Joe N. Brown
Joe N. Brown

In a previous tale I told how the U.S. Border Patrol had brought a man to me to work. He was needed to testify in a federal trial and was to stay with me as a ranch hand for one year. This I agreed to and was given an I-92 ID card for Tirso Delgado. That is all repeated history.

Tirso was a little Yaqui Indian about 5-foot 4-inches and weighed 92 pounds, at the most. Without asking, I assumed he was about 50-years-old.

I found out later that he was an outlaw on both sides of the border. I also learned that the little Indian was a top of rancher who could do anything connected to ranching with two exceptions. Tirso could not drive a vehicle, nor could he weld. Beyond that he could and would do anything asked of him.

Tirso settled into the routine at our ranch just like an old hand. He broke some colts, shod horses, rode pipelines, and fixed water gaps. One of the ranch border collie dogs got snake bit and he cured him.

Enough about what a fine hand he was. We became good friends while working together. Now, lets get on with this tale.

One day while Tirso was shoeing a horse, I got a collect phone call from Villa Acuna, Mexico. Accepting the call, it was from Tirso’s daughter. She asked to talk to Tirso to give him a message. I told her he was working and I would take the message to him. She refused and gave me a phone number to give to him and said the message was urgent.

I went to the barn and brought Tirso to the phone. He made the call and got his daughter on the phone. After all the hellos and howdies, he asked what the message was about. His eyes opened wide and he took a long breath then said, “Por que.”

He then listened for about three or four minutes and then thanked the daughter and informed her he would take care of the problem and hung up.
He sat quietly for a while then turned and said he would need about two weeks off and would I carry him to the river that night? I agreed and told him anything he needed I would furnish.

He sat quietly for a few minutes then spoke up, “My son Christobal has been murdered and I need to go take care of the problem in Villa Acuna. I will need some cash, probably $50, and the loan of a good pistol and shells.”

I agreed and gave him the $50 in cash. Then, I got out a Colt .38 Special and a box of shells. I took him to the barn where he said, “I’ll be back in a week.”

A week later, I went to the bunk house and Tirso was drinking coffee. I asked if all was taken care of and was assured it was. He then shoved the .38 Special across the table and said, “Thank You. I owe you two bullets. They may find his carcass some day but I doubt it. We believe in an eye for an eye.”

This little Yaqui Indian, Tirso Delgado, stayed and worked for me about five years and this incident was never mentioned again.
There are some more happenings with or about Tirso, but that will have to wait for another story.