Baxter Black: Leroy and Tom |

Baxter Black: Leroy and Tom

Everybody has a Christmas that stands out in their memory like dandruff on Superman’s cape! Mine was several years ago. Bah Humbug Bill, the cow buyer made a deal on a set of cows down below Snowville.

Leroy, Tom and I were to go down, work’em and ship’em back home. Bah Humbug set it up for December 23. He, of course would not be able to be there to help.

Leroy and Tom were both members of the Owyhee County Sheriffs Possum. We borrowed Albert’s new blue pickup and headed out. Leroy was raised down in the country where we were goin’. He was driving and took a few shortcuts. We were on a side road going toward Strevell and Leroy had ol’ Blue kicked up to 85 mph. We cautioned him about speeding.

“No Sweat,” he said. “The police have never patrolled this ol’ road.” Ten minutes later red and blue flashing lights reflected in the rear view mirror.

“Snow plow?” asked Tom.

Leroy pulled over and stomped back to the state patrol car. He returned, started up and drove on in silence.

“Did you show him yer deputy sheriff’s badge, Leroy,” “We asked. “Yea,” he said. “I told’em I was takin’ these two lunatics to the nuthouse down south. One of ‘em thinks he’s a vetinary and the other thinks he’s a cowboy!”

The ticket cost him $45!

Leroy suggested I buy the gas and he’d buy us dinner at the finest restaurant in Tremonton. He asked Tom to pick up the motel bill and promised he’d treat us to a meal fit for a king! We cleaned up and went with him to the finest dining place in town. We were in a festive mood. Holly and Christmas music was everywhere. The café even had its own Santa who gave candy to the kids.

“Git anything you want, boys, “Leroy encouraged us. “It’s on me!” We ordered steak and lobster with all the trimmings and polished off a mince pie. Santa came over and gave us candy. We thanked Leroy for his generosity.

“Check please,” he said smiling and picking his teeth. He patted his pocket confidently. Then he patted his other hip pocket. Then his front pocket and his shirt. He ransacked his coat pockets! He looked up with a look of desperation on his stricken face. “I forgot my wallet!”

Next mornin’ on the way out to the ranch we stopped for clipper blades. Tom bought a new pair of blue handy man gloves with little white speckles on them.

At the ranch Leroy was mouthin’ and puttin’ in Ritchey ear tags; bloody work. I was preg checkin; messy work. Tom was brandin’, but he was still wearin’ his old yellow gloves with holes in the fingers. He was savin’ his new ones. I put on the left one and gave the right to Leroy. After workin’ an hour Tom noticed my left hand.

“I’ve got gloves just like that. Only mine aren’t covered with cow pucky,” he said. He noticed Leroy’s gloved right hand which was caked with blood. The light slowly dawned. “I quit!” He said. It was the third time he’d quit since 8:30 that morning!

I never worried. Those two fellers had the perfect arrangement; nobody else would work for Leroy and nobody else would hire Tom!”

Merry Christmas to y’all, especially you Leroy and Tom!

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