The wind whistled through the mesquite trees as Matilda and Gladys the rootin, tootin cowgirls rode their stick horses round the range. They had chased down the cattle rustlers and Matilda was getting ready to hog tie them when she lifted her face to the now darkening sky. “Gladys, we better get in the house it looks like it’s blowing up a good one” she yelled as she grabbed her little sister by the arm. Gladys looked up and saw the big white puffy clouds turning an ominous blue.
Gladys felt the chill sweep right through her thin cotton romper. It had been stifling hot just ten minutes earlier. They had to stop their pursuit of the rustlers twice and take deep drinks from the garden hose next to the tomato plants. She had wanted to run through the sprinklers but Nurse Meme had told the girls not to get their newly teased and sprayed hair wet. “Matilda look at that cloud! It is as blue as your eyes” Gladys mused as she was being drug up the hill towards the safety of the house.
“Gladys come on! Move it! I don’t like the looks of that cloud. If it starts dumpin rain and we get our hair wet Momma is gonna kill us.” The girls scurried up the hill and ran toward the house and the wind got stronger and colder. It couldn’t have been more than a 50 yard spread from where they had dropped their broomstick horses to the back porch. The temperature had dropped a degree for each yard they had traveled. Gladys whined “I’m cold! Why is it so cold?” Matilda rolled her eyes and strengthened her grip on her little sister.
Finally they made it to the screened porch goose pimples peppering their little bodies like ostrich quills. They made it through the door as the rain let loose. Gladys looked at the temperature gauge on the wall. “Matilda!” Gladys screamed as she pointed at the wall “it says it’s 33 degrees out here. It was 90 degrees not 30 minutes ago at lunch.” Matilda walked over and thumped the mercury filled tube “yep it looks like it’s right” then pulled her quivering little sister into the house. Gladys ran into the kitchen and started yanking tins out of the cabinet and grabbed a pot “want some hot chocolate?” Matilda ran toward the bedroom and yelled “yep. I’ll get us some sweaters.”
Just as Gladys was pouring the chocolate into the big blue mugs Trooper Bob walked in the door.
“What are you girls up to?” he asked as he unfastened his gun belt. Gladys chirpped “I’m making some hot chocolate.” Trooper Bob shook his head and said “don’t you know it’s summer time? You should drinking Fizzies.” Gladys stepped off the stool and declared “but it’s cold out there. The themommeter said it was 33 dee-grease.” Trooper Bob smiled “yeah, we had a blue norther blow through. It will be gone in no time.”
Gladys tilted her head to the side “what’s a blue northerner?” Trooper Bob laughed “not northerner but I guess if he got caught in a blue norther then he would be a blue northerner. It’s when cold air comes rushing out of the north. The sky gets grey then the clouds turn blue. That’s what we call a blue norther. Heck we used to have them so bad when I was a youngin that the ponds would all freeze.”
Gladys sat a cup of cocoa in front of her daddy and urged him for more stories. “My Uncle tells the story of the time that he was fishin over on the clear fork of the Brazos river. He said it was a beautiful day. There was a gaggle of Canadian Geese that landed on the river takin a respite from their flight to warmer territory when all of a sudden there came a terrible wind and the temperature dropped 80 degrees in a matter of minutes. It dropped so fast that those geese didn’t have time to take flight.”
Gladys’ eyes went wide “what happened to them geese daddy?” Trooper Bob took a long pause and a deep draw from his cocoa. He wiped his mouth and said “well baby, they all started beatin their wings and they took off in flight still frozen in that water. They flew as hard and fast as they could toward Mexico where they knew it would be warmer. As they flew that water started melting and watered all them farms down there in the valley. That’s why they got so many good crops down there.” Gladys snorted “un-uh. That’s not why. Is that story true?” Trooper Bob took another sip of his drink and looked intently out into the yard and said “how many times have we ever driven over the Brazos River when there was any water in it? See they took all the water in the river with them.” That cinched it. Gladys bought it hook line and sinker. She always looked for water under that bridge and there never was any. That explained it all.
Gladys was older now and much more mature. She and her new boyfriend, Buford, were traveling from the little town where she lived to the big city and the amusement park. They drove and talked and laughed telling each other little tid-bits of information. “See that old building over there? My great granddaddy built all the cabinets in it” Gladys offered. “Really? My great granddaddy dug the well for that building. See that over there? It used to be a coal mine” Buford replied. Then she saw it front of her. “Do you know why there ain’t never no water in the clear fork of the Brazos?” Buford looked at her for just a moment and said “yeah, cause them Canadian geese done flew away with it all.” Gladys shook her head in agreement and said “Dadgum blue northerners!”