Going From Dunken to Pinon

by Rusty Fleming 
All these folks are dead and gone now except me so it’s safe to tell the story,,,,Where I was first hatched and raised, in the Sacramento Mountains west of Artesia, west of Hope, when going from Dunken to Pinon, a few miles down the road, the first road to the right went up Cuevo Canyon. The first ranch was Sonny and Jane Watts, they had a really nice apple orchard,,,along the same line as Runyan’s famous fine Sacramento Mountain apple orchards,  and like most folks around Pinon, were sheep AND cow ranchers,,,,the next place was one of Arvel Jernigan’s ranches, Arvel was a COW rancher, no sheep allowed, under NO circumstances,  then his nephew Larry Jernigan’s place.  I was working for Larry that fall, gathering, me being a one man gathering crew,,,Larry didn’t count,,,


,,,,,,,one fine day, I went by Arvel’s  windmill, checking water, being neighborly, when I spotted two blackface buck sheep in Arvel’s water lot, that belonged to Sonny and Jane, they belonged on the OTHER side of the fence. If Arvel would have driven up on them, he’d’a shot them and drug ’em down to Sonny’s cattle guard.  Arvel hated sheep and for some reason he especially hated THOSE sheep belonging to Sonny and Jane,,,,he was at that time, really crossways with Sonny over something,,,
,,,,so to keep peace and prevent another small scale range war, I closed the gate on those bucks, went back to Larry’s, hooked up a trailer, loaded the two buck sheep and delivered them to the Watt’s’s,,,,now if you haven’t been around buck sheep, you have no idea how mean they can be and can strike with the same deadly force as a 22 foot long rattlesnake with NO warning,,,and hurt you,,,,,
Sonny wasn’t home, his wife Jane was,,,,she looked at me, looked at that trailer and said “I HATE THOSE BUCKS,,,but since they’re loaded let’s put them in the pen”,,,,,she hops in the pickup, to the sheep corrals we go,,,,,
I backed to the pen gate, got out to open the trailer gate, Jane held the gate, I got in the trailer with the bucks, drove them out and one of those bucks turned and for no reason, RAMMED,,,I mean hit Jane on the side of her knee,,,,I heard a loud C-R-A-C-K then a really loud AHHHH !!!!!!,,,,kind of a cross between a scream and a dying gasp,,,,,,I penned her sheep,,,,,she was hurt, I loaded her up, took her home, walked her into the house, and sat her down in her recliner, brought her a glass of tea and left,,,,,,,a week or so later I hear Jane had knee surgery,,,,that buck had tore a couple of ligaments and some cartridge when he hit her knee,,,,,,,,,,I didn’t see her for a couple of months,,,,and when I did, she was hobbling around, recovering from the knee rebuild,,,,,,,
,,,,when she saw me, she made a beeline to me with all the signs of an irritated woman  madness reeking from all over her body and said,,,,,”Rusty, the next time you see those bucks where they don’t belong, shoot ’em and drag them off !!!!!!!,,,,cause if you don’t,  I’ll DAMN well shoot you”,,,,,


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