Thursday, April 14, 2011

Snow And Sunsets And Greenhorns

 Some random pictures (taken from the house) of recent snows and recent sunsets..............
 The Greenhorn
Charles Langley

He had been hanging around town for about two weeks, spending little

but time, because time was all he had. The hostler let him sleep in
the livery stable loft. He tried to ease his hunger pangs with a
nickel slice of cheese from the large wheel of cheddar in the general
store and five cents worth of crackers from the barrel at the end of
the counter.

Occasionally he humored his hunger by spending an extra jitney on a

tin of potted meat. His resources were getting slim and unless
something came up he would have to steal his cheese from mousetraps
in the horse stalls and maybe even eat the mice themselves.

He stood out among the booted and denim clad cowpokes in his white

dress shirt that showed too much contact with a washboard and the
derby hat that might have fitted his head if he could have afforded a
haircut. Yes, he wore pants, too, but they were too nondescript to
even mention. He was willing to work, but what could a plumb greenhorn
do in a town where the rancher was king and the cowboys were his

One prospective employer told him, "You'd be about as useful to me as

tits on a bull."

The biggest ranch in the valley was the Z Bar spread. In their way

with words the cowpokes and wranglers had slurred "Z Bar" into "Zebra" and that
was how it was known. "Pecos Bill" Alder was the remuda boss and he ruled
the roost with an iron hand, having lost the real one under a wagon wheel while
trying to stand-off a stampede during a summer storm.

Now the round-up was over and the waddies were in town for some fun.

After the once a month trip to Madame Millie's House of Pure Joy and
enough time in a poker game for the professionals to take their money, there
wasn't much they could afford to do. Except hassle a stranger whose run of
bad luck had brought him to a spot just left of abreaking point.

"D'ja ever break a horse?" "Pecos Bill" asked the stranger, "I got a

job of work for you if you have."

"Once or twice," the fellow answered. "I sure could use a job."

"Gotta bronc needs gentling and my wrangler's got a broke leg. Give ya

two bucks to ride him for ten minutes."

He didn't mention that the ornary piece of hoss-flesh was the infamous

"Zebra" dun and that the condition of the wrangler was the dun's

Back at the ranch they fed the dude a meal of bacon and beans and

readied his mount. Now, the dun was an outlaw that had grown so very
wild that he could paw the man right out of the moon whenever he got
riled. But the outlaw stood right still, as if he was in on the fun.

When the stranger hit the saddle, the "Zebra" dun quit the earth,

travelling right straight up for all that he was worth. He was
kicking, and jumping and turning wall eyed fits with his hind feet
perpendicular, his front feet in the bits. You could see the tops of
mountains, under Dunnie every jump, but the stranger just sat on
him, just like a camel's hump. The greenhorn stayed right on him, and
stroked his black moustache. He was calm as a summer boarder waiting
for his hash. The ride ended with the previously unridden "Zebra" dun
trotting up to the fence and standing subdued while the rider
casually got off and stood stroking the animal's sweaty flank.

"I'll be damned," Pecos Bill exclaimed.

"Gimme the two bucks," the stranger said.

Now I'll tell ya. There's cowboys and there's wranglers, remuderos and

rough riders, but I've never seen one that could ride like
that.There's one thing, and a sure thing, that I've larned since I
been born, every down-on-his-luck stranger ain't a plumb greenhorn.