Westerly Trails Through Tribal Lands
In the year 1736 they had gone through Powhatan country and Cherokee country on their way west and were still heading south to escape winter trails, well after the "twin births" of sons came about at the beginning of the year and then at the other end of the same year, establishing their birthdays to be celebrated at the mid-point of succeeding years on the long, long trail west.
Parents, it has long been practiced, must heed the celebration of children's birthdays, especially for two boys born in the same year.
Where the River Splits
The argument started in the Cows' Moon Saloon in the town of Stream's Edge on the River Moses, a small stream of sorts in East Texas, when two ranchers of the area tossed barbs and curses at one another over now forgotten issues, but set the groundwork for later. Generally such spouts are about ownership or lines of demarcation, or natural barriers or lines that should settle most arguments by long-known local sightings. (Never about women; they wouldn't allow it.) Read the full story HERE>>
The barber Jose Belmonte, from his small shop at the edge of town, first noted the rider coming into Silver Rialto, day at its early start, and wondered where the man might have spent the night, the town a full day's ride from anyplace halfway alive with people. Jose saw a man worn down by a long ride or one driven by need, and thought it might be a needed drink before a solid meal. A lot of that had passed the other side of the glass.
He was pleasantly excited and pleased when the stranger pulled up in front of his shop and tied his horse to the rail.
"Change my appearance if you can, Mr. Barber. Make me a different man. Read the full story HERE>>
Face at the Window
Jasper Pentry cleaned the front window of Pentryville's only general store, and his only store too, as a lone cowboy, one he didn't recognize, rode past at a slow pace, thin dust rising from the main road through the heart of town, and saw the rider look overhead, to the third floor section of the store under a pitched roof that daily bounces Texas sun ... and knew a face had been seen in the top floor garret window squeezed into structural confinement. Read the full story HERE>>
"What's that song you're always singing, Chet? How's it go, 'I'm riding a roan and all alone?'"
Push Babcock, 23 and 6 years in a saddle, astride a horse as gray as dawn, asked his ride partner at the edge of a herd nearing town and the first new railhead on Texas' northern edge. Excitement, apparent, uncountable, damned well sure, was in the air, excitement at the end of the ride, excitement of a bath, a clean-up, a whiskey a few times over, perhaps a lady in red to talk to for the first time in months on top of months; Life, he sometimes thought, was like a found slug, with a bare chance of being a live round.
A Mountain Man’s Gold
The sun boiled in the cauldron of the canyon where water for perhaps 1000 years stayed hidden, where ants scurried to hide from the heat, snakes rarely showed before darkness was complete, an occasional rabbit came in and left in a hurry, the vultures had long given up hope of finding a quick meal, and it had become a place man ought not enter...Read more of A Mountain Man's Gold HERE>>
A Place for Smitty
It happened in a split second, the way quick decisions can hang on a person’s life with a grasp that is often an enormous weight. To this day, Smitty says he was never conscious of making a decision. “The wagon came busting down the street, the team of horses in a panic runaway. The kid being carried away was clutching at the seat with no reins in his hands and screaming as loud as he could. Some ladies across the road were screaming as well. I just bolted off the boardwalk in front of the general store and ran to head off the animals, trying to stop them or slow them down. It was just a plain reaction.”... Read more of A Place for Smitty HERE>>
A Prairie Christmas Wish
They were lucky that the mule lasted long enough to haul in all the firewood from the forest, before he fell dead in his tracks. And there was little chance that there’d be any presents for the children, two boys. The snow had drifted in some places as high as 8-10 feet, and the path to the barn was treacherous when any wind was blowing. Gerard Fiddler knew he’d have to walk with a shovel to be sure he’d make it out and back, the snow drifts moving, falling, shutting off what was almost a tunnel at some points. He hoped he didn’t have to try it again before the storm had stopped... Read more of A Prairie Christmas Wish HERE>>
Along with a sudden shaft of sunlight, as if they were tandem, a newcomer entered the lone saloon in Woodfork, Texas and stood just inside the swinging doors, brandishing the strangest hat seen in the saloon in years. The ridiculously looking hat, topper of toppers, might have caused an eruption of laughter, except for the loose manner guns hung on his frame, the promise hanging there too, like ready, like prominent and popular of use, the gun-side hip positioned for access and speed...Read more of Manhattan Eddie HERE>>
The Sheriff's Son
Twenty-two year old Zack Nobleknot had never led a posse into the hills or out on the plains, or cornered a prisoner on his own, or commanded legal respect even from old hands of the town of Gray Setting, Texas (including long-time friends of his father), but his father had done all of that and more before a fatal bullet from out of hiding had knocked him off his horse more than a mile from town, the horse carrying the message home with the empty saddle, abetted with a scrawling note in an imperfect hand that said, "No man should ride alone," as if one mystery deserved another. Some folks thought the note to be a knock on the profession, some looked askance upon the dead man with the badge, some folks thought a statement, of unknown intent or warning, had been laid upon Gray Setting for past indiscretions of unknown wrongs against an unknown person. Read more of The Sheriff's Son HERE>>