Sale Day

                                                                    Sale Day 


                                                                Rusty Fleming 


Back in an older time and place, mostly due to limited travel accommodations as compared to transportation these days,,,higher diesel fuel costs et al not withstanding,,,, there were a lot more cattle sale barns in existence than there are today. A few of those old sale barns, I dare not attempt to name them all, fell by the wayside for whatever reason, closing down, most likely forever. Seldom did you ever witness an old sale barn bought, rebuilt and reestablished. It happens but not often. Pearsall is one. Those old sale barns all had a café, where cow traders, buyers, sellers, speculators etc could get breakfast or burgers, maybe a steak, sometimes good bbq, always coffee and tea,,,and all of these in-house cafes had an old timey spring shut screen door,,, it was there in a weak attempt to control the flow of flies that hung around, free of charge, some maybe imported with the cattle to the sale barn. A few of these sale barns even had a bar, yes,,,,El Paso had one,,,,

a social gathering spot where cowmen, traders, buyers and sellers, might congregate for whichever reason might strike them. In those years past, Cotulla, in the south of Texas, had just such a facility. It had been dry, drier than normal, whatever “normal” was in the south of Texas, grass was short and more cattle were coming to “town” than usual. During such time the cowfolks around LaSalle County would bring cattle to Cotulla rather than drive and haul farther north to San Antonio to sell what needed sold. This environment of concentrated cowfolks on the designated sale days could and would gather ‘round and visit. And sometimes the visits might start in those old sale barn resort area cantinas. And naturally, during beers being consumed, visiting etc, news was exchanged, weather studied, short pastures discussed, good horses bragged on and on one such day, the round table at the Cotulla cow sale barn was full of these cow types that had philosophized for a while, many tales were told, some stories re-told, and several rounds bought and consumed when one rancher after having listened to quite a few interestingly discussed topics, looked at his watch, downed his beer and said “,,,,gents, I gotta go”. One of the wise men at the table remarked it was early yet, why the sudden departure. The cowman stood up, stretched and said  “Boys I’ve enjoyed it and it’s been fun but I need to get back to the ranch. I left my dogs burning pear and they’re about out of butane”.

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