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Killer Buyer:
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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 sandwich.

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 boys snickered.

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 the boys.

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 crowd!"

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 girls.

Next chapter: The Nag, the Cripple, and the Deaf Dog --->>

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© 2004 Carolyn M. Bertin. All rights reserved.