HUNTER NOTICED THAT THE morning air was cool and crisp, signaling the imminent arrival of fall. He glanced over toward the cottonwoods that lined the creek at the north end of the ranch and noticed how many leaves were now golden in color. He breathed in deeply, savoring the smell of the sage as he quickened his step to get to the barn and to Sally.
Smokey was waiting for him, a big smile stretching his brown face. “Come into my office, Pachelbel,” he said, sweeping off his cowboy hat and bowing deeply.
Hunter snorted. “Okay, Smokey. What’s this all about?”
“I have a surprise for you.”
The old cowboy turned on the heel of his dusty, well-worn boot and tromped toward the tack room of the barn. Hunter followed closely behind. Smokey stopped at the door and pushed it open, motioning broadly for Hunter to enter. Hunter rolled his eyes at Smokey’s dramatics and walked in. He stopped and his mouth dropped open. Hanging across the bridle hooks were beautiful matching red and white long-sleeved cowboy shirts. A quick count revealed twelve in number. Smokey stepped up to one of the shirts and flipped it around. Across the back was written “Promise Ranch Mounted Drill Team.”
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