By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 30

I slept the peaceful dreams of a man in love.  I was in love with the big, mature, biker/cowboy who shared my bed and in love with all the folks I met recently. I woke to the click of the automated coffee maker in the kitchen.  It was July the Fourth; rodeo day. Today would be the day I finally got to meet my grandfather.  I wondered about him for years, and now, today, I would get my chance to find out for myself what the man was all about.  I  heard so many conflicting things about him I had to know. I had no doubt this new day was going to bring great and exciting things.

Master Waddie snapped his cod piece back on to sleep; however, he gave me permission to remove it if I wanted to surprise him with an early morning blow job.  I gently undid the snaps, removed it and set it aside. I took him into my mouth and his full masculine flavors filled my senses as I ran my tongue gently around and under his foreskin.  I felt him stretch and place his hands behind my head in encouragement.  He was beginning to grow strong in my throat.  I was going to suck him off, but he had other ideas.  He reached down, pulled me up to his chest and kissed me ‘good morning.’  He rolled me over, popped out my plug.  He replaced it swiftly and surely with his big biker/cowboy dick.

He was back in my saddle again; right where a cowboy needs a friend. I couldn’t think of a nicer way to start my day than with Master Waddie’s love deposited as far up my ass as he could get it. He fucked me twice before we went to sleep that evening and I sucked him off once during the night; however, I could feel from the pace he started, this was going to be a good, gentle, long, slow, soul searching fuck; and, indeed, it was.  By the time I felt him building toward climax I was throwing my ass back down on his stiff cock so hard to meet his steady but relentlessly plowing strokes,  I wondered if my bed would hold up.

Fortunately my bed held up quite nicely and we climaxed together in a controlled orgasm one might expect from two in sync rodeo cowboys.  We performed as well in bed, together, as we did in the rodeo arena.  Now,— today,— when I ride Rocky to the stocks to get ready for our first run,--- I can squeeze my asshole tightly,--- feel just a bit of muscle soreness from my partner’s good fucking, smile to myself and know I’m a cowboy empowered to win.

* * * * * * *

The next morning Bubba and his boys were all over me and Master Waddie.  They tried to be as subtle as possible, but just couldn’t curb their surprise, enthusiasm and encouragement.  After all, the three of them had come to know, what seemed like a different man than the man my dad told me about.  I had no doubt what dad told me and everyone else corroborated,  my granddad must have been a real rigid bastard at one time.  Master Waddie came to my rescue with my conundrum.

“Son, it jes’ ain’t so that men don’t change.  Men do change; unfortunately, sometimes for the worse as well as for the better.  Some men live their lives in quiet desperation, loaded with guilt, fear, hatred, and self loathing.  They never try to change; they’re miserable and it’s all they’ve come to know; therefore, their misery becomes their happiness;  and so, they never attempt change; however, some men have their mistakes and past deeds brought home to them so dramatically, they do a hundred and eighty degree turn around. That was the message within Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.”  Old Scrooge was made to see the error of his ways, and the direct result of his actions or inactions not only caused great harm and misery to others, but indirectly to himself as well.  Remember, misery begets misery; or worse yet,— misery is as misery does.

I knew your granddaddy years ago and knew him to be a concerned and caring man.  No doubt he was a miserable man at the time, but he was looking for an answer for his misery.  Any man who is still searching for an answer will never die miserable.  Your granddad’s misery was so simple, he was looking for much more complicated answers.  Many times,  that’s the way with loss, sorrow, disappointment and misery.  The misery itself is far more complicated than the answer or the solution.  In most cases the only answer is to ask God for forgiveness, forgive yourself and take one small step at a time toward learning to love without conditions.  Unconditional love is like anything else in life,— a man has to learn it,— it isn’t given to him naturally.    

When a man learns to love unconditionally without hate or judgment for others,— it’s then, and only then a man is truly reborn to life.  Forget what you hear them rabid, bible thump’n freaks say about them being born again. They’ll tell you,  you have to believe like them to find salvation.  Lord, I hope not.  Most of ‘em have the intellect of a radish, and they couldn’t reason their way out of a wet paper bag.  They have no concept of the real meaning of being ‘born again.’ In their zeal and rush for their own personal spiritual comfort or whatever they think on as their salvation they, in effect, simply accept the standards set down by some pervert of a preacher who ain’t the least bit interested in their salvation, but his own self-aggrandizement, greed and sick need for power. The more he can control his flock, the more likely he is to gain wealth and power for himself.  His God is mammon.

They’ll insist you  have to believe like they do or you ain’t a’ gonna’ make it to the same place they hope their going.  Who’d want to?  You have to love and hate the way they do or they’ll tell you,  you ain’t worthy to share equally in their society here.  Why would anyone with a sane mind wanna’ share an eternity with them folks anyway.  I sure as hell wouldn’t.  That truly would be hell, living among them self-righteous son’s a’ bitches.
It’s only when a man like your granddaddy begins to doubt does he realizes he’s been horribly misled by false men and their false ideas.  A healthy skepticism or doubt will more likely save a man than blind faith.  Never be afraid to question authority, but more importantly, always question anyone’s motives who asks you to accept anything on faith.  Blind faith, in and of itself, is fertile ground for evil to sow its seeds.  The very demon them folks think they’s arming themselves against is living within them.  They’re gear'n up to fight a battle they’ve all ready lost.

Yore’ granddad would listen to me by the hour when nobody else would.  It was his silent, but strong way, of showing me his empathy and his unconditional love.  I’ll be honest with you,— I love yore' granddaddy to this day and owe him a debt of gratitude.  He never tried to preach to me, but I could feel he was or had been a man of deep faith.  He never spoke of it with me unless I asked him.  He claimed he lost it; however, I insisted he would one day find it again,--- but it would be different.  It wouldn't be the way he saw things before, but the peace and beauty of his resolution would make him whole again.  We cried in each other’s arms that night and he thanked me.  Maybe, like you and me,— him and me,— it could be we helped each other a little bit. He certainly helped me see things in a different light.

He truly loved my little brother Cass whose face was a mess from a mine explosion in Nam.  Half of his face was blown off.  Half of Cass’s face looked like his skin was stretched tight over a skeleton’s skull. Half his mouth had his teeth sardonically exposed.  He was frightening to look upon when you first met him;  however, he was such a genuinely good and loving man,— after a while, you hardly noticed his looks unless you were really thinking about it.

My advice to you, not only as someone who loves you, but as your Master; meet your granddad with all the joy and hope in your heart for the possibility of sharing something wonderful.  Take it slow,— you don’t have to rush into anything.  You’ll be surrounded by a large group of loving men who will project their strength and comfort to you.  You won’t be alone. You don’t have to tell him nothing right away.  I’d advise you to go to work for him if he asks you.  Take my boy’s offer and leave your stuff here.

Most of these men know what yore’ granddaddy’s situation is and what yours is.  They be cowboys, Son,— ever’ damn one of ‘em.  They live by the cowboy code.  They’d never tell another man your business you shared with ‘em unless you give ‘em permission. They won’t betray your trust.  Gip, his boys, Bubba, and his boys will never tell yore’ granddad nothing.  They certainly won’t tell him who you are if you don’t want ‘em to; however, I think it’s within all their hearts to see you two happy together.

Don’t think with your head, cowboy,— feel and listen with your heart,— you’ll never go wrong.  God don’t talk to us through our heads no ways,— his angels, do but he don’t;  no,— he talks to us through our hearts.  The love I have for you, as your Master, will tell you to listen to the voice that speaks to you within your heart. That voice will come to you in the wee small hours of the night and fill you with its truth.  You’ll know what to do, and you’ll know when to do it. Don’t worry none about what chore’ daddy might think.  God will take care of that.  He will heal his heart as he has his dad’s.”

I sat there next to my Master and cried like a baby in his arms.  He was the only man other than Spencer Winchester who gave me such sound advice from the depths of his soul.  I didn’t need Gip, Bubba or anyone to tell me to listen to my cowboy Master.  I knew his words were true.

* * * * * * *
I had breakfast with everyone without my contacts and Bubba’s boys couldn’t keep their eyes off of me.  Vince told me it was like looking at a younger version of his Uncle Curtis, he called my granddad.

“My God, Casey!” exclaimed Seth, “Yore’ eyes are the same damn color as Uncle Curtis’s.  You gonna’ put chur’ contacts in before we go to the rodeo?”

“I think it would be a good idea,— don’t chu,' men?”  I asked Seth and Vince.

“Oh, yeah, Casey,— we think you should.  If’n we’d a’ seen the color of yore’ eyes yesterday we’d a’ been asking a few question.  Dad would a’ know’d fer sure.”  They laughed. “By the way, cowboy,--- welcome to the family.”  

“Thanks, men,— I’m awful proud ya’ll think on me as yore’ brother.”

* * * * * * *

The sun was coming up as we got the final ponies loaded onto the horse trailers.  Gip took the pony Waddie was going to ride in his six horse trailer and he had room for Rocky; however,  Bubba insisted taking Rocky along with his and his boy’s three ponies in his four horse trailer.  Master Waddie and I rode with Bubba and his boys.  We were quite a caravan of trucks, horse trailers and motorcycles.

I was really proud of my roping partner. He was decked out in his finest cowboy, rodeo gear and I was wearing my favorite lucky rodeo clothes. I wondered how Waddie could carry a Western hat and clothes on his motorcycle.  He didn’t.  He explained many in his family were so use to going to The Broken Arrow outside of Tucson and to Waddie’s hometown they bought and left their Western clothes in each place.  Gip had a closet in one of his guest bedrooms filled with frequent quest’s cowboy clothes. Everyone commented on what a hot pair we made,— even Mr. Titus.

* * * * * * *

We arrived at the rodeo grounds shortly after sunup. The rodeo wasn’t due to start until ten A.M.; however, Sheriff Claymore was one of the city fathers and had to be there early to meet with all the other men coordinating and running the rodeo.  Of course, we all pitched in to help make Gip’s job as easy as possible and by the time the other contestants began to arrive everything was in pretty good shape.

I was working with Master Waddie, Titus, Bubba and his boys at the far end of the arena helping unload the rough stock that was to be used in the rodeo.  Since it was such a small town rodeo they didn’t contract with a major stock provider and had local ranchers bring their orneriest critters.  I was surprised there was some fine looking stock brought and released into the holding pens.

We broke for coffee and donuts around eight and were all standing around when Bubba looked over my shoulder and smiled.  He looked at me, winked and nodded for me to turn around to look.  Pulling into the rodeo grounds was a huge, crew-cab, pickup truck pulling a six horse trailer.  The truck had a sign in large letters painted on the side: “Lazy 8 Ranch.”  I didn’t expect it to happen but my heart leaped to my throat and I couldn’t speak.  Bubba watched me closely and saw the blood drain from my face.  He walked up beside me, put his big arm around me and pulled me close to him.

“Don’t chu’ worry none, cowboy.  He don’t have no idea who you is.  Ain’t a man here what’s gonna’ give you away neither.  Just be your sweet, charming cowboy-self and you’ll have that old man eating out a’ yore’ hand.”

“Thanks, Bubba.”  I managed to choke out.

We all watched as the four cowboys got out of the truck.  I knew immediately which one was my granddad.  He was the tallest, the biggest, the most handsome of the four men.  He was, no doubt, my father’s dad and my granddad.  He looked more like my dad than I did.  Then again, everyone always has told me I look more like my Uncle Seth.  Bubba’s boys looked at their dad for his direction.  He gave them a slight nod for them to go to their Uncle Curtis to greet him and they were away.

Master Waddie and Titus walked up and was standing with Bubba and I.  The sheriff and his boys joined us, too.  Bubba excused himself to go say ‘hello’ to Curtis Langtry and rescue him from his boys.  I could tell the way Vince and Seth were hugging and talking with my granddad they were genuinely glad to see him.  He seemed just as glad to see them.  Then as they moved on to shake the hands of the other cowboys from the Lazy 8 Bubba took my granddad’s hand and pulled him into a big hug and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  My granddad responded in kind.

I couldn’t get over how hot looking my granddad was.  He had on one of the best looking Western hats and a handsome pair of boots that were obviously handmade for him. He looked mature and weathered like a ranch foreman was suppose to look; but to me, he was the most handsome man I think I ever laid eyes on.

“Oh,— and did I mention,— you granddaddy is one hell of a fine look’n buckaroo?”  Master Waddie said loud enough so only our group could hear.

“I can’t gainsay that.”  allowed Titus.

“Me neither.”  agreed the sheriff.

“Well,— what ‘da ya’ think, cowboy?”  Little Gip asked me.

“Wow!”  Was all I could manage to get out in a quiet voice.  “He looks jes’ like an older version of my dad.”

The men slowly walked over to our group.  I could feel my granddad’s eyes on me as the men were walking towards us.  

“Mr. Langtry,— ” Gip stuck out his hand first in greeting, “It’s good to see you again, Sir.  Glad you and your men could join us this year.”

My granddad took the sheriff’s hand and shook it warmly.

“Good to be here, Sheriff Claymore.  It’s always a pleasure to see you and your boys again, Sir.   Gip,” he shook little Gip’s hand, “and Buck.”  He shook Buck’s hand.  “I see you have some other cowboy’s I ain’t met before and one or two faces I recall from a long time ago.  Let me see, I know this big man must be your brother, Waddie Claymore.”   Curtis stuck out his hand to Master Waddie.  Master Waddie took his hand and pulled him into a hug.  There were tears in both men’s eyes as they parted.

“It’s a pleasure and an honor to meet you again, Sir.”  Master Waddie spoke softly to him.

“I feel the same way, cowboy.”  My granddad told him.  “I believe this fine looking man behind you is named Titus.”  He shook Titus’s hand and Titus told him it was good to meet him again.

“You still riding with Sarge, Titus?”  Curtis asked him.

“Naw, Sir,— I’m sorry to say he passed away about fifteen years ago.”

“Has it been that long?  I guess it has.  I’m real sorry to hear that, Son.  He was a fine man. I appreciated his honesty and his refusal to put up with bullshit from anyone.  He certainly taught me a few things and for that I’m grateful to him.”  Curtis commented sincerely.

Gip put his arm around me and pulled me close to him.  I’m glad he did.  I couldn’t take my eyes off my granddad’s eyes.  Vince and Seth Quee were right.  Their Uncle Curtis’s eyes were exactly the same color as mine.  I was also glad Gip was holding on to me because I was sure, at any minute, my knees were going to give way and I would collapse from nervousness.  I even snaked my arm around the sheriff’s waste for better support.

Curtis Langtry made the rounds shaking hands, meeting and greeting all of Master Waddie’s and Titus’s family.  He knew them all by name and had something he remembered about each of them.  He introduced his roping partner and two hands to everyone as he went.  He finally returned to Gip and I.

“Mr. Langtry,— I’d like you to meet a fine young man who came highly recommended to me as a fine young cowboy and I have to say, he is that.  Mr. Langtry, this here cowboy is Mr. Casey Longhorn.  Casey, this man is Mr. Curtis Langtry, the foreman of the Lazy 8 ranch.”

I took my granddad’s hand and looked into his eyes.  Could he tell?  Did he know?  Could he feel the electricity coming from my hand?  I couldn’t take my eyes away from his.  I saw within his eyes the knowledge and pain of many years lived alone, but beneath the pain and loneliness I saw a man of strength and understanding; a man of goodness and forgiveness; a man who had come to learn the cowboy way the hard way.

“It’s good to meet you, young man.”  He spoke softly.

“It’s good to meet you, too, Mr. Lantry.”  I didn’t volunteer any more.

“Are you a team roper, Son?”

“Yes, Sir,  Mr. Waddie Claymore and me come from the same ranching community in California, and he done taught me a lot about roping.  I also learned calf rope’n on my own.  He asked me to partner with him at the Tucson rodeo and come here with him to compete.”

“Good!  Waddie Claymore’s a fine roper.  I’ve watched him rope for years.  J’all do any good in Tucson, Son?”

“They won both events, Mr. Langtry,” interjected the sheriff, “team roping and Casey came in second in calf roping.  I’ve asked him to stay on for a while at my ranch after my dad takes off with his family to Key West.  I could use a good hand for a couple of weeks right now.”

“Sounds like a good idea to me. I’ll look forward to seeing you rope, young man.”

He introduced me to his second man, Mr. Thurston Sewell and the two other hands with them.   They were both younger men, but they were several years older than me.  One was a fine looking, powerfully built men named Brett Hall and the other was smaller but a good looking cowboy named Curt Moss.  They both looked like they knew how to toss a rope.

* * * * * * *

The rodeo finally got underway.  I calmed down and began to focus on my roping.  Master Waddie and the sheriff were chosen to ride the two flags into and around the arena.  Sheriff Claymore carried the American Flag and Master Waddie carried the state flag of Texas.  They rode all out into the arena, urging their ponies as fast and hard as they could go,  down and around, passing each other and back to where they started.  Everyone stood and they played a recording of the national anthem.  Then they repeated their rides in the opposite direction and out of the arena. They were a perfectly matched pair of cowboys to carry the flags.

After that came the grand entry.  All the participants of the rodeo were on horseback and rode into the arena to ride around in drill formation.  It’s the same in any rodeo you every attended so it’s not hard to go from rodeo to rodeo and participate.  Once in a while there’s a slight change but it’s usually minor and a good horseman can easily adjust.  We were riding in a giant figure eight where one rider crosses in front of another in a fast trot.  I noticed each time a came to the crossing of the ‘eight’ my granddad crossed right behind me.  I wondered if that was an omen.  I wasn’t the only one.

Then we got down to some serious rodeoing. Gip was right. While my granddad was accurate and pretty fast his partner was slower than molasses on a winter’s day.  The other two men from the Lazy 8, Brett and Curt, were pretty good but they weren’t a focused team.  The real competition came from Sheriff Claymore and his son little Gip.  They were pretty damn good; however, they couldn’t beat two cowboys in love and Master Waddie and I walked away with the best times of the day.  I also won the calf roping event by an eight second better time than all the other cowboys.  

I was proud of myself and so was the other men from the Claymore ranch.  They were happy for me showing my granddad what I could do.  I know he was impressed.  I could see him watching me the entire time we were rodeoing.  It felt good, but I kept wondering what was going through his mind.     

* * * * * *

After the rodeo was over almost everyone in the small town drove out to Sheriff Claymore’s ranch.  There were pickup truck and horse trailers everywhere.  Many had come to spend the night and rodeo some more.  It was a fantastic afternoon and a good time was had by all.  My family, as I’d come to think of Master Waddie and his family, including Bubba and his boys, were constantly around me for support and encouragement.  They were all thrilled for Master Waddie and I for having won the rodeo earlier in the day.

We were all sitting at several big picnic tables eating a wonderful Fourth of July feast.  Comments were going all around the table.  Bubba and his boys were sitting across from me and Master Waddie, Gip and his boys.

“Think old man Langtry’s got a clue about who Casey is, Bubba?”  Gip asked him.

“Ain’t real sure.  He sure did watch Casey a lot today.  Couldn’t take his eyes off’n him when he and Waddie was rope’n.  When Casey got the best time in the calf roping event he got a huge smile on his face.  I walked over to him and asked him what he thought of Waddie’s partner. He told me he’d seen very few men who were born to be cowboys but he’d wager Casey was one. So, I know fer’ damn sure he was impressed.”
“You think he’s look’n to hire on some new cowboys this year?”

“I know he is.  He done told me he’s losing almost half his crew.  He’s losing his right hand man, Mr. Sewell.   He’s got to go back to Montana.  His family needs him on their ranch.  He’s leaving a week the end of July.”

“That’s gonna’ make it pretty tough on Curtis, ain’t it?  I don’t know but I jes’ always suspected there was something going on between him and Thurston.”

“Naw,— I think Thurston would like for there to be.  I think that’s part of the reason he’s leaving.  He’s in love with Curtis but Curtis don’t feel the same way.  At least that’s what some of the other cowboy’s allow.  Brett and Curt’s been together for a number of years.  They mind their own business but they told me it’s been hard on ole Thurston the last couple of years.  They say Mr. Lantry’s got this idea he shouldn’t git involved with any of his hands.  Guess he thinks it might undermine his authority.”

“Yeah,— well,— Curtis has had some strange ideas about a lot of things over the years.”   Commented Master Waddie as a statement of fact with no condemnation.

“How many men is he losing this year, Bubba” Gip asked.

“They usually try to run a crew of sixteen to eighteen men.  Eighteen is their ideal; however, in today’s world you jes’ cain’t git that many men to cowboy.  Even though they pay the best of any outfit in the country the work is jes’ too damn hard for most men.  So they usually run around twelve to sixteen.  That’s why they always welcome extra men for spring and fall roundup. They pay pretty damn good, too.  Me and my boys wouldn’t miss it.  The money sure makes it easier for us during the rest of the year and provides the boys with some nice things we jes’ couldn’t otherwise afford.

Curtis told me with Thurston leaving he’ll be down to eleven hands and he’s looking to hire on at least five, maybe more.  Every damn year he offers my boys a job again.  They’ve even gone and helped him some until he could git another couple of men.  He pays them handsomely.

Sometimes he has to hire on some men he’d rather not because they don’t come with very good recommendations. Some are wet backs who wanna’ ride around on their ponies all day but don't wanna' do the work their getting paid for.  He usually has a turn over of two to four per month of that kind.  He don’t take too many of them on because they tend to keep to themselves and plot against him and the other cowboys.  They’ll do as little work as they can git by with and let the rest of the men do the majority of the work. The other men take it for so long and then if Curtis don’t step in a do something he’s got a war on his hands.  That ain’t to say all of ‘em’s z’at bad.  He’s got a couple who’ve been with him for years and they work as hard as any of the rest of the hands.  They pull their weight and are jest’ as glad to see the slackers go as the rest of the cowboys.”

“Think he might offer our cowboy, here, a job?”  Asked Gip.

“I’d say it’s a pretty sure bet.”  Bubba said as he winked at me.  “He did tell me he thought you had the prettiest dark blue eyes he ever did see, Casey.”

Everyone at the table laughed.  Some of Master Waddie’s family were finished eating and got up to leave.  My granddad and his men were just finished going through the food line.  The sheriff stood and waved them over to our table.  They eagerly accepted his invitation and came to join us.  My granddad sat down directly opposite me and his second man, Thurston, sat to his left.  Bubba was on his right.  I felt Master Waddie’s hand grip my left leg and at the same time I felt the sheriff’s big hand grip my right leg in a gesture of support.  I had to fight hard to keep a tear from running down my cheek.

“Ya’ done good today at the rodeo, Son.”  Curtis Langtry looked into my eyes and spoke.

“Thank ya,’ Sir.  Coming from you,— that’s quite a compliment.”  I replied and he looked satisfied I recognized his position.

We sat and talked about various things.  I excused myself to go get me and Master Waddie some dessert; homemade ice cream.

“You know’d this boy long, Waddie?”  Curtis asked Master Waddie.

“All his life.  I’ve watched him grow into a fine young man and one hell of a cowboy.  He comes from a fine family and they have a big ranch about ten miles from the ranch my aunt owns.  He’s a good man.”

“Is ‘Longhorn’ really his name?”

“Yep,— ‘at’s his real name, all right.” Sheriff Claymore answered.  “I know the sheriff from my dad’s community pretty well.  He’s been out here to rodeo with us a couple of times.  Don’t know’s you ever met him, but I called back and talked to him a while.  He swears that’s the family’s name and it’s an old family around the area.  The boy’s got roots.  He didn’t have nothing but good things to say about the young man.  Said if Casey needed anything or got into any trouble to let him know immediately and he’d try’n help him anyway he could.  He says they all love the kid.”

“Humm,—” mused Curtis Langtry, “I could tell his comes from good stock.  You don’t learn to become a cowboy like him that young without having the best teaching.  I’m sure you had something to do with that,— right, Waddie?”

“I give the boy a few pointers, Sir.”  Waddie replied smiling.

Master Waddie wasn’t lying because he’d given me lots of pointers since we’d been roping together.  About that time I returned with ice cream for Master Waddie and me.

“Can I get anyone else some ice cream or watermelon?”  I asked around the table.  They all thanked me but declined.

“Thoughtful and polite,— two good traits any cowboy should have.”  My granddad allowed.

“Indeed, it is.”  Agreed Master Waddie.

* * * * * * *

Needless to say, there was more rodeo went on all afternoon.  Mostly team roping and calf roping.  Gip didn’t have the stock for bull riding or bronc riding.  That didn’t seem to bother anyone.  A couple of the cowboys bulldogged a steer but most of the time was spent on roping.

My granddad was another like Sheriff Claymore.  He believed in rodeoing in his full outfit.  Boots, hat, chaps and spurs.  He was a cowboy.  He was proud of it and he wanted to look like the cowboy he was.  I followed Gip’s lead and was rodeoing in my chaps as well.  Every time Gip looked at me he’d roll his eyes in his head and lick his lips.  He almost made me fall off my pony from laughing at him a couple of times.  He’d just grin real big.  He leaned over to me on my pony once and whispered.

“Soon’s my old man pulls out,— I’m arrest’n yore’ cowboy ass so’s you don’t git away from me too fast.”  He winked and grinned real big.

“I told my Master I thought you had to be one of the most arresting lawmen I’d ever met, Sheriff.”  I smiled at him.  We shared a laugh.
* * * * * * *

After several hours of roping, I’d been asked to rope with about everyone there including Brett and his mate Curt from the Lazy 8.  I was glad to say I helped improve both their times and the next run they made together was better than any of their other runs.  The only men who hadn’t ask me to rope was my granddad and his partner, Thurston Sewell.  I wasn’t going to be pushy,  but I did want to rope with my granddad.  I just knew I couldn’t ask him.

I was standing talking with Bubba and his boys and about ready to rope again with Bubba when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, my granddad excuse himself from his partner and walk toward us.  I kept my attention on talking with Bubba, but I could see every move my granddad made as he walked.  He had the rolling swagger of a seasoned cowboy which I found sexy as hell.  He made my dick get hard.  Bubba noticed it and smiled.  He knew what I was looking at.  

“‘Scuse, me, young man.  You’ve roped with about everyone here.  Would you do me the honor of partnering with me for a toss.”  My granddad asked with considerable charm.

“It would be an honor and a privilege, Sir.”  I smiled at him.  I excused myself from Bubba and asked if we might postpone our toss for the next one.  He smiled and graciously agreed.

“Which would you prefer to throw, Mr. Langtry,— header or heeler, Sir?”

“Can you throw either one, Son?”

“Yes, Sir,— equally well.”

“Humm,— good man.  I’ll throw header,— you be my heeler.”

“Yes, Sir.  That’ll be fine, Sir.”

We got into position and the steer was released, the barrier rope dropped and I watched out the corner of my eye as my granddad spurred his pony hard in the flank. I only had to gently nudge Rocky and he knew what to do.  His horse shot forth like a rocket and my granddad threw his rope, dallied and was turning the steer as I made my toss.  I could hear everyone in the arena and sitting on the coral fence take a breath in anticipation.  We were through.  We had the best time of the afternoon and bettered me and Master Waddie’s time at the rodeo.  Everyone was off the fence, surrounding and congratulating us,— except Mr. Sewell.  He didn’t seem like he was too impressed.  He acted like he wasn’t too happy about it all.  I didn’t know what to think, but the grin on my granddad’s face said all I needed to know.  He was more than a little wowed and impressed; just as I had hoped he might be.

“I think you got a fan?”  Master Waddie whispered in my ear as he patted me on the back.

“I think I jes’ made an enemy, too, Sir.”  I replied.

“Yeah,— I saw Thurston’s reaction, too.  I wouldn’t worry about it none.  He jes’ knows he ain’t the cowboy you are, but that don’t mean ole Thurston ain’t a fine ranch buckaroo.  From what I hear,— he’s a damn fine cowboy and a good man.  I’m sorry to hear your granddad’s losing him.”

* * * * * * *

The day was wonderful.  By the time we had a light supper of left overs from the picnic, I could barely hold my head up.  Gip called a halt to the rodeo activities a couple of hours after everyone ate.  A number of the rodeo contestants including the four men from the Lazy 8 were bunking it in Gip’s barn.  It wasn’t packed but there was a full complement of men.  Bubba’s boys were thrilled their Uncle Curtis decided to stay the evening with them.  They rarely got a chance to be with him other than when they were working on the ranch and then it wasn’t a very social setting.  They had a chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

I was looking forward to taking care of my Master cowboy whom I had come to love even more over the past couple of days.  His charm, his talents and his comfortable support were strengths that only came from a man of wisdom and age.  I fought off my thoughts of losing him in a short while to think of the treasure my friend Titus was going to have.  I was happy for him and felt they both deserved the love and companionship they could bring to each other.  I knew in my heart I would never lose either of them,— when they were together,— I would only have more to love;— a lot more to love.

* * * * * * *

The next day was almost an exact repeat of the Fourth.  Master Waddie and I won again and I won first place in the calf roping event.  The rodeo was over and we’d walked away with top prizes and the money.  We were on top of the world.  I can’t remember winning any rodeo that meant as much to me as winning that small rodeo in Master Waddie’s hometown.  It was more than just winning or the prize money.  I didn’t really need either.  It was because winning before my granddad made me feel proud whether he knew I was his grandson or not.  I couldn’t be really sure, but I thought, a couple of times, I caught a glimpse of pride for me in his eyes.  Bubba later confirmed it for me.  He told me he caught the old man wiping away a tear after I won the calf roping competition.  Bubba said he thought he knew why, but he had to know for sure.

“You all right, Curtis?”   Bubba put his hand on my granddad’s shoulder.

“Yeah,— sorry, Son.  I jes’ kinda lost it there for a minute watching that young cowboy,— think’n on how he might a’ been my boy or grandson out there winning.”

“He said that, Bubba?”  I asked him surprised.

“I may be the world’s biggest bullshit artist, Son, but I wouldn’t never lie about some’um’s serious as that.”

“Sorry, Bubba.  I didn’t mean to imply you’d lie.  I’s jes’ surprised.”

“I know you were.  No more’n I was, Casey.  I felt so bad for the old man I had to hold him for a minute.  I could only think,— if you only knew, old man.  You gonna’ think about work’n for him if’n he offers?”

“Mr. Claymore and the sheriff have urged me to, but he ain’t offered yet, Bubba.”

“He will.  Trust me.  He asked me what I thought about it, and I told him he’d be a damn fool not to ask you;— whether you accepted or not,— he still should ask you.”

“Thanks, Bubba.”

“No problem, Son.  Jes’ get all this straightened out so’s I can see yore’ daddy, my brother, again and tell him face to face how much I love him.”

* * * * * * *

The rodeo was a wonderful experience.  Besides Master Waddie and my wins, big Gip and little Gip won second in the teamed roping event.  Bubba’s boy Vince won second in the calf roping event and to everyone’s surprise and joy, young Buck, Gip’s youngest boy won third.  Third place in team roping went to Brett and Curt from the Lazy 8.  My granddad was really proud of them and I think he was just a little amazed by me.

That afternoon Gip invited the men from the Lazy 8 to return to his ranch to stay for the rest of the weekend.  The next day was Sunday and the men didn’t have to be back to the Lazy 8 until Sunday evening.  They were grateful the sheriff invited them.  If he hadn’t they would’ve had to return to the ranch that afternoon in consideration of their ponies.  They were glad to have more time away from the ranch.  Even dour ole Thurston seemed to perk up a bit.

It was considerably later when we returned home from the rodeo grounds than the day before.  There was a lot of clean up and last minute details that Gip had to be responsible for.  To make it easier on him and his men everyone pitched in to help and we were through in no time.  We left the place in pristine condition.  It was a little after four in the afternoon by the time we all arrived back at Gip’s ranch and unloaded the ponies.  No one seemed to be interested in rodeoing right after we got back.  Most were interested in getting something to eat and resting for a while.  It had been an intense two days of rodeoing.

Part of Master Waddie’s family had been dispatched earlier than the rest of us to get things set up and help getting a late dinner/ early supper ready for everyone.  Cindy, her two daughters and several neighbor ladies were in charge and they had plenty of willing extra hands with Master Waddie’s crew. By the time we got there everything was ready.  All we had to do was wash up and get in line.  The food was pretty much a repeat of lunch the day before but you had a choice of several things.  I had barbequed beef for the Fourth so I decided on a hamburger and a hot dog for dinner.  They were good, too.

Once again my granddad was sitting at a table with me and my friends.  By this time I included among my friends Bubba and his boys, Gip and his boys, Master Waddie, Titus, Big Jim, Beau, Blaine and Chief.  Thurston was at another table with Brett and Curt.  Talk was mostly about the rodeo and Master Waddie’s family taking off on Monday.

“Are you riding with them, Casey?”  My granddad asked me.

“Naw, Sir, this is my last stop with ‘em.  I hate to see ‘em go.  I’ll miss ‘em but I know they’ll have a great time and I wish ‘em well.”

“What are your plans, Son?”

“Sheriff Claymore’s asked me to stay around here; said he could use an extra hand for a while.  I ain’t really got no plans.  I thought when I wore out my welcome here I’d mosey on off down the road and try my hand at more rodeoing; however, without a toss’n partner I won’t be doing much team rope’n, I suppose.  Maybe I’ll git lucky and hook up with a partner.”

“J’ever think about working on a ranch?”   My granddad looked me right in the eye.

“I have before, Mr. Langtry.  I worked for a couple of months a couple of years in a row for a huge ranch in Montana.”

“The Diamond Back ranch?”

“Yes, Sir.  Ya’ hear’d of it?”

“That’s the ranch my second man’s going to work for.  It’s his family’s ranch and he’s needed to take over management.  They raise a lot of rodeo stock and sell ‘em to several contractors.”

“Yes, Sir.  That’s how I got the job.  My brother knows the man who manages one of the stock companies and he got us the jobs.”

“You got a brother, Son?”

“Well,— he ain’t really my blood brother, Mr. Langtry.  He’s my cousin but we was raised on ranches right next to each other.  We grew’d up together, played sports together through high school, and rodeoed together.  We think on one another as brothers, though.”  

“That’s understandable.  I’ve made close friends with a number of men I consider my brothers,— several are sitting at this table.”

“Here, here!”  agreed and echoed everyone at the table.

“Well,— I can’t say you didn’t impress the shit out of me with your rodeoing abilities, and if’n I’m any judge of men or horseflesh, I have a feeling you’d be about as fine a cowboy as you proved to be a rodeo competitor.”
“Thank you, Mr. Langtry.  I appreciate that, Sir.  I guess you’ve seen the best and the worst cowboys.”

“I have indeed, young man, and a good cowboy’s worth his weight in gold; however, a cowboy ain’t never gonna’ git paid what he’s really worth.  Fortunately, the company I work for is owned by a couple of old cowboys and one of ‘em manages it. Recently a large agro company bought into the ranch  as a third partner.  As I understand it, they chose to be a silent partner and allow the other two owners complete say in the operations and management.  Anyway, them old cowboys know what a good cowboy’s worth and they’re willing to pay top dollar for good ones.  If you think you might like to consider working for a big ranch I’d like to offer you a job as a hand, cowboy’n for the Lazy 8.”

“Wow!  How ‘bout that, Casey?”  Winked Gip from across the table.  He was sitting next to my granddad.  Master Waddie put his arm around me on one side and Bubba’s went around the other as they congratulated me on my granddad’s offer.  Titus reached around Master Waddie to pat me on the back and both Gip and Bubba’s boys were congratulating me. I felt like I’d just hit the jackpot in Vegas.

“Gees,— that’s awful nice of you, Mr. Langtry.  I sure would consider it, Sir.  How long would you give me to decide, Sir.  I have a few things I’d have to take care of first.  I promised Sheriff Claymore I’d give him a hand for a while.”

“Ya’ got two weeks to decide if you wanna’ accept my offer, Son.  If you accept then we can work around the time you start.  As long as we know we can count on you we’ll hold a place open.  You have any idea how long you’ll need him, Sheriff?”

“About three, maybe four weeks, Mr. Langtry.  Me’n the boys got a couple of projects we got to get done and we need another hand.  He should be through here by the first week of August or the first of September at the very latest.”

“That’s fine with me. Why don’t we just say the first of September, Son;  but, chu’ still have to let me know within two weeks from today if you accept my offer.”

I stuck out my hand to him. “I accept your offer, Sir.  It would be an honor and a privilege to work for you, Mr. Langtry.  I’ll look forward to it.”  He took my hand an held it for a moment.  There was a hush fell over the table you could’ve cut with a dull knife.  No one dared breath.  They all told me later they thought they were going to lose it and didn’t want to tip my hand to my granddad.  Finally, my granddad looked deeply into my eyes and firmly shook my hand.

“Ain’t cha’ gonna’ ask me what the job pays, Son?”

“Naw, Sir.  >From what you done told me about the company, you’ll pay me a fair wage for a good day’s work.”

“Spoken like a true cowboy, Son.  Welcome to the Lazy 8.”  He shook my hand once again.

Everyone at our table went nuts applauding and congratulating both my granddad and me. I think my granddad was a little taken aback by all the hoop-la from the men at our table.  He looked a little bemused by their enthusiasm and congratulatory outburst as if it was something they were all hoping would happen.  He looked confused but delighted I’d accepted his offer so readily.  I think he thought he would have to do some powerful selling to convince me to go to work for the Lazy 8. The poor man had no idea he’d just hired his grandson on as a ranch hand, a cowboy for his outfit.  That made the moment all the more poignant and sentimental for the men who loved me.  
Later Brett and Curt were all over me congratulating me and welcoming me to the Lazy 8 work crew.  Even dour old Thurston Sewell shook my hand a mumbled welcome, but added, he’d probably be gone by the time I reported for work.  He really seemed to have a thing against me and I couldn’t figure out why.  Several of my friends made conjectures but no one knew for sure.

* * * * * * *

That evening there was an “after the rodeo” dance at the Grange Hall free for all the cowboys who participated in the rodeo and any of the town folks who could produce their rodeo tickets.   I would’ve been happy just to stay home and cuddle up with my Master, but Gip was involved in everything in the community and he had to be there.  Naturally, he wanted us to all be there so he wouldn’t be bored out of his skull.  We were also a great deal of help to him and added more cowboys to the scenery.  Besides, it gave Master Waddie and I a chance to wear our new, huge, turkey platter, team roping champions rodeo belt buckles.

Surprisingly there were enough women to go around to dance with all the cowboys; although, truth be known, about a third of the cowboys would’ve rather been dancing with their partner.  I know Brett and Curt kept looking longingly at each other from the arms of some pretty girls they were Texas two-stepping with.  I have to say I couldn’t take my eyes of Master Waddie as he danced several dances with his old high school sweetheart.  Titus and I stood as wallflowers and made astute observations about which parts of Master Waddie’s anatomy we found most appealing.  We would end up holding each other in laughter; however, we were both soon whisked way from our sluttish revelries by Gip’s two daughters who took pity on us for a “Cotton-eyed Joe.”
I noticed my granddad was even dancing a couple of times with fine looking older ladies including Cindy, Gip’s wife, when she asked him to dance.  He looked quite handsome on the dance floor and I wondered if he ever gave any thought to ever marrying again. Old Thurston would stand back in the crowd and glare at the women who held my granddad in their arms while they danced. After observing that and talking it over with Master Waddie and Titus, they agreed with me, he was uncomfortable with anyone Curtis showed any attention to.  I didn’t feel quite so singled out by Mr. Sewell’s negative projections after that.

All in all, the dance was a good time.  No one got really drunk and there were no fights.  Everyone conducted themselves like gentlemen and respected the ladies.  Most of Gip’s deputies were there in uniform anyway.  Gip wasn’t.  He was in mufti,— dressed like the fine looking cowboy he was.  I have to add, little Gip and Waddie Buck were fine looking cowboys as well.  Bubba and his boys,— well, they were the center of attention anywhere they went and the rodeo dance was no exception.  I don’t think one of them missed a dance.  Their tongues were hanging out by the time it was over.

We were all pretty tired buckaroos by the time we got back to the ranch.  There were limited good nights, handshakes, hugs and kisses and everyone parted to go to their bunks for the night.  I noticed my granddad watched me leave with Master Waddie for my trailer with his big cowboy arm lightly draped over my shoulder.

“Is Casey bunk’n it in with Waddie Claymore?”   Curtis asked Bubba on their way to the barn.

“Yes, Sir,— they be old friends and rope’n buddies.”

“There’s something about that boy,— it’s like he’s too good to be real;— you know,— too good to be true.”  Curtis allowed.

“He’s a fine cowboy, Mr. Langtry and a polite young man.  Me’n and my boys have taken him into our hearts.  We’ve fallen in love with him.  I plan on ask’n ‘em to stay a weekend with us before he had to report to you.”

“Tell me, Bubba,— does he look to you a little like,— ?”  Curtis didn’t finish his sentence.

“Does he look like, who,— Mr. Langtry?”  Bubba asked quietly, holding his breath.

“Naw,— nevermind,— s’probably my imagination anyway.  Jes’ wishful think’n on my part,  s’all.”   Curtis ended the conversation.

* * * * * * *

“You and Titus have become pretty good friends, I’ve noticed.”  Master Waddie smiled at me.  He’d seen us watching him and his high school sweetheart dance and knew we were talking about him.

“I’ve become quite fond of Mr. Titus, and I hope he has with me, too.”

“Don’t think you have to worry none about that.  He talks about chu’ like you was his little brother.”

“That’s quite flattering, Sir.  I’m honored and pleased he thinks that way. I certainly feel the same about him.  I’ve tried to cultivate his trust and friendship for a couple of reasons,— the main one being, I genuinely like and care for Mr. Titus.  He’s a find man and cowboy.  A man worthy of any good man’s love and trust.  The other reason is,— I jes’ wanna’ make damn sure I’m welcome in your home after you two come together, Master Waddie.  I don’t never wanna’ lose what we’ve come to mean to each other, and in turn, what we mean to Mr. Titus.  I jes’ wanna’ know if’n I call or jes’ show up on yore’ doorstep, unannounced, they’ll be two open arms to welcome me.”

“Don’t think I could a’ put it better myself, my handsome, cowboy, slave-boy, and I guaran-damn-tee-ya’ there will be two pair of cowboy/biker arms to welcome you anytime you need to come a’ running in our direction.  Now!  Come,— give yore’ old Master a good kiss, let’s us git cleaned up and ready for bed.  Don’t even think about it tonight;— no dirty, sweaty Master or cowboy. We’re both git’n cleaned up and bunk’n it in normal-like tonight; or, as normal for us as we can git.”  he chuckled at his little aside, “Your Master has needs, too, and I have a need to feel your raw cowboy flesh against mine tonight.  I got’s tonight and tomorrow night with my cowboy slave, and I ain’t a’ gonna’ waste a minute I can’t be spending in that little ass a’ yores.”

“Sounds good to your cowboy slave, Master.  I couldn’t imagine a better ending to a perfect few days than to lie with my cowboy Master’s big dick up my ass relaxing both of us.  Fuck all them other prizes we won the last couple of days,— I’d trade ‘em all for one night in your arms, Sir.”

“I was awful damn proud a’ you today, honcho!”  He exclaimed.

“You know, Sir,— that’s my dad’s favorite name for me?”

“I know,— I’ve heard him call you that over the years and I remembered.”

“Thank’s for that, Master Waddie,—” I started shedding a couple of tears.

 He grabbed me in his big arms and held me close.

“Shuu,— I’ll have none of that, cowboy!”  He scolded with tenderness in his voice.  “I done called ju’ that to let you know yore’ daddy would a’ been damn proud of you today, too,— and one day, I’m gonna’ tell him what a good and wonderful son he produced.  He may not agree with what you’re doing right now, but he don’t have all the facts,— he jes’ cain’t know what’s going on here right now is right.  It’s meant to be.  I’m proud a’ the way you’ve handled your granddaddy.  I don’t think he has a clue who you is and I don’t think none a’ them cowboys has told him a damn thing.  Bubba would cut his own throat before he gave you away.  Beside,— the way his mouth waters  ever’ damn time he gits a good look at chur’ ass,— I know he wouldn’t jeopardize his chance to git into it.”  We both shared a laugh.  “You know,— he asked me how it was;— yore ass, that is.”  We laughed again.

“What’d ju’ tell ‘em, Sir?”  I ask with a smile.

“I told him it was the closest to heaven he was ever gonna’ git!”   We rolled around on my bed laughing at Master Waddie’s comment.

The love we made that evening was the best part of the day.  There was an unspoken easiness between us that translated into some very hot sex.  Afterward,— we were so exhausted we fell into a deep peaceful sleep.

* * * * * * *

Sunday morning was a revelation.  Everyone was up just as early as usual and Master Waddie and I were on kitchen duty for the day.  We hurriedly got dresses, had a cup of coffee in the double ‘R’ before we left and headed for the main house before the sun was up.  Gip was in the kitchen with his boys, his daughters and Cindy.  Several of Master Waddie’s other family were there including Titus to help.  

Cindy was like a petit drill sergeant who giggled a lot.  She knew how to run a county kitchen.  The food and coffee was ready on time.  Everything was hot and tasty.  All the rest of the men staying at the ranch stumbled in for breakfast just as the sun was beginning to rise.  Gip said a small prayer of thanks and everyone took their food and coffee to one of the picnic tables to eat.  Gip announced to anyone interested they would be leaving for church about ten thirty.

There was chores and stuff to get done around the ranch before everyone could stop and go to church.  Lunch had to be started almost immediately after breakfast so Cindy and her girls didn’t have to have the burden of fixing Sunday dinner for so many men by themselves.  Since we were on kitchen duty we cleaned everything including the kitchen and then immediately set about to prepare food.  Titus and I once again found ourselves on the service porch seated on stools pealing and cleaning potatoes.  Everything was ready by the time Sergeant Cindy called a halt to work and told everyone to knock off until after church.  We knew well enough to report back immediately after returning to the ranch.

Most of the cowboys didn’t have church-going clothes per se.  They just went like they were; cowboys.  They were all clean and scrubbed.  Their boots buffed a little if not polished with their hats in their hands.  All the town folks knew and understood.  Besides,— God don’t care what you wear as long as your heart’s in the right place.

Master Waddie, Titus and I discussed going and decided it would be a nice gesture since Gip had been so generous with us.  Waddie told us he almost had to go out of respect for his boy’s position in the community.  I think that was all Mr. Titus and I needed.  I was curious as to how many others would go with us.  Surprisingly, everyone went,— including, my granddad.  I watched as Curtis Langtry, my granddad, quietly greeted the pastor and shook his hand.  He didn’t have a lot to say to him, but he was polite.  It was obvious they knew each other.  I wondered how many times he’d been to the church in Chapel Creek.  It wasn’t a fundamentalist church at all.  It was an Episcopal  Church who, most of the time, are pretty liberal in their attitudes.

Master Waddie, Titus and I decided to sit together.  I sat on Master Waddie’s left and Titus sat on his right.  I looked up to see my granddad slipping into the pew next to me.  It was a small church and it was packed, so he sat pretty close to me.  Our legs were touching and he didn’t seem to be the least self-conscious about it.  He did, however, received a scowl from his second.  He was wearing a faint aftershave that was really a clean smell.  With him sitting so close to me I immediately got a hard-on and I know he saw it.  He looked at me and smiled the sweetest smile,— like it was okay,— he understood.  It was moving moment for me to be sitting between two powerful men whom I knew would be great influences in my life.

The Rector or minister greeted the congregation.  He was a closet cowboy and rodeo fan himself and made great to-do over the champions of the rodeo the couple of days before.  He was also a supreme politician as well as pastor of his flock.  He made it a point to know who was who, their names and how everyone interrelated with each other.  He had Master Waddie and I stand and all the other winners of the rodeo.  He welcomed Mr. Curtis Langtry and his men from the Lazy 8, stating it was always a pleasure to have them share worship with the congregation.

He gave one of the most intelligent and poignant sermons I think I ever heard any preacher give.  Since he had an audience composed of over sixty percent ranchers and cowboys he decided not to give the sermon he planned.  He sat his notes aside and opened his bible to the back.  There, he had all kinds of notes for other sermons.

His sermon was about the cowboy way and how closely it paralleled the teachings of Jesus and the true meaning of Christianity.  It was pure, simple and the pastor stressed the main principle it taught was the ‘Golden Rule;’ do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and to learn to live and love unconditionally without judgement of others. His words were full of meaning and considerable love.

He also stated that as stoic and solitary figures as cowboys might sometime seem to be, there was always love in their hearts; love, respect and awe for the greatness of God’s beauty in nature; love for their work and respect for the critters they work with and care for;  and, love of good friends, neighbors and loved ones they care about.  Those things, exclusive of hate, greed, ignorance, jealousy and bigotry was, after all, what Christianity was really all about.

* * * * * * *

After the service we returned to the sheriff’s ranch and headed for the kitchen in the main house.  Cindy had Gip buy and install two ‘Wolf’ ranges side by side for just such occasions.   They were always entertaining large groups of people and she needed the extra cooking space.  There was six gas burners on the top of each stove and four ovens in each as well.  I was put on one of the stoves to fry chicken.  There were four of us riding the ranges, as it were.  Mr. Titus was right next to me and Cindy’s two daughters were on the other side of him.

Between the four of us we had several enormous metal pans filled with hot fried chicken that was whisked away and set on the serving table. The men were all ready going through the line for their food.  They were told they could come back for seconds as many times as they liked.  When Cindy was satisfied we’d cooked enough chicken she gave us each a hug and joined us in line so we could eat, too.  My granddad got up and silenced everyone.

“Gentlemen,— let’s give a round of applause for Mrs. Clamore, her two fine daughters and the men who volunteered for kitchen duty today for such a wonderful meal.”

They all stood and clapped for us.  We were just arriving with our food. It was a nice gesture and well appreciated.  Gip asked everyone to join hands.  He gave a brief blessing for the company and for the wonderful food.  Everyone said ‘a-men’ and sat down to a wonderful, fried chicken, Sunday dinner with all the fixings.

After dinner, everything was cleaned up and put away, the men changed from their better cowboy clothes to their working clothes.  Everyone was in a rodeo mood and Gip yelled, “ Let’s rodeo!”  That’s all it took to have everyone down to the arena.  It was a relaxed time.  No one was in a hurry.  Even Cindy and her daughters were able to come down and enjoy the men rodeoing.  Several neighbors dropped by and there was quite a crowd.  There was no balls out competition.  Everyone was just enjoying themselves.   

I roped with my granddad several times.  We got better and better each run we made until it was becoming obvious to everyone,— there was some closeness developing between old Curtis and the new, young cowboy.  It was certainly not missed by Thurston Sewell.  He seemed to get more sullen and withdrawn as the day progressed.  I would see my granddad try to talk with him.  I tried to talk with him. I even asked him to toss a rope with me, but he graciously refused.

   At one point I decided I had to take a leak and headed out down to the outhouse behind the older barn.  About the same time Mr. Sewell decided he needed to visit the facilities.   I saw him and didn’t know whether to be friendly or just ignore him, but that just ain’t my way.

“Howdy, Mr. Sewell.  You headed down to the latrine, Sir.”

“Yeah, Son, — nature calls.”

We walked along in silence for a while, and I thought I’d confront him.

“You don’t like me very much,— do you, Mr. Sewell?”

“I like you fine, Casey.  I don’t mean to give you that impression. I know I ain’t been the best company and a cowboy should put his best foot forward to be friendly; but, I have a hard time doing that sometimes.  Folks take it the wrong way and think I don’t like ‘em;  or, they think I’m sullen or stuck up.  My problem is,— I fell in love with the wrong cowboy.”

“Mr. Langtry, Sir?”
“Yeah,—”  Was all he offered for a minute, “I’ve been in love with him for several years, but he don’t love me the same way I love him. We’ve shared love a couple of times, but he’s always told me he cain’t get involved with anyone who’s an employee.  It would compromise his position and authority. Hell, I’m his second.  I’m the one what tells the men what to do and make sure it’s done,— not him.  Now,— here I am leaving at the end of the month,— we come for the rodeo, and I watch him falling in love with you.  He’d never admit it, but I know that’s what’s happening.  How do you think that makes me feel?”

“I think I understand, Mr. Sewell. Mr. Langtry’s a fine looking cowboy, but you’re a good looking man, too, Mr. Sewell.”

“Well, thank you, Casey.  I think you’re a fine looking young cowboy, too.  That’s part of the problem,— you look like a younger version of Curtis.  I ain’t said nothing to him about it.  I don’t think he’s even noticed,— but I did, the minute I met you.  You’re so much alike,— I can feel you’re drawn to each other like two pole magnets.”

“Yeah, but it ain’t for the reason you’re think’n in yore’ head, Mr. Sewell.”

“What da’ ya’ mean, Casey?  I ain’t blind,— I kin see what’s going on.”

“Maybe you are blind,— in a way,— and jes’ don’t realize it, Mr. Sewell.”

He snorted at me like what I was saying was nothing short of nonsense.  We reached the outhouse and stood in front of the trough.  He whipped out his good size dick and I whipped out mine.  Like Seth Quee had done the day before,— he did a double take that almost put a crick in his neck.

“Damnation,— if’n you don’t have a dick jes’ like his, too.  Looks jes’ like Curtis,— same size and ever’thing.”

I laughed and shook my dick before returning it to my Wranglers.

“Are you a real cowboy, Mr. Sewell?”

“About as close as you’re ever gonna’ meet, Son.”

“Then you can keep something to yourself if another cowboy shares a confidence with you?”

“I’d take it to my grave, cowboy!”

I reached up and slowly removed one of the contact lense from my right eye.  He took one look at my purple eye and his face went white.  I thought I was going to have to grab him for a minute.

“Ho-lee mother of God!”  He exclaimed quietly, “Forgive me, Casey.  I have been a blind man, Son,— then,— Curtis Langtry is,— ”

“He’s my granddaddy, Mr. Sewell,— but he don’t know it.  He don’t even know he has a grandson that I know of.”

“He don’t, Son. I guarantee ya,’ he don’t.  I done heard all the things he done to his boys,— awful things they was, too,— but I never understood it; however, I fully understand you not wanting him to know right away.  You didn’t know what kind of man you’re granddad was or whether you’d even wanna’ know him,— right?”

“Yes, Sir,— that’s about it, Mr. Sewell.”

“I never understood it ‘cause I got to know a different man than what he told me about.  He’s one of the best men I ever did have the pleasure of know’n, Son;  however,— you’re a smart young man for wear’n them contacts and all.  I never would a’ put it together, but now it all makes sense;— you looking like him;— you being one of the most natural cowboys I ever met.  Hell,— you walk like him,— you even talk like him sometimes.  Of course, it’s a natural thing for you to be drawn to each other.  You were so right, Casey,— I couldn’t see the damned forest for the trees.  God help me, I was blind to what was happening.  I guess you and God did help me see after all, Son.

I tell you what, young man,— you’ve made my heart a lot lighter by sharing that with me, and you kin bet them fine pair a’ boots you’re a’ wear’n he’ll never learn it from me.  I may laugh behind his back for the rest of the month, but he’ll never find out from me.  Thanks, Casey.  Thanks for sharing that with me, Son.  It took a big man with a loving heart and all them qualities that preacher spoke about this morning in church.   Somebody,— yore’ daddy perhaps,— has taught you the cowboy way, and they taught you well, buckaroo.”

I opened my arms to him and he didn’t hesitate.  We held each other, he stole a kiss and shed a tear or two.

“Now, will you,— please,— rope with me, Mr. Sewell.”

“Bet chur’ sweet ass I’ll rope with you,— and since we be friends,— call me Thurston, Son.”

“Thanks, Sir,— it’ud be an honor.”

Thurston Sewell and I did rope together that afternoon,— a number of times.  Everyone commented about the change in him.  It was like night and day.  For awhile, I was afraid he was going to give me away, but he didn’t.  He never betrayed my trust.  I even helped him improve his speed in roping and by the end of the afternoon we captured some pretty fair times tossing a rope together.  What I revealed to him took a load off his mind, and he saw his boss in a totally different light. He knew eventually Curtis would be told about our relationship.  Even though Thurston would be leaving the Lazy 8 at the end of the month, he was happy and pleased for the man he admired and loved so much.

End of Chapter 30 ~ Texas Longhorns
Copyright 2005 ~ Waddie Greywolf
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