who used to/ride a watersmooth-silver/stallion

(continued from previous post)

With a supple ease unfettered by his enormous size, the buffalo twisted his feet gently and in one fell swoop, flowed like a porpoise playing in the sea down onto the ground and stood facing Hiram. And then, he began to dance.

Rising on his back legs the buffalo pranced and bowed, trotted sideways and back then twirled like a Sufi dervish in wild circles, head tossing backwards and forwards, tail making exclamation points here and there to the untimed rhythm. The air filled with the aroma of bad cabbage soup and somewhere in the distance a dog began to bark.

Hiram clambered unsteadily to his feet and the buffalo reached out with a huge foreleg – which he placed on Hiram’s head. “Come with me,” the buffalo said. “We’ve got to talk.”

Placing all four legs on the ground, the buffalo ambled away towards the hills in the distance. Hiram ran after him and as he reached the buffalo’s side the snow began to fall. It fell in a solid thick blizzard of white freezing ice. The buffalo turned white, and Hiram struggled to keep walking beside him, the snow reaching up to his thighs. He lifted each leg with all the strength he had up and out from the snow for each perilous step and the one after it.

“Son,” the buffalo said, in a deep voice like the smoke rising from trains. “Your eating habits are horrible.”

Hiram gasped and almost fell face-down in the snow, stumbling sideways into the buffalo as he strove to regain his balance.

“Here you are, longing for hamburgers. Fries! Onion rings. Iceberg lettuce with a wad of dead tomato and paralyzed carrot strings with ‘Ranch’ dressing! Chocolate cake too, no doubt. Why, son. I remember when you used to be a real cowboy.”

Hiram was suddenly no longer walking beside the buffalo in the deep snow. Instead he was laying in a bed, an old four-poster covered with any number of darned quilts. The air was freezing outside the covering of quilts, and the dog was still barking like a banshee, in sharp shrieks. A woman lay with her back to Hiram, sleeping, motionless – and he could not remember who she was. But still the buffalo spoke to him.

“Do you at least remember how to make Son-of-a-Bitch-Stew????” It was the buffalo again, roaring out the question at Hiram with his terrible head turned and thrust directly at his face, angry steam rising from his nostrils, while all the time the smell of bad cabbage soup grew stronger and stronger.

With a start, Hiram remembered. Yes, he knew how to make a son-of-a-bitch stew. He knew it well. And as soon as he could get away from this cantankerous buffalo, he would make it. He would make it and again become the cowboy that he used to be. There would be a new life, a rebirth, a saving grace which would enter his life with the knowledge regained by the making of the stew.

He would make the stew, now. He closed his eyes and prayed to be freed from this buffalo smelling of bad cabbage soup, this snow that buried him. And also to remember who on earth this woman was and why he was in this bed with her.

The air shifted with a small vacuous sigh. The bed shook, the buffalo whined like a puppy. Hiram’s eyes opened. He was ready to cook. The was just one more problem. He’d now become a large glorious rainbow trout, tied onto some other cowboy’s horse.

“Mighty fine little mare this feller has,” he thought, as he gasped, expanding his gills gently for more air.

Though we’re not sure at this point what happens to Hiram next, whether he becomes a real cowboy or remains forever a big trout or perhaps someone’s next meal we do know how to make our own Son-of-a-Bitch Stew. Follow this link to find the recipe for the elegant variation called Son-of-a-Bitch-in-a-Sack.

He thought he saw a Buffalo

Upon the chimneypiece:

He looked again, and found it was

His sister’s boyfriend’s niece.

(Lewis Carroll, Sylvie and Bruno)


Blaming it All on Castaneda and Dreaming of a Burger or Two

(continued from previous post)

The rabbit was expanding and contracting like the throat of a mating frog, in and out, larger and smaller. The ants hidden in the tree were making little screeches hik hik hik. And Hiram saw the toes of his cowboy boots stretch up towards his chin, sharp and pointy and now each one with a flirtatiously blinking eye centered halfway down, near his knees.

“Peyote,” was the last word Hiram actually heard sounded as a word in his reeling brain. He’d taken the wrong kind of cactus out of his pocket, stunned by the fall from the tree, thirsty. Why hadn’t he wrapped the thing up differently??!

He reached out towards the rabbit, hanging onto it, weeping, ineptly banging the knife against it. He was hungry. And it was his peyote crop failure that had brought him to this. There had been plenty to eat while the crop grew strong and green, ready for market. He was the source. Man! He wanted some pasta arrabiata! Shit! He wanted some mochi ice cream! God damn it all why had that crop failed??? But no, it had not failed, it came to his mind. He had eaten it all. It was Castaneda’s fault, really. Ruining the marketplace with his failed authenticity!!! But who cared. What mattered was that this little local rabbit stew was seriously not where it was at!

His arms seemed to be filling with the jack rabbit. It was growing again. The fur was becoming coarser, strange smelling, and it began to snort. Round it twisted, snorting, knocking Hiram sideways to fall back against the ant-singing tree. He lay back on the knotted roots and squinted at the mystery which had once been a rabbit.

It had become something different, something magnificent, something . . . . meaty. Meaty meaty meaty lipsmacking meaty noises were streaming from the stinky beasts nose. Hiram smiled, panted slightly, and waited his chance.

Dear Folks

Well we are on the boat it is about 9 o clock Had a nice time at Lucy. she certainly used us fine just us up a fine lunch and seen Wills folks will write and tell you all about it when we get home. xxx Mae

(to be continued)

In Texas the Hassenpfeffer is Huge

It hadn’t been easy for Hiram to tie that jack rabbit to the tree. It was sweltering, close to a hundred ten degrees even in the tiny bits of shade and the damn rabbit was bigger than he was from head to toe. But he was hungry, so he’d tied the hare to his back and climbed the tree, gasping and swearing as his boots slid and the heavy leather chaps slapped against the coarse umber bark of the tree. It seemed to him that the tree was reaching out to him, pulling him down, refusing to allow him ascent.

But he’d made it, tied the animals hind feet, secured the rope to the bough and let the burden fall with a swinging whoosh as the smell of hot fur and musk rose in the air.

“Damn it,” he swore with the little breath he could gather after falling down the tree trunk, landing on his back rattled and dripping with sweat, narrowly avoiding a boot spur to his upper leg as his right leg twisted underneath him. “I’m so sick and tired of hassenpfeffer.”

The image arose of endless stews filled with the enormous cuts of the jack rabbit so common in these parts, swimming juices filled with wild carrot, spring onion, coarse chicory, handfuls of wild oregano . . . and his throat closed in disgust. He’d had enough rabbit stew. But there really was no choice. It was rabbit stew or nothing.

It hadn’t always been this way. There had been a time, a better time, for Hiram. His hand lazily pulled out a piece of cactus from his pocket and as he peeled it of the coarse outer green skin, memories rose like a white haze, a bitter scent, a rose petal of pink softness aching at the edges. His past had been anything but simple, but there’d been so much more in it than these damn rabbits.

Tears of shame rose and close to spilled out, tears of shame at his lost past. And he’d come close to deciding to take a stand, a real stand, when everything went awry with a sharp resonance before his very eyes.

(to be continued)

Cowboys, Speedometers, Airmail Airmail, and Beans

Dear Hy: –

We made it in five days after a pleasant trip. As predicted, my speedometer conked out when it would have been handiest – going through a straight stretch in West Texas. I replaced it here in Tuscon. Of course, my “insurance” spare parts kept the trip trouble-free. Best Regards, Mel

Dear Mel,

Do you think your car is a horse? Giddy-yap, Cowboy!!!! Yeeeehaw!

This is cowboy week here at the Table, and aside from Mel and Hy with their male bonding-by-postcard over speedometers, one might want a bite to eat. All this travel, fresh air, smoke from the fire and exhaust fumes can make a person pretty durn hungry.

Cowboy (chuck-wagon) recipes do exist, and we can follow them to make some fine vittles right at home (though it is not the most extensive genre of cookery). And there are of course right alongside the food, amazing tales of adventure. Think ‘cowboy’ – and ‘adventure’ follows!

But time is short. Let’s get started. Our first recipe is the traditional pot of Cowboy Beans. Here’s a clip to demonstrate the usual way to chow down at the campfire, just like the one shown in our postcard above. Bon appetit!