Get Ready For The Parade

From The Longhorn Affair

Setup: July 3...

Emma came downstairs to breakfast the morning of July 3 determined to talk to Alex and Angie about the partnership agreement. Yesterday, she had been thwarted because she and Henry had arrived home from the bank to find supper in the refrigerator and Alex and Angie gone.

Her cell phone rang as she got to the kitchen. After a short conversation, she called Angie over from the stove and sat across from Alex and Henry. “That was Stephanie Wright, this year’s coordinator for the Saloma Fourth of July Parade. She said she just learned the ranch isn’t being sold, so she wants to know if we are planning on bringing our longhorns to the parade!”

Angie clapped her hands. “Oh, wonderful! We thought since John died, we would not take the cattle this year, but now we can!” Smiling she went back to the stove and began scooping eggs and bacon onto plates.

Alex said. “The boys will be here for the rodeo. The five of us could handle the herd in the parade.”

Emma was dialing Stephanie back when Henry asked, “What? You want to drive a herd of longhorns down the street in a parade?”

Henry found a plate of eggs and bacon in front of him as Alex explained, “We only take about 6 steers, ones we handle often. Plus cattle are real follow-the-leader animals. Get them started in the right direction; they keep going. We’ve done it for years, and people always love it.”

Angie said, “And I drive the chuck wagon and the team.”

Alex added, “We trailer the cattle and the horses, and load the chuck wagon on the big utility trailer. We still have a few of the older steers left. We’ll take Slick for the leader. We’ll have you, me, Emma, and the two boys to ride herd. Five riders can handle it.”

Henry raised his brows. "Oh boy...what does a rider have to do?”

“Emma, you and Henry ride point to keep Slick going in the right direction, not that he will need any hints. Josh, Matthew and I ride drag. Angie will follow us in the wagon.”

Henry was still concerned. "So what happens if they don’t follow along? You know, run amok, get up on the sidewalk, run over somebody?”

Alex shook his head. “You’re thinking bulls running in Pamplona. These aren’t bulls bred to fight, and they won’t be running. If a steer starts to wander, a little cluck gets it back in line. I’ve been doing this a lot of years, and there’s never been a problem.”

Henry looked at Emma. "So, Emma, have you ever ridden through downtown Saloma herding a bunch of steers?”

"No, I rode with the sheriff’s posse, which was all my mother would allow.” She paused, then asked, “We should all dress alike, right? Same chaps, same shirts, same neckerchiefs, same hats?”

Angie said, “We always have before. Alex and I have clothes, but you and Henry will have to get new things.”

Henry said, “You’re not seriously suggesting a shopping trip.”

Angie looked at him and said, “Don’t be silly. You will not be required. Emma and I will go.”

Henry said, “I’m almost afraid to ask this, but are we talking a bunch of shiny sparkly crap?“

Angie winked. “Rhinestones, sequins, lots of fringe, and gold lame if we can find it.”

Angie turned to Emma. “You’re through eating, let’s go shop.” Emma decided the conversation about partnership would have to wait.