His black truck slowly rocked and bucked as we drove over the Mars red dirt of the ranch. Ten miles an hour we rolled on and I gaped out the window at the 22,000 acre vacation spot of our weekend. Out of the corner of my eye I saw BigBearsmile, I smiled back.
Silently I faced away and looked out the window, the breeze light as it passed through, the orange sun nestled heavily, rising into the sky. A barbed-wire gate came into view, the brakes of the Dodge groaned to a halt. I hopped out to open it.
Cattle stared at me 20 foot away, dumb, no expression on their fuzzy winter faces as I dragged open the stick lattice fence, digging a little trench through the dirt. BigBear passed through, his arm dangling out his window.
What ya’ll looking at, I say rhetorically, the cattle don’t answer, I hop back into the truck. He drove to the edge of what looked like a steep cliff. Once parked, BigBear pulled two corn bags from the bed of the truck and slung them over each of his shoulders, then walked to the edge of ravine, he looked back at me.
“Be careful,” he said, and over the edge he went.
I stood there frozen for a second and when his hat disappeared I quickly ran to look over the drop. A steep path was worn into the dirt to lead a way down, a V-shape groove lacking any sure footing. BigBear was quick and made it halfway down the slope before I hurriedly followed, the momentum of the trek downward speeding my steps, my footfalls warning him of my approach and he ran faster. This was a race, so I ran.
The finish line was green metal deer feeders 200 foot away, short cow-paneling enclosed a 400 square foot space, he hopped the panels. He huffed with the two feed bags over his shoulders and we laughed.
“They call me the fastest man in boots.” He says. I tell him, I bet they do.
BigBear climbed a metal ladder along the side of a feeder to pour the corn, telling me an inaudible story. I stare up at him, his T-shirt floating away from his body, I look up his shirt at the hair on his stomach, the corn banging loudly making it hard to hear.
I listened to the last kernels in the bag as it emptied and he stepped down, tossing it to the ground, the crinkling bag fell like a feather. We look at each other.
“Now this feeder here is clogged or somethin’.” He gestured to a structure aside us. “We gotta take all the grain out and unclog it, then refill it. Can you put that bucket underneath?” He pointed at a black 30 gallon bucket near the panels. I went and grabbed it, then positioned it under the feeder as he climbed the ladder and opened the hatch to spill out the corn. The process didn’t really work, corn sprayed out from the opening shooting in every direction it seemed but straight down. I moved out of the way, corn flying like bullets. It emptied and emptied, the hard kernels rattling like bells as it pockmarked the ground around the bucket. BigBear climbed down to watch the show, frowning at the percentage of corn that actually went into the bucket.
When emptied the silence of the ranch resumed with a hum. A huge pile of corn surrounded the black bucket, golden slanting corn hills crested from the sides. I bent down and cleared a spot for my knees and began to scoop big handfuls into the half-full bucket.
“You don’t have to do that baby,” BigBear says, “It will get eaten regardless.”
BigBear laughs and kneels down beside me into the corn and puts his hands under my arms around my waist. He pulled me to him and kissed me, rolling onto his back, the corn cascaded under him from the sides, it cracked and popped until I laid atop of him atop our golden bed and I kiss him back.
“I oughta have my way with you right here in this corn,” he said quietly smiling, kissing me again and again. All I did was smirk and kiss him back.