I was rummaging around in an antique store, looking at about every thing on the shelves, the stands, the walls, and the floor as I passed through. I sure wasn't looking for anything in particular. It was the wife, she had something in mind as we went our separate ways up and down the aisles.Voila! I was standing in front of an old wire book rack, my mind blank, when it dawned on me! I was staring at some old western pocketbooks by various authors like Max Brand and Luke Short and others. Whoopee! I had ran across something I liked and I latched on to a half dozen of the books. I was particularly thrilled with one of them, The Western Writers of America Present The Pick of the Roundup, edited by Stephen Payne. It is an Avon paperback published in 1963, a collection of short stories by some of the members of the WWA at the time, including Bill Burchardt, William R. Cox, Max Evans, Ann Ahlswede, John L. Shelley, Lucia Moore, Fred Grove, T. V. Olsen, ELMER KELTON, and Richard Wormser.
I couldn't wait to get back home and read a story or two, and I jumped right on Max Evans' The Far Cry. This is a story of the lone rancher who takes his small herd of cattle up to the mesa where the better grass grows. He no sooner makes it to the top than he sees the clouds beginning to gang up and turn black, promising rain. He and horse head back down to the flat, hoping to reach home before it starts pouring, but the storm turns into a tornado and they have to fight through it, all the time worrying about his wife and kids, if the barn is still standing, did she turn off the windmill, is the corral and the house still there, and did they make it to the cellar in time? The story is not very long, but it kept my attention until the end as it describes the trials and tribulations the man and his horse have to endure on their ride across the flats filled with worry. And what did he find when they finally reach home? You'll have to read the story to find that out because I'm just too stubborn to let the cat out of the bag.
By the way, the wife left the store empty-handed for the first time that I can remember. Hooray!