W. Boyter

The Runaway Pages


C.C. grunted. “How old are you, Hewey?”

Hewey had to figure; he hadn’t thought about it in a while. “Thirty-eight. Thirty-eight the fourteenth day of last February.”

Tarply mused. “You sure ain’t no valentine. I’ll bet by now you’re beginnin’ to feel the arthiritis settin’ in. About time for the gray hair to start takin’ over too. And all you’ve got is a brown horse past his prime, an old saddle and maybe twenty dollars. Ain’t much to show for them many years, is it?”

Hewey thought before he answered. “I’ve left a loft of tracks and seen a lot of country. I’ve worked down to the border of Old Mexico. Been to Cuba for Uncle Sam. I’ve worked cows from the San Saba River plumb up to Wyoming and Montana. I even went north once into Canada and seen the glaciers. You ever seen a glacier, C.C.?”

The old man just stared at him. He probably didn’t know what a glacier was. “What’s it ever got for you?” he demanded. “Them places are too far from here to ever amount to anything. The man who gets ahead is the one who stays put and tends to business, not the one always fidgetin’ around to go, like a horse in an antbed. You’ve seen all of that country, but how much of it do you own?”

Hewey pondered the question. “In a way, I own it all.”

Old Tarpley didn’t understand that. Hewey had found a long time ago that most people never did.


         “The Good Old Boys”

         Elmer Kelton, 1978

W. Boyter, Kalaloch Beach, 2007