That evening it began to rain; not one of those sweet summer rains the bards love to tell of, but a bona fide gully washer- more like a cow peeing on a flat rock. After an hour or two, it just settled down into a slow, steady hide soaker. Soon it was obvious that we would not be working stock till the rain quit, and the ground dried out. The crew got up early and turned out the gather in a loose herd across a big flat just below the timber. Next we shook out our loops and began to drag as much wood we could find to the fire, trying to stay as warm and dry as possible; not very much of either under the circumstances.
With a big pile of branches and logs on one side, the wagon and fly on the other, we built a respectable fire between, standing forlornly in our slickers. Mud above our spur straps, we tried to steam ourselves into a better mood with coffee and small talk. Nothing for it but stand and suffer till she decided to let up. It was apparent from the get-go that ol’ Lute had readied his pie hole for another vocal marathon. In fact, soon after the first pot of coffee he was no longer alone in his messianic fervor of this reformation of Kingdom Animalia. Six or seven of the crew were gathered round him, absorbing every statement that bubbled out of this new apostle. The rain started to come down harder.
“By golly, the life of a cowboy- or am I now a frog!” piped up Cal Johnson, a blonde haired gunsel lately from a corn farm; in reality just a pumpkin roller, he fancied himself a top hand –and him with only about five summers in when it came to range work. “I am getting tired of rain, hail, lightening strikes, soggy soogans and scorpion filled boots. Luther, how about me throwing in with you in this new venture? I am sorted into your bunch from this very moment. I want to make a pile and take my ease with a critter such as what you’re going on about.” He pointed with his lips toward the pack where Lutes feather was stowed. “Seems to me it beats getting ruined chasing range stock for some syndicate far away; I do believe you have the answer to all my hopes and dreams”.
“Not only that“ he went on, “but it seems to me we can start afresh and make a whole new set of rules when it comes to this venture. We can be the authors of a brand new destiny. This suits me right down to the ground.”
“Slow down, Calvin; you may be a reformed farm hand, but when it comes to Peacockery, you have a thing or two to learn yet. If you wish to throw in with me, you have best learn your place in this new order of things.” drawled Lute. “New rules are all fine and good, as long as I have final say when you are with me- after all I came up with this new paradigm!” Not twelve hours, and already the schism starts to re-fracture; yet the heady wine of re-creation takes a firm hold on the imagination of those huddled around Luther Martin. For sure, no matter which way this haggard crew of disciples goes, they will always regard ol’ Lute as the founder of their bold new birth of “freedom”. Voices began to get louder as the crew began to split into two opposing camps. Lute and Cal on one side, and on the other the most unlikely of men to formulate a coherent defense of the way things are- Bell Mare Bob. Not the flashiest hand in the bunch, but steady, with outstanding credentials and all around one of the most dependable, hardworking pure quill cowboys in this sorry world.