The Men on the Ridge

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The men on the ridge by Harrison Smith They were honest men sitting tall in the saddle high up on my ridge so I wasn’t fearful of them as I had been of many. There’s a fine line between honor and contempt but even at a distance you can get a good feel for a man by the way he sits in his asddle and any jury would have agreed with me, they were honest men. Papa never took to me having much to do with the ranching end of life. He always thought a good education and learning the gentle ways would afford me comfort, but comfort wasn’t what I was after, and one of those men up there on that ridge would bring him around to my way of thinking. We owned a small ranch not more that a two day ride around the outside, and just enough profit to make a bi-monthly trip to town for a few necessities such as flour, salt and baking soda, and if we had a mild winter and most of the calves lived to tell about it, we afforded ourselves a little sugar and cocoa for an occasional treat. Mama liked to spoil us and Papa loved chocolate. Now long before those honest men ever showed up on that ridge we had some problems. Papa always kept two men on, even during the worst of winters, just so he knew he’d have help when the winter lost its grip and spring started making mud and calves. Most men stayed a year or two then signed on to some larger outfit and we never saw them again unless they happened to hit the mercantile the same day we did and being we were only there a half-dozen times a year, that
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