during the summer my sister and I would earn some money picking persimmons over at the mason ranch.
I didn't at first know what it was about that ranch that was so interesting to me but I remember very well the first time I saw it.
Getting out of the back of the truck I stood in front of a ranch home that was set back from the dirt road and shaded by the biggest oak tree I had ever seen. The house was square with a rusty old screened in porch that went all the way around .it seamed that when my feet hit the dirt it was 1850. the place was lost in time.
The steps going up to the porch was so worn down they looked bent. If their was paint on the house at one time it was long gone. Their was just something familiar and intriguing about the place.
I found out later it was built around 1860 and was completely constructed withsquare nails.
To the left and in the rear was a very large barn with several vacant horse stalls.I could tell by the ware on the wood of these stalls that at some time in the past this now quiet barn was a vary active and important part of life on this ranch.
Just off to the right under a tree was a horse drawn wagon Just Rotting away into the dirt.
The trunk of the oak tree was the corner of a fenced off section, Out from one of the stalls strolls the biggest animal I had ever seen.
As this 1100-pound cow comes towards me and I step back away from the fence thinking what dose it want.
she lifted her head enough to get it between the top and second fence rail ,which was good because she was still moving forward when she bumped the fence and it strained and squeaked trying to hold her. As she pushed that enormous head towards me Rodger (Kenny’s brother and owner of the ranch) said that's daisy she just wants a couple apples as he hands me a bucket full .
Rodger tells me, just hold your hand out flat or she could easly bite off a finger and wouldn’t know it. That would hurt I thought to my self.
These apples were as big as a softball and it looked like I was feeding her a peanut.
Seamed as if every thing daisy did was in slow motion and the gentle animal fascinated me..
We became close friends over the next couple of years and she marked the beginning of my life long affection love and understanding of animals.
Over time, I managed to explore every inch of that place from Comstock rd all the way to Stetson.
One day I will never forget was during that 1st summer, Kenny needed to get some tools or something from the house and ware Kenny went I went so I trailed behind him through the orchard.
We arrive at the cellar door behind the old house.
The rock foundation was as tall as Kenny,wow look at this I thought, it reminded me of the long rock walls that were around my granddads house in TN.
Mom told me slaves built them so of course I asked Kenny if slaves built this house. He laughed as he fiddled with the lock, no jay we didn't have slaves that's only in the south. I remember saying yeah we did but
we were stupid and killed our slaves ha?
And who were they he asked? Well the Indians of course I reply. As Kenny swings the old Door open he says yep supposed your right. We step in to the cellar and
the site I was about to have burned in my mind gave me a passion for history,antiques and mostly the people that were hear before me.
Today I am proud of the knowledge I have about the place that I call home. (Santa Cruz mountains California)
First thing to tickle my senses was the temperature drop; it was cold as a castle in the place.
As my eyes adjust to the darkness, the smell quickly stole my attention from the temperature. Attempting to describe to myself the smells, I remember just rattling off words like dust,mold, damp, leather, rust and old.
All along the rock wall at the top were small windows, I think they were meant just to let in light and on the window sills sat hundreds of old bottles that were blue, green, red, purple, and so on. The sun coming through them was prefect to light up the 120-year-old saddles and all the other equipment needed for carriages pulled by a horse.
Hanging from the walls was just about every possible tool you could need to operate a ranch in the 1860's
solid wood shovel's, wooden hay forks, double barrel shotguns, western pistols,saddle rifles, rope and on and on.
Then something caught my eye, it was a real native Indian bow and a pouch with the arrows. Kenny told me they were from the area but didn't remember the story.
He handed them to me to look at as I try to take in a bewildering amount of things, then I lay my eyes on a complete and assembled day buggy with a cloth top and all.
Kenny told me that was what they would drive to town in and the trip took most of a day so they would stay in town till the next morning. The trip now takes 30 mn.
well a couple summers went by and Kenny asked me to go with him to help his brother over at the ranch and of course I went.
while Kenny was talking with Roger I went to hang out with daisy.
standing at the pen I though how strange .For the last two years since we met,whenever I was around the ranch she was at the fence watching me.
I looked for the gate to be opened but it wasn't so I went into the barn and their she was, I walk up talking to her and shaking the bucket of apples but she didn't move.
Daisy's head was stuffed into the corner of the barn like she was frightened.
I drop the pail thinking shit! something is wrong and I have to tell Roger.
I ran as fast as I could out the barn accost the pen and normally I would go over the fence but I was in far to big of a hurry so I dove on me belly and slid right under the thing.I ran around to the front of the house and up on the porch.
Ware the hell is everybody I yell as my eyes searched the house in seconds.
Their not in the house maybe the fruit shed!!!
As I leap off the porch on the otherside of the house what I see explains what is wrong with daisy and sends me into a rage before my feet even hit the ground.
Ever since my first day on the hill the creepiest man up hear was the local butcher he drove a dress down rig that was gun metal grey with red rims and a red crane .
I never herd him say a single word , he never smiled and was always wearing black rubber boots that went up past his knee and a black rubber apron topped off with a black cow boy hat.
The second my feet hit the ground I was cursing at him and crying telling him to leave.
I remember being so upset I couldn’t yell over my crying so I was picking up hand fulls of dirt and throwing it at him.
Suddenly a big arm comes around my stomach and scoops me up, just in time to cause I was so exhausted I could hardly throw the dirt and couldn't hardly see him through the tears.
He was just a dark shadow that I was aiming for.I pleaded with them not to butcher daisy. I tryed every thing I could think of.
When I realized it was going to happen and their was no way to stop it I looked at the three of them screaming all the cuss words I knew of then ran off into the woods.
I remember thinking that I couldn't believe how exhausting having a fit was because as soon as I was out of site I collapsed into a heap against a redwood tree .No question about it that was and still is the first an only time I ever lost it like that. Well I just couldn't let this happen so I decide to go back and try again.
All I could think about was the fact that with out doubt Daisy knew what was going on and was trying to hide in the corner of the barn.
damn I can not get that out of my head to this day.
That along with the next few sentences still bothers me.
As I come walking down from the top of the orchard I can see its to late they already have her out of the barn and it all happened so fast I hardly turned to run when a gun shot rings out.
Startled I fall in the soft orchard dirt.
I think from reflex I turn to see ware the shot came from.
My focus dials in to the distance and it appears that daisy is running down the side of the road in the water ditch
and dragging 3 of the 4 guys with her. The butcher was running behind.
At that point so many things were blasting through my head.........what happened !?! did the butcher miss his shot ? how can you miss an 1100 pound cow,standing 5 feet from you!?!.......this is the point that i saw and herd the things that made me feel so sad that only 30 years later would I realize that would be about the worst I would ever feel.
I could hear daisy crying and screaming as she ran down the ditch
I never herd an animal do that before.
At this point further description is needed but I simply haven't got the words.
daisy had never set into a trot let alone a full Gallup.
at full Gallup she trips ,her front legs buckle under and she crashes chest first into the ditch with a grunt that could only be produced by thees horrible conditions.
Temporarily hidden in a cloud of dust a shot rings out and the silence of death was the only thing in the wind for the next few minutes.
I took off for home, about an hours walk through the woods but it took me all day for some reason.I remember walking in the house well past dark I knew my mom would be worried sick . I was never home past dark without telling her.mom and I had a deal. I could leave in the morning and be gone all day without checking in.but I had to be home by dark without fail.When I came in the house my mom was standing in the kitchen with her arms out and I broke down in tears while she hugged me .
Mom said Kenny came by and told her what had happened .
The next thing I know its morning .
For the first time in my life I entered the day with a huge
hole in my hart that only a day before wasn't their.
That was the first time I was introuruced to death and the empty or vacant area it leaves in your hart.over the years I have acquired many of these and before my time is up their will be plenty more.