Corn Damage, 2 of 3

“The ears probably wouldn’t have ripened before the first snow, anyway,” Gerald said as he studied the deer-damaged cornfield. Beside him, the hired man Ramon nodded sympathetically.

Suzanna’s eyes narrowed. “You don’t know that,” she said. “And if some had, then I would have saved them to plant next spring.”

Gerald shook his head. “It’ll take years to get a strain that’ll grow at this high altitude.”

Her chin lifted. “Then it will take years. You want to stay in this God forsaken valley, don’t you?”

He continued to study the damage. “I just don’t think a fence is going to keep the deer out,” he said mildly. “They can jump pretty much anything you put in front of ’em.”

“Then what would you suggest? Those mongrel dogs of yours have proven themselves useless.”

Gerald shook his head without looking at her.

“There is a man at Mora who has dogs called masteef,” Ramon said. He held out a hand, waist high, palm down. “They are this big and used for hunting.”

Gerald turned his eyes from the corn. “Do you think he would sell?”

Ramon shrugged. “When we were there last month he showed me puppies.”

“Ramon, you are an angel,” Suzanna said.

“We don’t know that this will work,” Gerald warned.

“It’s certainly worth a try.” She gave Ramon a brilliant smile and he grinned back at her sympathetically.

from Moreno Valley Sketches II

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