissed me several times more and I said, “I’m getting to believe you more;” when Pecos came out and said, “Let’s hit the bunk house.”

We were up before the rooster crowed and ate quickly.  As the sun was a slight glow over the hills, we left.  I would like to have said goodbye to Jenny but there was no chance.

When we got home Pecos told grandpa what we had done and he asked me how I liked his neighbor.  I replied, “They are very nice and I would like to see them again.”

He said, “Well when the roundup started we would join up with them and drive our cattle together to the rail head where we would separate them.”

We spent the next few weeks cutting out and branding the calves getting ready for the roundup. When we weren’t doing that I was helping grandma with the huge garden she raised.

I notice I was putting on some more muscle from wrestling the calves and haying.

Then grandpa said we have three days of harvesting the corn fields then the roundup starts.  The cowhands were griping about having to help with the corn, but it had to be done.  After the last wagon load had been brought into the barn excitement once again ruled in the bunkhouse.

Pecos found me and said, “We are out of here let’s go!”

I wanted to ask, “Go where?” But I decided to just keep quiet.  We stopped at the main house and Pecos said, “You go pack some clothes while I speak to mister Chimes.”

We lit out at a gallop and in two hours we were on the circle D, and thirty minutes later we arrived at the ranch.

The first one I wanted to see was Jenny so I went up on the porch and Pecos said, “You wait till you’re invited before you brace the porch.”

Before I could get completely get off the porch Jenny and her mother came out to greet us and served us with some liquid refreshment.

Jenny seemed a bit cold which I found hard to understand. She had said hello and little else.

Pecos and her mother went into the house where he and Jenny’s father made the last arraignments for the roundup and the drive to the railhead.

I grabbed Jenny’s arm and pulled her aside asking her what was wrong; “Did I do something I shouldn’t have done?”

She curtly said, “No.”

Then I remembered something; she had a birthday and was thirteen years old now and something else I had heard men say when women were out of sorts.

I asked if it was her time of the month.

She fumed and said, ‘What do you know about the time of the month?”

This threw me and I said, “I don’t know nothing; it is just something I heard other men say at times.

She confided, “Yes it was the first time and she was upset about it.”

She said her mother laid down a lot of laws now and that made it worse.

I told her that I had hoped we could spend some time together for I had thought often about her ever since the last time I was here.

She began to soften and came over and hugged me. She said it was something she would have to get used to and was the normal thing for women to do.

I still didn’t know what we were talking about but figured as long as she understood, it was okay.

We walked down to the river but she didn’t take her clothes off.  She said that was one of the new laws her mother laid down. No more skinny dipping with boys.

I said that was okay but if she didn’t mind I was going to cool off and proceeded to take my clothes off.  She said she would sit behind the tree while I got undressed.
I said it was okay either way for I didn’t care if she watched.

I dove in and swam across the river and back and got out of the water. She had changed her mind and watched me put on my clothes. She said seeing me in the water made her want to strip down also but from now on her ma’s laws ruled.

She explained why it was important to follow her Ma’s rules and what some of the consequences could be.

I was still in the dark about the whole situation but figured when I got home I would get George to explain it to me.

I had found the roundup to be a dusty duty and plainly hard work.

Jenny caught up with us a few days later and seemed like a different person. We didn’t have any time together but the fact she was around made me feel better.

When we drove the last of the herds to the rail head I breathed a sigh of relief.  At last the round up was over and it was time for me to pack for home.

I had two days before I left so Pecos got me a room in the hotel.  Grandpa surprised me with a payday. I didn’t expect anything but he told me, I wasn’t a finished hand but had done the best I could with what little training I had.

Jenny and her folks were in town also settling up with the cattle buyers. She came to my room and spent time with me there. We resumed our romance such as it was and I could tell she was changing into a young woman instead of the skinny girl I first saw when I arrived.

As for me I felt pretty much the same as before and I feared she was going to outdistance me in maturity while not in age.  While we were in the room we made some promises I doubted she would be able to keep but I hoped for the best.

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