Livestock Crossing, continued ...
As time went on, I got into the spirit of west Texas -- perhaps
too much. A game of "Red Rover come over" made football
look tame. Football itself was so important that the public high
school mixed Anglos and Hispanics to get enough boys to field
a team. I shut up taunts of "tenderfoot" with a knuckle
Livestock crossings were the essence of the spirit of Big
Bend country. Fences were few. Driving was a pinball game with
cattle and horses. An occasional sign reading "livestock
crossing" didn't help. They might cross anywhere. One day
a collision between a pickup and a cow injured a classmate. Our
teacher had us make get well cards. Some kids drew livestock
crossing signs. The teacher said, "That's cruel." The
The summer I turned nine, the Krebs hosted a barbecue. While
the grownups chatted in the shade of live oaks, the Krebs boys
and I saddled up. We figured nobody would spot us running livestock.
We worked the herd toward the barbecue area. We got to where
only one stand of scrub oaks screened us from the party. What
the heck. I urged Pepper to a lope, cut out the herd bull and
sent him at a dead run toward the sound of chattering adults.
As the bull crashed into the scrub I faded back and rejoined
We made a wide circuit and rode up to the party from the opposite
side. My dad shouted, "You kids missed a lot of excitement."
"What happened?" Us little girls can look so innocent.
"A bull came charging out of the forest. Ran right though
The Krebs boys never told on me. It was the best livestock
crossing ever, I thought.
About then I vowed that if I ever had a horse of my own, I
would let other kids ride it. I went on to fulfill the vow with
dozens of children. I supervise them closely. Especially nine-year-old
Next chapter: The Nag, the Cripple,
and the Deaf Dog --->>
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Killer Buyer: True Adventures of a New Mexico Horse Dealer