Bring 'Em Back Alive
As most of you know, and the rest are about to find out, I'm a cowpoke. One of the duties of being one of these ruffians is occasionally mounting an untrusty steed and poking the cows from place to place (enough beastiality innuendos for ya?).
My neck of the woods is a cold desert. That means it takes lots and lots of space to run cattle out here. Of course, in order to have lots of space, you need lots of space. That means not very many people, or buildings. It's not quite the middle of nowhere, but you can see it from there. The particualr place we were moving our cattle is about 25 miles from my house, and a good 20 miles from any town. No phones, no lights, no moto... erm... ok, there are a few motorcars, but luxuries are not plentiful, and motorcars are few and far between.
We'd moved some cattle the day before (Friday) and had gone back Saturday to make another ride and try to find some more cattle. We did, and gathered them into on bunch. Once we got all the cows together, we sent mom back to get the pickup and trailer, while we continued on to our desired location. That way, when we were finished, she'd hopefully be there with the trailer and we wouldn't have to ride quite so far. Unfortunately, we finished before she got to us, so we started to ride down the road to meet her.
It was a hot a dry day, and there aren't any drinking fountains, so you can get a little parched, but after a lifetime, you learn to live with it. So we plodded along down the road kicking up dust as we went, knowing mom would be there with the water jug most anytime.
Being the old tracker that I am, I looked down at the road underneath my hoss, and could tell that there was something strange afoot. Literally. There were two sets of tennis shoe tracks walking down the road in front of us. That's not normal. There is a little creek there with a few fish, but usually fishermen don't wear sneakers, and they walk along side the water, not down the road. I logged it in the back of my mind and kept on riding. The longer we went, the more curious I got. There were no vehicle tracks at any of the usual turn around spots, and the tracks continued on down the road.
I figured if someone had gotten stuck or stranded up on the mountain, they would be walking down the road, and we'd probably catch up to them eventually. Either that or they'd meet mom and the pickup before we did. Still, it was strange.
As we rounded the next corner, I could see something white down the road. I didn't remember anything like that being there, and as we got closer, I could see it was someone sitting along the side of the road. Turns out, it wasn't one, but two people sitting along the side of the road accounting for the two sets of footprints. One of them stood up right away, but the other couldn't get to his feet, despite being helped by his companion.
When we finally got there, there were two elderly people, a man and a woman. Both of which my mom grew up with. The man's name was Vic, and the ladies, Vehlma.
"Do you happen to have any water?" Vehlma asked. Unfortunately, we didn't. Then they began to tell us their harrowing tale. They'd gotten stuck and had been walking for 3 days. The old man with the cane, turns 90 next month, and Vehlma isn't much younger. Holy crap... I was thinking. That's quite a feat. Then he continued on with his tale. They'd called for an ambulance this morning but the damn thing never showed up.
Erm... "Where'd you call from?" I asked. "The lady's house that lives up the road there a couple of miles." He answered. Ooooook. First of all, there aren't any ladies that live up the road. In fact there isn't anyone who lives up the road. Secondly, there aren't any phones to make any calls, even cells don't have any coverage. I was becoming suspicious of their harrowing tale, but he kept right on a going.
"In fact, we couldn't even get a whole schoolbus load of kids to stop and help us. They just drove right on by. I guess they couldn't stop or something." Now I'm calling bullshit. They'd definitely been through a lot, there's no doubt about it, and I'm thinking that they were a bit dehydrated and it was adding to whatever dementia already existed, but there's no way anyone was going to drive by two 90 year old people hobbling down a road in the middle of nowhere. Not even us.
As the old guy kept spinning his yarn, the lady interrupted and asked me, "Will you at least tell someone where we're at when you get home?" "Oh honey, don't worry. We'll be taking you out with us." I responded "How very nice of you." she smiled.
When mom finally got there, we loaded them up in the cab and headed for home. To make a short story long, mom called the lady's son and his wife came out and picked them up. They hadn't been stranded for 3 days, but they had spent the night on the mountain, and had walked several miles that morning. They'd never seen a bus load of kids from a "religious group", nor called an ambulance from a lady's home. We were probably the first people they'd seen, and that was very fortunate for them. They'd have probably died before anyone else came along, and that would have required a whole other set of clowns.
Nope, this time, you'll have to call me Frank S. Buck, because we brought 'em back alive...