AtoZ Family Tree...Letter 'Q'
The cow was having a hard time of it, too. Stella could tell by the tension on the rope that kept the mother as close to her newborn as she could get. The calf, barely four hours old, was draped across her saddle sharing the slicker that was doing a passable job of keeping the rain and ice from soaking them both.
Stella looked up just before her horse crossed the road through the gate where the sign was covered in snow and dripping with ice sickles. Just able to make out Wristen Ranch through the blowing sleet and snow, she peered beyond the sign to make out the house and barn down the snow covered wagon rutted tracks. Holding back on the horse so the cow could keep up, she spoke softly to the shivering calf, "Hang on little one, we'll get you warm and fed real soon. Dear god, let there be somebody here who will take us in for the night.
Numb and shivering, she handed the calf to the out stretched arms who quickly rubbed the calf down with a toesack, laid it beside it's mother and returned to the girl as she nearly fell from the saddle.
"I bet yore Stella Carroll," said the cowboy as he helped her to the pot bellied stove in the tack room of the barn. "I'm Bob Offield. I met yore Mother, brothers and sister today when they was stuck in a mudhole jesta mile or two down the road from here. Can't say I'm surprised to see you. Yore Mama said you were jest a few hours behind with a cow and a newborn calf. Looks like you did a right fine job of getting all of you this far. Now let's get you unfroze a bit before we git on up to the main house where Miz Wristen will fix you somethin' to warm you up".
With her chattering teeth, Stella was having a hard time saying her thanks, but managed to nod her head in agreement as Bob motioned her to the stool in front of the fire. He threw in another log and stoked the embers as Stella pulled off her gloves and hat, and unwrapped the shawl she had covering her head and shoulders. Bob noticed that she had the same color hair as her Mama, and the young girl seemed to have that same proud stance and determination that he had witnessed earlier in the day.
"My Daddy died nearly thirteen years ago. Mama, my brothers and sister and I have been living with my Grandpa and Grandma Marley on their farm in Gail. Mama heard that Ward County was offering homesteads to farmers who could make it for two years. So we started off and when we got to Monahans, the storm hit and the cow decided to have her calf. I'm very grateful to you, Miz Wristen, for your hospitality. I couldn't have gone much further. "Stella found herself telling Mrs. Wristen, who was busy making a pan of biscuits and stirring gravy for the ranch hands that would be sitting down to the long oak table for breakfast.
"Your Mother must be a determined woman to take on homesteading in this part of West Texas without a husband. It's a tough life, and God knows, it takes a mighty strong will and strong back to make it work. I wish you and your Mama well. Stella, I can see that you are strong, young Texas woman. You'll make it."
Stella Carroll was my Grandmother, and this story is one of the 'Scraps' pieced into my 'Family Quilt'.
I hope you have enjoyed this story and the others of my Pioneer Family in Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas. They are all based on real folks, and real events in the Lives and Tracks of My Texas Ancestors.
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