Continued from Cattle Drive

Yry and Dallas drove off early on November 25. Pheasant was to be the main course for Thanksgiving the next day so they bounced across the fields headed for the tall grasses beside the creek. His first shot arrested a magnificent rooster from the sky, mid-stroke. They clambered through the tall grass to the spot where she had watched the inert body drop. It lay in a heap of beautiful, iridescent feathers. Dallas triumphantly jerked it off the ground by its feet, pleased with his marksmanship. How fleeting life is, she thought; how easily snuffed out; someday her time would come and life would flutter out of her own body just as it had from this poor bird. They crisscrossed the field together, flushing birds as they went. By mid-morning they had bagged ten birds, Yry serving as retriever. 

A slow time on the ranch, it was a lovely, fall day—not too cold, but with a nip of winter in the air. Under the shade of a Russian Olive tree growing near the creek, they shared a picnic lunch that Yry had stashed in the back of the truck. Dallas prodded her to share her vision of the ranch she would own someday, and he teased her about who she’d hire to wrangle her cattle.

Later, they took the birds behind the barn to prepare them for the cook. The wings came off first, then the head, then the feathers. Last to go were the claws. Chickie waited nearby to claim his pick of the prizes left behind. Finally the crop and intestines were pulled free. They handed 10 field-dressed pheasants to the cook, who harrumped at the sight of so many pheasants to hang in the galley.