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'How I Spent My Summer Vacation'


* Editor's note: One boy's summer recap shows that the wild west is no competition to his imagination.

"How I spent my summer vacation." By Wallace Bleff.

When summer began, I headed out west. My parents had told me I needed a rest. "Your imagination," they said, "is getting too wild. It will do you some good to relax for awhile."

So they put me aboard a westbound train. To visit Aunt Fern in her house on the plains.

But I was captured by cowboys, A wild-looking crowd. Their manners were rough And their voices were loud.

"I'm trying to get to my aunt's house," I said But they carried me off to their cow camp instead.

The Cattle Boss growled, as he told me to sit, "We need a new cowboy. Our old cowboy quit. We could sure use your help. So what do you say?" I thought for a minute, then I told him, "Okay."

Then I wrote to Aunt Fern, so she'd know where I'd gone. I said not to worry, I wouldn't be long.

That night I was given a new set of clothes. Soon I looked like a wrangler from my head to my toes. But there's more to a cowboy than boots and a hat, I found out the next day And the day after that.

Each day I discovered some new cowboy tricks. From roping and riding to making fire with sticks.

Slowly the word spread all over the land: "That wrangler 'Kid Bleff' is a first-rate cowhand!"

The day finally came when the roundup was through. Aunt Fern called: "Come on over. Bring your cowboys with you."

She was cooking a barbecue that very same day. So we cleaned up (a little) and we headed her way.

The food was delicious. There was plenty to eat. And the band that was playing just couldn't be beat.

But suddenly I noticed a terrible sight. The cattle were stirring and stamping with fright. It's a scene I'll remember till my very last day. "They're gonna stampede!" I heard somebody say.

Just then they came charging. They charged right at me! I looked for a hiding place -- a rock, or a tree.

What I found was a tablecloth spread out on the ground. So I turned like a matador and spun it around. It was a new kind of cowboying, a fantastic display! The cattle were frightened and stampeded ... away!

Then the cowboys all cheered, "Bleff's a true buckaroo!" They shook my hand and slapped my back, And Aunt Fern hugged me, too.

And that's how I spent my summer vacation. I can hardly wait for show-and-tell!

CREDIT: HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION by Mark Teague. Copyright c 1995 by Mark Teague. Used by Permission of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

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