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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Letter home from the Cattle Drive, Chuckwagon cooking Ani't all Bad

Dear Sis,
I want to wish you a Happy Easter. Today we are camped outside San Marcos, Texas along the San Marcos River. It's Easter Sunday and Cookie who is our Chuckwagon Cook held services this morning as the Sun rose. It was a simple service before breakfast. Cookie makes some really good meals although not like you and Mom. We eat a lot of sourdough biscuits and gravy that taste really good.  Tonight, he plans on making Peach Cobbler. I hope it's as good as yours. Later today. the other guys here will all head down to the river and take a dip. Likely, I'll wash up a bit too as we have been of the trail now for two weeks since we started just north of Corpus Christi, Texas.

It sure is pretty here. Not like Carolina as the trees are smaller. Although, it has this range filled in a beautiful lush  of flowers that at a distance looks like a large lake. Cookie, our cook said they are called Blue Bonnets. I've never seen anything like it either. We started seeing them just before we pasted San Antonio and they seem to just get thicker as we move north. You would like it here as it truly is a beautiful place.

The crew has a good mix of people. There are 16 of us and I am the youngest of them. We have several Mexican guys that are called vaqueros. Then we have one more negro beside our cook. All the guys go by different names here. There's Kansas because he is from Kansas. There's Dallas but he is from South Dakota. They just call him that because he is a big guy. The black cowboy is called deadwood dick, and our cook just goes by Cookie. They call me the kid because I am the youngest. I am also called the green horn as this is my first trail drive. The others have made several trips before and they can handle the cattle and horses just find. One is even so fast with a gun, I never even saw him remove that pistol from the holster. He shot a rattlesnake and then skinned it. Cookie fried it and it tasted a little like chicken. Although we eat mostly beans and dried pork. With all these steers, one might wonder why we don't eat steak but the trail boss said that would be like eating money of the hoof.

I am finding my way with this job and don't mind riding all day long moving the herd. I ride in the rear or sometimes flank which means along the side. I like flank because the rear is always a dust cloud. We have nearly 1,200 head and 200 horses.

At night after we all sit around the camp fire, some of the guys tell me stories about the other drives they have been on. Also, one of the Mexican fellows named Jose plays a guitar and sings really good. Although I don't know what he is saying because he sings in Spanish. "Via con Dios mio amano", what ever that means. I think it is go with God my brother. Then we lay out in our bed roll with our saddles for a pillow unless I have watch where  I watch over the herd during the night for a few hours before relieved by another wrangler.

At night on watch, it's quiet. Just me, the herd and all those stars. Sometimes I will here a coyote sing off in the hills or an owl., but on the most part, just dark, peaceful and quiet.

Cooking will go into the town for a few supplies tomorrow taking my letter to mail. He wrote down 1 cent from my payroll in his book he keeps for the trail boss. They will pay us once we finish the trip in a few months. For now, I have everything I need and have made some good friends with this bunch of guys. I hope it finds you and Momma doing well. I'll try to write again before we reach Kansas City. Happy Easter and God Bless.

Yours truly,
your little brother

PS. Let Momma know I am ok and being fed good. I love and miss you both.


1 comment:

  1. Every Easter I think about our past "Easter Bashes". Lots of good food, company, confetti eggs and potato bombs. Good times.