The Future County Judge In Shades Of Gray
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Clarification: Even my wife Rosemary says, “Don’t you think you should write about something else besides Texas?” I do not concur. This is a diary and I write about anything I want to write about and put in any pictures I feel are the right ones. Since this blog of mine is my personal and de facto magazine and this magazine happens to be on the web (aka unlimited real estate of space) I can post as many pictures as I want without having to deal with conventional magazine art directors who are restricted by space and personal taste. In short I do what I want. Perhaps I will run out of Texas steam eventually. Until then read on or have a rest.
One day when I was riding with Michael East, returning from his son’s house we were turning into the driveway to the ranch house when we were met up by a largish man driving a Jeep station wagon. I was introduced to him and his name was Juan Escobar. After his business with Michael East was over I had a chat with him. He told me he had been in the US Marines during the Vietnam war and after the war he was attached to a Marine Corps group that dealt with funeral ceremonies at the White House and in Arlington, Virginia.
He said this had been quite an honor. After the Marine Corps he became a member of the US Border Patrol. It was here that he met up with officers who saw the world as either black or white. Escobar explained to me that to be a good border patrolman you had to follow the letter of the law but still see it in shades of gray. You had to be human and have compassion. He hinted that some border guys were much like machines. They were impersonal.
It was then that we discussed the forthcoming Arizona law on immigration. He thought the law was ill-advised particularly if you took into consideration what was happening in South, Texas. When Mike puts ads in the paper requesting the services of cowboys, none who are from these parts ever apply. The only real cowboys left are Mexicans. If the US Government makes it hard to bring in these Mexican cowboys, ranchers in these parts cannot produce America’s chief food of choice, meat. They (the US Government) should be facilitating not hampering cattle ranchers.
Later I found out that for a while (after he left the border patrol) he had been hired by Michael East as his chief of ranch security. With his expertise in the border patrol he also helped Michael East with the normalization of the documents of some of his best Mexican cowboys so that they could stay and work in the ranch. Michael East also revealed that Juan Escobar
(there are no pictures of him here) had been elected County Judge for Kleberg County and that sometime in the beginning of the next year he will be based in Kingsville, Texas.
I took the last picture in one of the many tables with framed photographs in the large living room of the Santa Fe Ranch. On the left is Juan Villareal who used to saddle Alice Gertrudis Kleberg East's (Michael's grandmother, and seen in the centre photograph) horses. Alice East
was a photographer in her own right so she does not appear in too many pictures. She also shot with a windup movie camera. Above, centre is Michael as a young boy in the company of his eldest sister Alice East.
Friday, August 06, 2010
One day while Rebecca and I were visiting with Letty García and Michael East I casually mentioned (but with intent) that Rebecca had taken riding lessons back in Vancouver. Immediately Michael East suggested that Rebecca should ride. I expected East to plunk Rebecca on one of his matungos
(Argentine Spanish for an old nag). I was surprised to find that to the contrary, East picked one of his best cutting horses (usually a quarter horse as was the case with Gramercy Flow) and saddled it with his best working saddle.
Rebecca had been instructed to bring a bicycle helmet for protection from her mother. While it looked odd in the surrounding I kept quiet. With both Michael and Letty giving her instructions Rebecca quickly forgot what she might have learned back in Vancouver when she rode for a week’s classes a horse with an English saddle in Southlands. She repeatedly kept dropping one of the reins (they were extra long) and not matter how much she kicked the horse, Gramercy Flow must have instinctively known about the tenderfoot on the saddle and did nothing.
Rebecca became frustrated and finally had a berrinche (in Mexican Spanish this is a meltdown/temper tantrum. She indicated, forcefully, “I quit,” dismounted and ran off.
We heard some barking and soon Rebecca was back telling us that a little dog had run after her and snipped at her ankles. She was saved by any further pursuit by a handsome young man we later found out was called Milo (seen here with Rebecca and Mike’s oldest grandson (2) Quinten).
Perhaps what exacerbated Rebecca’s berrinche is the fact that both Michael East and Letty smiled, but said nothing. Finally Rebecca got on the mula (the special little four-wheel-drive cart that Letty was teaching her to drive and cried.
Later Rebecca admitted that she may have overacted a bit and I am sure that she will give the skill of riding a horse another chance.
Later that day we visited with Michael East’s son Johnny, Summer his wife and two grandsons. It was there that we saw Milo who is a friend of the family. Rebecca was much too embarrassed to shake hands with him. As we left I said to Rebecca (in the presence of Milo) seeing that you didn’t properly greet Milo who saved you from a terrible fate, you might want to properly say goodbye.” This she did as she eyed me with anger for putting her on the spot. I have been told by all that I was in the wrong.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
|Photograph - Rebecca Stewart
Forget about being a frog and having to cope with how tough it is to be green. Worse than being an amphibian is to be an Argentine. If you are an Argentine man and, at one time I was, it means that you must:
1. Play football
2. Dance the tango
3. Have an easy way with women
4. Ride a horse
I can ascertain that I never played football well (in fact the only sport I have ever excelled at has been ping-pong before it acquired the lofty name of table tennis) and that I only learned to dance the tango late in my life. I would define myself as an efficient Argentine tango dancer. I believe Rosemary married me in Mexico because she felt sorry for the bungler I was.
An alert reader might suspect that I would now confess my absolute master of the equines but he or she would be disappointed. I was never a great horseman even though I had many chances.
My association with horses began when I was 7. At the time all boys in Buenos Aires wanted a Mobo. A mobo was a sort of mechanical horse (extremely primitive) that when a child sat on it and leaned in one direction and another the horse would magically move ever so slightly forward.
When I was around 9 I went to the Santa Teresa estancia in the province of Corrientes. My cousin Wency, whose aunt owned the estancia, rode well. The Argentine saddle consists of three or four layers of sheepskin cinched up with stirrups. I was given an extremely large horse. Wency always bagged the good one. Mine was a matungo
, which is Argentine Spanish for nag. We went into the semi tropical bush. It didn’t take long before I suffered my first fall. The horse was stung by a huge bee (a special kind that makes excellent wild honey) and it bolted through the bush until I was thrown off.
My parents sent me to various summer ranches during my school vacations for about three years in a row. I learned to ride with confidence and I delighted in riding into the pampa to chase South American ostriches. It was thrilling to gallop after them.
By 1955 I had mastered polo. This was polo on my black Raleigh bike. I played bicycle polo (with croquet mallets) on Sierra Madre Street in Mexico City. I was almost as good at it as I was in ping-pong.
By 1956 my mother had moved to a new teaching job in Nueva Rosita Coahuila. We all had horses. I was given the last horse available which happened to be a horse that had never been weaned from its mother. It would do nothing when I would leave the stable as I accompanied my friends for ride in the Coahuila dessert (much drier and barer than the South Easern brush of Michael East’s ranch). I had to kick it repeatedly to make it trot, gallop it would not. But as soon as we pointed the horses back home I was always the first to get there. My horse just wanted to get home to mama. I gave up on the horse and I accompanied my friends on my black Raleigh. I had squeezed a special liquid into the tubes of the tires that self-sealed automatically as I ran over the occasional thorn.
It was not until I was 21 and back in Buenos Aires when I rode again. I was in the Argentine Navy as a conscript. I fell for a blonde Uruguayan (now how many out there can claim to have had an Uruguayan girlfriend?) called Corina Poore. She was most forward and invited me to accompany her for a long weekend at her brother-in-law’s camp. Corina was Anglo/Uruguayan and they all simply translate campo
(field) to camp in English. I was not a master of my weekends and much less the long ones. The man in control was a nasty Argentine Marine Corps corporal called Moraña. I had to aks him for permission.
I decided to use a lewd approach so I told Cabo Moraña that I had the possibility of very hot weekend with a dame if he gave me permission. His reply was, “I will give you the three-day pass if you promise to give me all the details when you come back.” I saluted him and said, “Le prometo, Cabo.”
And I was off in a plane. Poore’s brother-in-law had a small private plane. We landed in a dirt strip in the Province of Entre Ríos. We were met by a dusty but huge plack Packard and taken to an estancia house that was on a slight hill. The house was surrounded by a wrought iron fence and guarded by a large gray Great Dane. Before I unpacked Corina asked me, “Shall we ride before supper?”
For this occasion I had gone to the venerable Lopez Taibo Shoe store on Calle Corrientes. I had spotted a pair of beautiful brown short-caned boots on the window. I was wearing my navy conscript whites. A stuffy but spiffily dressed man lowered his nose just enough so that he could see me and said, “Sir are you in the right store?” I pulled an American one- hundred-dollar bill from my pocket and waving it at his face I said, “I am, size 8½, and I want those boots.”
Corina and I romantically rode on the pampa (Argentine style saddles). My horse was a nasty piece of work. It had bloated its stomach when I had cinched it up. I did not know the gaucho trick of smacking the horse in a certain place to make it deflate. As we were galloping, my cinch loosened up. The horse knew it. It suddenly stopped and I went flying over its neck and in front of the horse. It then began to step on me and kick me. It stepped on my new boots. The man at Lopez Taibo had not told me it had steel toes. That saved me from crushed feet. In my panic to protect myself I remembered some Randolph Scott Western so I covered my face and rolled away. Corin managed to get the horse off me but not until I had received a nasty kick near one of my eyes. I had a nasty shiner.
Back at the estancia Corina put me into a hammock and brought ice. She gently pressed on my eye and then got into the hammock. For me it was the most painful but most romantic weekend of my life. But how was I going to explain all this to Cabo Moraña? That story cannot be put here as I would not want to go into the details. Suffice to say that Cabo Moraña kept asking me for months after if I was going to have another date with Corina.
In another blog I will write about Rebecca’s attempt to ride Michael East’s cutting horse, Gramercy Flow. I had to save the family name so when Michael East suggested I ride Gramercy Flow I could not refuse. I had a bit of a problem getting on the horse as I have lost a lot of my flexibility and Michael East had not lowered the stirrups which had been adjusted for Rebecca. So I had to suffer the indignity of having to step on a small metal stool to get on the horse. But I was not bad after that as I was able to trot and gallop when I wanted.
Michael East, characteristically, said nothing.
The Woman He Deserves
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Sooner or later if God allows it a man will have the woman he deserves. I am happy to report that Michael East is one of those lucky men.
Having just seen with Rosemary (minutes before I began to write here) the wonderful film The Young Victoria
in which we see how Prince Albert, skillfully, but with a big heart, became the Prince Regent and companion to Queen Victoria I now understand why, upon Albert’s death, Victoria mourned him until the day she died.
As the man who runs a large South Texas ranch, Michael East is obviously taking the queen’s part while his loyal and loving companion, Letty García is Prince Regent.
After having observed her in action I must assert here that she runs a most shipshape household with a smile on her face. This is not lost by the “Queen” who knows how lucky he is.
In our four days at the Santa Fe Ranch Letty befriended my Rebecca, taught her to make tortillas and perhaps even instilled in her an awareness and an appreciation of what Texas hospitality is all about.
I have observed how children instantly feel comfortable in the “Prince Regent’s” presence particularly when they just might be reinforced in the Spanish language. Without Spanish nothing can really be done in a South Texas ranch. But then she is not only a master of English and Spanish but also of an increasingly important lingua franca that she calls Spanglish.
Important in a house in which the corridors are line with pictures that are Texas history, Letty García has been looking for precious stuff from the past that has been stored away. One beautiful Mexican sarape that was Sarita Kenedy East's had begun to deteriorate. This time around I noticed it had been framed under protective glass. When I was ambivalent in removing or not removing the candle stick in this picture she pointed out that it and a companion on the other end of the dining room table were important family heirlooms. Michael East knew nothing of this until she told us both, "The initials on the candle sticks are of Sarita Kenedy East. These were hers."
Like all dutiful Prince Regents, Letty sees to the health of her Michael East. She makes sure that even in a South Texas ranch where beef is king, if beef is not all that good for a her man’s stomach then there shall have to be more fish.
In some way she may have been instrumental in eliminating Michael East’s nasty baseball habit of chewing tobacco. Having unlit Kinky Friedman cigars in one’s face is a step in the right direction.
As I watched Michael East indulge in his ice cold El Patrón Tequila Silver with a Bud Lite chaser, after a long and strenuous day, I could see the contentment.
It was about time he got the woman he deserved.
The gentleman cowboy in the painting behind Letty and Michael is that of Michael's great uncle Arthur East who was married to Sarita Kenedy. Because their marriage had no issue the result was one of the longest will lawsuits in Texas history. Below is the genealogy of Michael East's relatives. Michael is bottom, left of the first geneaology, Kings, Klebergs and Easts.
A Cowboy For The 21st Century
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
I have never had any respect for those men that drive those large twin cab (or crew cab) pickups particularly those that mount a bank of lights on the roof and attach what looks like a streetcar’s cow catcher to the front. My lack of respect is especially so when I see these lumbering vehicles being driven in Vancouver.
Now in South Texas I don’t think I ever saw (in my four days there) one single Audi, Mercedez Benz, Volvo or a BMW. I saw lots of 4x4s particularly the Cadillac. But the car of choice is the truck I have so little respect for.
Michael East has had the crew cab pickup in as many brands as they make them but he says the best has been his Toyota Tacoma. I had not idea of what he was talking about until I saw him in action. One morning he told me, “We are going to pen some cattle.”
Now Michael East’s main ranch house and ranch entrance is on the west side of US 281, 10 to 21 miles south of Linn. In his truck (with Rebecca in the back seat we crossed 281 and headed south for a while and we then got to a large gate which Rebecca learned to open. From there we drove on the caliche and sand road and passed several pastures called potreros in Spanish even though they usually hold cattle and not ponies.
Michael explained that he had to move some 15 head of cattle from deep within the pasture and then out by a trap gate (the gate is much like a subway turnstile and it can only go in one direction). When we finally found the head of cattle they immediately hid inside a tight group of mesquite trees. These are called motts in English and motas in Spanish. A large mott is called a mogote.
It was then that I found the usefulness of the Toyota. Michael drove it and stopped right at one of the exterior trees. The cattle fled. He then closely followed them weaving in and out. He would put the pickup in reverse and then zoom around. After almost half hour it seemed that the cattle had returned to the original mott and they were as far as possible from the trap gate. Michael told me, “The trick is to move them and let them go where they want. You want to tire them a bit but not so much that they will get hot. Then they will do nothing or even become aggressive.” It was a case of patience. We moved around and up and down and after about 45 minutes the cattle finally moved to the edge of the pasture where there was a fence. Driving on their tales and not allowing them to move away from the fence Michael somehow managed to have the cattle go out from the pasture. He explained that even though it was close to 90 Fahrenheit he had to leave the windows open and not use the air conditioner. The truck would overheat in such severe turnings and reversing. Every once in a while Michael would yell, “Duck,” or “Careful,” as we closely wove between mesquites. Fresh growth on these trees have terrible thorns and the branches would have hit me on the face had I not ducked. The pickup will soon (I am sure) lose all its paint because of the constant scratching.
It occurred to me that Michal’s pickup was being used as an efficient horse. It would have taken a lot more time and perhaps many horses to ride from the ranch house to the pasture and handle the cattle. Michael explained that this particular head of cattle was made up of old cows that had been used for years to produce calves. They had now arrived to the end of their breeding life and they had to be herded and taken away to make hamburger.
Once the old cows had been moved out of the pasture, Michael used his iPhone to contact cowboys to open gates and herd them (on horseback) into the appropriate pens.
When Michael was had finished he was approached by his foreman’s brother Carlos Urias who said in Spanish, “How much do we owe you for this?” To which Michael answered, “A new truck.”
Michael then informed Carlos that one of the cows was ubrada (had large udders). There was perhaps a young calf back in the pasture. This cow did not become hamburger meat that day but was taken back to the pasture where she would lead the cowboys to her young.
The Marlboro Man & The Cowboy From San Fernando
Monday, August 02, 2010
Leo Burnett (1891-1971) founded the advertising agency that carried his name as well as the "Chicago School" of advertising. In Burnett's ads, visual, meaningful images were emphasized over text-filled explanations of the product's features. Burnett and his agency were responsible for the creation of such famous product icons as the Pillsbury Dough Boy and the Marlboro Man. The Marlboro Man was one of Burnett's most famous advertising icons. When first introduced, in 1955, filter cigarettes were considered unmanly, intended for a female consumer. By using the manliest man, a tattooed cowboy astride a horse, filter Marlboros became viewed as a very masculine product by consumers. Burnett changed the way filter cigarettes were marketed and Marlboros became the best selling cigarettes on the market. By the end of the 1950s, the Leo Burnett Company was billing over $100 million annually.
Lee is one tough cowboy even though I never saw him ride a horse. He looked more like a man more comfortable riding a Harley hog. But he had to be a cowboy. After all he was smoking Marlboros, he had tattoos and he was handling cattle. In fact he was handling cattle on foot. He was outside a pen where steers where being funneled into a chute and up into a waiting cattle truck. The steers were afraid and not cooperative. Lee and a few other men jumped up and down and made loud noises (Lee’s sounded like loud and wet farts) and wildly gesticulated with their arms. A few of the cowboys used Mexican bullwhips called chicotes
and without really touching the steers at all they made loud cracking noises. I approached Lee and in Spanish I told him, “You must be practicing so that someday you can scare your grandkids.” He looked at me, deadpan, and replied, “I’m already a grandfather.” I then told him, “You must notice that my granddaughter is in Mike East’s truck and she isn’t all that happy. She’s rezongando
.” “What’s rezongando?” Lee asked.
I told him it was Spanish for complain and a complainer like Rebecca would be called a rezongona
. He looked at me and immediately went over to a mounted cowboy (probably my age of 68) who was wearing a crisp starched shirt and said loudly, “Hermenegildo what’s rezongar?” Hermenegildo Sanchez, who hails from San Fernando, Mexico, between Tampico and Matamoros, confirmed my definition. I was surprised as the verb rezongar is more of an Argentine Spanish one that a Mexican one.
I watched how Hermenegildo rode his horse with ease. He looked to me like the real cowboy even though he did not have any tattoos or smoked. It was later that Michael East confirmed my suspicion by telling me that Hermenegildo is one of a dying breed of real cowboys who can really ride. There are fewer and fewer of his ilk now.
Delivering Cattle In Barrosas
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Michael East has a ready excuse, any time, to go to his son’s home that is about a mile away from the Santa Fe Ranch house. The reason is that it offers an opportunity to visit with his two grandsons. So when Michael asked me one day, “Shall we go over to see what Johnny (his son) is doing?” I immediately said it was a good idea. We found Johnny in his shop filing away at a pair of spurs he was making. I did not note that he was not wearing eye protection. That evening he was in pain. A visit to the doctor in Edinburg the next morning confirmed his suspicions that he had metal filings in one eye. Johnny returned with an eye patch and much in pain. But this did not stop him from texting his father, “Tell Alex that while I was looking forward to a portrait session with him this evening I don’t think he wants to photograph a pirate.” These South Texans of few words are always polite, I have noted.
Johnny’s three to four day convalescence meant that the delivering of cattle (from the pastures) to cattle trucks to be then taken for feeding at the special feeding station would have to be led by father and not the son. In short because of Johnny’s bad luck it meant that Rebecca and I were going to be given the opportunity of watching something that did not happen every day.
The feeding station or comedero
as the Mexican cowboys call it is over by Santa Fe Ranch but on the other side of a highway that cuts through the ranch. In this comedero the 800 pound steers gain three pounds per day until they reach approximately double that weight. It is then that they are sold and taken to slaughter. Their feed is a mixture of corn, cotton husks and a liquid formula that contains molasses.
When Rebecca found out we would be leaving on Wednesday morning at 5:30 she adamantly said she was not going. No matter how I explained to her that she would have time to sleep when we returned home and how it was important to experience new things, she did not budge. It was Letty who informed her that the event called “delivering cattle” was a rare thing that in 10 years would be so fundamentally changed that what she would miss would be unique. Rebecca changed her mind on the condition that I wake her up at 5:20. The next morning it was 5:00 when Michael knocked on my door. I had heard the jingling of his spurs so I was already awake.
Mike’s horse trailer and its heavy duty crew cab pickup had its loud diesel going and with all its lights on, in the darkness of the pre-dawn, it looked like a Minuteman missile ready for launching. From the house we went to the horse corral to pick up Mike’s quarter horse, Grammercy Flow. In the trailer I noted several saddles and stuff. Rebecca crashed in the back seat but Michael warned her that her sleep would be brief as we were going to pick up a worker called Beto at the nearby town (about 65 miles) of Falfurrias.
The name Falfurrias antedates Anglo association with the area, and its deviation is uncertain. Town founder Edward C. Lasater claimed that it was a Lipan Indian word meaning "the land of heart's delight." Others believed that it was the Spanish name for a native desert flower known as the heart's delight. Another theory is that Falfurrias is a misspelling of one or another Spanish or French word. Still another theorizes that the name refers to a local shepherd named Don Filfarrias. The term filfarrias is Mexican slang for a "dirty and untidy”.
Rebecca had complained that she had not had any breakfast so Michael stopped at a roadside café. Even before we entered older Mexican/American men sitting at a bench outside were greeting Michael. Inside the café Michael had a complete breakfast with eggs while I ordered toast and a much necessary coffee. Rebecca had changed her mind and had nothing and kept staring at the pictures on the walls and the stuffed animal heads. Her comment “Everything here is about dead animals or animals being killed,” was ignored by us.
We picked up Beto (he looked about 70 but I am sure he was much older). He told me (only after I asked him) that he was going to help at the yard we were headed to and that he had worked in Minnesota some years previously as a printer. On the way to Sarita, Texas, we passed stretches of land that had no markings. I didn’t have to ask Michael to know that they were portions of the legendary King Ranch. Outside of Sarita, Texas (not far from the original ranch house of Michael’s great aunt Sarita Kenedy East’s La Parra. It is now a retreat of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. I saw a sign that read Mifflin. Mifflin Kenedy had been a river boat captain who back in the 19th century had joined forces with another river boat captain, Captain Richard King with whom he founded a steam boat company. They prospered and they bought land. King started the King Ranch which in its heyday exceeded one million acres while Kenedy started his La Parra Ranch which became almost as large. The families intermarried and Michael East is related to both founding families.
Michael explained that this Mifflin was the headquarters for two large pastures, La Rana (the frog) and Barrosas. Even though the truck and trailer where quite long there seemed to be no problem in navigating the caliche (clay) road which was rutted at some spots because of recent unseasonal rains. From La Rana we crossed into Barrosas. Our path was suddenly blocked by a border patrol truck that had been parked. There was nobody around. We made noise but nobody came. Michael gingerly drove around and we did not get stuck. He told me, “That guy better be gone soon as he is blocking the cattle trucks that will be coming in soon.
We arrived at a clearing and I was surprised to see a jumble of cowboys and some not-so-cowboy looking men with baseball caps. They were building temporary corals and a special shute to guide the cattle up on to the soon to arrive cattle trucks. The temporary corrals were made up of sturdy but quite portable tubular steel frames. Beto took out Gramercy Flow and brushed him all over before saddling him for Michael.
Rebecca was appalled at the soquete
that was all around us. Soquete, as it is called by the Mexican workers of the area is a soft and muddy mixture of mud with cattle droppings. Rebecca did not want to ruin the new Keds she had purchased back in Austin at Macy’s!
Michael warned us to stay in the truck. They were going to bring about 400 steers (anywhere from one to one year and a half old) from the nearby pasture. This was going to be done by cowboys on horses. They would funnel them into a large holding pen that fed into a smaller pen which then fed into a narrow chute that led to the cattle truck. Next to the chute there was a door that at any given moment would be opened. Michael, up on a metal platform would decide if a particular steer was still too small. If that was the case the steer went back onto another corral and from there back to pasture. We were to stay in the truck until the cattle was in the holding pen because we could spook them which would cause chaos.
From that point on we could move about within certain limits. Again the steers weren’t used to humans and they spooked easily. As I saw it from the holding pen a few cowboys would cut steers (about 15 of them) and bring them into a smaller pen. From there other cowboys would urge them (with loud noises and the cracking of leather whips called chicotes
into a narrow and long pen (really not much room except for one steer at the time). It was here where Michael either directed them to open a gate that lead to the cattle truck or a side gate to which the smaller steers that where not quite ready were to go to.
The operation ended when the cattle trucks were full with a final count of 300. There were 30 extra ones that were put into smaller trucks and these were sent back to Mifflin to be picked up by a cattle truck that was to return.
There was a beautiful abandoned little shack nearby, by a small lake. When I eyed it Michael told me, “Avoid it as it's a great place to run into rattlesnakes.
Meanwhile Rebecca was suffering from bad cramps and she had forgotten to bring her Advil. It was about 35 degrees and she could handle the heat (she is as good as her grandfather in this) but she kept telling me, “I want to go home now!” I tried to explain that the job of filling the cattle trucks was an operation that took time and we could not expect Michael to abandon his job for her. At that point she told me she wanted to go to a store to buy Advil. It was difficult for me to tell her that we were really in the middle of nowhere. Michael had heard her crying and he made it a point to ask every cowboy if any of them had the Advil. One, called Hollis (he appears twice here and is wearing a white hat) came to the rescue and the day was saved. By 1:30 we were near Sarita having a Subway sandwich and iced tea. Had I known about the heat and the boredom that Rebecca went through I would not have brought her. I was proud that she was able to take it.
At one point I showed her how Mike and one other cowboy were equipped with a cattle prod. She grimaced. I told her that the cattle prod as we knew it had been invented by King Ranch owner Bob Kleberg Jr. in the late 30s (interesting to find out that Michael East is related to the Klebergs). He connected his primitive devices to car batteries. For some time cowboys had prodded the cattle with spikes which not only hurt the cattle but damaged the hide. It is because of this predecessor of the cattle prod that cowboys are sometimes called cowpunchers.
When Rebecca again grimaced I told her that the son of the famous Argentine writer Leopoldo Lugones, called Polo, had the dubious fame of having first come up with the idea of using the cattle prod (called a picana in my country of birth) to torture men (by prodding them in their genitals) she yelled at me TMI! (too much information).
We dropped off Beto at Falfurrias (a most taciturn man who made the heretofore taciturn Michael seem like a non-stop talker!) and headed home to the Santa Fe Ranch. We arrived around 2:30. This gave Rebecca plenty of time to wind down and cool off in the nice pool that Michael has by the ranch house.