We got up early
the next morning to fix coffee and get breakfast underway. It wasn’t
long before the men from the barn stomped into the house. Cowboy
boots make a lot of noise on wooden floors. The men clomping up
the wooden stairs to the back porch sounded like a stampede.
sound like a herd of buffalo what’s jes’ been spooked.”
Bubba said dryly. I laughed at him, he was like Gip in his
humor. He could be painfully funny at times. I guess that’s
probably why he and Gip got on so well together.
Bubba and I were
the center of attention that morning. I can’t say we didn’t
expect it. It’s just the way cowboys are. Bubba and I
remained stoic; we all ready discussed and decided we weren’t
going to throw them any bones; neither of us volunteered
anything, but there was much whispering and giggling behind our backs.
“J’all have a
good time last night?” Gip drawled cautiously, which caused much
snickering from the four younger men.
Bubba tossed off as if it was no big deal. “Right tolerable,
Sheriff.” he added.
cowboy?” Gip addressed me with a wicked grin.
“I’d have ta’
agree with my bunkmate, Sheriff; however, for me, it was a bit more
than jes’ tolerable.” I smiled and winked at him. They all
caught my meaning and laughed. “I’d venture to say,— on a scale
of one to ten,— ole Bubba rang my chimes at about twelve plus;— fucked
me pert-damn good, too. I had to strap my belt around my butt to keep
my ass from fall’n off.”
I couldn’t help
but laugh after my statement of Bubba’s sexual powers. That broke
the dam for much laugher and hooting. After that nothing more was
* * * * * * *
We spent the day
pretty much as Gip guessed we might. It became almost a full
blown rodeo. The local cowboys got wind of Bubba having the
Sheriff and his boys from the next county as weekend guest, and the
word was there was to be an impromptu rodoe at the Swansey ranch.
Pickup truck pulling horse trailers started arriving around nine in the
morning and continued until almost noon. I don’t think Bubba
counted on such a large crowd descending on his ranch, but he took
everything in stride.
Bubba and I
roped together a lot that day and I have to believe what Master Waddie
told me about two men sharing something special were hard to beat at
roping. The nearest team to come close to Bubba and my times was
Gip and Waddie Buck. They were getting better all the time.
I was glad for both of them. I roped with everyone at least
a couple of times. I even roped with some of Bubba’s neighbors
who were damn good ropers themselves.
We broke around
noon to enjoy the tables of food the neighbors brought. Vince and
Seth Quee had also prepared several dishes they contributed to the
overall feast. Bubba lite his outdoor grill for anyone wanting
hot dogs or hamburgers. There was plenty of food for all.
When country folks get together they always bring lots of food.
One fine looking
older cowboy kept staring at me all morning like he was really
interested; in fact, he couldn’t take his eyes off of me. Bubba,
Gip and all the boys commented about it as we were having lunch.
I didn’t want to seem vain, but I asked if they got the same feelings I
was getting from him?
“You mean like
he’d like to shuck you like a ripe ear a’ corn?” Gip chuckled and
everyone else laughed with him.
Sir,— I guess.” I replied.
imagining it, cowboy. Jes’ look at that ear a’ corn in his
Wranglers and the wet spot at his crotch.” More laughter from the
Bubba knew the
man and told us his name was O.C. Harris. For many years,
O.C. lived with his family not far from Bubba’s ranch. He lived
his entire life in the community and went to school with Bubba and my
dad. O.C. lost his wife to cancer several years ago, and
his children, two daughters, were grown and moved away. They only
came to visit him a couple of times a year.
“He was a close
friend of your uncle’s, Casey. He was really tight with your
uncle, dad, and cousin Rance. The five of us were always together
and yore’ uncle and him was best friends all through school.
They’d never admitted it, but Vince and I knew they was fuck’n each
other. We caught ‘em in the barn one afternoon, but we didn’t say
nothing to ‘em. I think he’s seen yore’ eyes and has a thousand
questions running though his head. ”
Bubba said he
was a lonely man, but he didn’t know how to help him other than be a
good neighbor and friend. It seemed strange, because he never
made an effort to meet me; however, we were never together with someone
we both knew to introduce us. Country folks can be strange that
way. They believe you should be properly introduced to a man
before you talk with him; however, it’s all right for you to stare at
and wonder about him. I thought it might ease the man’s mind, and
he wouldn’t be so obsessed looking at me if we were to meet. I
asked Gip to introduce us. Gip had met the man several times
before. As we walked towards O.C. Harris, he got a look of panic
on his face. I though he was going to bolt and run.
“Good Lord,” Gip
spoke quietly to me, “I hope the man don’t have a heart attack.”
“You noticed it,
too, huh? Then I ain’t crazy.”
crazy, Son. I seen cows in a thunderstorm what weren’t as spooked as
that man looks.”
We arrived were
Mr. Harris was standing; he couldn’t take his eyes off my eyes and his
face lost all it’s color. It was like he was mesmerized.
Harris.” Gip stuck out his hand to shake O.C.’s hand. O.C.
took the sheriff’s hand and diverted his attention from me for a
moment. “Ain’t had a chance to come say ‘hello’ since you got here, but
I wanted you to meet my new hand working for me. This, here,
young cowboy is Mister Casey Longhorn. Casey this gentleman is
Mister O.C. Harris.”
I stuck out my
hand and the man took it and slowly began to shake it as he once again
looked deeply into my eyes. His face lost all its color. He
looked like he’d seen a ghost.
“Pleased to meet
cha,’ Mr. Harris.” I told him.
“Good to meet
you, too, Son.” he paused for a moment like he was trying to figure out
what to say next, “Sheriff Claymore said yore’ name is Longhorn.
Is ‘at right?”
“Yes, Sir, it
“Humm,— ” He
mused like he was confused. “Got any relatives around here,
Son?” He asked.
“Naw, Sir,— I
jes’ went to work for Sheriff Claymore this month and I met Mr. Swansey
and his boys at the Chapel Creek rodeo several weekends ago.”
“I’m sorry I
been staring at chu,’ Casey. There was a young man who used to
live on this ranch before Bubba bought it from the boy’s dad.
Bubba named his youngest son after him. He and his daddy had eyes
the same color’s yours. His brother didn’t, but their cousin who
live on the next ranch over yonder a ways had ‘em. It’s got to be
more’n chance. ‘Sides,— I grew’d up with the boy, Seth Quee
Langtry. We was the same age and went all through school
together. I knew him well. We was best buds. We was like
brothers. You could be his double or identical twin. Seth Quee,
his brother Vince, their cousin Rance, Bubba and me was together all
Unknown to me,
Bubba walked up behind me and was listening to the exchange. I
felt Bubba’s big arms surround me from behind and pull me back into him
to hold me close. He nuzzled me on my neck in a gesture of
“Best we tell
Mr. Harris the truth, Casey. H’it won’t do no harm and it sure
would do him a world of good. He loved yore’ uncle like he was
his brother.” Bubba whispered to me. I nodded my head in
agreement. “Casey is Vince’s boy, O.C. Vince made it back from
Nam and changed his last name to Longhorn so’s old man Langtry couldn’t
find him. Casey’s come looking for his granddad.”
The poor man’s
eyes started watering. He kept shaking his head like it couldn’t
be true; and yet, the undeniable truth was standing right in front of
God!” He exclaimed, almost reverently. “All these years we
thought Vince was dead.”
I opened my arms
to the man, and he didn’t hesitate letting me hold him. That’s
all it took for his emotional dam to burst. We stood there surrounded
by loving men who understood his turmoil as he broke down into
uncontrollable sobs. I held him and comforted him as best I could
until he got himself together.
“I’m so glad
yore’ dad made it back alive, Casey. Have you met yore’
granddaddy, yet, Son?” He asked.
“Yes, Sir,— I
met him at the Chapel Creek rodeo. He came to the picnic at
Sheriff Claymore’s afterward. I was wearing my blue contact
lenses so he wouldn’t put two and two together like you done. I
let my beard and ‘stache grow to hide my facial features. I don’t
think he figured out nothing. I wanted a chance to be around him
to see for myself what kind of man he is. My daddy would shit if
he knew I was anywheres near my granddad.”
“He has good
reason to feel that way, Casey. I don’t blame you a bit, but
Curtis has changed. It didn’t jes’ happen overnight, but he ain’t
the man he used to be. Yore’ granddad’s a different man today
from what he was then. He done some wonderful things for me and
my family over the years. Do you think you’ll ever tell him who
“Cain’t say, Mr.
Harris. He offered me a job work’n as a hand on the Lazy 8.
I accepted and start work in September for fall roundup. I wanna’
chance to be around him for a while before I decide whether I wanna’
understandable, Son. I’ll be there, too. He always includes me in
the fall roundup. It helps me financially, and since I
ain’t got nobody to home no more, it gives me a chance to get out and
be with men I know and care about.”
Mr. Harris,— then we’ll see each other again.”
“I got a
thousand questions, Son.”
Mr. Harris. I’ll do my best to answer them.”
We hugged again
and someone yelled,
Between times of
roping with someone I would ride over to Mr. Harris and answer his
questions. He told me a lot of wonderful stories about my uncle,