Appointment in Balmorhea

bylukeadams©

But, Nigel and Eric were skittish, immature men who did not care to reach first base, much less try to make it home. Sena had never been given a chance to love that way.

Her only daughter was now happy, with a purpose for living. This made Sena happy.

Sierra had never appeared to be in love. But her mother was not concerned. Her daughter was careful, after observing the romantic disasters of Sena.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

April 19, 1985

Dear Ernesto,

Well, I write you a note every twenty years or so. I hope that you are still alive! I hope everyone there is okay.

I am in the unusual position, that you may know a lot about me from the newspapers [much of it untrue], but I do not know anything about what has been happening with all of you.Sierra graduated from college. But, she kind of drifted around. Then, kind of late in life, she has found herself. It is a long story. I am happy that she gets out bed, raring to get started- the way you have been up on that ranch all of these years. I am that way, too, ha.

Drop me a line.

Hugs and kisses,

Sena

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

April 25,1985

Dear Sena,

I enjoyed hearing from you. You will note the grammar is not as good in this letter as my last one. Maria passed on a couple of years ago. It was before her time, but thankfully she did not suffer. I miss her correcting my grammar, among other things. I am bossy, but I was used to being bossed by Maria.

I did not keep a copy of my last letter to you, written many years ago. But, I think I told you that Jim Ed had married. We thought they were too old to have kids. But, would you think it? They have a daughter, seventeen now, that has brought much joy to all of us.

Junior graduated from Texas A&M. He actually made a good student, which surprised all of us. I think he realized more than us that ranching is now a business. He learned things, even picked up some breeding ideas, which have helped us. He was active on the Rodeo Team, also.

After college, Junior , like his Daddy , joined the Marines. A week before his second tour ended, a bullet in the leg hit his bone. Now, after a couple of operations, one leg is an inch shorter than the other. He limps pretty good.

But, Junior can still steer rope and work cattle, which is what counts with him, ha. Junior has dated enough over the years, that we know he is not a queer. But, he never gets serious about anyone. Or, if he does, we never know about it. He lives in a house that he and his Dad mainly built below Tom's Ridge. I did not help them much. Someone has to run this ranch.

I still hope you will come to Texas. I have to admit, that after thirty years, I am not holding my breath. If I can ever help you, let me know.

Your friend,

Ernesto Garza

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Ernesto and Maria claimed to be boyfriend-girlfriend since both were twelve. But, it really started when he first saw her, at Mass, shortly after her family moved to Marfa.

Ernesto joined the Army two days after his seventeenth birthday. By the time he graduated from high school, the War would be over, he reasoned.

He did not think it right to become engaged, when he did not know when he would return. But, each pledged their devotion and fidelity.

Not many U.S. servicemen returned from overseas still virgins. Ernesto and the other paratroopers that jumped into Normandy that returned still virgins could collectively lift the southwest end of an Army jeep.

Maria wanted him to marry in his uniform, with his medals. Ernesto said no. In their wedding photo, he wore his pre-Army Sunday best.

A few months after they were married, one evening, just as he was about to mount her, Maria rolled him over. Her hand circled his cock, a couple of inches above the base.

"Look at this. My thumb and middle finger cannot meet when my hand circles your pecker. Do you realize how unusual you are, to have eight, thick inches?"

"No. I don't look at other men's peckers when they take a piss."

Maria laughed deeply at that. Ernesto loved her laugh. But, her knowledge meant one thing: women gossiped about such things.

Not much later, a slender smiling Maria greeted him at the door. "I have a story," Maria said, laughing. Ernesto suspected Maria was jealous of his storytelling ability. She was trying to improve hers.

"A young lady, Judy, returns from her honeymoon, to her clerk job at City Hall. An older lady worker asks Judy how the honeymoon was."

Maria brought a hand to her face, cocked her head, rolled her eyes, imitating the newlywed. "It was okay. But, I have a question. What are those round things that hang about eight inches behind the end of my husband's dingus?"

Maria lowered her chin, imitating the older woman. "Judy, I don't know what they are on your husband, but on mine, they are the cheeks of his ass."

She doubled over, laughing. Ernesto grinned. But, the joke made him uncomfortable. Maria was making fun of other husbands, who might be his friends, even attend his church.

But, he loved to hear Maria laugh.

Ernesto's second favorite thing was to lay on his side, with Maria's back pressed against him, while he nuzzled her neck and shoulders, one arm encircling her. Days before she died, Ernesto again told Maria that she was the most beautiful woman that he had ever seen. Through moist eyes, he told her again that she was the only woman that he had ever loved.

Now, she was gone. Hermalinda missed her best friend. Having no children of her own, Maria had done much for and was beloved by her nephews and nieces. Her church , the community's fund raisers, the Andrews, they all missed her.

Ernesto could not bear moving to an available small house on the ranch, as someone suggested, to help him cope. Her memory hung in the shadows, pulling at him every morning as he left, and waiting every evening for his return.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sena reread Ernesto's letter several times. She decided it was time to hit the road, with Sierra.

Sena called Ernesto at nine p.m., Texas time. "Bueno?" answered a groggy Ernesto.

"Ernesto? This is Sena Miller. Did I wake you up?"

Throat clearing and harrumphs filled the phone. "Sena is this really you? Yes, I was asleep. It is early to bed, early to rise around here. It is really, really nice to hear your voice."

Ernesto's voice was as strong as ever, now that he was awake. "Every few years you invite me to come back for a visit. Now, I think I may take you up on that," Sena said.

She and Ernesto small talked awhile, mostly with Ernesto fleshing out details of his last letter. Sena expressed sympathy about Maria's passing.

"Ernesto, I will come just to see all of you. But, I do have another objective. I want to introduce Sierra to Junior. Probably nothing will come of it, but I want to do it, anyway. Do you still call Jim Ed's son Junior? He is only a year older than Sierra. He is a little old to call him Junior," Sena said, laughing.

Ernest chuckled. "Well, we called him Junior until Nancy, his sister, was about three. Once his little sister started talking, she tried to call him Brother, which sounded like Bubba. Now, we call him Bubba Junior. Even we think that is funny."

Sena laughed again. "A true Texas name, Bubba Junior."

Sena still had to sell Sierra on a road trip. But, she and Ernesto agreed to meet May 24, around noon , at the Balmorhea Springs.

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