Scrappy Story from Foto
"Blackwood probably will not be coming on this year's roundup,” Juanita gently warned her little brother from under the veranda. “He'll need his rest for the parade.” She smoothed back his whiskers with her thumb and lifted his grey muzzle to look into his clouded brown eyes.
Benito accepted this pronouncement, understanding that the parade was a way of talking about a special event in the future. Though he'd often heard them talk of the parade, he'd never been to it. Like girls, it was on event that awaited him in the future. It was something that he knew would come, like dinner, but he had no idea what would on the table. He also knew that it would be an honor for Blackwood, the border collie their father had won in a cockfight many years ago from an English nobleman in a fine tweed vest, a man who had ended up taking care of the swine of Jiminez's ranch up on the mesa.
Juanita stroked the dog's head and rubbed behind his black ears, offering staccato encouragement. It was Blackwood who had found her little brother in the well and alerted the vaqueros. It was also Blackwood who ran off the mountain lion when she was searching out pinon nuts on the hillside.
Pepito was on his way down from the mesa to assist with the cattle drive. They could all ride, of course, but Pepito rode on his horse like a tawny Palomino mane, part wind and part earth. His mama was the Jiminez's cook, and no one knew who his father was, but it was generally assumed Pepito was at least half Apache. He flowed over the land like water during a sudden spring flood.
The men were gathering to collect the cattle, all the ranch’s herds roaming together in the arroyos of the desert. Juanita rode as well, keeping track of little Benito as he guided his pony through the gullies. His boots, hand-downs from his cousins, hanging below his pony's belly, flicked back and forth as he urged that old mare into a trot. The year before, he had come upon a calf that was left dazed by a wall of tumbleweeds in a dead end and had brought her in on his own—he and the little shaggy old pony.
Juanita crawled out from under the veranda when she heard Pepito's gelding come to a halt. She tried to get Blackwood to come out with her, but he would not, giving her an apologetic whine.
“Blackwood will not come today,” she told Pepito by way of hello. “He seems so tired.”
Pepito reached for her long braid and pulled it gently to rest over her shoulder like a long languorous snake.”Perhaps you would like to remain at home with him today. I can watch over Benito while you wait.” Juanita looked from Pepito to Blackwood's place in the cool dark under the veranda.
The men were saddling up. Pepito lowered his eyes and nodded adios, turned, and mounted up. He adjusted his hat. She watched him move into the line of horses and men as they rode by in ones and twos At the gate he turned in the saddle, to take her in and to mark the start of a second parade, Blackwood's march to his own roundup.