It’s 15 minutes until their shift is over and they’re headed back to the Border Patrol station in El Paso. Darryl Rambo (yes, that is his name) and his partner that day, Tough Boy Sanchez, are trying not to notice anything anywhere, simply concentrating on getting back to the station without any trouble.

Darryl is slouched down in his seat, doing his best to be invisible to the world.

“A car pulls up in the right lane next to us. It’s hard not to notice that beat-up right front fender and the right front tire that’s as smooth as a baby’s behind. I let my tired eyes wander back across the lines of that vintage model Chevy, still not paying much attention, but thinking it really is a mess. There are three guys in the car. As my eyes pass over the driver, I notice that he is Hispanic, hasn’t shaved for about a week, has long black stringy hair that hasn’t seen a comb since the day that car was new and he is ugly. I mean UGLY! He has a mean, surly look on his face, and the middle finger of his left hand is extended toward me in that time-honored salute. He punches it; with tires smoking he goes right through that red light.”

One more time they are going to be a little late home to dinner, but on the other hand, Darryl ends up with another great story for his book — A Life on the Line, Stories of Service in the Border Patrol.

First, a quick explanation of the name Rambo. Sylvester Stallone took the name John Rambo off the Vietnam Wall and John’s parents were upset about it. John Arthur Rambo was Darryl’s cousin, who was not like the Rambo in the movies. “We used to call him Artyboy,” said Darryl.

Darryl is a Montana man, born and raised on a farm near Havre. The oldest of four brothers and a sister, life was quite good for Darryl. He loved the farming. Raising wheat, then barley and oats, they would grow it six months and be off six months during the winter and he enjoyed his work. Though working with cows at various times of his life, he was raised on goat milk because of an allergy to cow’s milk.

High school found him playing basketball, baseball, and waterskiing.

“I like to do sports but I didn’t like to watch it,” he said.

It was when he married the wrong woman — according to his family — that life changed. Jackie had four children when Darryl married her.

“She was a beautiful lady,” said Darryl. “Just wonderful. After 10 years with breast cancer, she died.”

That was after 23 years of marriage, 10 years of which Darryl was a Border Patrol agent in El Paso, which is what this book is written about.

After leaving the farm and marrying Jackie, Darryl began the search of where he belonged and what he could do to raise his family.

He tells the story of being a trucker with his own rig until a fateful night when a gumbo road made another dramatic change in his life. Gumbo, it appears, is quite slimy and slippery when wet. The rest of the story is in — yes, the book!

Becoming a Border Patrol agent was no easy task back then — over 30 years ago. As he followed his path it became full of trees for around three years — lots of big Lodge Pole Pine.

“They call them Lodge Pole Pine because they don’t have any limbs all the way to the top and then they have a little tuft. The Indians use them for lodge poles,” said Darryl. A timber faller is what Darryl had become. After being thrown across the air by his first tree, making his broken ribs from the gumbo road accident feel as if a knife had gone through his body, he got up and went home.

Never a quitter, Darryl becomes a top timber faller before he got a mysterious looking note asking if he is still interested in becoming a Border Patrol agent.

His book is written with an easy flowing feel to it, almost as if he’s sitting in your living room telling you his stories over a cup of coffee or a beer. With a sense of humor and forthrightness he brings to life those characters he encounters over the years — people like Crazy Mary, another agent with a grand sense of humor — Joe Griffin, an orangutan, a Siamese cat and a German shepherd dog and many more.

Thanks to his wife, Lily Majors, Darryl published his story after it stayed on his computer for a long time. On Saturday, March 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. he will have a book signing at Barnes and Noble on N. 10th Street.

If there has ever been a back door into the Border Patrol agent’s life, this is the key to getting there. Don’t worry about wanting more at the end of the read. Darryl already is working on his next book — all about his years as a pilot with the BP here in McAllen — Life Over the Line!

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