Friday, December 21, 2018

Western Romance of the High Plains: Part 1

The Lazy Z Ranch west of Quanah.

Part 1

My story is what it is, not too exciting but not all that boring either.  No man’s life is exclusively boring out here.  It’s about impossible.  With the Natives just north of the Red and civilization just east of here someone is bound to pop by and say hello as the pass on their way to that new California.

Way too many folks are excited about numbers.  Seems the entire east coast of this country can’t seem to contain themselves as the new century is about to arrive.  They have lights and a thing that makes it, so you can talk to someone a few states away.  But out here, on the high plains, believe me we won’t see anything like that, at least not in my lifetime.

Me?  I’ve been on this ranch for a long time.  It’s the Lazy Z west of Quanah, Texas.  The word lazy seemed to foreshadow most of the help I’ve had here in the past, too lazy and drunk to do much work.  But I guess they got enough done to keep it going.  The Z came from the fact it was the last letter in the alphabet and my grandpappy thought this would be the last place settled between here and California for at least a hundred years.  He was almost right.

But now we have a railroad.  I aint been on it yet but I’m going to someday and that someday is comin up to be Wednesday.

You see I was in town the other day, maybe a week ago, could have been longer, not sure, Anyway I went to the general store and I came across a beautiful woman.

Of course, I’ve been around women much of my life and on this ranch.  I’ve had plenty of cooks that were women.  Cookin’ just aint my thing but one has to survive so I’d have them work here til I either got in a fight with em and fired their asses or they just moved on.  Most fell in love with the idea of California.  One of them, Miss Leslie, she was a bute, just beautiful and a hell of a good cook.  She worked hard too.  She’d cook for all the help and the cowboys.  She even developed a fondness of feeding the horses in the barn out back.  But I also heard her cuss a streak longer than a civil war soldier when she’d fight with the mill to get water from the well.  If the wind didn’t blow much, which is rare, she’d get so mad she’d be tempted to sin with her tongue.  It still makes me chuckle today.

Leslie was with me a long time, even had feelings for her but one day I woke up and she was gone.  All I had was a note saying thank you and I’m sorry.  Saw in the paper a few months later she’d died.  Seems she had some fatal disease, some doctor tried to cure her, but it didn’t work.  That was the day I learned to not trust anyone or anything, it will just kick you in the ass in the end.

But as I said the other day in the general store I ran into Miss Edwina.  I kept running into her in the general store over a few months as we seemed to be there at the same time.  And believe me, in Quanah, Texas there are a lot of women, but they don’t wander into the store much. 

We finally struck up a conversation.  Or to be honest I finally spoke up and said hello.  We finally got to the point in the conversation of talking where we’re from.  She thought I must be from Quanah, I had said heck no.  I live out west of here, just off the trail to Amarillo and Lubbock.  She said she was from Paducah, which is a ways from me.  It’s about a full days ride from here to there on horseback.

I really didn’t think much of it, but we kept running into each other time after time it finally no longer seemed to be a coincidence.  In fact, I got her to admit she was originally coming to the Quanah general to get special food and items for her sister in Paducah but then she started taking the train up here just with the hopes to run into me.

I was damned excited to here that, but I didn’t let her know that.
She was a bit of an in your face woman, don’t get me wrong I didn’t mind it at all, I liked a woman that knew what she wanted but she wanted me to come to Paducah and visit her.  Even I hadn’t heard of such a forward woman but them dames have a way of convincin ya to do anything if they give ya just the right smile and a look.

So here I am.  In my best outfit and when I say my best outfit, I mean the only thing I own that isn’t cowboy stained with horse and cow shit.  I’m standing here waiting for this new-fangled train without an idea of what I’m doin.  I haven’t even seen the train but a glimpse of it far away puffing black smoke above it as it raced across the high planes.  Not sure what I’m getting into.  Cowboys don’t do this, but I can't resist Edwina, so it’s a new adventure for me today I guess as I look down the tracks waiting for the Paducah train.

Part 2 to follow soon.

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