The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Main Street

Midway between the hard ranch towns of Roswell and Portales, New Mexico, deep in Southern New Mexico near the Texas line is a wide patch of mesquite and cholla, a few scattered buildings, 2 or 3 homes, the cemetery, and a ghost of a town called Kenna. It is the place, in 1918, where my mother was born, and in 1991, where I buried her between her mother, who died in childbirth, her Scottish immigrant father and the step-mother she didn't enjoy.


Yesterday I traveled about 150 miles East of the dog trial to pay my respects. It was only the third time in 12 years that I’ve had the opportunity, and it is very much as I remember. I didn’t remember Highway 70, which bisects what’s left of the town, as being divided. 2 lanes each way speaks more to the growth of Portales 40 miles East, than it does for Kenna, which has changed only by becoming even less descript than I remembered it.

Community House

Gone was the huge, wooden sign, faded by the prairie over many years that read: “Home of PRCA World Champion Steer Tripper, Sonny Davis.” He too was born in Kenna, but unlike my mother, Sonny remained, and became a world champion in the PRCA. I had heard the story of the Sonny Davis rule that states ropers must trip their steer to get a score. Apparently Sonny had missed the trip, but got down the rope and flanked his 700lb steer to make the tie anyway and win the roping. He was a big man in more ways than one, but his sign is no more.

Baptist Church

Gone too were the post office and water district, closed in the case of the post office. The water district building was missing completely, probably moved somewhere and converted into housing. That is the case for one of the few homes located on what could be called Main Street, if there were such a thing in Kenna.

Resting Place

The place calls to me and leaves a mark with every visit. Even as a child it held sway. I heard my mother’s stories of a hard-scrabble up-bringing on a barren cattle ranch, then a house in town, and I wished to have experienced some small part of it. There were pictures too of my Uncle Mack “fanning” a wild donkey, my mother with 2 or 3 others on a big, skinny, black horse named Klondike, and a bunch of scrawny kids climbing on a water tank. Unfortunately, it wasn't until I buried her there that I saw the town for the first time.

Rest in Peace Ma
It was 92 degrees when I blew into town today, with not a blade of grass as far as I could see in any direction. It was and still is a tough place to make a rancher's living. With experience gained through living, I translated the environs to my mother’s conservatism, her stoicism, her grit, and honesty. She was strong and quiet, and stayed the course, just like the town from which she came.


  1. This is a really wonderful, heartfelt post. Glad you drove out of your way.

  2. Special descriptive from the heart writing. Thanks for this story!
    Bob brown