Melanie C. Campos ~ MahTame
ADVENTURES OF THE THREE CABALLEROS
IN SEARCH OF A WILY RASCAL
t had been one of those long dog days of Indian summer in early September down at the acreage of the Rancher named Do (Doh). The three fightin’ caballeros had lazed around an old, golden gelding, nicknamed ‘Goldie,’ that settled in the warmness of the afternoon sun. They had been on a hunt for some wily rascal that had come up from the winding creek that moved up and down the Mountain Valley. The country folks say it’s the meanest mountain lion that they have seen since the dust bowl days! Other folks say it’s the Phantom Mountain Lion that stalks the prairie at night just to screech like a baby wantin’ his mother to suckle her dry of all the milk she can offer!
Anyway, the eldest caballero is the meanest by far, even though he has the shortest stature of the three. His growl is the fiercest when he wants to protect his own kin. No one wants to come near him when his hair is ruffled along the top of his back and growlin’ like he is bigger than a Great Dane! They call him Snoop: getting’ gray round his muzzle from years of hard work on the farm. The other caballero had been through some garbage pits from some town far away. He was huge, big, like some fat sow allowed eating up slop day in and day out. Since he had been hired to work with the caballeros, he did begin to slim down. His short hair was slick and smooth and not as old as that old caballero named Snoop. They call this guy Billy Brad…they say he was supposed to be named after some Indian named Billy Black that hunted in the hills that lay north of the old homestead. Anyway, Billy would answer to his name and it seemed to fit him well. He was slower than the other two, but he sure could hold up with the chores regardless of his extra body weight he carried.
The other caballero was much newer and the youngest of the bunch, in fact, the group realized she was a caballera instead. But she proved to be such an asset to the group because she could watch and hear things the other two wouldn’t notice. She’d alert everyone if there were more danger about. Although she did seem to get a bit bigger for her own britches, ‘cause she could carry on like there were a million things to be handled or controlled.’ Some roamin’ country lass named her Marie (was supposed to be after that famous Miss Marie Antoinette’s daughter named ‘Marie Therese’ from some European country). How this young lass came to know that kind of gal, no one knows for sure. They only wondered what the similarities were between the long legged caballera and Ms. Marie Antoinette. The other caballeros noticed the quality she would display when they went runnin’ off somewhere, ‘cause she could outrun the both of them! And she could jump prob’ly higher than them jack rabbits that go on scatterin’ about when you’d happen upon them.
Meanwhile, on that lazy, Indian summer afternoon, they all laid across the soft, burr like coverin’ of the golden gelding. The other sounds of nature kept on with great fortitude. Cicadas would busily sing in tune like an operatic scale that rose above the wind! Several tall black walnut trees would sway like some country two steppin’ dance while their dry leaves would rustle in the wind. Occasionally, the caballeros could feel a tinge of coolness in that wind, perhaps givin’ off a hint of autumn that was to come to the old home place.
About five miles south of the caballero ranch lay the old mountains of the Wichita Mountain range. Many stories were often told of the Kiowa Indians and the settlers that had come to live near them. Some folks weren’t very sure about the safety of settlin’ with Indians nearby, but the caballeros sensed nothin’ was really wrong with them kind of people. Actually they somehow knew they wanted to learn and hunt from them. Billy said that the Indian people were good people, full of knowledge of the land. How he knew, no one knows for sure.
When the evenin’ hour came upon them, some of the country folk had been cookin’ some meat on the old makeshift iron grill near their farm. Some folks had to camp out on that farm, to watch out for those pesky coyotes. Seemed a lot of them been hangin’ around the old home place, lookin’ for some young calf or an old cow to feed their always hungry bellies! And sure enough, late one night, those coyotes came runnin’ up and started a hootin’ and a hollerin’! This rattled the cows and they began to belt out deep moos and some freakish awful soundin’ of worry. The caballeros dropped their meat with gravy splashin’ around and dashed across the small acreage and hollered back at them coyotes. ‘I’ll tell you who’s boss round these parts!’ yelled Marie. Billy and Snoop sent out the warnin’ to the folks up at the house to git their guns and git ready to shoot into the air to scare them coyotes away. “We don’t want any trouble round these parts,” hollered Snoop. Billy had some kind of a baritone-like voice when he hollered “Git on out of here! We ain’t go no patience fur your kind of lot! Skedaddle on back to where you were came from!” By then, the cowhands came scurryin’ down with their rifles and began to shoot out into the night air. Those rascal coyotes had took off and ran somewhere down south, ‘cause you could hear what kind of direction they were yelpin’ in. The cows quieted down their hollerin’ and went on back to eatin’ pasture grass or chewin’ on some kind of cud that them cows like to do. After all quieted down, the caballeros had gone back and finished up their meat and gravy. All three of them talked on for hours ‘bout that delicious meal they savored.
Sometime after all that hullabaloo, and the moon had been shinin’ down its beams on the countryside, the home folks had begun to gather ‘round a piano and an old ancient guitar that some round bellied fella with patched up overalls strummed away on. The caballeros had gone to relax near ‘Goldie,’ (the gold gelding) and stretched out across the thick grass. Billy was starin’ out toward them mountains; they sure were mysterious lookin’ at night – like silhouetted outlines that sketched across the horizon onto the starry sky. Billy started singin’ along with the folks, with his deep baritone voice, real slow like ‘Hoooooome, hooome on the raaaaaaaaaaange: where the deeeeeer ‘n’ annnnteeeelooopes plaaaaaaaay…’ By the time he got to the end of the first stanza, Snoop and Marie had been lulled into a deep sleep. E’en the night varmints wouldn’t stir trouble for the hens in the chicken house or in the garden, cause they’d be a snorin’ away too! Billy watched the fire slowly burn down as if it was goin’ off to sleep while barely an ember or two glowed. By the time the cicadas’ last buzzin’ hum faded away, all the country folks and the rest of them farm animals had fell into a deep sleep. The only sounds one could hear were from nature while the southern wind had been makin’ its way into wooded creeks ‘n pastures. There was to be an expedition to be done the next day, the caballeros needed to get their rest, ‘cause they were to head up some old buffalo trail in them mountains to look for the wily mountain lion.
The next day started off with a sunrise that welcomed the day that showed off the blue sky with rich pinks and oranges. Folks had been stirrin’ about and fixin’ the mornin’ meal: they had scrambled eggs from the fancy chickens that lived on the nearby Doyle ranch. Bacon came from the Wolf’s place that was o’er the northern hill and they had fried it just right; not too crispy and not too uncooked. One of the Missuses had brought over some freshly squeezed oranges that were handpicked from the Farrow Ranch that was stretched out on the northeastern acreage from the old home place. Snoop, Billy, and Marie scared down that fine breakfast and drank that homemade orange juice in no time flat! The three caballeros were mighty restless while the country folk were finishing up their meal and morning chores. They were stoked on gettin’ out to that old buffalo trail. It was about noon when they set off on their journey. Unfortunately, the wind was a bit stronger when they hit the trail. The temperature had been a bit hotter since the day before. The territory was mostly of boulders and rock, prairie grasses and a lake they called ‘Caddo.’ Miss Marie led the way; she was sure-footed and able to jump from boulder to boulder. She could jump above the wild prairie grasses and purple thistle that was growing all around. The other two smaller caballeros came up from the rear, panting and breathing heavily in the hot sunshine that blazed down on the trail. There was an old Indian man who the local folks said that lived in the mountains. He came upon them out of nowhere that Marie didn’t have time to alert the others. Turned out though, he was not as frightening as some of the folk led one to believe. He knew the area well and took Miss Marie ahead of the other two and led them up the rocky slope. The heat of the afternoon hour had caused much panting and heavy breathing, especially by Snoop and Billy. The stoic Indian man poured some water into a small crag of one of them mountain rocks and she drank heartedly. ‘Ahhhh, good stuff’ she exclaimed as she realized she drank it up. She hollered out to the other two anyway ‘Come on guys!!! This Indian man will pour some ice cold water for ya here in some hole in this boulder!’ She looked up to him with inquiring eyes as if asking if he would share it with her buddies.
Billy and Snoop had run up the rocky terrain expecting to drink somethin’ refreshin’. The stoic Indian man opened up some kind of pouch and poured out some cool water for them to drink as well. When Billy and Snoop finished refreshing their thirst, the Indian man had disappeared as if he never was there in the first place. They all sniffed the air, looked for tracks, and saw nothing! Miss Marie said in wonderment ‘Well, I’ll say, I ne’er known anyone like this fella! One minute he came out of nowhere, and now, he vanished out of nowhere agin!’ Snoop walked further up the mountain to see if he could see that Indian, but realized it was no good. ‘No sight of him anywhere.’ as he paused to sniff in the hot, windy air. Billy looked across the western end of where they had been drinking that refreshing water. Caddo Lake had a lot of waves moving toward the north end as the wind kept getting stronger. Dragonflies flew in and out of the brush and scurried across the tops of the water. The caballeros decided to finish scouting out the territory. They had seen a lot of buffalo dung, tracks of deer and raccoon, but no wily mountain tracks. The heat began to swelter up from the hard rock underneath them while it bore down from the sun above. Somewhere over the western horizon Marie spotted those pesky buzzards that flew in swirls like some kind of tornado in the sky. They all decided to stop hunting for the wily rascal of a mountain lion and git on back to the old home place.
©Copyright September 10, 2010 by Melanie C. Campos ~ MahTame