Bob Isaacson's Blog

Welcome to this blog. It is basically a collection of stories, letters, essays, reviews, and poems that I have written over the past years, some of which were published in the Santa Barbara Independent and other local publications.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Riding In

Paulino Vicente Guevarra. Rancho San Julian, 1910

One time, a long time ago,
when they were young,
Frank and Vicente
were riding in,
to Rancho San Julian
coming back
from some far-off corner
of the ranch,
from a day of checking troughs
or roping calves
(to pull foxtails from their eyes),
maybe somewhere
out on those
big Santa Anita slopes
above the Hollister,
when they jumped
a bunch of wild pigs,
out on a small flat,
the big sow in the lead,
running ahead, snorting,
heading towards the brushline,
the piglets,
running slower, bunched up,
far behind the black sow,
and Vicente,
he was riding
a big, long-legged bay colt,
one still in la jaquima,
and Vicente,
he spurred that green colt
into a full gallop
across that flat
and, in the blink of an eye,
roped a pig
tight around the belly,
but when that colt
suddenly figured out
(or maybe smelled)
what was on the end
of Vicente’s reata,
he spooked sideways
like a double barreled
shotgun blast
and took off
bucking and plunging
like all hell,
Vicente hauling in
on his mecate,
to one side,
trying to pull the colt
into a big circle,
and Frank,
knowing what’s important,
leaped off his horse,
grabbed Vicente’s riata
and jumped on top of the pig,
sitting on it
so it couldn’t get away,
and when
the dust had settled
and when Frank
looked up,
there, standing still,
was Vicente’s colt,
the saddle
upside down,
dangling loose,
below its sweaty belly--
and there was Vicente,
sitting on the colt,
arms folded,
waiting for his pig.

Frank Begg, Rancho San Julian, 1910