Rio Grande Ripples

    As we sat at the table, the telephone rang. It was Clayt Wetherill calling from the Sylvester place about five miles down the valley. He and “Red” Faunce had gone to Creede that afternoon in the Model-T roadster for groceries and run into snow on Banta Flats. They were “stuck.” They had walked to the Sylvester place to telephone, so would the M.M. and his brother Wallace bring a sled and four horses and come to their aid? Of course they would, but they hooted at “sled and four horses!”
     “Clayt’s being real funny!” said the mountain man.
     They got out the team and a spring-wagon, and Ray decided to take his saddle horse Paderewski, a chunky, husky bay that had often pulled cars through difficulties.
     The night was “dark as the inside of a cow,” as Mrs. Ryus used to say, so as a sort of concession they took along a lantern – I mean a coal-oil lantern, for if flashlights had been invented at that time they were only for the idle rich.
     By the time they were off, it was snowing persistently and the ground was white. It was about seven o’clock. I set a pot of soup to simmering, for I knew Clayt and Red would be hungry, tired and maybe wet. I stoked the range with good old aspen wood and went to the living room to wait and to grade some grammar papers. An hour went by. I looked at the clock, arose, went to the kitchen, put in another stick of wood, opened the door, and stepped out onto the porch. A wall of white was all I could see. I listened. Yes, faint and far away, came the sound of a laboring motor. I came back, stirred the soup and got out clean towels. Then I went out again. Yes, I could still hear the motor – quite remarkable how far sound carries sometimes! Back I went to my papers. I looked at the clock – nine. Back to the kitchen, put in another stick of wood, stirred the soup, went outside again. Still that motor – no nearer and no farther. It was very funny, and not “ha-ha funny” either. Then inside again, I sat, stoked the stove, stirred the soup, and just sat until twelve-thirty.
     Ray came in on Paderewski first, followed in about thirty minutes by Wallace with the team and wagon and the two men – hungry, tired and very wet. Wal’s only comment was that the two-horse team was all right, but he wished he’d taken a sled.
     It seemed that they had found the snow falling heavily when they had left the ranch, and visibility was zero. Ray had led his horse while trying to find the highway by locating telephone poles; then he accidentally knocked the lantern against a rock, which ended any assistance from that article. At long last, they reached the car. I do not know how deep the snow was then, but Clayt said there had been a foot of snow at the car when they had “stuck.” The next morning the snow measured exactly forty-eight inches here in our yard – level with the top of the fence!

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