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Monday, October 31, 2016

Randle Chimes Chapter 12 - The Funeral and Jenny's sister Nell



Chapter twelve

A few months later we received the news that Jenny had passed in her sleep. This was difficult news to bear for all of us. They had contacted George and he sent the news on to the family. He said he would escort the coffin back home for the funeral.

George arrived two days later and brought my Ma with him. I was shocked and glad to see her at the same time. I didn’t know how grandpa would act to seeing her. She appeared well, in fact better than she had looked for a long while.

I put them up at the hotel for I didn’t dare take them out to the ranch. The funeral director picked up the coffin and the funeral was the next day. The preacher conducted the service grave side. The families gathered together and were in their own family groups.

It was when the casket was being lowered into the grave that Grandpa saw my Ma. He was visibly shaken when he saw her.

As the grave was being filled almost everyone was weeping.  My Ma was crying out loud along with most of the people for Jenny was loved by all. I couldn’t take it any longer and burst out crying so much my tears blurred my vision.

Someone came up behind me and placed their arms around me. I turned around and hugged the person tightly as I continued to weep. After a while I released whoever it was for I couldn’t see clearly.

Then I saw both my grandparents hugging my Ma.  Grandpa was saying under his breath; “I was wrong,” over and over and saying “Please forgive me.”

All grandma could say was; “My baby, my baby.”  We all went to the church and had a time of remembrance and dinner on the grounds.

I was surprised at myself crying like that.  I thought I had dealt with my loss and moved on but I still needed to express my grief that way.

Now things are different, the past is just the past and I’m moving on. My life is before me and I feel ready to think on having some female company. The only problem was there was no one I was interested in. I would meet new women but I wasn’t attracted to any of them.

My mind went back to the funeral and the person who comforted me. I didn’t know who it was but it was someone soft and kind. That was the only thing I could remember, she was soft and - - -.

I embarrassingly asked a couple of people if they knew who she was. If she was old or young and they said they didn’t know that any one consoled me.

I didn’t go over to Jenny’s folks anymore except for business.  On this last occasion Jenny’s dad Luke wasn’t there and her ma was busy cooking so Nell entertained me.  She said dinner will be ready soon and Dad should be back shortly.

This was the first time I had sat down with her and had a conversation. She was a year younger than Jenny and had wanted to go to a girl’s school instead of being stuck at the ranch. She talked about her time away from her folks and wondered if she had done the right thing.

As I listened to her I realized she was completely different from Jenny even though they were sisters. There was a reserve calmness about her that was a strong attraction to me.  Nell was a warm woman but without the boisterousness associated with most of the women I had met. She exuded confidence without being offensive.

As I was being mesmerized by her, Luke came in and broke the spell. I wanted to discuss once again the delivery of the cattle to the packing house. He and some of the others ranchers were part of the deal. We had to schedule when each rancher would have their steers at the rail head. After three hours we had everything sorted out and Luke said, “Well its supper time so let’s eat.”

I said, “I’m still full from dinner,” and he said, “Nonsense. A healthy growing boy like you could eat five times a day and still be hungry.”

I agreed to stay the night and ate a great meal. It had been some time since I had stayed overnight at Luke’s place. While Jenny was alive I stayed there often. This time it seemed strange for some reason. It was as if I was out of place although I knew I was welcome.

I talked with Luke for an hour after supper about the things relating to the coming winter; the selling of the saleable stock and getting the hay in to feed the stock through the winter.

Then all at once he said, “I’m going to join Ma in the bed,” and he got up and left with these words; “I’ll leave you young folks to discuss things that pertain to you.”

We just sat there for a minute looking at one another. Then I said, “What do you think he meant by that?”  Nell smiled and said, “I guess we should talk about things that pertain to us although I’m not sure what that means.”

I said, “I haven’t seen you at many of the doings going on in town, the dances and such.”

She said, “No I had enough of the social life while I was in school. Every week there was something you needed to attend.  I grew weary of what amounted to a lot of falseness.”

I said, ‘You must have a boyfriend.”

She said, “Well there a lot of want-a- bes but I found them boring.”

I said, “I was about to invite you to the dance on Saturday night but I guess that is out.”

She smiled and said, “Why don’t you ask and see what happens.”

I said, ‘No, there is a good chance I would be a lot more boring than the hot shots you met in school.”

She said, “Well if you didn’t mean it…”

I said, “Yes I did mean it, will you go?”

She kinda of looked out in space, waited, and then she smiled and said, “Yes it sounds like fun.”

After the dance I will stay at a friend’s house. I could see she was playing with me.

I went to bed and as I lay there waiting to go to sleep I wondered if I was doing the right thing dating Jenny’s sister. I concluded that after the dance Saturday I might be clued in as to whether I was on the right track.

Nell’s folks were going to the dance this Saturday which was something they didn’t always do.  It made me wonder if it had something to do with the fact I had a date with Nell.  Could that be the reason for them attending?

Luke kind of set the whole thing up but that meant she would be coming with them instead of me picking her up. I thought meeting her there made the date little less meaningful which was alright. I would be taking her to her friend’s house after the dance and that would be some time alone with her.

Saturday night came and I was ready for it. My grandparents decided to come for they still like to knock a step or two every once in a while.

But there again I wondered if it had something to do with Nell being my date for the night. I met her at the door when she arrived and as soon as we entered the ball room guys rushed over to us and was asking her for a dance as the evening wore on. She graciously said that she was with me for the evening and that I had asked for all her dances.

I received some hard looks and I said it would be alright if she wanted to dance with someone else. She said, “Only if you want me to, if you want to get rid of me for a while.”

That took the breath out of me and when I could speak I said; “Forget I said anything I was just being foolish. After all why should I share my pleasure with those yokels?”

She laughed at that and said; “No wonder Jenny loved you so, you are a very sweet boy.”

The very mention of Jenny’s name caused the pain of losing her rush to the surface again. It had only been a few months since we buried her.

After the first dance I came back to myself and put all my focus on Nellie. During the evening a couple of guys came and asked Nell to dance and her answer was always the same; no thank you, I’m with Randle. Those words gave me a boost in confidence; she was with me and didn’t have a roving eye looking for someone else as virtually every other girl was doing.

You could see games being played all over the room. Some trying to attract attention to trying to make their date jealous or get a fight started over them.

I noticed her father watching every move I was making and my grandpa had his eye on me also.  I felt like a fish swimming in a small pool of water.

Nell said for me to relax and not to be afraid to hold her a bit closer. She said, “You know I won’t break so loosen up.”

That helped a little but it also put a little more pressure on me for I knew her folks would see me doing that.

I thought if I was here with Jenny I would be squeezing her to me of course she and I had shared a lot of time getting to know each other.

After sweating it most of the evening I finally said to myself forget this and when the next slow dance began, I pulled her close to me so I could feel her body touching mine. She was a real live woman and I could begin to see me spending the rest of my life with her. That moment was a breakthrough for me and from that point on all my focus was on Nellie.

I could tell she had felt something also for she relaxed in my arms. After the dance I walked her to her friend’s house. We walked behind her friend and her date. I had become bold enough to put my arm around her as we walked and we didn’t talk.

When I felt like speaking some words to fill the silence I would pull her closer instead. When we arrived at the friend’s home her date said goodbye and Nell invited me in. Her friend said I’m worn out from being pushed around the whole evening so I’ll say good night.

I said perhaps I should go also, but Nell said, “Do you want to leave?”

I replied, “No, not yet.”

She said, “Well stay then.”

We just sat next to each other saying very little. Finally I got the nerve to speak some of what was going around in my mind.

I said, “I know you have dated a lot of guys who were pretty slick with words and I have only had one girl-friend so I am a bit clumsy with what some would consider to be courting but I have developed feeling for you. It isn’t something I’ve worked up it has just happened. I don’t know where this will lead to but it would be a good time to tell me you aren’t or couldn’t ever have feelings for me.”  

I went on and said; “Perhaps I shouldn’t have said this but there isn’t any sense wasting time on something that has no chance of amounting to something if you can understand what I mean.”

She just sat there and said nothing.

I thought to myself, “Boy I have made a fool out of myself.”

Then she looked directly into my eyes. I waited for her to speak and she just kept staring. I thought I don’t know if I could ever get used to her doing this. One thing that was encouraging she moved closer to me.  While still staring at me she leaned over, closed her eyes and kissed me.

Naturally I kissed her back… several times.

She said, ‘Did that answer your question?”  We embraced for some time until her friend came out and said, Perhaps  you better leave before this gets serious.”

I said, “Yes I better go.” I had to kiss her a couple of times while her friend watched.

As I left I heard her friend say; “Wow, you sure know how to get a man going, you need to teach me how to do that.
TO BE CONTINUED

Monday, October 24, 2016

Randle Chimes Chapter 11 - The Packing House Party


The CEO's Were Too Busy to See Us   - - -
 
Chapter eleven

Grandpa and I went to town to see a lawyer about signing a contract with a packing house to supply one thousand head of steers a year.

After several hours I had a good handle on what the deal was all about. The lawyer warned me about how the packing house negotiators would try to get the lowest price they could and some of the tricks to accomplish that.

I thought Grandpa probably already knows all this stuff so I don’t have to worry. Then he hit me with the shocker; I was going to be the one who handled the deal, and that scared me half out of my wits.

Over all my objections Grandpa said not to worry for the lawyer was going with me and wouldn’t let me be taken advantage of.  That sure made me feel better.

When we arrived in Chicago I was surprise at the size of the city.  Arriving at the office of the packing house we were escorted in and plied with all kinds of treats and drinks.

After an hour of waiting and chatting with the hired help one of the executives came in and greeted us.  He said they were running a little late but he would be with us in about an hour.

I spoke up and said well we don’t want to put you out so we will return this afternoon and see if you have time for us then. If not we will be on our way to another appointment.

As we started to leave the board room seemed to be having a party and all the executives were having a gay old time. I stepped in and told one of the big shots we wouldn’t be back this afternoon after all. It would be rude of us to interfere with their party time.

They said, “You guys are small potatoes so don’t come back.”

The lawyer said, “I know where the president’s office is so let’s see if he has time for us?”

We arrived at a less conspicuous looking building and the president’s office was not too fancied just functional. When we told the secretary who we were and why we were there she relayed the message to Sam the president. He came out and welcomed us and wanted to know what he could do for us.

We explained our situation and he quietly said, “I think we can take care of this without any trouble.”

Back we went to the headquarters and the party was still going on when we walked in with the president of the company. All of a sudden the music was stopped and the drinks put down.

The President demanded to know what this was all about.

They all looked at each other and one of the said it was a birthday party. The President demanded whose birthday it was but nobody seemed to know.

We left and the president summoned the security force and told them all to empty out the board room and don’t ever let any of them in the building again.

He took us to an empty office and said, “I’ll be back in a minute for I have some business to tend to.”

He came back and said, “Now let’s get the business taken care of for the reason you are here.”

He took out a standard contract and handed to my lawyer who looked it over while me and Sam talked about the cattle business. My lawyer told us it is just a standard contract, and we just need to fill in the blanks, sign it and the deal will be done.

A few minutes later we were on our way with Sam’s blessings.

He smiled and said; thanks to you I have a lot of hiring to do in the next few days. Seems I have just fired a lot of my worthless staff, and it serves me right for not watching what was going on.

I’m going to move my office to this building so I can keep abreast of what is happening.  As we left my lawyer said, “I have never experienced anything like that and I have been in on hundreds of deals.”

As we left we saw security escorting the board members out of the building while they were protesting their ejection.

My lawyer said; “They will have a hard time getting a new job in this city or anywhere else. There is no telling how much damage they have done to Sam’s company.”

He said, “Our train doesn’t leave until tomorrow so how about us seeing some entertainment while we are here?”

I said, “Why not, lead the way.”

He said you always enjoy the shows better after a few drinks. So he ordered his favorite and I had a small brandy.

Since I don’t drink, the brandy burned all the way down.  He ordered another drink for himself but I said I think I will enjoy the show at the one drink level. The brandy was still burning as the show started.

I must say I had never seen anything like the show. There were men jumping around doing what my lawyer said were doing the splits and the women were scantily dress dancing all over the small stage.

After the show which I enjoyed except for a few thing were offensive to me I said, “It’s my bedtime so I’m heading back to the hotel.”

The lawyer said he was just getting started. He hailed me a cab and gave the driver instructions where to go, and we separated.

The next morning I went to the train station alone. He didn’t show up in time to make the train. I figured he must have had a lot more fun and drinks.

Later I found out he ended up in jail and it was a week before he made it home. It didn’t matter, for I had our contracts in hand and we were fixed for the next few years.

Grandpa read the contract over and said we did real well.  He asked, “Did you have any trouble. I said, “No everything went smoothly.” He said, “Good, I must admit I was a little concerned for these men can be hard to deal with at times.”

He asked if the lawyer was helpful and I said, “Yes I was glad he was there with me.”
I didn’t mention we went clubbing as he called it and the fact he never came back with me. 
Some things are better left unsaid!!
TO BE CONTINUED !!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Randle Chimes chapter 10 - Choosing a Ranch Forman


Pecos Was my First Choice
Chapter ten

I hadn’t really paid much attention to what the judge had said about buying the ranch for thirty thousand dollars, but when Grandpa said he would take it but he wanted to put my name on the deed.

For some reason the idea of my name on some property seemed rather far-fetched. This was partly because I didn’t actually have much money of my own. I could charge anything I wanted in town but there wasn’t much I needed.

Each month grandpa gave me some money for my working on the ranch but I always put it in a can under the floor. I never counted it so I wasn’t aware of how much I had.

Grandpa told me to get my ranch in order which meant hiring some hands and more importantly a foreman.  My first choice for foreman was Pecos. He knew more about ranching than I’ll ever know. He agreed on the condition that he get the ranch house to live in.  He had a girlfriend that he wanted to marry but so far he couldn’t provide for her. I said sure move right in but get started hiring enough hands to make the ranch run efficiently.

There was a lot to be put in order and I wanted it to be done as soon as possible. I took my tin can to town along with Pecos and opened an account for the ranch. I put a thousand dollars for running expenses that Pecos could draw from.  I encouraged him to pay with cash instead of charging everything.

With things put in place I found the man that was keeping track of what was going on with Jenny.  He had only a little understanding because Jenny’s mother was distraught and the doctors were not giving much information.

Once I called upon George to find out what was happening. After two long days he contacted me and said he was sorry but the news was very bad. They had saved Jenny’s life but there was extensive brain damage. He went on saying she doesn’t remember anyone or for that matter nothing about her past.

They have moved her to a sanitarium where she is getting excellent care and seems to be happy.  Her mother is almost ill herself and the doctors insist she return home because the Jenny she raised no longer exists.  George said I and your mother are going to accompany her so she won’t be alone on the trip.

They arrived and I could see Jenny’s mother was in bad shape. I insisted she go to see the doctor before she went home.

Jenny’s younger sister Nellie had come home from boarding school where she had spent the last few years. I didn’t really know her but upon our first meeting I could see that she and Jenny were worlds apart in personalities. It made me wonder if they were really sisters.  Not that she wasn’t a good person; she was just different from Jenny.

When her mother had recovered from what she had gone through I visited her and told her I wanted to visit Jenny in the sanitarium but she immediately objected and said, “Absolutely not.”

She then described the scene she encountered each day and Jenny’s condition with no hope of recovery. She said the best thing for you to do is remember her as she was and think of all the happy hours you had together and not see her as she is which will destroy the image you have of her.

After much agonizing thought I had to agree with her. There was no more Jenny and I had to accept it.
TO BE CONTINUED
 
 
 

Monday, October 10, 2016

RANDLE CHIMES - CHAPTER 9 - Cattle Thieves


Glad the Sheriff was on our Side
 
Chapter nine

As we approached the Barons ranch we were feeling a little nervous.

The sheriff said, “Everyone check your weapons.”  He then asked, “Who was the best shot with a rifle,” and after he selected five of the ranch hands, he instructed them on what to watch for and when to shoot if necessary.

Pecos spotted a lookout and said, “Give me a couple of minutes and then you can ride on in.”

After five minutes Pecos returned and said, He won’t be a problem.”  We rode in rather fast and took the hands by surprise.

The sheriff said, “Reach for your guns and you won’t live to regret it.  Now line up next to the fence and drop your guns into the watering trough.” 

He yelled out, “You up in the barn drop your rifle and come on down here or you will feel what it feels like to be peppered with a half dozen rifle shots.”

The guy threw his rifle out of the barn hay loft and joined the rest of the Barons hands.

The sheriff then said in a loud voice; “Baron come on out or I will burn you out.” In just a quick moment a large rough looking man came out of the house a cursing everything and everybody.

The sheriff asked one of the cowboys for a pigging string and then he tied the Baron’s hands and feet. With everything under control he waved for the riflemen to ride in. we then tied up all of Barons workmen. The sheriff slapped one of Baron’s men very hard and asked, ‘How many are out riding herd?”

The man looked at the sheriff not saying anything till the sheriff drew back his fist and the man said, ‘There are six riding herd.”

The sheriff looked at me and said, “Take what men you need and round up those six and I’ll be along in a minute. 

We rode in on the men who were supposed to be riding herd and found most of them asleep. Some of my hands laughed at them but in their defense they said they had been up all night and day.

I asked why they didn’t get any sleep and one answered we were changing brands.

Three of the six were men I went to school with and I called them aside after disarming them and they told me everything about them stealing from all the ranchers in the area. I knew the parents of these three and I hated to see them hung with the rest. I told them to get out of the country and never come back. I said if I ever saw any one of them again I would personally shoot them on sight.

They lit out and I have never seen them again although I heard one of them got shot while messing with a farmer’s wife.

About that time the sheriff showed up and asked where the rest were. I told him the story and he said he knew those boys and would have hated to hang them also.

We hung the Baron, his foreman and a couple of hard cases. The rest we took to town and they were sent to the penitentiary. 

That was quite an adventure but in the midst of what was happening my mind would bring up the image of my beloved Jenny and the hurt it would bring me was awful to bear.

The hand that was waiting for some word about Jenny was at the ranch and reported that she had arrived okay and was being treated at the clinic. The hand was sent back to wait for further word which didn’t come till a week later.

Grandpa kept me busy and ever so often would remind me that one of these days this ranch would be mine so I had better learn everything I could.

I took over several phases of running the ranch and I had a double problem. First I had to learn what had to be done and how to do it. The hands wouldn’t help me much save for Pecos. He was my right hand man.

Then the second problem was due to the fact that I was younger and less experienced that most of the hands working for my grandpa. They wouldn’t cross him for they knew it would be more trouble than they wanted to handle.

But they would give me some resistance on every order.

Pecos had watched this go on for some time without saying anything but he finally spoke up one day when all the hands were having chow. In a voice loud enough where everyone could hear he said; “There are several of these boys who don’t want to work here any longer and to be fair you need to ask them which ones have a problem following your orders. Go right to the house and get the money for the payroll so you can pay them off. I will find out which ones wish to be let go while you are gone.”

I did as Pecos said and grandpa asked what I was going to do with the pat roll money and I said watch and see.

Pecos was still asking them who wasn’t ready to follow my orders without grumbling about it. No one volunteered to be let go for jobs were hard to find. He then went down the line and asked each one if they thought I was fair and they should obey my orders and they all to a man agreed they should do what I ask.

I believe they may have been influenced by the fact grandpa was on the porch watching and listening.

After it was settled, Grandpa came down from the porch and said, “Now you all have said you will act like men and do your job. If you have a real complaint come to me and I will hear you out but as far as I know Randle hasn’t asked any of you to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.”

He went on and said, ‘Ranching is a tough dirty job and you men are some of the best and I don’t want to lose any of you.  Enough said; do your job and you will be treated fairly by Randle.”

From that point on I had no more troubles in fact the men began to favor me more than grandpa. It wasn’t because I let them get by with issues but because I gave them respect and was there when they had problems.

The sheriff sent word he wanted grandpa and me to come to town. When we got there he said, ‘The Baron’s property is going up for sale but if you want it the judge said you can have for about thirty thousand dollars cattle and all. Naturally you would have to cut the herd and return the cattle stolen from the other ranchers.”

Grandpa said that is already being done. I contacted everyone whose branded steers had been altered and told them to come and pick them up.
TO BE CONTINUED

 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Randle Chimes Chapter 8 - Jenny is Very Sick



Jenny is Very Sick
Chapter  Eight

When I arrived I was met by Jenny’s parents as well as my grandparents which was unusual. Normally grandpa would send one of the hands (usually Pecos) with an extra horse for me.

We all stood around saying our hello’s when grandpa spoke up and said I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.

My response was is Jenny alright?

He spoke with words that were faltering and it was hard to get his meaning but it was clear enough to tell me something was bad wrong.  

Impatiently I said, “For goodness sake get it out grandpa.”

Jenny’s mother said, “Randle I’m sorry to tell you Jenny has been stricken with a brain disease.  We didn’t want to alert you until we had some handle as to what was wrong.  She needs to go to a clinic in the big city but the doctor said she isn’t able to make the trip with the transportation available.”  

Naturally I wanted to go and see Jenny but her mother said, “No visitors until we are sure it isn’t catchable by others.  She is a room at the doctors house and is in what he called quarantine.”

I said, “I need to talk to the doctor and get this straight from him.”

The doctor pretty well confirmed what the folks had told me. He emphasized the need for treatment in the clinic but it wasn’t possible under the present circumstances.

I told him I couldn’t stand by and wait for her to die.

He said, “If you could do something it had better be soon.”

I contacted George and told him the facts of the situation and he said, “Let me handle this for you.”

A half hour later he wired me saying there was a medical car not an hour away and he has already ordered it to be sent to me.

I expressed my gratefulness and asked how he did that?

He said, “We Pinkerton’s have a lot of clout so get her on her way.”

The medical car was one used to transport wounded soldiers and was well equipped. It was stationed near one of the forts so it didn’t take long to get here.

The doctor quickly checked the car over and said everything I need is there and I will get her loaded immediately.

Still no one was able to see Jenny for she was covered in a tent kind of a bed. The engine was already up to steam and had one passenger car hooked to it as well as the medical car.

The doctor said he didn’t want anyone except Jenny’s mother to come along. He said we couldn’t help her and he didn’t have time to pacify us every few minutes and beside her mother was the one she needed at this time. Her mother’s voice would help keep her calm while I would cause her to react emotionally in a negative way.

It took me a while before I got a handle on that. The train pulled out and I could tell the engineer wasn’t going to waste any time getting her to the care she needed.

Grandpa said, “There is nothing to do now but wait so let’s go to the ranch and I will have one of the hands wait in town for any news.”

The ride to the ranch wasn’t what I had expected and hoped for.  I was out of sorts when we got there so I went to the corral and greeted my horse. He was glad to see me and acted up a bit. He hadn’t been ridden since I had left so he was a little frisky. I saddled him and rode out the where Jenny and I often went to. I couldn’t stay there for long. The memories just tore me apart.

The only news we got was that Jenny was resting without any change in her condition.

Grandpa decided to get me out of the mood I was in so he told me he wanted to show me part of the ranch I had never seen. I found that hard to believe for I had ridden over all of it so I thought.

We left early for he said it was a three hour ride to where we were going. After a couple hours we came to a canyon that was narrow and hidden.

Grandpa said, “Let’s go and see what we can find in here.”

I could see the canyon walls were going to get steep rather quickly. As we rode in we began to see some our cattle that someone had tried to use a running iron on them to change the circle D brand.

Grandpa said, “Keep alert for something isn’t right here.”

I thought that was evident. We found about fifty head of cattle when grandpa said, “Lets move the critters out of here for the weather is changing rather fast.”

We were about half way back to where we entered the canyon when we began to hear a slight rumbling noise.

Grandpa said, “Whip them up for we have to get out of here fast.”

The noise was getting louder by the minute when the first trickle of water caught up with us.

He said, “Leave the cattle and ride as fast as you can.”

I spurred my horse and he went at a fast gallop just the water was beginning to cover the floor of the canyon. I was glad to see the entrance of the canyon where the land widens out. We rode up on a ridge with the cattle following us at a fast clip.

All the sudden there was a torrent of water flooding out of the canyon which was almost frightening because of the roaring sound it made. As we watched there were a couple of steers floating by that didn’t make it out.

Then there was a fully saddled horse came floating by. And then a couple of more followed by three bodies of cowhands. It was obvious what had happened but grandpa felt the need to explain the situation.

“These men had ran a number of cattle up the canyon and were changing the brands. They would have kept them there until the brands had healed and then they would have marketed them.”

Grandpa said. “C’mon let’s find one of the dead horses and check his brand for I want to know who is rustling our cattle.”

I thought “Our cattle” sounded good to me for that was the first time he solidly included me as part owner of the ranch.  He had eluded this prior but this event affirmed that I now was a ranch owner.

When we found one of the horses we saw the brand was from one of the smaller ranches that seemed to be growing by a faster rate than appeared possible. We also found one of the steers and cut the altered brand from the carcass.  Grandpa said, “Let’s head home and tomorrow we will see the sheriff.”

When we got to the ranch grandpa sent a message for the sheriff to come to the ranch for he wanted him to verify what we had found. In the morning the sheriff showed up early. He must have left town at daybreak.

Grandpa said for him to sit down and have some breakfast because it would be some time before we returned. The sheriff had a hearty appetite and he ate well. After he was finished he said, ‘That will hold me for the rest of the day.”

The sheriff, grandpa, me, and Pecos, with about fifteen hands went to the canyon area and surveyed the situation.  He checked the brand change and cursed whoever did this.

We went further and found the three cowboys that drowned and the sheriff said, “I know the men. They are mean and trouble follows them around.  It is good riddance as far as I’m concerned.   They work for the Baron and I have suspected him of rustling but haven’t been able to prove it.  If you and some of your hands will side me I will go over and brace this guy.”

Grandpa said for three of the hands to round up the canyon cattle and herd them back to the ranch where their new brands can heal.  On the way to the Barons ranch grandpa told the sheriff, “I need you to give me an affidavit saying that these cattle are in fact mine.”

The sheriff  told Grandpa, as soon as he returned he would take care of it. 
TO BE CONTINUED