Bury me in Datil
West Texas is a vast, wide-open area, dusty, windy, and dry. Many a time I hid the mostly unbranded calves I took from the herd on the XIT ranch behind the tumbleweeds that had built up in the small valleys across the open plains only the moonlight could see. I tried to move at night as much as I could because rustling cattle had become a dangerous occupation as I was finding out. Cattle barons had hired gunslingers and trackers to bring justice to outlaws like me and they were on my trail. Hoping the wind would erase my tracks I moved as many miles as I could, stopping only when water was found which wasn't often enough and the cattle, I stole were gettin' weak. I was halfway through New Mexico territory trying to get to the Magdalena cattle drive to sell my stock to wranglers I knew but I had to let the calves go and save myself. I could see four mounted cowboys on the mesa under the clear blue sky with me in their sight. I ditched all the weight I was carrying except the rifle and Colt on my hip as I headed into the Sawtooth mountains when a shot rang out. My horse, spooked by the noise reared up, throwin' me off onto the hard ground below as another shot rings out. I feel a burning sensation in my side as I get up to run for cover in a grove of gnarled trees' close by. Bleedin' from a gut shot, I know I won't recover as I hear the four cowboys drawing near. "Give it up boy, you aint goin' nowhere, this is the end of the line" the cowboy said. I replied "go to hell lawman!" as I fired from my Colt hittin' one of the riders. I tried to run further in the brush when I was struck again through the back. Mortally wounded, I thought about home and the woman I loved there. The cowboy on the black steed said "your rustlin' days are over son, anything you want to say?" "Give me a drink will Ya". The cowboy dismounted and handed me a bottle of whiskey, I pulled the cork with my teeth and took a swig. Handing the bottle back to him, it was getting hard to breathe as I said "grant me my dying', wish will Ya". "What is it boy" he said. With my last struggling breath, I said "bury me in Datil".
Copyright © dave bowers | Year Posted 2021
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