ply too many chores that needed constant or immediate attention: salt licks and feed to be put out, broken machinery to be repaired, cattle to be moved to new pastures, a calf with a broken leg that needed to be tended to-the 1st was e
. It wasn't all tha's state-of-the-art MicroElectronics Testing and Technology Obsolescence Program (METTOP) is to test, evaluate and assess the many types of microelectronic components that make up so many of today's sophisticated military, space and commercial systems.
t unusual for a rancher to send the fa
off to church services, if
he could spare them, and stay behind to get the
He decided to drive to the new corral to see if
Shaw had his day hands working. He arrived to find
Joe Jordan supervising the men, who were nailing alvaruzed wire mesh fencing to the corral. Kerney
was familiar with the product; he'd used it for his
paddock at the Santa Fe ranch. It kept horse
s from damaging legs or hooves on t
sts and cross
poles and absorbed the animals' impact without
cutting their coats or causing abrasions.
Shaw was nowhere to be seen, nor was his panel
van. However, Bessie sat in Joe's pickup truck, reading
a book. She saw Kerney, smiled, and motioned
"Will you go and tell that husband of mine to
stop working and take me to Las Cruces like he
promised?" she asked.
"Where's Walt Shaw?" Kerney asked.
Bessie closed the book and put it on the dashboard.
"I suspect he's in Virde
n. He tries to get up there once a mo
to check on his property. Normally,
Julia fills in for him when he's gone, but she's
on her way to Tucson to attend a bull sale tomorrow
morning. But these boys have worked for us before
and they certainly don't need any supervision."
Kerney tipped his hat. "I'll see wh
at I can do, ma'am." Bessie touch
arm before he could walk
away. "Back when you and Johnny were young, I'd
hoped he would go to college with you and Dale
"I guess it wasn't what he wanted."
"What he needed was to be with friends who were
steady and reliable and not so easily swayed by his
Kerney smiled. "That's kind of you to say, but I
don't think anyone could have held Johnny back
when he was feeling
his oats." "You're probably right,"