The CantCatcha Angus Ranch
A humorous, non traditional Western Tale
Pete Peeve walked outside. It was a hot, dry and dusty afternoon, but he was glad he had come. Things had gone well in the short time he had been here. Things had gone very well, ever since he had first arrived! Better in fact than in his wildest dreams!. That is, …Until now.
He stopped for a moment and glanced towards the sheriffs office, tipped his hat low over his eyes, to avoid the glare of the bright Arizona sun, and then stepped off the old worn wooden blanks of the walk way in front of the Saloon. His horse Pet, a stout sorrel gelding with a crooked stripe down his nose, nickered softly at him from where he stood waiting in front of the hitching post.
Pet, Sly had told him, was the last of a great line. A line that had been long since passed down generation after generation by the Peeve's. That Pet, was actually quiet a valuable little horse. Being the last known son of a great "one of a kind Stallion" that had been owned personally by Pete's Great Grandfather. Sly couldn't recall the name of the Stallion, at the time, having been such a long time ago. But assure Pete that indeed the Stallion had been a great one. Sly went on to explain that all the horses passed down through the family had always carried the family name "Peeve" following what ever other name they had been given. Sly told Pete that a lot of ranchers did that, just so they could keep track of the horses born and sold from the lines they each raised. And that Pet Peeve, . Sly assured Pete, was definitely without a doubt one of the last greats in the West.
When Pete heard that, he just had to have him. And he didn't make out bad in the deal at all with Sly! In fact, Pete actually felt a little guilty about the whole thing.
It seemed, Sly had come to own the horse along with some property he recently acquired.
Sly being a business man, did not really know anything at all about horses, nor did he want or need one.
Pete on the other hand, did know about horses.
Though he had, had no practical experience of his own, he knew about horses from all the reading he had done, while he had lived back east. He knew this little horse had value!
That Cowboys and Ranchers have terms for horses that not just everyone else knows.
That the word Gelding, meant the horse was a male! Pete just knew, he could make his money back in a heart beat, by selling breedings to mare owners!
He just knew that a male horse of such heritage, was worth far more than the $2,000.00 he had paid Sly. Sly had left shortly after shaking Pete's hand to seal the deal, accepted the cash, and told Pete, he'd be by later with the horse. Pete thanked him, and headed off towards the livery stable to arrange board for his new prize.
Sly watched Pete until he was safe with in the entrance of the stable, and then quickly ran off to the rail yard where the horse sale was about over. Sly arrived just as the sorrel gelding was brought into the ring. With the words "Sold" having been shouted out by the auctioneer, Sly smiled, and went to go pay the clerk his $50.00, and claim the newly named sorrel gelding "Pet Peeve".
Pete in his feelings of guilt, felt a little bad for Sly. He figured that poor Sly must not really be doing that well as a business man. That should he have done some reading and research. Sly could have found out what Pete already knew.
That Sly just didn't really understand the full value of the horse at all. He bought the horse site unseen! Before any one else could get wind of the fact the horse was for sale and get the chance to buy him. Yes, he thought to him self, he was going to like living out here!
Pete was also, now the proud new owner of the CantCatcha Angus ranch. A modest sized spread just a couple of miles outside of the tiny Spanish populated town of Wickenburg. Pete at the time he had left NY, had not had any real notions of staying on permanently. He actually had not given any thought at all to anything, much past his need to find out about his family. He had left New York, and traveled 46 thousand miles to the little town in AZ, with intentions to continue on with his search for some answers, information about his family.
When Pete had first arrived, he had met a nice man that folks around seemed to think highly of. Pete wasn't sure of the mans real name, everyone just called him Sly.
Sly was a short man, with a balding head and squinty eyes, and he seemed to do everything at high speed. He talked fast, he moved his hands while he talked in a flighty, jerky kind of way so fast that Pete couldn't keep up with where they were going. Sky also seemed to move his head a lot all around while he talked too, his eyes darting quickly around. He seemed to watch everything all at the same time. He kind of scurried when he walked. It looked to Pete, like the man was trying to walk, but his legs just went so fast, they couldn't get any traction to actually move the small frame forward in the direction the man was intending to go, so a kind of "scurry" effect came to mind. He reminded Pete of a Leprechaun, in a Rumple Slilsken sort of a way.
Anyway, on the night Pete arrived to town, he had gone into the Saloon in hopes of finding a room somewhere. As he stood at the bar waiting for the bar keep, Sly walked on over said hello in a fast but friendly fashion, and they began to chat.
During the conversation Pete ad told Sly, the reason why he had come to town, what he had already been able to find out, his search, his Great grandfathers name and all, and that he was looking for a place to stay. Sly, for the first time in what was the better part of two hours by now, "stopped" moving, talking, twitching and looked Pete square in the eye. "Hmmm", he said. I just happen to know of something you may interested in"! And come to think of it, Didn't you say your Great Grandpa's name was "CantCatcha Peeve?". Pete's interest and hope rose as he said, "Yes! As a matter of fact it is! Sly, still not moving around in what Pete had come to think of as the mans normal behavior, went on to say"The place I'm thinking of, just happens to have some historical, and traditional value to you"! , "trouble is, it's not for rent or lease, it's for sale".
At that time, Sly, seemed to freeze, as he made his last statement. The man didn't even seem to be breathing as he watched, and waited for a response from Pete.
With the words "For Sale" Pete's hope's rose even further! "Really!?" he said, then thinking quickly about his finances , he thought to himself before he said anything further" better not appear to anxious, and drive the price up".
"What would be the asking price of this place? And who would I talk to about it?" he asked Sly.
Sly, sat quiet for a moment and looked at Pete, after a short time, the corners of his mouth began to turn upwards and twitch, in what almost appeared to be a smile on the smaller mans face. "Well, my boy! Said Sly, "You're in luck! I just happen to be the owner of this property! What a turn of fate! That we should meet up this way, and I just happen to have just acquired this prime parcel! And with my being a business man, I have no need or use for the land, and was wondering what I was going to do with it!" And here you come along! Yep, my boy!! This is one good turn or fate for us both!!
With that, he slapped Pete on the back, hollered to the Bar Keep, for a bottle, grabbed Pete by the arm, and said, "let's grab us a table, and discuss this thing further"!
Pete named the ranch, after his Great Grandfather. "CantCatcha", and being as he was aiming to raise prized Angus beef, he added that too! "The CantCatcha Angus Ranch".
He had never really known of his Great Grandfather, his Grandfather either for that matter. When he left New York, he had actually set out to find out about his father and mother. It was a stoke of good luck that he had found out about his Great Grandfather. He was able to find out about him and his name by asking around, and that was a good start. At first, his hopes began to fall. He would start out by introducing himself, and then ask if they had known his father. The question was met by blank stares, he was about to give up, when out of a fit of exasperation, he just started rattling off words.. "Peeve", the name is Peeve, you know? Father, Mother, Grandfather," ..And that was when his hopes had been lifted again. He couldn't really understand Spanish, but he was able to catch the words, "Great Grandfather, Si, Si,.. CantCatcha Peeve" With that, everyone smiled, and laughed.
Pete figured, he must have been a great and kind man, because of the way all the folks in the area seemed to get real happy, when ever Pete would ask about him.
Pete would introduce himself, and ask them all the same question, "did you know my Great Grandfather?" They would always, smile and laugh a little before they answered "CantCacha", "Si, Si", .Pete would watch as they would repeat, "Cant Catcha calve, he esa a cattle rancher Si, Si Senior' " with tears in there eyes. Pete figured, he had touched there lives so much, that they just could not bring themselves to say any more, and they would walk off, smiling, leaving Pete with a feeling of deep pride.
So in honor of the man he had never known, and because he didn't think his fathers name was very well suited for a Cattle Ranch, "Major Peeve", Pete named the ranch after him, The "CantCatcha" Angus Ranch.
Pete had been raised in the city by his mothers sisters family in New York.
They had never really said much about Pete's family, and seemed to always change the subject when ever Pete asked about any of them.
As Pete grew older, he found him self more and more interested, and yearning to find his roots. His searching however, usually always let to a dead end. So he finally headed West, to AZ, the last known location of his family.
He was unable to understand very much of the Spanish language, other than a few bits and pieces. He had been finally able to figure out his Great Grandfathers name he figured his family in the east must have taken a dislike to his Great Grand father and denied any existence of him because of going by the name, seemed to be obvious Spanish blood. and the only thing he knew about ranching, was what he had been able to pick up from a book.
Copyright 2003 D.Enise
This little tale, is a work in progress.
Not having posted stories in the past.
I thought perhaps a good idea, in hopes that
you may share your thoughts.
There are some places that need to be rearranged.
This is just the little I have put to paper and is pretty much still in the order, that it all came to mind. I still am not used to this new edit board! Everything lines up and spaces. And looks completely different when it posts!! ?? GRR LOL