'NEATH A LIVE OAK TREE
Vargas moved on at the crack of dawn,
Deep into Texian land;
Tortillas for one, his riata and gun,
And a running iron in hand.
He rode softly along, with a hum
and a song,
senorita on his mind;
A padron in the Monte, and tamales
waited him far behind.
Vargas was born where the Inca doves mourn,
In the drought of sixty three;
His mother- a goat herd, his father-
passing through," you see.
He grew up in the dust, the timbers and rust,
Of Montezuma's bygone day;
That past age of glory, the enchanting story,
Made the here and now feel gray.
Vargas, he thought, then he thought some more,
leave the goats and cactus;
Up in Texas he learned, he could get him a herd
To sell to
some pastor de vacas.
So he slipped out of sight, in the black of the
Who promised a price, and a job very nice;
If he would
increase Don's manada.
it's on down the way, in the heat of the day,
cut out some steers and calves;
He just needed to send, for a vaquero
brand 'em and ride home for halves.
He'd been to this store, a few times before,
the steers were fat and handy;
Or, so he thought, as he picked up a trot,
he spotted some longhorns dandy.
big steer here, cow and calf over there,
'Til he had
a small herd pointed south;
Then on down a draw, so nobody saw,
and bed them down;
No fire tonight, no smoke is in sight,
If the padron
comes gettin' antsy;
For a rustler free, and a live oak tree,
a brand new rope for dancin'.
with the sun, and off at a run,
For the Rio's
Just one more day, then he would stay,
In the Monte's
With his running iron friend, give the business an
would all have a bright new brand;
I'll turn the "BE" into the bar
first, cross the Rio Grande.
weren't fast enough, through the brushy and rough,
Vargas, they're on to your trail;
If they catch you now, with the padron's
be blessed if its only jail.
There's Big Foot Wallace, the Commanche stalker,
the boss of the old "BE";
Juan Vargas alone, and far from home,
dance 'neath a live oak tree.
buzzards came down, to wait on the ground,
Juan Vargas to age some more;
It's a buzzard's fiesta, and Juan Vargas'
the mud and the blood and the gore.
If you ride out that way, in the heat of
haunting sight meets your gaze;
A rope hanging free, from the live oak tree,
end of a young man's days.
Nana's son who's tempted to run,
Monte's dusty hills;
All of you hombres, consider Juan Vargas,
beware of those Texian thrills.
Find a nice senorita, a pretty chiquita,
married, be happy and free;
Herd your goats every day, in the antiguo
won't hang from a live oak tree.
Some Spanish and some Texian
A Mexican lariet made of woven leather with a looped end.
iron- A branding iron with only a bar for altering brands.
It was customary in the old days to hang a man for even
carrying one while on the open range. The running iron was
made for only one use-- altering existing brands. This was
done by adding a bar or filling in an "E" to become a "B"
senorita- Unmarried lady.
Coloquial for a pretty girl.
picante- Hot or spicey.
High place- also prairie area south of San Antonio and
in northern Mexico.
pastor de vacas-
Herder or owner of cattle.
padron- Owner of a ranch or hacienda.
Brush country south of San Antonio.
siesta- Nap in the midday.
antiguo- Old fashioned.
Men or working men.
-- Stephen Van Nattan 2011
All rights reserved
background is the Rio Grande River
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