By Slim Randles
Steve looked out from the turret of his cabin and watched the sun set behind the mountain. Branding is over for the spring, and he was able to get away from the ranch for a few days, so here he was, in his private castle, sipping private coffee, looking down at his private horse eating hay in his private corral.
For a man who has spent most of his life in a bunkhouse, a suite at the Ritz couldn't be more wonderful than this little hole-up spot in the mountains.
He slid open one of the turret windows and let the warm breeze of early summer caress his magnificent mustache.
"That does it!" he said.
He closed the window, climbed down the ladder and went out to saddle Ol' Snort. In a few minutes the two of them were heading along a little trail near Thompson Ridge, feeling the warm breeze, wondering how many more of these evenings they would share. Steve and Snort were both getting years on them, but they have this evening. They have this ride. They are together now.
And it was like taking a dry bath in paradise.
Steve reached down and patted Snort on the neck. "You know, O.S.," Steve said, "can you think of a luckier man/horse combination than us? I can't. Not right at the moment, anyway."
Snort was used to listening to Steve, but blissfully he wasn't required to do anything but
walk along this mountain trail enjoying the evening.
"What do you think, old boy?"
Ol' Snort reached his head out and blew his nose.
"I knew you felt the same way," said Steve, smiling.
Sometimes heaven comes in small doses.
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