Tumbleweed: Meeting: Lynda Part Two by c_lucas
Artwork by Susan F. M. T. at FanArtReview.com
Previous chapter: "Which Carny taught you how to handle snakes?" Pearson picked up his daughter and placed her on her horse. He mounted and held his daughter's reins. He stared at the young man who didn't appear to be upset by the near fatal experience.
"I helped a science fellow gather rattles down around El Paso. I got ten cent a rattle, which turned into a fair amount of money. The snake grows a new rattle every time it sheds."
It was obvious that the experience with the rattler had upset Lynda. She held onto the saddle horn, and made no attempt to take the pony's reins from her father. The ride home was silent, but every time Lynda glanced his way, Tumbleweed gave her a smile.
Pearson stopped by the back of the ranch house and lifted Lynda from her saddle. He motioned for the boy to care of the horses and carried his daughter inside.
Jerry took the two reins and rode into the barn. He unsaddled the large Morgan and the pony. He left the Paint saddled, and rubbed down the other two horses before he placed them in their stalls. Then he started to care for his horse.
Tumbleweed had just finished removing the Paint's saddle and tack when Lynda walked up to him. "Thank you for teaching me how to shoot and saving me from the rattler." Her tone of voice was uncharacteristically mild and soft. "When you stepped on the snake's head and he wrapped his body around your leg, I thought he was going to get free and bite you. I almost fainted."
Jerry swung the saddle on a wooden saddle rack and laid the rest of the gear across the rail. He saw the girl trembling. He placed his finger under her chin and raised her head. He winked at her and kissed her cheek. "I wasn't really in any danger. Once I had my foot on the snake's head, I knew you were safe. Then all I had to do was to untangle myself and set the snake free."
Lynda hugged him around his neck and returned his kiss-on-the-cheek. "No one else has ever risked their life to protect me, but Father. Even he was surprised when you jumped on the snake and asked for a stick. That was the bravest thing I ever saw."
"A snake is just as scared of you as you are of it. Once your father gave me the forked stick, I knew I could handle the situation." He stepped out of their embrace.
"I'm happy you weren't hurt." She shifted her feet before continuing, "I was so excited that you had taught me how to hit my targets, I wasn't paying attention. Father taught me to be on the lookout for snakes when I'm in their country."
"That's a very good idea. I'm sorry I teased you about shooting wings off flies."
"Will you teach me how to hit my target every time?"
"I can teach you the basics of handling a gun and show you what you must do to hit your target. The rest is up to you and you did yourself proud by hitting the cans."
"Maybe you could teach me about shooting at flies?" For the first time since the Snake Incident, Lynda tried to smile.
"I'll promise to do my best. Now why don't you go clean up and get ready for lunch? I need to help Consuela and Miguel, then I'll meet you at the table." He turned and put the Paint in his stall.
Lynda's face lit up when Jerry came in and sat beside her.
He returned Mr. Pearson's smile and acted startled. "Lynda told me that we forgot to look for flies."
His boss chuckled. "One rattlesnake was enough excitement for one day."
Lynda glanced at her father and rested her eyes on Tumbleweed. "He was so brave stopping the rattler from biting me." She turned her eyes toward her parent. "Don't you think so, Father?"
"I've never seen anyone act so swiftly. Thank you, Jerry."
"You're welcome, sir." He nodded and glanced at the girl, before he turned his attention back to her father. "Lynda did a good job on the cans. Four shots and three cans, that's pretty good shooting."
Everyone was silent as Consuela and Miguel brought bowls of soup and placed them on the table.
"Thank you," Mr. Pearson acknowledged the couple. "Consuela, Lynda is under your care until I return. Miguel, you, Jerry and I'll take some supplies to the camp. Jerry will work as your assistant from seven to twelve. He'll return to the ranch and be with Lynda until after dinner."
"He will return to the camp at dawn."
Tumbleweed appeared to be full of questions, but he remained silent.
Mr. Pearson glanced at him. "I need to introduce you to my foreman, Jake Horne. While you're at the camp and if Miguel doesn't need you, report to Jake. He'll find something for you to do, but remember, aiding Miguel is your first responsibility."
"Can Jerry give me some more shooting lessons?" Lynda waited for her father's answer.
He glanced at the young man sipping his soup. "How are you with a rifle?"
"Given time, I can hit what I aim at. Do you have a .22 single shot?"
Mr. Pearson nodded at Miguel who went into the office and returned with a light weight rifle and a small draw string sack of shells. He laid them on the table by the rancher, who offered them to Jerry. "Take it with you to the camp."
After lunch, Lynda helped Consuela, and Jerry went to the barn with the men. They harnessed two horses to the wagon, then went up to the loft to bring down dozens of pre-cut poles and coils of rope. Picks and shovels were piled on top and several extra branding irons. Pearson and Tumbleweed saddled their horses, while Miguel drove the wagon to the kitchen's entrance.
Consuela and Lynda started bringing out cooking supplies. Tumbleweed jumped off the Paint and helped them. Pearson had a brief word with Miguel, who took the Morgan's reins and hurried behind the house. The rancher climbed in the wagon and began working the new items anywhere he could. Consuela bought out a pack frame and two metal kettles with snapped on lids.
Pearson took the contraption and helped Jerry load it onto the Paint behind the saddle. He had Jerry repeat his directions until he was confident Tumbleweed could correctly secure the pack to his mount. Jerry used piggin strings to secure the .22 to his saddle bags.
Miguel led the Morgan to Pearson and gave him the reins.
"Are you ready, Jerry?" the Rancher asked.
"Yes sir." Tumbleweed answered.
Pearson led his horse over toward Lynda. He dropped the reins and opened his arms. Lynda was in them in a flash. The father and daughter exchanged hugs and kisses on the cheek. He placed the girl into Consuela's arms. "Jerry and I will be back sometime tonight. Leave something warming on the stove."
"Si Senor, Vaya con Dios." Consuela set Lynda down, but held on to her right hand. She crossed herself. Miguel led the way past the large corral. Tumbleweed and Pearson soon took the lead.
"Have you ever been on a cattle roundup before?"
"I haven't had too much experience working with cows," Tumbleweed answered.
Pearson chuckled. "I'm not a Carny, but I can teach you about cattle." Pearson grinned at the young man. "Do you know what the first rule is?"
"Never attempt to stand on the calf's head and tail at the same time."
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