Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sigel's Summer

Sigel lifted his straw cowboy hat off his sweating head and wiped his face with his bandana. He had a love hate relationship with Oklahoma Indian Territory in the summer. He hated eating the dust off the cattle trail all day, but loved watching God paint a sunset at night. The sun turned his face a dark brown but his long sleeved shirt kept his arms as white as if it were winter. The heat radiated off his paint pony, Jamie, and he knew that it was about time to spell her.

Boss Man rode up next to him, “We’re going to stop early today, there’s a river crossing about a half mile up the way. We’ll bed down there for the night, and get a early go in the morning. This heat is taking too much weight off these doggies.”

“We’ll get’m bedded down,” Sigel smiled, “maybe Cookie could cook something besides beans tonight?”

“Just be beans with some jerky thrown in. He probably don’t even need a fire tonight, them beans probably cooked themselves in this sun,” the boss man laughed.

Sigel tipped his hat and rode off to start the bedding down process, and started thinking. He didn’t like thinking, he always over thought things when he should have just gone with his first instinct. Still, he started making a list in his head as he listed them out loud to Jamie. “Being hot, means the varmints would be prowling in the cooler night hours. Probably be a good idea to ride extra rounds. We’ll wait till after supper to make that call. At least we’re near water tonight, maybe I can grab a bath, upstream from the herd of course. I’ll need to help Cookie fill the water barrels. I’ll need to fill my canteens. Might give Jamie a good bath and rub down too. She deserves it, hauling me around all day. Oh, well, I’d better get busy.”

Summer nights in July doesn’t always bring a cool breeze, tonight was one of those hot, sticky nights that made life on the trail tough. Sigel wasn’t bothered by it though. On quiet nights like this, he could hear Cookie snoring clean across the herd. He would sit in the saddle and let Jamie dose while he looked into the stars and talked with Jesus. He gathered strength from these times and too often his shift would end too soon and he’d lay on his bed roll and continue his conversation with the Lord. His strength came from these times and he was always surprised the next morning on how rested he felt without much sleep. He remember some Bible verse his mama would quote him about how strength came from the Lord, but he didn’t know where to find it. He figured remembering it was just as good as reading it. Remembering it was a way of thinking about it and seeing what God wanted him to learn. Too often, he admitted, he’d read his Good Book and then not think about what it said. Well, he decided, at least I know I'm going to Heaven and I won’t have to spend any time in hell, shoot, don’t know if it could be much hotter than Oklahoma in July.


Anonymous said...


As near as I can tell, you've meant this to be a short short and have ended it with the quip about the heat in OK in the summer. I think, however, that it's a great start on a longer piece. What do you say?


Walk said...

All these Sigel saga's that I've written every now and then, come from the final piece for BWW. I could see a longer piece coming from them. Thanks

Shaddy said...

I bet the heat you're having in OK inspired this story. Write what you know; that's what some folks say.

Whatever was your inspiration, you did a fine job here.

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this quick jaunt through one of your Sigel sagas—summer heat and all.

This is the first chance I have had to read something you have written outside of a prompt. The style in which you write fits the way you include your inspirational message. If you as many of these sagas as it appears that you do, by your response to Gully, I would consider consolidating them—seriously.

A ten-gallon hats off to you.

Walk said...

Shaddy and DS, thanks for your encouragement. Sigel was my grandfather and he did drive cattle "back in the day", so his character is easy for me to envision being "on the trail".