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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: Sigel's Summer
By Terry Walker


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’em 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 are probably cooked 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’ve 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 Sadie 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’m covered by Jesus’ blood 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.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Virgil Youngblood 07/17/09
I enjoy "westerns" and the picture you painted of the cowboy life. I would have liked a clue about the time frame; most round-ups today are a little different in regard to meals. Good job.
Mildred Sheldon07/18/09
I love a good western story and this was exceptional. I wouldn't want to herd cattle during the summer months but if that is what you like then go for it. Very well written.
Seema Bagai 07/20/09
You have a good start with this story.

Red ink: The last two paragraphs dragged and rambled. Maybe you could have shown the MC doing things and thinking aloud or even talking to his horse. Break them up with some action or dialogue and this will be a stronger piece.

I could see this being part of a longer story of Sigel's adventures.