Trails to and Tales of Sanderson, Texas : A Contemporary, Adult Western Novel of the Ozark Drover Series
Punch was sort of a mongrel. In his veins circulated the blood of all the races found along the Gulf Coast and the Mexican border. Like most mongrels, Punch was a survivor, smart, healthy, dependable and loyal.
Punch was a bit short of six-feet tall, slim, always clean shaven, with graying brown hair and blue eyes. He walked with a limp. His left leg had been messed up in a bad fall with a cowpony some years back. The wreck pretty well retired him from working as a full-time cowhand.
Punch had an endless supply of stories of the old days; but, no one knew where he actually came from or exactly how old he was. It was evident that he had been a cowboy, probably a lawman, a hunter, a trapper and perhaps, an outlaw. Punch was fluent in Spanish and French, knew some Apache, and most folks believed that he knew Indian sign language. He was known to be a talented tracker. Some claimed: "He could track a bird through the air."
As little was known about Punch, folks tended to fill the gaps with guesses and rumors. Punch never agreed or disagreed with those who claimed to have some knowledge about his background. As long as the avoided insulting or demeaning him, Punch would smile, volunteer nothing and allow people to form their own opinions about his background.
He was easy going and friendly to everyone; but, if you had the sense God gave a sheep, you would sense Punch was not a man to be trifled with. Given the right circumstances, Punch could be a dangerous person to cross.
One of the stories associated with Punch claimed he had trailed, on foot, a horse-thief into Mexico and recovered a stolen horse. When people mentioned the story to Punch, he would nod his head in apparent agreement and tell them: "Yup, you just about got it right."
Punch knew that they were wrong...Dead wrong. Only he knew what had happened and he wasn't talking.
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September 19, 2007
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