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Monday, June 11, 2018

#blogabookscene ON THE ROAD AGAIN

I’m writing this as dh and I are preparing to travel for some Cowboy Action fun this weekend. We have it so easy—pack a suitcase, put everything in the truck and go when we’re ready. Three hours on the road and we’re in a different state. It’s nothing like it was in 1889 where those same 175 miles would have taken the better part of a week in a stagecoach or on horseback. To say nothing of sleeping on the ground and cooking over a campfire versus a hotel bed and room service.

Here’s a scene from my novel, WILD TEXAS HEARTS, where Wolf and his son, Calvin, are “on the road again.”

Dawn came, but only a generous man would have called it morning. Wolf knew the sun was up there somewhere, since there was light enough to see the ground, but that was all he would concede. They were a day out of Fort Elliott, too far to turn back. A steady rain had started in the very late hours of last night and it was still falling.

“Pa?” Calvin hunched under a gray rain slicker that was three sizes too big. “When’s it going to stop?”

Wolf held on to his temper, barely. “I’m not God, son, and that’s a decision only He gets to make. No use complaining about it. You’ll be just as wet and you’ll irritate your horse.” And me, he added, but not aloud. He didn’t want to upset his son. He was too damned grateful to have him back alive.

Calvin heaved a sigh and patted his horse’s neck. “Okay, Pa.” They rode in silence for another mile. “Pa?”

Wolf topped a small rise and pulled his horse to a stop to wait for Calvin to catch up. “What now, son?”

“I think Lightning needs to rest. I might be getting too heavy for her.”

His irritation evaporated. Wolf turned his face away so Calvin wouldn’t see his grin. His boy was not quite eight years old and as small as Wolf was big. “Well, if you think so, we’d better find a spot to stop for a while.” He scanned the landscape again. “There’s a small stream a couple of miles ahead. Can she make it that far?”

“Sure I ca-- I mean, she can.”

Looking over their back trail for any sign someone was following, Wolf checked the lead rope on the packhorse, then bumped his big chestnut mare in the ribs and set off down the hill with Calvin close behind. The trees that grew near the stream were too small to offer him any protection, but Calvin managed to ride under some of the higher branches, out of the rain. Wolf dismounted and lifted his son from the saddle just for the joy of holding him. Resisting the urge to hug him, Wolf set him on the ground. “Go on. I’ll see to Lightning.”

Calvin didn’t wait for a second invitation, but disappeared into the brush downstream, his slicker flying behind him. When he returned, Wolf was waiting to boost him back into the saddle. “We need to keep riding. There’s not enough cover for all of us.”

“Okay, Pa.” Calvin settled on the back of the chestnut filly that had been a gift from Jake McCain, the Texas Ranger responsible for rescuing his son from the killers who’d kidnapped him. Calvin leaned forward to pat the horse’s neck. “Come on, Lightning. We’ve still got some miles to cover.”

One heavy eyebrow rose as Wolf heard his son quote words he’d said many times in the months since they’d ridden away from Lucinda, Texas. Being on the trail was hard, and they didn’t cover many miles in a day, but Calvin’s company made for more laughter and sunshine, somehow. Wolf stretched tired muscles. He was ready to be home. How much more tired must a young boy be?

“We have enough supplies to keep us for a while yet, so we don’t have to go into town first. I expect we’ll be sleeping in our own beds in two or three more days.” Alone Wolf could have covered the distance from the fort to Civil in two days.

Calvin glanced at the sky, his face a mirror image of his mother. “Only three more nights on the ground.”

“Maybe less, if we get moving.”

The boy grinned at him, mischief sparkling in his eyes. “Then what are we doing standing here? You aren’t afraid of a little rain, are you Pa?” Without warning, he kicked his little mare into a gallop, splashing through the stream and racing away across open ground. Wolf swung into the saddle, dropped the packhorse’s lead rope and shot off in pursuit. The big horse overtook them in seconds, and Calvin squealed when Wolf scooped him from the saddle on the run.

See you the first Monday of next month!



  1. Tracy,

    Back before motorized vehicles and improved roads and then air travel, people really, really, really had to want to get somewhere for the exhausting (grueling ??) experience of either walking, riding a horse, bumping along in a wagon and bracing all sorts of weather, enduring the journey by uncomfortable stagecoach, or taking the train which was faster but not necessarily a great experience. Granted, I'm looking backwards in time through 'modern convenience lenses', but still, it's a wonder people went anywhere back then. *grin*

    I enjoyed your excerpt and the interactions with father and son. It's just like a kid to figure out how to manipulate Dad.

    1. Kaye, I think you're exactly right. I'm afraid I would have been a true "home body" back then.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Kristy. Wolf and Cal are really special to me. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. What an wonderful, sweet scene. Thank you for sharing.

    Enjoy those "Cowboy Action" times. What a joy that must be. Doris

    1. We had a great time, Doris. And I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

  4. While I sure have romanticized living back then, traveling a couple hundred miles in one day (in a few hours is definitely a blessing.

    Now I'm even more curious about their story Seems like maybe it's just as much a hea for Calvin as it is for his pa. Love it when the kids are so tightly woven into the story