Sunday, July 04, 2010

Uncle John's Rough Riding Days

Uncle John's Rough Riding Days

Great-g...Uncle John had been drifting all over the West after the War of Northern Aggression. He was attempting to soothe his ravaged soul after the brutally bloody fighting around The Angle at Gettysburg on July 3.
As his blood spilled out at a honey locust, the only tree left standing on Cemetery Ridge, the last words he heard that day were "My God,my God,We could have won.We could have won!"

He had eaten Texas dust for forty years as a Texas Ranger, trying to put the pieces of his life back together.
He never did. All the drinking, all the women, all the gambling, all the killing only caused the nightmares to grow in terror.
His last official Ranger work was when he rode across the Plano and trailed along with Deputy U.S. Marshall, Pat Garrett, who was tracking down Henry McCarty, who also went by the name, Henry Antrim, and William Bonney. A newspaperman had tagged him as Billy the Kid, and the name stuck.

When Garrett and the Kid finally met they both reached for their guns. Garrett was quicker on the draw.
He became an instant hero in New Mexico, until ruthless ranchers turned on him and had him bushwacked.

All the troubles had deeply affected Great g...Uncle John. He had always abhorred violence, but the War had forever changed his life. He decided to try one more time to lead the narrow way so he could make peace with his maker.
He decided to give up his drinking, his gambling, and his whoring, and seek respectable employment that was less stressful.
He had met President Theodore Roosevelt in Washington when he accompanied Pat Garrett to have his photo taken with the President.
Roosevelt admired brave lawmen who were handy with a gun.

Great ....Uncle John took the train to Washington and applied in person for one of the new park ranger jobs Roosevelt was passing out with his new parks program.

President Roosevelt liked Uncle John, but he had to ask him a few questions to make everything all proper.

" John,you have a lot of blood on you hands. How do you account for all that?" Said Teddy.

"Mr. President, it was all in self defense, but I never liked killing any man."

"I've heard that you have gambled and played poker all your life," Said the Rough Rider.

"Yes Sir, I know the difference between a straight and a flush." Replied Uncle John, as he fidgeted in his chair. This wasn't going the way he expected.

"Well, I've heard rumors that you kept unsavory women in your hotel rooms all your life, at least since the War," Said the President.

" Mr. President, I reckon that could be true, but I don't know for sure 'cause I've been drunk since the War ended, that is, until the last few weeks when I heard a Baptist preacher tell me how wicked I was for helping Pat Garrett fetch Billy the Kid. Billy had become a folk hero among lots of people. He was a charismatic ladies man. When Pat was dry-gulched I figured it was time to make things right, so's I quit my drinking right then."

"Mr. Secretary,type up the appointment for my signature. We have our newest park ranger, " Said Teddy, with a wide grin, and reaching across his desk to shake John's hand.

©-2010-Jay Hudson


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