“Come Hell ‘r High Water”



Liam here.  Missed you all somethin’ fierce.  Now, we ain’t been fightin’ no fars, nor we ain’t done floated down the river in the flood.  We done been right busy, though, we Goodwells.

I mention my folks and me, we’re the Goodwells?  The Goodwells of Denton County?  Yep, I got no doubt in my mind you heard somethin’ o’ us.  Grandpap, he practically owned him most o’ Denton County back in his day.

Now, his day done came and done went, but he made his mark, I kid you not.  An’ he’s still a’ huffin’ an’ a’puffin’ an’ a’makin’ hisself known all ’round!

But I digress.

Me’n my family, we near had to up and move, clean away from our home fer generations upon end here in Denton County, and the story ain’t quite seen its end.  I’m needin’ to set it to paper, thanks to Miss Meadow down to the school,  her remindin’ me some stories need to be tol’ before the endin’s been writ.

So here goes.

Me’n Daddy, me’n Daddy and Linc and Lawrence, and sometimes me’n Daddy and Linc and Lawrence and Grandpap ‘n Uncle Sedgwick, we all up an’ visit the livestock auction down to Polo ever’ month ‘r two ‘r six ‘r so.  This time, howsomever, it was me ‘n Daddy goin’ solo an’ we was havin’ us a fine’ ol’ time.

Got up ‘fore dawn, which ain’t unusual for us farmin’ folk.  Got us in the ol’ International pickup, cold breakfast at our feet and hot coffee steamin’ in our mugs.  We took precious care, I tell you what, in not lettin’ it slop over them fat white mugs.  Daddy makes his coffee hotter’n the far it takes to perc it!

My face, I’ll have you know, was grinnin’ from ear lobe to ear lobe.  Me’n Daddy, we don’t get time jest the two of us much often, bein’ we’re eight Goodwell children in our family alone, not countin’ cousins, second and third cousins, and kissin’ cousins what woosh they was real Goodwell cousins!

An’ Daddy, he was a grinnin’ his ownself, both at me an’ the world in gen’ral.  It was stretchin’ out to be a grand day for us Goodwell men.  An’ off we went.

Polo, little spot in the road next county over in DeKalb County (an’ don’t you go an’ get catched pronouncin’ that “l” in DeKalb!  Local’s like to hogtie you an’ tar’n feather you jest fer bein’ foreign!).  They ain’t much there to speak of.  Blink yer eyes and you’re like to miss it.  ‘Cept come auction day.  Some ol’ bird years ago name o’ Pike Pearson, he built him a barn with offshoots and corrals and even an’ indoor arena o’ some size, with benches built up like a three ring circus.  Even built hisself a snack shack outside with giant sized hamburgers and such.  His boys run the place now.  Law, I love me a cattle auction.

Daddy always buys us burgers.  Twice.  Law.

Drivin’ next to an’ hour, we made it ‘most unscathed, only one miniscule burn on my left shank when Daddy took a corner tight to miss Judge Huger’s big ol’ shiny black Cadillac takin’ its half plumb outta the middle.  Burned somethin’ fierce, but only fer a minute or ten.  I spit in my hand and rubbed it a time’r two fer good measure, sure.

We done ourselves some wanderin’, even some wonderin’, but Daddy’d done pronounced we wasn’t there to do no buyin’, nor no sellin’.  We was just notin the lay o’ the land fer the big Spring sale.  Fine by me, said I, munchin’ on burger number one. I jest relished the sights o’ the fresh brushed livestock, the smell o’ new hay, and the shoutin’ and wheelin’ and dealin’ o’ the farmers and stock traders.

We been there ’bout a hour, maybe a couple, my shiny boots dusty and my belly full.  Me ‘n Daddy, we was a perched upon a corral rail watchin’ a couple veternarians sashayin’ about, examinin’, then writin’ on their tablet.  Now, I know me somethin’ ’bout diseased livestock.  These here, they looked purty good to me.

Daddy’n me, we jest watched.

Why, time done slowed so much an’ we was so lost in the watchin’, no tellin’ how long we’d stayed perched when law!  Jest to my left hand, a writhin’ black steed, a’snortin’ with Hell’s own fury (Forgive me, Lord, but that there was a moment!  An’ Lord, please don’t tell Mama!), rid by some cowboy black hat low over his eyes, sailed over the fence upon which me’n Daddy was a’sittin’, so close I could feel the sweat a’flyin’ and the hair on the flank brush my cheek!  I near toppled and tangled in them flailin’ legs an’ but fer Daddy a’grabbin’ my shirt back, there’d like to be a mangled mess o’ me in that corral!

As it was, one o’ them vets, he had not a chance, couldn’t even blink an eye ‘fore that beast landed feet first on his shoulders, forcin’ him to the cowpied dust, then for punctuation, landed on his lower regions with his back two feet an’ kept on a’goin’, racin’ through the doe-eyed cattle and dumbfounded farmhands, leapin’ out the other side and headin’ lickity split toward the horizon!

I do not remember breathin’.  I do remember heavin’.  I recall jest the infinitesimal movement from my Daddy next to me,  I knew he was a’fixin’ to dive in an’ do what he could, I reckon.  The only other recollection was a low voice behind and betwist us two sayin’,

“This here is no place for a hero.”

…..an’ there be more to this story….

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