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Stranger - He rode into our valley in the summer of 1889.

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Stranger He rode into our valley in the summer of 1889. I was just a kid then barely taller than father's old wagon. I was soaking in the lake with the fresh smell of flowers bursting and the late afternoon sun upon me from above, like a swell of heat. He had just entered the valley from the open plain. In that clear air I could see him plainly, though he was still several miles away. There seemed at first nothing remarkable about him, just another stray horseman riding up the long dusty road towards our town. Then I saw a couple of ranchers stop and stare at him from behind with curious intensity. He came straight and steadily on through the town with a slight quickening in pace that would only be seen by the keenest of eyes. He stopped at the fork in the road half a mile below our place looking left then right. ...read more.


He was not much taller than 5ft 5, slight in build. He would have looked frail alongside father's square, solid bulk. But even I could read the endurance lines of that dark figure and the quiet power in its effortless, unthinking adjustment to every movement on the tired horse. He was clean shaven and his face was hard and burned from forehead to chin. His eyes seemed naturally alert as they endlessly searched form side to side and forward, examining off every item in view, and missing nothing. These hooded eyes gave me a sudden chill though I do not know why it struck all the way through me like the warm sun. He rode lazily relaxed in the saddle his weight swaying on both sides. But underneath all this there seemed to be some tension emerging as he drew nearer. He stopped twenty feet in front of me. ...read more.


All of these movements were skilled and sure, and with quick precision he flipped his hat on and re-knotted the handkerchief. Striding directly towards the house he bent low and snapped the stem of mother's flower and tucked it into his hatband. He swung gracefully into the saddle and set off. I was intrigued. None of the men I had ever met were as proud as this about their appearance. In that short time the kind of magnificence that seemed gone had been refreshed. Everything about him showed the effects of long hard use, but showing strength of quality and competence now all fear of him had gone and I was imagining myself in those boots and a hat and belt just like his. He stopped the horse and looked down at us with all his attention I could feel the power of this man in the air I breathed. 'Thank you' he said in his gentle voice, with his back turned he moved down the road, before father spoke in his slow deliberate way. 'Don't be in such a hurry, stranger.' R Seary 20/09/03 1 ...read more.

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