From Mountain Man To Cattle Driver

Another great writing prompt from Teresa. I am loving these Western themes and as I knew so little about what a cattle drive was, I had to go and read up about them before I could come up with anything.

Your challenge today, should you accept it, is to hit the dusty trail and saunter up to the campfire. Write your take on the Western subgenre of Cattle Drive and see where it leads…or whatever/wherever the picture takes you.

So, this little piece is the third in a little series of Westerns I have used the characters from my Annabelle Riley series in. This story is set two years after The Preacher Who Moved To The Prairies. The part before that was Winter On The Oregon Trail.

Ranch, Hualapai, Indian, Grand Canyon

“Darlin’ you’ll never guess who’s come a visit’n us!” cried out Robin as he entered the cabin.

His wife’s face lit up, “Well saints preserve us, if it isn’t Mr Ward blessin’ my eyes. How’ve you been Mr Ward? Where’ve you been? It’s been a whole two year now. Little Sarah is already walking and can say a whole bunch of words.”

Chris Ward took his hat off and nodded to Annabelle, “Ma’am, you sure are a pretty sight for sore eyes.”

“It’s been too long Mr Ward. But we appreciated you sending us a line every now and then,” Annabelle warmly replied.

People, Man, Sitting, Alone, ReadingChris humbly thanked Mrs Grainger, “I’m much obliged to you for the reading and writing tuition you gave me when I was here last. I’ve been keeping my reading up. Reckon you’ll be proud of me when you hear me read outloud.”

Robin had lots of questions for their visitor. He wondered if Chris had returned to trapping up in the Rockies after parting their company a few weeks after Sarah had been born. Chris looked a little awkward at first, but when Annabelle excused herself so that she could go and prepare some food for them all, Chris opened up explained his movements for the past two years.

“You said you were on your way down to Fort Hall when you said goodbye.”

“I went down to Fort Hall. Saw me a group of cattle drivers who had travelled up from Texas heading for the Gold fields. They were the other side of the Snake River. They had been driving the cattle too hard and those beasts were skin and bones.”

“Surely they are not trying to take cattle across the desert!”

Cowboys, Riding, Sunset, Silhouettes“There are easier routes. I realized right then that those cowboys needed a guide to find better trails. So, after they let the poor beasts rest up and fatten a bit, I helped them drive their head of cattle from spring to stream, all south of the California Trail. They paid me off when we reached the Goldfields.”

“So have you been down in California since then?”

“Heck no! I left as soon as I arrived. No place to be lingering when you are carrying a small fortune on you. I headed back east to look into buying beef stock for myself. Figured it could be an investment. I could see there was profit in driving them up to California. I spoke to cowboys in the cattle towns I stopped off at to ask them all about where to find the best cattle.”

 “Jeepers, did you end up buying a herd?”

ch“In the end I did. Only after I wasted a good amount on drinking white mule and gambling. Forgive me my friend but I didn’t realize I was nursing a sore heart over my missing out on the chance of Misses Annabelle. I guess I felt the need to drown my sorrows. But in the end I got myself together and headed out to Texas to buy myself a herd and round up a cook, a wrangler and some experienced cow hands eager to seek their fortune.”

“So were you able to drive the cattle all the way up to California from Texas?”

Chris nodded emphatically, “That herd and a second we drove up twelve month later. We drove them slow so we hardly had any losses. First time round, some of the men thought we were going too slow. But when we got to the Goldfields with three thousand of the fattest cows that have ever turned up there, our beef stock was in high demand. Made quite a name for myself. Second time round, the men did what I told them to, and we made an even bigger taking.”

drive1“Will you do it again?”

“Sure I will. That’s why I came a-visitin’. I thought I’d check if you’d be interested in joining me for the next drive we make. You’d make a lot more than you can from logging in the forests up here.”

Robin was listening with great interest, “Logging is hard work and nowhere near as lucrative as trapping was. Only Annabelle has not wanted me to be away from her and little Sarah for long. She said she couldn’t bear the thought of me being up in the mountains for months at a time.”

“Well I guess that answers it. You’d have to be away from her for at least six month to make the journey down to Texas and up to California before you were home.”

Robin sighed, “We could really do with the money. Maybe I’ll have a word with Annabelle.”

drive2Annabelle appeared carrying two beakers of steaming hot coffee, “Well I’m here now darlin’. You can have a word with me if you like.”

Robin turned to his wife, “Mr Ward was asking if I’d like to join him for a cattle drive from Texas up to California. It would pay a handsome profit Annabelle. We could do with the money. Only it would mean being away from home for several months.”

 “I heard every word dear,” responded Annabelle. She turned to Chris with a determined expression, “If you are able to drive three thousand cattle slow enough to make hardly and losses and them arriving all fat and healthy, then I reckon it’s not too much for a woman and a young child to be making a journey like that.”

Chris looked alarmed, “Life’s hard out on the trail. It’s no place for a lady.”

pran“Well, we are desperate for money, but you’re darn tootin’ not taking my husband away from me. If you can look after three thousand cattle, then I believe you can make sure a mother and child don’t suffer any harm.”

Robin turned lovingly to his wife, “Honey, there’d be all sorts of dangers out on the trail. If you don’t want me to leave you and Sarah, then I won’t. We’ve managed so far on the money I can earn from logging. We’ll find a way to get by.”

Annabelle looked at Chris, “What do you say Mr Ward? Do you think I’m strong enough to make the journey along with our little girl? We sure do need more money than my husband is paid for logging.”

Tom Sings My Theme Tune

She's a Lady - Tom Jones.jpgWell, this is the last part of my Tom Jones marathon. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have!

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: WRITTEN OR SUNG BY TOM/DICK/HARRY.

Has anyone ever asked you to pick a song that is your theme tune? I have been asked that kind of question many times. Over the past ten years or so, I have chosen a song made famous by Tom Jones. I am sure you’ll know it: “She’s a Lady”.

annie new dressWhat can I say? Well, maybe I shouldn’t! But both Goldfinch and Jack seem to have understood it clearly. They both have treated me like a princess. Which is nice. Although to be fair, I do steer clear from any one who does not seem capable of treating others with dignity. This has nothing to do with Tom Jones. I digress!

I love it when Jack (and formerly Goldfinch) takes me out for dinner. He says I have style and grace, and he thinks I’m a winner! I am his, of course I’m his! No doubt about it! I always have something nice to say, a blessing and a bonus to Jack is what I am trying to be. He knows what I have is hard to find, he doesn’t want to lose me. I know him through and through…and I love every moment with him. Woah woah woah!!

It’s another fabulous song from Tom Jones, and it makes a great way to end the day for me. My theme tune: SHE’S A LADY!!!

Well she’s all you’d ever want,
She’s the kind they’d like to flaunt and take to dinner.
Well she always knows her place.
She’s got style, she’s got grace, She’s a winner.
She’s a Lady. Whoa whoa whoa, She’s a Lady.
Talkin’ about that little lady, and the lady is mine.
Well she’s never in the way
Always something nice to say, Oh what a blessing.
I can leave her on her own
Knowing she’s okay alone, and there’s no messing.
She’s a lady. Whoa, whoa, whoa. She’s a lady.
Talkin’ about that little lady, and the lady is mine.
Well she never asks for very much and I don’t refuse her.
Always treat her with respect, I never would abuse her.
What she’s got is hard to find, and I don’t want to lose her
Help me build a mountain from my little pile of clay. Hey, hey, hey.
Well she knows what I’m about,
She can take what I dish out, and that’s not easy,
Well she knows me through and through,
She knows just what to do, and how to please me.
She’s a lady. Whoa, whoa, whoa. She’s a lady.
Talkin’ about that little lady and the lady is mine.
Yeah yeah yeah She’s a Lady
Listen to me baby, She’s a Lady
Whoa whoa whoa, She’s a Lady
And the Lady is mine
Yeah yeah yeah She’s a Lady
Talkin about this little lady
Whoa whoa whoa whoa
Whoa and the lady is mine
Yeah yeah She’s a Lady
And the Lady is mine.

Written by: Paul Anka

The Unmistakable Tom Takes Me By Surprise

This is Part Two of a Terrific Tom Triple today! Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: WRITTEN OR SUNG BY TOM/DICK/HARRY.

diystoreWhen I was around seventeen, I remember I had to go and pick up some supplies for a construction project I was working on as a volunteer. I went to a large DIY store in Wigan. It may have been B&Q, although I think there was another store (now closed down) and I can’t be certain which store I went to. What I do remember very clearly is hearing a song over the sound system. I had never heard it before, but the singer’s voice was unmistakable!

Help Yourself - Tom Jones.jpgIt was the magnificent TOM JONES! I remember loving the song as soon as I heard it. It still makes me smile when I hear it today. But I vividly remember what happened that first time I ever heard this song.

The store was  pretty empty, so wrapped up in the moment, I began to sing and dance. Unabashed I was boogying in the tiling aisle. Out of the blue, one of the staff at the store appeared in front of me and started to dance with me!!! It was one of those great little moments that make me love life and love people!

This brilliant track is “Helf Yourself”, made famous by our beloved Tom Jones!

Love is like candy on a shelf
You want to taste and help yourself
The sweetest things are there for you
Help yourself, take a few
That’s what I want you to do.

We’re always told repeatedly
The very best in life is free
And if you want to prove it’s true
Baby I’m telling you
This is what you should do
Just help yourself to my lips
To my arms just say the word, and they are yours
Just help yourself to the love,
In my heart your smile has opened up the door
The greatest wealth that exists in the world,
Could never buy what I can give
Just help yourself to my lips
To my arms, and then lets really start to live

Allllllllll right. Yeah

My heart has love enough for two
More than enough for me and you
I’m rich with love, a millionaire
I’ve so much, it’s unfair
Why don’t you take a share
Just help yourself to my lips
To my arms just say the word, and they are yours
Just help yourself to the love,
In my heart your smile has opened up the door
The greatest wealth that exists in the world
Could never buy what I can give
So help yourself to my lips, to my arms
And then lets really start to live
Just help yourself to my lips
To my arms just say the word, and they are yours
Just help yourself to the love

In my heart your smile

Written By: Carlo Donida and Jack Fishman

It Seems I Have A Soft Spot For The Welsh

tj.jpgJim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: WRITTEN OR SUNG BY TOM/DICK/HARRY.

There is only one man that came into my head when I saw this theme. The pride of Wales (I acknowledge that my Welsh family might take issue over that statement), the enigmatic, energetic, epic TOM JONES!!!

I loved the songs I heard him sing as a little girl. There is one particular song he is famous for which is my number one choice for karaoke. I have performed it so many times I have lost count. Love it! So, I have picked “It’s Not Unusual” as my top Tom track.

fab.jpgThere is a certain sound to some of the tracks that Tom Jones is famous for. It makes me feel like jumping on the stage and performing. I can’t explain that wonderful karaoke crooner quality his most famous songs have, but as a celebrated karaoke queen – I am only grateful for the contribution he has made to karaoke!!!

But I am going to confess right now…I have more up my sleeve. Today Caramel is hosting a TOM-ATHON! The Welsh hottie from the valleys who sang with so much heart and wiggled his hips at the same time. Besides this favourite of mine, I have two other tracks up my sleeve. Prepare yourself!

It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone
It’s not unusual to have fun with anyone
But when I see you hanging about with anyone
It’s not unusual to see me cry,
I wanna die

It’s not unusual to go out at any time
But when I see you out and about it’s such a crime
If you should ever wanna be loved by anyone,
It’s not unusual it happens every day
No matter what you say
You’ll find it happens all the time
Love will never do what you want it to
Why can’t this crazy love be mine?

It’s not unusual to be mad with anyone
It’s not unusual to be sad with anyone
But if I ever find
That you’ve changed at anytime
It’s not unusual to find that I’m in love with you

Written By: Les Reed and Gordon Mills