Thursday, July 8, 2010


We never know what we'll see along our Hill Country roads. One night in June, we were driving the farm-to-market road on our way to our Texaversary dinner.  Denny drove and I looked out the window, hoping to see my favorite cattle.  What, you don't have favorite cattle?  I know you're not a Texan.

It's not a sure thing, seeing the small herd of longhorns in their pasture next to that two-lane road. I'm tickled any time they're out.  They all sport horns, some flaunting a span of 7 feet or more.  I think of Queen Elizabeth when I see them, how much stamina it takes to hold up a heavy crown.

I've been waiting for the day when the longhorns are near the fence, with the sun casting a golden glow, and I'm set with the camera.

I had the camera in my lap.  The sun was perfect gold.  And I'd put Denny on cow-alert for a possible sudden stop.  So I was longhorn-ready, my eyes searching the roadside ahead when a syncopated vision appeared on the shoulder of the road a few feet from my window.  A guy in a starched white shirt, bow-tie, and Harley-logoed black suspenders clipped to black tuxedo-striped pants.  Riding an electric blue Harley, wind streaming his long black hair and beard.  Passed us like we were waltzing and he was an Olympic sprinter.

A man on his way to his wedding, late, ring in his pocket, fear in his mind.  She'd walk out if he didn't make it to the ceremony before starting time.  He knew it.  She wasn't the kind to put up with sh*t.  He wouldn't have fallen for her if she had been.

He passed us and was gone four cars ahead before my brain caught up with the story.  And I raised the camera too late.

It might have been too late for him too as the railroad crossing arms fell and traffic stopped.  I could see him ahead, one foot on the pavement, hands clutching the handlebars.  I was tempted to jump out and run up and take his picture and wish him luck.  But who knows how long a train will cross a road.  And drivers get frustrated and it was Saturday night when some folks start drinking early.  I didn't want to hold up traffic.

The crossing arms lifted, the Harley roared, traffic began moving.  As our car pressed forward, I looked back and realized we'd passed the cattle while the rider's story was playing out.  I missed the perfect picture.

The longhorns have been out by the road a couple of times since. Now when I pass, if I squint just right, I see Queen Elizabeth off to the side, and with her, a lonely black-haired Harley rider.  

Stranger things have happened in the Texas Hill Country.

Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. Oh, beautiful! Love the story! Just love it.
    And by the way- here in North Florida we have Florida cracker cattle. They're my favorites.

  2. What a great story! I hope the poor guy made it.

    I'm not on vacation this week (wish I was)--just uninspired to write the blog. I'll get round to it eventually.

    I like longhorns, too. I lived in Wichita Falls with my aunt and uncle for a summer. It was great fun, but VERY HOT. You could have fried an egg on the pavement.

    I love you, Kathleen. Love to Denny, also.

  3. Great story! I couldn't look away. . . I wish I could meet that man and ask him what HIS story is!

  4. I've just discovered your blog through Ms. Moon over at Bless Our Hearts and couldn't be more delighted! I'm a displaced Texan living in Florida for the past 30 years and one of the things I miss most is bluebonnets ~ what a wonderful surprise to see a field of bluebonnets complete with longhorn and barbed wire! Thank you, thank you.

  5. What a great story.

    That's another great thing, about the Texas Hill Country. You just never know what you'll find, around the next bend in the road.

    Keep these great stories coming.


  6. great story, Kathleen.
    sipping an early glass of red ,winding down
    ( actually getting ready for second shift)

  7. Hahaha, but that is really a lovely composition. Those are really beautiful animals, but what about those bluish flowers, are they grape hyacinths?

  8. It really happened, mostly. Coffeeyogurt, a runaway...I never thought. And it makes so much sense. I wondered where his tuxedo jacket was. Maybe now I'll see a jubilant Harley-rider next to the Queen.

  9. I loved your story. I must say that I have not seen a longhorn in Arizona....we are surely missing out ;-)

  10. Wonderful story! I see it all - just like...a composition.

  11. I love your story Kathleen, I hope he made it to the wedding, you have a brilliant imagination, all this from a chance encounter.
    I love the sound of country trains in the night when they sound their horns when leaving a station or approaching a railway crossing, though it is a lonely sound which punctuates the quiet of the night.
    xoxoxo ♡

  12. What a great story Kathleen. I saw it all play out in my mind as I was reading - wonderful!

  13. My favorite cattle are a very special breed, known as O.P. cattle. We had some to admire when we lived on a mountain top near Asheville, NC for awhile. I loved looking at the O.P. cattle every day, and especially the newborn calves.

    O.P. cattle are best kind of like O.P. whiskey is the best.

    p.s. loved the story.


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