Archive for December, 2005

Shorty Johnsons Christmas

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

The weather on the ranch had turned from a beautiful sunny Christmas Eve into a threatening north wind with a hint of cold to come. All day the other cowboys had been teasing Shorty about him going to the Church social tonight just to hear Christmas music. Little did they know his main reason was the chocolate cake he just knew they would serve after the music program. He hadn’t had any chocolate cake since he had come to work for the Rocking B ranch 8 months ago and that was a long time for a young man.
They finally drove the last cow into the pens and the days work was done, Shorty saddled up his horse and rode off towards town to the shouts and teasing of the other cowboys. By now the weather had worsened into a fine mist and much colder, but the vision of chocolate cake danced merrily in his mind. On the ride to town he came by the widow Brown’s place, a poor run down farm she was trying to keep together and raise her 5 year old son. As he approached the house he heard the widow chopping wood. The light was fading fast and she had hardly gotten an arm full cut. There’s not much of a contest between chocolate cake and cutting wood but Shorty knew, duties duty. He dismounted and tied his horse and took over the job of cutting wood for the widow. By now the mist had turned to a light snow. Shorty filled the wood box just as the widow Brown called him to have some supper. In his haste to leave the ranch he had forgotten to eat supper. The smell and sound of a hot home cooked meal tore him from the vision of chocolate cake.
At supper Shorty asked Jimmy, the 5 year old if Santa was going to come see him. Jimmy hung his head in silence and the widow said quietly that things were tough and he probably would not come by their farm. Shorty left the kitchen with an idea. He went to the barn and found an apple box and took the end off. He quickly drew a horses head and roughly sawed most of the head out. He then went back to the house and found Jimmy had gone to bed. He sat by the fire and began to whittle the horse head with his pocketknife. It was slow going but soon he had a fair looking head. He found an old mop and sawed the strings off and nailed the horse head to the stick. He then used some of the old mop string to fashion a main for the horse. Two buttons made the eyes and a leather pigging string from his saddle for reins. Quite a stick horse Shorty felt.
He took his leave of the widow Brown’s home and went on to the church. As he made his way through the now heavy snow to the music social he found all had gone home except the ladies cleaning the kitchen. He went in and found one slice of chocolate cake left. The ladies wrapped it for him and he left for the ranch. As he came to the widow Brown’s house there was a light on and he stopped. Little Jimmy had gotten up and found the stick horse. He was riding around the living room whooping and hollering and having a great time. See what Santa left for me he shouted. This is the best Christmas I have ever had. Shorty gave the slice of cake to Jimmy and rode on to the ranch. The guys were still up and playing cards. They began teasing him again about the church social. You know, said Shorty, I have learned that maybe a stick horse is better than chocolate cake.

Winter is Here

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

Well winter did make it to central Texas! It was 22 degrees this morning. We almost had a white landscape but there was not enough moisture in the air to produce snow or sleet. I trust you are warm and snug at your home. I haven’t ventured our today. The tempt is still below freezing so the roads may be slick. Perhaps after noon the streets will be safe.
One way to enjoy today is to build up the fire, pop some corn, make a cup of cocoa and remember August.
Hollis