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   Chapter 13 No.13

Peck's Bad Boy with the Cowboys By George W. Peck Characters: 10448

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:03


The Bad Boy and His Dad Have Trouble with a New Breakfast Food-Dad Rides a Bucking Broncho.

San Antonio, Texas.-My Dear Chum: Dad and I left Hot Springs because the man who kept the hotel where we stopped got prejudiced against me. I suppose I did carry the thing a little too far. You see dad has got into this breakfast food habit, and reads all the advertisements that describe new inventions of breakfast food, and he has got himself so worked up over the bran mash that he is losing appetite for anything substantial, and he is getting weak and nutty. Ma told me when I went away with dad that she wanted me to try my best to break dad of the breakfast food habit, and I promised to do it. Say, kid, if you ever expect to succeed in life, you have got to establish a reputation for keeping your promises. Truth is mighty, and when anybody can depend upon a boy to do as he agrees his fortune is made. Dad saw a new breakfast food advertised in an eastern magazine, and as the hotel people only kept thirty or forty kinds of mockingbird food for guests, dad made me go out to the groceries and round up the new kind. I brought a box to the table at breakfast, and dad fell over himself to fill his saucer, and then he offered some to eight boarders that sat at our table. Dad had been bragging for a week about how he had adopted the breakfast food fad, first for his health, and then to get even with the beef trust. He had convinced the boarders at our table that it was a patriotic duty of every citizen to shut down on eating meat until the criminal meat trust was ruined.

{Illustration: "Hennery, I Feel as Though Your Dad Was not Very Long for This World." }

"The breakfast food I put up on dad was some pulverized cork that I got at a grocery out of a barrel of California grapes. It looked exactly like other breakfast food, but you'd a died to see dad and several invalid Southern colonels, and two women who were at the table, pour cream on that pulverized cork, and springle sugar on it, and try to get the pulverized cork to soak up the cream, but the particles of cork floated on top of the cream, and acted alive. An old confederate colonel, who had called dad a dam yankee ever since we had been there, and always acted as though he was on the point of drawing a gun, took the first mouthful, and after chewing it a while he swallowed as though his throat was sore, but he got it down, and ordered a cocktail, and looked mad at dad. Dad noticed that the others were having difficulty in masticating the food, and so he pitched in and ate his food and said it was the finest he ever tasted, but the rest of the crowd only took a spoonful or two, and et fruit. One woman who is there to be cured of the habit of betting on the races, got the cork in amongst her false teeth and it squeaked when she chewed, like pulling a cork out of a beer bottle. They all seemed to want to please dad, and so they munched away at the cork, until the woman with the false teeth had to leave the table, then a colonel went out, and then all quit the table except dad and I, and by that time dad felt as though he had swallowed a life preserver, and he said to me:

"'Hennery, either the baths or the climate, or something has upset me, and I feel as though your dad was not very long for this world. Before I die I want you to confess to me what that stuff is that I have been eating, and I can die in peace!'

"I told him that he had wanted a light breakfast, and I though there was nothing quite so light as cork, and that he was full clear to the muzzle with pulverized cork, and he couldn't sink any more when he took a bath. Dad turned pale and we went out in the office and found that all the people who sat at our table, and ate breakfast food were in the hands of doctors, and dad went in the room with them, and each had a doctor, and how they got it out of them I don't know, as I was busy organizing a strike among the bell boys. I told them they could double their wages by striking at exactly at ten o'clock, when all the boarders wanted cocktails sent to their rooms.

{Illustration: Dad Among the Cowboys.}

"They struck all right, and the breakfast food people had all got pumped out, and then it came my turn. Dad gave me a licking, the boarders kicked at me, the landlord ordered me out of the house, and the striking bell boys who had their places filled in ten minutes, chased me all over town, and when I got back to the hotel dad had bought tickets to San Antonio, because the doctor told him to get out on the prairies and take horseback exercise to shake the pulverized cork and the monkey-wrench out of his system, and everybody threw stones at the buss that we rode to the depot in. Gosh, but I hate a town where genius has no chance against the mob element. The worst was that woman with the false teeth, because she lost them somewhere, and had to hold her handkerchief over her mouth while she called me names when the porter took me by the collar and the pants and flung me into the buss. Dad told the porter, when he handed out the regular 'tip,' that he would have made it large if the porter had taken an axe to me. Dad is getting so funny he almost makes me laugh.

"Wel

l, kid, we arrived here next day, and got acclimated before night. Dad bought a wide gray cowboy hat, with a leather strap for a band, and began to pose as a regular old rough rider, and told everybody at the hotel that he was going to buy a ranch, and run for congress. Everybody here is willing a northern man should buy a ranch, but when he talks about running for Congress they look sassy at him, but dad can look just as sassy as anybody here. He told all around that he was a cavalry veteran of the war, and wanted to get a horse to ride that would stir up his patriotic instincts and his liver, and all his insides, and a real kind man steered dad to a livery stable, and I knew by the way the natives winked at each other that they were going to let him have a horse that would jounce him all right.

"They saddled up a real nice pony for me, but when they led out the horse for dad I knew that trouble was coming. The horse was round shouldered on the back, and when they put the saddle on the horse humped up and coughed most pitiful, and when they fastened the cinch the horse groaned and the crowd all laughed, A negro boy asked me if my old man was ever on a horse before, and when I told him that dad had eaten horses in the army, the boy said that horse would eat him, 'cause he was a bucker from Buckersville in the western part of the state.

{Illustration: "Dad Began to Pose as a Regular Old Rough Rider."}

I told dad the horse was a dangerous bucker, but he tipped his hat on one side and said he had broken more bucking bronchos than those Texas livery men ever saw. Dad borrowed a pair of these Mexican spurs with a wheel in them as big as a silver dollar, and the men held the horse by the bridle while dad got on, and I must say he got on like he knew how. He asked which was the road to Houston, and we started out of town.

"Well, sir, I have been in a good many runaways, and I was filling a soda fountain once when it exploded, and I have been on a toboggan when it run into a cow, and I have been to a church sociable when a boy turned some rats loose, and a terrier went after them right among the women, but I never was so paralyzed as I was to see dad and that horse try to stay together. The first two miles out of town the horse walked, and acted as though it was going to die, and my pony would get away ahead and have to wait for dad and the camel to come up. Dad was mad because they gave him such a slow horse.

"'What are those things on your heels for?' I says to dad. 'Why don't you run the spokes into his slats?' I said, just to be sociable.

"'Never you mind me,' says dad. 'After I have looked at the scenery a while I will open the throttle on this dromedary, and we will go and visit the Pyramids.'

"I was a little ahead and I did not catch dad in the act of kicking open the throttle, but I heard something that sounded like a freight train wreck, and dad and the horse went by me like a horse race, only that horse was not on the ground half the time, and he didn't go straight ahead, but just lowered his head between his legs and jumped in the air and came down stifflegged and then jumped sideways, and changed ends and did it all over again, all over the prairie, and dad was a sight. His eyes stuck out, and his teeth rattled, and every time the horse came down on his feet dad seemed to get shorter, as though his spine was being telescoped up into his hat. I think dad would have fallen off the first jump, only he had rammed the spurs in amongst the horse's ribs, and couldn't get them out. Gee, but you never saw such actions, unless you have seen a horse go plum crazy. The horse kept giving dad new fancy side steps, and jumps until dad yelled to me to get a gun and shoot him or the horse, and he didn't care which. I yelled to dad to loosen up on the bridle, and let the horse run lengthways instead of sideways, and I guess he did, for the horse lit out for some musquite trees and before I could get there the horse had run under a limb and scraped dad off, and when I got there dad was lying under a tree, trying to pray and swear all to wonst, and his spurs were all blood and hair, and things a horse wears on the inside of his self, and the horse was standing not far away, eating grass, and looking at dad. If dad had had his revolver along he would have killed the horse, but the horse seemed to know he had been fooling with an unarmed man. I got dad righted up, and he rode my pony to town, and I had to lead the bucking horse, and he eat some of the cloth out of my pants.

{Illustration: Dad on a Bucking Broncho.}

"Say, this is a bully place down here; just as quiet and sunshiny as can be, only dad is in a hospital for a week or so, having operations on where the horse let him drop once in a while on the saddle, and the livery man made dad buy the horse 'cause he said dad had ripped his sides out with the spurs. Dad says we will have a picnic when he gets out of the hospital. He is going to buy some dynamite and take the horse out on the prairie and blow him up. Dad is so fond of dumb animals. I got your letter about your being in love. Gee, but you can't afford it on your salary.

"Yours quite truly,

"HENNERY."

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