His horse whinny’s while waiting outside the church with the blue cross and tin roof.
The loyal herding dog panting on the corner, listens to the lulling cows in the pasture, heels for the hand signal to start the gather.
In the center of the town square, a marble angel atop a high stone column, inches below a cross of electrical lines, offers benediction for the gathered congregants.
Beyond, gray rumbles over stretches of white clouds. The ranch house below is abuzz with the sounds of pans hitting a wood burning stove, the chant of prepping cuisine and trail cooks praying loud long remembered recipes. In the lake, just beyond, a black figure paddles a row boat.
The blue door of the church swings open and a congregant passes through holding a purse full of oats, an offering for the horse to follow closely behind. Two sharp finger snaps and the dog falls in beside. The cows herd against the pasture’s barbed wire fence.
A pine coffin emerges with a white cowboy hat on its lid. The hat’s old dusty brown band has been replaced with a synthetic new one, steam cleaned and pressed for today. The lulling, whinnying, barking all the giddy-ups commence. The first drop falls from the sky, the start of a thousand tears. The last drive of so many last drives has finally begun.