At approximately oh-dark-thirty, the phone rang. On a good day, I can wake up by the fourth or fifth ring. My wife, Kathy, got tired of waiting for me to gain consciousness and grabbed it on the third.
Her side of the conversation wasn’t particularly enlightening. Straight one-word answers.
“Who was it?” I asked when she hung up.
“Sheriff’s office. Someone reported a young black-and-white bull running loose on the highway in front of our place.” She rolled over and either went back to sleep, or pretended to.
Stupid bull. I wanted to put him in the freezer weeks ago. He did what I got him for (the cows are all “with calf,” as we say in polite company), and I didn’t name him T-Bone for nothing. My wife and daughter, however, didn’t think they could bring themselves to eat him, so he got a stay of execution.
I climbed out of bed and pulled on some clothes. I turned on the big light over the corral, the big light over the garage, and the front porch light. No matter which window I looked out of, it was still snowing. I added a vest, coat, hat, a couple of pairs of socks, gloves, and muck boots.
T-Bone is a premier escape artist. Barbed wire fences barely slow him down. He’s a Corriente bull, the breed that the Spaniards first brought to North America. Texas Longhorns were developed from Corriente stock, and share the same body style. Later replaced by stockier beef cattle on most ranches, Corrientes were thought to be extinct until a wild herd was found in the mountains of southern California.
At the moment, I wasn’t particularly pleased with the fellow who found that herd…