The lone man at the dining table inside the ranch house at High Chaparral glances up and speaks around a mouthful of food. “Have yoreself a seat so I kin explain a couple things. You want some pie? You shore? It’s mighty good. ” He slurps his coffee, his fingers looking overly large for the delicate china cup.
“You know I’m Buck Cannon, seein’ as you already watched part of the doin’s here at the Chaparral. I been told you got somethin’ called ep-ee-sodes and somethin’ else you say is “seasons”.” He puts down the fork and rubs his forehead, frowning. “I don’t rightly understand that; round these parts, seasons means we go from dry and hot to dry and cold, with enough wet thrown in to keep the beeves alive. Ep-ee-sodes. Ain’t you said each of ‘em’s a slice of life?” He picks up the fork and loads it with food, taking a bite. “Kinda like a slice o’ pie. And them “seasons”, they’d be like the pie them slices is from, right?”
He shovels food into his mouth, chews, and squints, pointing with the hand holding the fork. “The way I figure, ya’ll got ‘bout four High Chaparral pies.” He grins, winks, and wipes his mouth. “Them four pies was awful good. Awful good. Mebbe so good, some of ya’ll jist stop right there.” He continues to eat, a thoughtful look on his face. “Now that don’t make no nevermind to me, but the kitchen weren’t shut down after that. Got us a couple new cooks and them gals figgur it’s a lead-pipe cinch some of ya’ll be wantin’ more pie. Kinda like Uncle Buck here.” He cuts another piece, slides it onto his plate and continues eating.
“Like I said, got us some new cooks stirrin’ things up. That gal Penny, she favors Cannons. Especially Blue Boy.” He wipes a hand across his face, smiling. “Blue, he do have a time of it. Brought hisself back a wagon load of trouble from St. Louie.” Buck grows serious as he looks down at the tabletop, tracing random designs with a finger. He catches himself and looks up again, grinning wryly. “That Missy Jan? She be right partial to the Montoyas, especially mi amigo Manolito. His pa, too. Don Sebastian.” He smiles, then chuckles. “Now, ole Mano’s been havin’ hisself a fine time; we got more dang Montoyas ‘round the place than you can shake a stick at.” He pauses for a couple more forkfuls, chewing slowly. “Course, I’m in all o’ them tales. Both them gals know there ain’t much to tell without me. Yeah, an’ everybody else be there, too. In one story or another.”
Buck pours more coffee from a silver urn, swirls it in the cup and takes a swallow. “Now, you lissen up, ‘cause this’s important. What you seed before weren’t everything. Who’d want to see everythin’, anyways? Followin’ a bunch of plug ugly, wore out saddle traps around from sunup to sundown, watchin’ ‘em scratch, spit, and pick their teeth, day in and day out. That ain’t much to see, so we was jist showin’ you the innerestin’ parts and you ain’t seed all o’ them. We was sneaky-like, too. Ain’t showed ‘em exactly in the order they happened, neither; when you got a pie in front of you, it ain’t like you got to cut it a certain way, neither. Same with these here stories. You got one big story ‘bout the High Chaparral, but you kin read ‘em in order or any whichaway.”
Buck tosses his fork onto the empty plate with a clatter, drains his coffee-cup and stands, retrieving his hat from a chair. He claps his hat on his head. “Well, that’s about all for ole Buck. Mebbe be seein’ ya later on, but for now it’s ay-dee-ohs.”
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