Echoes from the Campfire

What keeps the herd from runnin’ stompedin’ far and wide?
It’s the range rider’s moan and the Texas lullabye
In all kinds of weather the lonely night through
The chant of the night songs, the night rider’s blues.”
–Don Edwards

“Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”
— Psalm 33:3 (NIV)

Coffee Percs

“Side meat, eggs, and hominy grits, so I ate it, thinking of the night. The coffee was strong enough to float a bullet.”
–Louis L’Amour

Sure hope you had a grand week pard. Here, let me pour you a cup. Sure hope the storms didn’t damper you any. Yah didn’t hide underneath the bed did yah?

Funny things–storms. ‘Course there are all kinds, but they can come up in a hurry, or they can be a building for a long time and finally sweep down on you. How ’bout those last night? Night little show in the heavens. Hmmm, isn’t there lightning and thundering around the holy throne of God?

Storms tell lots ’bout a person. My goodness pard, yah sure guzzled the cup down. Good coffee this mornin’ ain’t it? Always good after a storm. Strong coffee, to ponder the storm, and now the aftermath of it. Ahhhh, after a storm, it might be time to rebuild. Storms can sure wreck havoc. Sometimes have to rebuild, some folks will move away. Storms can cause things to grow. Why a little sunshine today and the grass will be green and flowers will stand tall.

I’ve been caught out in a few storms. There are those times when a body can’t do much ‘cept hunker down and take it. Yah might get drenched, but not to fret, contrary to what folks think ’bout me, I won’t melt, and the clothes will soon dry out. Uncomfortable when it happens, but we make it through.

Reckon the storms of life are the same way. They sure tell lots ’bout a person as well. And just like the storms of nature, sometimes yah just have to hunker down and take it. Watch out though, when the sun comes out and starts to shine yah sure don’t want a petunia to be growin’ out of yur boots.

Oh pard, one more thing. If yah have to be out ridin’ in a storm, be sure that cinch is tight.


The Saga of Miles Forrest

It was mid-afternoon and there wasn’t anyone in the eatery. I was sitting by the stove, in my normal location, sipping on coffee and nursing a piece of apple pie. I guess Molly was feeling a little sorry for me. I had just shot a couple of more and was wounded. Yep, she was right, the pie and coffee sure went a long way to help me to be on the mend.
I had just poured another cup of coffee when in walked the doc. He had a frown on his face and it was directed toward me. “Molly!” I yelled. “Bring a piece of pie for the doctor!”
“Miles, you’re a lucky man.” He said watching me as Molly brought in a piece of pie for him and sat down. “That bullet, fired from any other angle would have killed you. As it was you lost quite a bit of blood.”
“Not luck, doc. God’s just not through with me yet.”
“Yeah, yeah, so you say, and I can’t say that I disagree with you, but one day it will happen if you keep going this way.”
“When it’s time for me to cross the Great Divide it will happen. It may be a bullet, I may fall off my horse, or I may starve while waiting for another piece of pie.” And for that I received a punch on the arm.
“I’m trying to be serious Miles.”
“I know doc, and I appreciate you’re friendship and advice. I don’t willingly put myself in harm’s way, it just seems to happen.”
He took a big bite and looked at Molly. “Good pie!”
I reached for the coffeepot and poured each of us another cup. “Bates saw that bounty and tried to take advantage of it. I don’t think he knew that Molly was here or that we were married. It just happened that way. I can’t change life.”
“No, but you sure know how to take it.” He looked down at his cup. “Sorry, Miles, that just came out.”
“Doc, I’ve felt the same way at times. But what should I have done? Let him have his way with Molly? Let him kill me? Let him continue on his path to hell, not knowing how many more he would take along with him?”
By the time Doc finished there wasn’t a crumb on his plate. “Thanks Molly. Take care of him will you? He won’t listen to me.”
After he left we sat in silence for a few minutes. “‘Nother refill?” I asked. She nodded and I filled her cup. “You all right?” She nodded again. “I didn’t mean to put you in danger, nor Hannah or Greta either. I knew we had to do somethin’ otherwise he would be around sometime when I wasn’t.”
“I’m not upset Miles. Just glad it’s over and it wasn’t you lying on the floor.”
“Me too,” I said with a smile.
“Molly, I’ve thought about it a lot. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve anguished over it. But it seems like I set for trouble that is not of my own makin’.”
“You could quit Miles,” she said softly.
I looked at her, “do you really think that would stop it?” She shrugged. “In my anguish the thoughts come to me to try and quit, that I have too much blood on my hands. But then I see what evil is doin’. Innocent people are bein’ plagued by it and few seem to help. Molly, just in the short time you’ve been with me, you’ve seen it. What would be the result if I hadn’t been around to stop Bates. How many more would he have ravished and killed?”
She smiled at me and put her hand on my arm. “I questioned it when you were sort of courtin’ but when we were married I accepted you. All of you and your ways.”
“Thanks, good to have reassurance. Sometimes I think that I’m a little like the Judges that God set over the land.”
“I will have to clarify myself,” she said. That got my attention. “I should have not said all your ways for you are certainly not getting a second piece of pie.”
Ira Paine

The Daily Paine

“It’s been forty-five days since the snows have begun
I stare at the fire and long for the sun
As the bitter winds blow through the mouth of the pass
I sit here and dream of the buffalo grass.

The ponies are shaggy; their coats have grown long
With their heads down they huddle together as one
At the window my breath forms a mist on the glass
As I patiently wait for the buffalo grass.

The seasons still turn
And the prairies still yearn
For those who were here long ago
The Sioux have all gone
And the bison moved on
And soon I will follow them home.
. . .
The geese will return as a symbol of change
The elk will be foraging out on the range
Once again nature’s palette will color the pass
And I will find peace in the buffalo grass.”
–Andrea C. Crimmins

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