Some of you reading this might not have had the experience of living in the ranch country of the American West and might not believe all of the stories I write about, such as seeing buffaloes and pronghorns or killing rattlesnakes. I want to assure you that all the blogs I have written so far are all true. Today’s story is no exception.
Today is June 30, 2012. Miss Sugar and I had planned to go up to Cheyenne, Wyoming for the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) event known as Hell on Wheels. That adventure was going to be the subject of today’s blog, but it will have to wait until tomorrow because I want to first write about what just happened when we got home.
So as we drove up the lane, we noticed a pickup truck with a stock trailer backed up against a gate by the barn. That is not an unusual sight. We have a pickup and we have a stock trailer. The trouble was, this particular pickup was not ours and this particular stock trailer was not ours but the barn and the gate are definitely ours.
So the question that Miss Sugar articulated with her Texan candor concerned her suspicion that persons unknown might be up to no good. Rustlers! Rustlers? That’s a hangin offense around these parts.
There were two cowboy types in our pen by the barn trying to convince a calf to join his friends in the trailer backed up to the gate. Apparently, this calf was not that close of a friend in that he was very reluctant to join the other calves.
You are probably wondering, “Was it your calf being rustled by badmen? Did you shoot them per the Code of the West? Did you use the Colt .45s you have for the SASS competition?” Those are excellent questions, which I will answer for you.
No, it was not our calf, so, no, I thought it would not be proper to shoot them.
However, the question remains, why were the cowboys, calf, truck and trailer in our barnyard?
So I drove down to ask the cowboys that very question.
A young feller came over and introduced himself as Brad Hall. Then Brad offered an explanation. He said that he and this other feller, Ken, were hauling cattle when something happened to a tire on their trailer right in front of our place, which caused them to stop and unload the bunch in our pen. He said that they knocked on our door but no one was home. That was because we were up in Cheyenne at Hell on Wheels, which, like I said already, I will write about tomorrow.
Miss Sugar said, “Your trailer looks o.k. to me.” Which it did.
So Brad said, “Oh, it ain’t this trailer. After we unloaded, we took the other trailer with the bum tire to our place and came back with this one. We got all the critters loaded in this trailer except this last stinker. We been trying to get him in for more than an hour. If I had a .45, I’d shoot him right here and give you the meat.”
I know what you are thinking, gentle reader. You are thinking, “Al, didn’t you just say you have two Colt .45 pistols for your SASS competition?”
No, I did not offer Brad the use of one of my .45 sixshooters.
Instead, we offered to help him load the calf.
I wish I could say our help was valuable. It was not. That dang calf got around Ken (not me) and took off out of the pen into the pasture.
I know what you are thinking. “Didn’t you write in Where the Deer and the Antelope Play that your buckskin gelding, Woody, is perhaps the fastest land animal in North America? And didn’t you write in Wonder Horses that Scamp is a real smart trick horse like Trigger? Wouldn’t Roy Rogers use Trigger to chase that calf right into the trailer? Or would you just rope him and drag him? Didn’t you say you have participated in roundups and cattle drives and brandings?”
We four were not mounted on cowhorses. We just chased the calf on foot into a different pen, our stud pen, which is six feet high and made of pipe and cable. It is a good thing it was available. (Remember, Woody used to be a stallion, but no more.)
So Brad go out a rope and roped the little calf in our stud pen. Ken helped him hold the calf while Brad tied the calf’s hind legs. Then they dragged him to the trailer and lifted him into it and that was that.
They thanked us and left.
Miss Sugar and I walked from the barn to the house. There we found a note taped for us in case we came home and wondered about our new calves before Brad and Ken returned. It said, “Dear Folks, Sorry about the issue at hand but we were forced to unload these calves. (Two phone numbers were next). Please give us a call. We will return ASAP. Going to Middle Cherokee Park. Thanks, Brad.”
What a fine young man! I’m glad I didn’t shoot first and ask questions later.
Posted in adventure
, animal stories
, Life in Colorado
and tagged American West
, Cherokee Park
, Colt .45
, North America
, prong horns
, stud pen
, trick horse
I Wasn’t Always Like This
A group of people, a family I supposed, emerged from the restaurant next door to where I was sitting outside the art gallery wherein my wife was hosting an exhibit of western art. She had recruited some excellent artwork by local artists. I was outside the gallery as a decoration in my cowboy hat. I was playing a character — me. As people passed by me on the sidewalk, I would invite them in to see the western art exhibit. I solicited the group mentioned above.
A young man, college age, was pushing an older gentleman in a wheelchair. There was a middle-aged couple, an older lady, and a younger woman. The man in the wheelchair stared blankly ahead and did not participate in the conversations of his companions.
I smiled my award-winning smile and initiated eye contact with some of them. The man in the wheel chair did not smile back. Nevertheless, the group went inside the gallery. Sugar took over the public relations. I went in too, to see her in action.
The young man pushing the wheelchair kindly placed it in front of one of the walls adorned with paintings of Old West scenes, such as Remington or Russell created, scenes with cowboys, buffalo, cattle, Indians, locomotives, mountain scenes, running horses. He waited patiently for the man in the wheelchair to take it in before moving to another wall. The man in the wheelchair was not staring blankly. He was intent, studying the images.
As I watched him, a lady came up behind me and explained that she and the man in the wheelchair had been professors at the university. She added that he, Dr. _____, used to teach a course on The Philosophy of Art. No wonder he seemed to be enjoying the art exhibit.
I introduced the doctor to Sugar. She had a table of treats and beverages. She asked whether he would like lemonade, coffee or wine. He spoke. He told Sugar he would prefer wine, using one word — “Wine.” So Sugar brought the professor a little bit. The young man, who we learned was his caregiver, pointed out to his charge, “This is not juice like you drink at home.” The young man seemed surprised that the professor was partying at the gallery. The professor smiled at Sugar and indicated that he would like more wine. She gave him a little bit more. He smiled again. He was enjoying the gallery scene.
I am glad that the professor visited us. I watched him studying the art and saw him in a new light. At first, I just saw him as a person who seemed very limited in his abilities. Now I saw him in the light of his history and accomplishments. I could imagine him back when he was teaching college students. He must have been knowledgeable and bright to engage them. He must have been respected.
He was not always like this. And his present condition was not exactly as it appeared. He still could enjoy a night out on the town. He still could enjoy art. And he still could choose whether to have lemonade, coffee, or wine.
And he can still be respected, and loved. And he is.