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Rope Burns » “Mad” Jack Hanks 2

“Mad” Jack Hanks 2


Tales of the O-No Ranch

      by “Mad” Jack Hanks



                                                                    WHAT WILL MONDAY BRING


Mondays as a general rule bring groans from a lot of folks because, of course, it’s the beginning of another week at work. I always looked forward to Mondays when I was managing ranches. Mondays were the start of challenges, duty, and fair shakes all the way around with employees if possible. I loved my job and all that it represented and couldn’t wait to get to another Monday. There was this one job that I had that it wasn’t that way at all. That’s for another time. On this Monday as I write, I am looking forward to an enjoyable day. First there are the prairie dogs that have suddenly reappeared down in the back end of the pasture. I have no idea where they came from. The plague got rid of them the last time and the time before and the time before that. However, here they are again so I will be off to pay them a little visit to see if we can reach some compromise! You believe that don’t ya? And guess what else is happening tonight? Yes, it’s the GREAT DEBATE between Hillary and “the Donald”. It should be exciting. Of course, by the time you receive this column it will be a week later and all of the “P.C. commentators” will have had an opportunity to tell you what you witnessed looking, of course,  through their particular set of eyeballs. Then there is Monday night football to watch if you aren’t into political mud slinging. This is gonna be a busy Monday for me as I need to do some work in the corrals and install a new gate. Fall is a wonderful time of year to be outside even on a Monday. The air is crisp and clear and a little new snow on the mountain peaks if you gaze in that direction.

Friday night was fun for me as it usually is. I had a date to go to a Daryl Worley concert at the Sundance Steakhouse and Saloon. My date was an attractive, highly educated young woman who had been out to ride horses with me recently. To call her a country girl would be like calling yours truly a rocket scientist! Bless her heart I don’t think she would know a black baldie from a black bear. I have to give her credit where credit is due. She loves country music and is an excellent dancer. She recently flew to New York for a concert by some C&W artist I don’t recall. Just the same it was a fun night.

I think for the most part, I am just looking forward to the days ahead while enjoying the day in progress. I always enjoy getting to get outside to do something, anything if the weather is agreeable. At my age I am not so fond of a Monday when I wake up to blowing snow, ten degrees and hungry horses waiting to be fed. I feel guilty if I don’t get the coffee on and head out the door into the storm and take care of my buddies. I have become a “fair weather” cowboy in my old age. I have had offers to go “cowboy” for this person or that and I politely turn down the offers if the weather is not in my favor. I reckon that’s what old age will do to you.

I recently watched a video of the Spur’s Bell Ranch cowboy crew out with the wagon for five weeks getting all of their cattle worked and calves branded. It was cold, it was hot, it was windy, it came torrential down pours and none of that got in their way. A second look would tell you that most of those cowboys were under thirty five. It is a young man’s game. A Monday to them is like any other day but I never heard anyone complain. So, I’m off into this Monday with anticipation that I will have a good, eventful day with no real problems. I hope your Monday’s are beneficial to you and you can wake up to as many Mondays as you desire for as long as you relish! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, get involved in the election this year, and I will c. y’all, all y’all.


While having breakfast with my fellow world problem solvers, gentle readers, the waitress came by and said I had a phone call. “Hummmm…that’s unusual this time of morning, I wonder who that could be,” I pondered. I answered the phone and my neighbor Marcie offered, “Jack I’m taking your horses down the road back to your place.” “Are you sure? I just saw them half an hour ago down in the pasture,” I blurted out. “You have a paint and a big dun, right?”

“Yeah, they’re mine, I’ll be there in about ten minutes.” I hurried out the door and arrived back at the ONO some ten minutes later to find Marcie standing in my gate to keep the horses on my place until I returned. I thanked her and proceeded to get them penned and figure out how they escaped as all was right with the world when I left to go in to the café. Now children, there is a gate by my corrals that leads into the pasture behind the house. The same pasture that the horses were in when I left. Someone had rammed the gate, bent the crap out of it and broke off the post it was attached to. I stood there confused trying to figure out how all of this happened and who made it happen. I was madder than an old rooster in a pen full of playful pups. “That dirty *&%$#*&*& that’s been tearing up my mailboxes came by as soon as I left and ran through my gate just to punish me once more!” That’s what my first thought was.

I decided to calm down, call my daughter and tell her about it. She wanted to come out and take some pictures and suggested that maybe I report it to the sheriff. I did. I was told there would be someone out shortly. Some twenty minutes after my daughter arrived, two deputies in one car pulled in my drive. As I approached them with a pistol on my hip they immediately stopped their car some distance away, stepped out and put those big ol’ batons on their belts and I’m thinking, “they don’t need those things.” I’m sure they had no idea what they were getting into and decided to error on the side of caution. “HOWDY, how y’all doin’?” I offered. They relaxed a little and I told them the history of my mailbox destruction and also told them I thought whoever had done this may still be down in the pasture, maybe wrecked down in the creek if they were drunk or on drugs. They took my driver’s license, processed me through the system for whatever reason and took some pictures. I requested them to get in my truck with me, go down through the pasture and see if anyone was down there. “We’ll follow you in our car.”

My daughter, Sunni and I took off down through the pasture along the creek to check it out with the deputies a little ways behind us. As you drive along the creek the bank can be as high as maybe thirty feet or so as it drops off down to the creek. Under a big cottonwood tree the heifers were shaded up. I stopped to count them and be sure they were all there. They were. Sunni suddenly said, “dad, you aren’t supposed to have a black bull in here are you?” PROBLEM SOLVED! I walked back to the deputies and explained how embarrassed I was to have called them out and that the neighbor’s bull had come over for a visit and he was guilty of all the damage. They were very nice and we had some pleasant parting comments and they went on their way with a good story to tell their buddies.

I later replaced the gate, penned that ol’ big black bull, the neighbors came and picked him up and paid for the damages. They told me as they were leaving the bull’s name was Houdini and he liked to travel at times. All was good, and I got some column material out of the ordeal. Don’t get any better than that! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, get yer firewood laid in and yer stovepipe cleaned out. Winter is peeking around the corner.

. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

First Impressions

Gentle readers, sometimes first impressions are lasting impressions and sometimes they are not. Let me explain to you my humble cowboy opinion. If you meet someone for the very first time and you have been wanting to meet them because you admire them for themselves or for something they have or have done, you want to come across as acceptable. You want to impress them so they will remember you for whatever reason. When you meet, you form an opinion, good or bad of them and them of you. Now if you don’t ever have the opportunity to meet them again, most likely your opinion of them will not change. However if you do become friends or at best have the opportunity to see them once in a while you may change how you think about them.

Why? Well, because you have had an opportunity to see the chinks in their armor and they yours. That’s just a fact of life or it is in my world. I’m sure I have disappointed folks now and again and I have been disappointed by some I held in high esteem.

I have had good first impressions of horses on occasion and on some folks as well. I remember a couple of horses that I bought that never disappointed me and at the moment I can’t remember those folk’s name one way or the other. I reckon they didn’t impress me all that well. I went to a horse auction in Amarillo to try and find an extra horse as I had taken on the responsibility to look after a feller’s cattle and I only had one horse at the time. I’m wandering around the parking lot watching folks ride or talk about this great hoss they were reluctant to sell but, you know, life happens and he was just gonna have to go to another home. Here comes these three kids aged from maybe seven to twelve all riding this little sorrel stud horse bareback with a halter. He was quite, attentive and it seemed nothing bothered him. Not the traffic, dogs, kids, other horses or all the commotion taking place inside the sale barn.

I approached the kids and ask if that was their horse and why were they selling him. “Yes sir, the oldest boy spoke, he’s ours, we raised him from a colt but daddy said we had to sell him when he got grown. He’s just past two and really gentle,” I thanked them, watched them ride off and considered some other horses as this sorrel was pretty small for me, even at two years of age. Just the same I bought him and took him home. I rode him some and he was just as good as I had him in my mind to be. I had him castrated and when he got well I started to ride him a little checking on pasture cattle and swinging a rope off him. My first impression of him was a lasting impression and he just got better and better and big enough to handle that old brushy country and the livestock that grazed it. I purchased another hoss on the spot because I knew the man riding him couldn’t be less of a cowboy even if he tried and this hoss seemed to be really gentle and was always at the right spot at the right time.

Again, I found no fault in this horse for the three years I had him. He was about as good a cow pony as a fella could want to throw a leg over and know he was a’horseback.

I think we all do our best to impress when we meet new folks that impress us for whatever reason. When I ask a really cute lady to dance that I have not meet before, I know I do my best to be George Straight not Howdy Doodie.  Sometimes it works and sometimes I fail to impress. I never fail to try as I have been surprised many, many times when some cutie says, “I’d love to, thanks for asking.” That’s always good for an old guy’s ego, just ask “The Donald”. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, don’t be afraid to try. If you don’t try, you never fail, if you never fail, you have never tried. Lay silently in the tall grass and keep yer powder dry. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Tracks That Won’t Blow Out

Gentle readers, occasionally we come across a bit of verse or writing that someone has done that leaves a lasting impression on us. Ray Owens, a cowboy poet from Texas and later New Mexico was one of those fellers that could put pen to paper and have you wishing you had his talent. We like to think sometimes that cowboys have an edge when it comes to honesty, integrity, and having the respect of all who know them. Well, it ’tain’t so. Nope, you can find these kind of men and women in almost any profession but I think it’s easy to attach those labels to cowboys. We remember, Roy and Gene and those guys and the examples that they set.

Ray wrote a poem called “Tracks that won’t blow out” and it’s been one of my favorites for years and I wanted to share it with you. I think it’s just purty darn profound! Here goes…

  I didn’t know him all that long and maybe not that well

“cause how good you really know someone is sometimes hard to tell.

But on this one thing I am certain, there ain’t the slightest doubt,

he made some footprints in my memory and left some tracks that won’t blow out.

She was someone extra special when I met her way back then.

Over forty years have past now but I can still remember when

she was young and shy and smilin’, the prettiest thing for miles about.

That memory still walks through my mind leavin’ tracks that won’t blow out.

There’s been a lot of happ’nin’s I remember through the years.

Times my cup was runnin’ over and some times that brought some tears.

It’s getting’ on toward evening now; the sunset could be soon,

but somehow I’m still feelin’ like it’s early afternoon.

I reckon that’s ’cause of being blessed with havin’ lots of friends

and some understanding family on whose love I can depend.

If I was gonna’ make the trip again and travel the same route,

I’d maybe try a little harder to leave some tracks that won’t blow out.

Good stuff don’t ya think? I think it’s sure worth giving some second thought to as we travel the roads and trails of our daily lives. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, step softly and try to mind your own business. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Critters And Their Instincts  

I have made myself pay attention to the habits, actions and reactions of critters these past few years. Gentle readers, it’s been kinda’ fun to discover some things that I have not been aware of low these many years. I have an old Jack Rabbit that I call Jack (how cleaver is that?) that hangs around the back yard and in the pasture next to my house. He like to relax next to the metal water tub on the shady side on the hottest of days. Rabbits know almost from the time they are born that they are indeed prey and they will flatten out, ears down and no movement at all if they think danger is anywhere around.

I think ole Jack must feel like a combat soldier on patrol any time he is out and about. A sniper, anything or anybody that might attack him could appear at any time. I think I would hate to be a rabbit for sure. On the western slope in the summer I would ride up the mountain every other day to check on the cows. On this one morning a mule deer had deposited her fawn right beside the trail under a small salt cedar. My ole pony spied the fawn and was a little more than curious when the fawn jumped up and took off. So did my buckskin. I got him under control just before we made a hole in a “bob” wire fence.

Every time we went up that trail and it was the only clear path up the mountain, he was bug eyed looking for the fawn.

We hear the phrase quite often these days, “why can’t we just all get along?” I have given that considerable thought and I don’t think it’s in our D.N.A. I really don’t. Think about it! Why do dogs fight with other dogs when they could just “get along?”

Same thing with cats, horses, bulls, elk, rams or any species of critters. It’s just in their D.N.A. to want control or to be the one in charge of whatever. We see it all the time. Sure animals kill other animals to eat and survive. Don’t we? As far back as man’s history goes it appears that there will never be world peace because, in my opinion, some bad actor out there will wan to over power his neighbor. It might be because of his religion, his fear of his neighbor, his dislike for his neighbor and for any of a hundred reasons. The earliest writings in the Bible warn us that there will always be wars and rumors of wars. So, what does that tell me? It tells me that man, like the animals that inhabit his world, are to be ever watchful and suspicious on occasion for unforeseen discord be it the weather, the economy, our government or our neighbor.

I sat on the back deck yesterday and watched two little hummingbirds in mortal combat over who gets to feed first. There are six places on the feeder to accommodate them, but NO, we’re gonna’ duke it out to see who is in control here. That’s really what inspired me to write this column just watching those hummingbirds do combat over absolutely nothing, nothing!!

I have come to the conclusion that they (the hummingbirds) are us. We are them. I reckon that’s the way the world works.

I hope you are not to depressed by now. Cheer up, it might be cold enough to snow in a few weeks! Stay tuned, check yer

cinch on occasion and remember not much changes in our old world so charge into today and find a way to have some

fun! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Phantom Returns

Oh my…would you believe gentle readers, that the very next day after my column concerning abuse to my poor mailbox, the phantom returned during the night and punished that mailbox again! Good grief Charlie Brown, what gives here? Could it be the fan-tom of the mailbox caper or the phantom or both? Yep, I had it beefed up pretty darn good so in frustration they ripped the little red flag completely off and whacked it with a heavy object and put a fair sized dent in it. I repaired it the best I could and it is still useable. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to go and buy a new one now does it? And to top it all off, I have a small “old glory” American flag attached to the post the mailbox is on and it flies proudly above it. Now who would want to destroy a old mailbox with “old glory” attached to it? I’ll tell ya who…it’s somebody that not only does not like me but does not like America or what it stands for. Hey, it’s okay…really. I now may have a full time job and that would be becoming an expert in replacing mailboxes. Heck, I might could someday write a blog about it or even publish a book on the finer points of mailbox repair and or replacing. Most likely won’t make the New York’s best seller list but one can never tell. You could see me on Good Morning America or Bill O’Reilly or that Ellen whatshername show. Naw, probably wouldn’t go there. Now there is that chance we may catch this rascal or at least get some imagery of him or her or it. Ha, ha, ha, wouldn’t that put a dent (no pun intended) in their little caper? In all honesty my neighbor to the north had her mailbox completely removed like, in vanished. This of course could be a case of kids doing a little too much Bud Lite and being short on brains and too much time on their hands. However, I did mention in my last column about the mailbox caper that it was my and my mailbox alone receiving the damage.

If I were Peter Sellers of Pink Panther fame, I would suspect that they took another mailbox in order to throw me off their trail…hummm.  Time will tell I suppose and I will keep you informed. I had a reader from the west slope, Grand Junction area, call and tell me he on occasion would suffer a damaged mailbox like myself. We had a good visit and I always enjoy hearing from my faithful readers.

Okay now, lets switch horses and remind you that The Daddy of the All, Cheyenne Frontier Days, is going on as you read this. That is one super duper good rodeo and place to hang out when you need some entertainment.

I had to doctor ole Nugget (my zebra dun) as he had an infection in his eye. He has to be hobbled or you could have problems as he is one big hoss!  The first time I doctored him he was fairly patient and we had no issues. Yesterday morning was a little different as he began to rear and jump with those hobbles on. Kinda scary for the old guy (me) trying to stay out of his way as he seemed to want to follow me around. He finally wound up in the fence corner where I was able to tie his head to a stout corner post and finally got him doctored. He looked good this morning. Well, it’s time to close with stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, say your prayers, hug your kids and be kind to your neighbor and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all!

Let’s Make A Deal   

I would like to make a deal with you. I’m not sure we have met, maybe, maybe not, but I’m ready to holler “calf rope”!. Yep,

I have reached the point where I would just love for you to call me, and heck, I’ll even buy your breakfast if you like. You can finally start barkin’ at me and just get it all off your chest. You can call me anything you want. You can tell me how misguided I am. You can throw all of the insults you can come up with and I’ll just sit there and take it like a man. I might not even try to make medicine  with you and who knows, I could fire up the peace pipe. I’m sure you are tired of grinding your teeth and clinching your fist until your knuckles turn white. That’s not a healthy way to live. I know for a fact that I’m purt near tired of replacing my mail boxes. Who knows, I could just be barkin’ up the wrong tree and maybe, just maybe all of this is just coincidence? However, when I see that my mailbox and only my mailbox has been shot up with a shotgun (first time), or stuffed full of dog poop (second time) or ripped off the support, carried up the road and tossed over in my pasture (third time) and yesterday, someone just pride it off and left it in the ditch along with the mail (hopefully the last time). Now if I have offended you and you are a strong animal rights person, or someone who believes that good honest folks shouldn’t own guns or maybe you just don’t happen to like me or anything that I write in this column. Hey, that’s okay. Let’s bury the hatchet and we’ll meet face to face and you can really rake me over the coals. Don’t want to do that? Why is that? Heck,

I’m just a harmless old feller who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Well, that might be over stated. Part of it is true. I am old. No kidding, just give me a call and maybe we can make a deal and you can rid yourself of all of the pent up frustration that according to you, old Mad Jack has provided. You must have lost a lot of sleep to drive all the way out here, get out of your vehicle and start bangin’, prying, cussin’ and tearing up my mailbox in the middle of the night. That’s kinda’ sad that you would want to live that way. I am glad that if all of this I have conjured up in my mind is in fact from you being upset with me for something I have written, at least YOU ARE READING MY COLUMN! That’s cool and I say “thank you”. Soooo….I reckon the ball is in your court. You can continue to be frustrated with me and pay me back by tearing my mailbox up and then go home and get on your Certa mattress and relive the brave and dangerous deed you have done in the dark of night. I bet you already know that what you are doing is a Federal offence and I have made a police report so that will have me on record as being a target. They suggest that I put up one of those little cameras to record who comes by and well, you know. Hummmm…not a bad idea me thinks. Anyhoo, you decide if you are man (woman) enough to give me a call and have breakfast with me and maybe we can make a deal? I’m bettin’ I never hear from you, will I? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, keep yer powder dry and your pistol loaded, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Independence Day

“Oh say can you see?” Yes, gentle readers, I can see sometimes a lot more than I want at times. There were those times in years past that it didn’t matter if I saw so much of what was going on in the greatest nation on the face of the earth. Today is so different.

Our coffee shop conversations always include politics of some nature or the other. I wish it weren’t so. I wish that I felt as if I could not have a troubled heart when it comes to the future of our nation. There have been so many, many folks that have given life and limb to keep America strong and solvent and for what? We have spent so much blood and treasure to make all Americans at least feel safe in their comings and goings of their daily lives. Of course I’m not talking about Chicago or Detroit or New Orleans or areas of Dallas, Denver, you name it where there are “gang problems” with gang violence. One side of the aisle says, “let’s just take away all of the guns except maybe a single shot rifle or shotgun”. Then we would solve the gun problem. I say guns are not the problem.

It’s people that are the problem. It’s people that don’t respect authority. It’s people that want something for nothing at our expense. How was our independence won? It wasn’t won with broom handles, rakes, and single trees. Our freedom was won with muskets and cannons and the determination that if freedom couldn’t be won then our lives as individuals didn’t have a lot of meaning. Folks were danged good and tired of bowing down to the king at his pleasure.

For those politicians that want my guns and the guns of all law abiding citizens I say this: “give up your guns.” Give up the guns of those body guards that protect you and your families. Yep, if I can’t have guns suitable enough to protect me, then you should not be so blessed as to have what I can’t have. YOU WORK FOR ME YOU DUMMY! DON’T YA GET IT? Of course you don’t. After all, most likely you have been in government way, way too long and you may have never ever lived as the rest of us live our lives day in and day out. You are smarter than most of us, right? You know for a fact how we should live our daily lives. You know what we should be eating, what type of transportation we should have, how much water should be available to us and what kind of health care we should have at our disposal. Well, maybe until we reach a certain age and then who cares? Who cares if a Veteran’s hospital is costing more than twice what was said it would cost to build and what if it’s a couple of year’s behind in getting it done. Who cares if our veterans are dying because they are put on waiting list that are longer than their live span?

The King of England wouldn’t have cared. Here we are celebrating our independence from the king. WHOOPEEE!! I say we have a future by putting folks in government that think and act like us. Folks that are not there with one goal in mind and that’s to get reelected term after term and it doesn’t matter who suffers in the middle of all this. We need heroes. We need men and women with guts, grit and the determination to stomp all over “political correctness” if it gets in the way. Well, enough said except I want to give one example of smart politicians. A feller buys a can of bug spray and ask the clerk “is this stuff good for spiders?” The clerk (politician) says, naw, it’ll kill’um!! Now enough said except I did pick up a “Bushmaster 223” this week. You gun folks know what I’m sayin’! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, thank a veteran for their service,

fly Old Glory at every opportunity, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all!

Corny But Cute

Every now and then, gentle readers, I come across cute little tid bits that I want to share with you. Most of these were

written by that lady by the name of Ann Onimus. She can be very, very clever. Here goes:

I have been told to get my butt in gear but I am totally shiftless! I tried workin’ in a muffler shop but it was just too

exhausting! Then I tried being a tailor, but I just wasn’t suited for it. (drum roll)! So I worked as a lumberjack but I got

fired. They said I just couldn’t cut it so they gave me the ax! Once I even tried to be a historian until I came to the

realization that there just wasn’t any future in it! I tried being a professional fisherman but I just couldn’t live off of

my net income. Get it? Here’s one of my own….I took a shot at being a police officer but I somehow missed. Here’s

another….I tried being a hangman once but I just couldn’t get the hang of it! And last but not least…”beating a

dead horse will only increase your frustration because there is no way yer gonna’ get a kick out of it!! That should

be enough to have you gaggin’ over the toilet by now.

I have a couple of stories that are not cute at all. I put them in that “sad but true” category. Don’t ever blow

your nose in front of the governor. Nope. It’s true,  I had to fire one of my cowboys or possibly lose my own

job if I didn’t. I hated that job and the folks I worked for at the time! This is one of the saddest of all. You take your kids

to Disney World and your two year old is dragged out in the water and drowned by an alligator. I just can’t imagine trying to pull him out of the gator’s jaws, as his dad did, only to see them

slip under the water and disappear. Your beautiful daughter who is a rodeo queen and has just graduated from

high school has been kidnapped and murdered. How do you overcome that? Mom and Dad, my heart is breaking

for you as I write this and I send to you, as I’m sure all of my readers do, our deepest sympathies! You are on

our minds and in our hearts and we pray for you and yours. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and take

the opportunity to hug your children whenever you can. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.




Gentle readers, most of you have or have had a dog that you adored and really, really missed them

when they were gone. Clancy, my German Sheppard, was that dog for me. I rescued him from the pound

and our “getting acquainted” period took some adjusting on both our parts. Once we had figured out who

was going to be in charge, we were off and running. Never ever have I owned a more loyal, trusted,

faithful and loving dog than Clancy. Now, there were those times when he just needed his space as

did I, but we both knew when that was. You didn’t want to just walk up to me and slap me on the back

in an aggressive manner if you were a stranger to him. I know for a fact, at least I think I do, that he

saved my bacon one summer day when I walked out to the road to get my mail. A van with four men

in it slowed way down and then stopped just short of my mail box and were looking me over real close

and never offered to speak to me. I think they were thinking, “I bet this old man has some money and

guns in his house. We could grab him, throw him in here with us and invade his home and take whatever

we want.” Boy is that ever paranoid? Just the way they were acting I felt like if Clancy had not been with

me they might have done just that. Clancy was a big, big dog! Enough of that. There was the time I came

back from the T Bar Inn and coffee with my buds only to find Clancy with a head you couldn’t put a number

three washtub over. Rattlesnake! Yep, he had been protecting the home place and paid a price for it.

I did get him doctored, found the snake later and killed it and all was well. Clancy did recover and did

you know, even though it’s been two years since I had to put him down, I still look for him to peek

around the house when I drive up. As he began to age and have problems getting around and especially

trying to get into the back of the truck, I would hoist him up but then he just gave up and didn’t even

go to the back of the truck any more. I have some birds that build their nest in the tops of my

Blue Spruce trees and they always attacked Clancy when he went anywhere close to those trees. It

was so funny to watch them “dive bomb” him and he would never acknowledge their presence. He

would just slowly amble over to the shade of their tree and plop down. Sometimes they would fly

towards him right at his eye level and pull up at the last moment. He would just lift an eyebrow and

sometimes look in my direction as if to say, “I wish these dumb birds would just leave me alone.” When

the time came for him to go, we both knew it and accepted what was coming. Clancy, you old rascal,

I miss you so much and thank you for being the kind of dog that I needed in my life at that time.

I hope I was a good enough “Dad” for you. I hope all of you dads had a super Dad’s Day and took time

to count your blessings. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, wear your sunscreen, use common

sense this summer in all uncommon situations. I don’t want to see you on the six o’clock news!

I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Things To Think About    

Gentle readers, as some of you know I like to listen to a radio program on Sat. mornings called

“In The Bunkhouse” with Red Steagall. Red is from Texas and one of the best know singers and

poets of what cowboys are all about. On his program he usually tries to have some old cowboy

from one of the larger Texas ranches that is retired or maybe still in the saddle. Red is looking

for some real “cowboy humor” about real situations that these guys have been a part of. This

Sat. he was interviewing a cowboy, I believe if memory serves me right, by the name of Roger

Thompson. Roger relates a story of a camp cowboy who wanted to raise chickens to not only

have a good supply of eggs for his family but maybe make a little extra cash by selling eggs on

the side. He had just one problem. His chickens kept dying and he could not for the life of him

figure out why. In despair he called one of his cowboy friends who had some knowledge of

raising chickens and ask if he would drop by and look his situation over and see if he could find

a solution to his problem. Well, the buddy did stop by and observe these chickens running free

range all over the place. He also observed a long metal trey full of adequate feed for these

chickens. However, one thing the didn’t see was any source of water. He commented to his

buddy, “John, everything seems to be in order, however, I don’t see any water for these chickens.

Where to they get water?” To which John replied, “WATER? I AIN’T NEVER SEEN A CHICKEN

PEE!”  Ya know, children, neither have I. Have You? Just something to think about as you go

through your day today. I’m sure there are other things that if we just stopped long enough to

reflect we might come up with something just as cute. Whadda’ think? Stay tuned, check

yer  cinch on occasion and how about this…say a little prayer for someone you love! I’ll c. y’all,

all y’all!

Still Waters

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside still waters”. You are familiar

with that Bible verse aren’t you, gentle readers. It’s the 23rd Psalm written by David. It appears that

ole’ David needed some time to reflect as most of us do. He had been a hero, a murderer and a

number of other things that attributed to him which I won’t go into at present. It appears to this old

cowboy, by the way, when you read this it will be my 76th birthday, that we all need a place to

reflect, collect our thoughts and restart our engines at times.

Each time I look at the Rockies with their snow covered peaks and that beautiful blue Colorado

sky, I might find myself thinking of the 23rd Psalm. I think there are more and more folks wanting

to move away from the hustle and bustle of the city and find “still waters”. We are in such

unpredictable times that it can be very stressful. As an example: I went to get my teeth cleaned only

to find a new hygienist, which was okay, she was pleasant and did a decent job. She had the doc

come in to check my teeth when she finished. He was also new. First day on the job, at this office

anyway. He was big, unshaven, loud and didn’t seem to have a lot of confidence. He took that little

pick they check teeth with and managed to stick it into my lower lip on the outside. It bled. This

guy was shakin’ like Barney Fife on Mayberry. I reached up and softly grasped his wrist and offered,

“Doc, ya need to relax a little bit, I ain’t gonna’ get mad at ya, but yer shakin’ pretty bad and makin’

me awful nervous.” He replied, “am I shaking?” He then quickly said I looked fine and dismissed me

to the payout desk. What a deal. Not only did I need to find some “still waters”, I’m sure he did also.

I won’t be going back there after three years and five different dentist!

There are those that move to the country to find green pastures and still waters and when they

don’t appear when wanted, they begin to criticize. For example: Some of the latest coffee shop talk

from my ‘farmer buddies” is that some woman is going around putting notes in their respective

mail boxes that “if they don’t build more shelters and remove the mud from their feedlot pens she

will get her friends and they will take ACTION!!” How about that? Go back to where you came from

lady. You have no business here and you certainly will contribute nothing to “still waters and green

pastures”. I read the 23 Psalm to “Little Miss Martha” as she lay dying. I think for sure it brought her

some comfort. I reckon that will do it for this column. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and

remember to keep your “peace of mind”, please don’t feel obligated to give your neighbor a “piece

of your mind.” He most likely doesn’t care what you think. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Spread the Stupidity

While watching the “tellly” recently I again saw an advertisement promoting beef, chicken, and

pork products that are hormone and antibiotic free. Hummmm…so I reckon you might want to

eat a meat product that at one time could have been sick and survived without medication? So

was it completely well or was there some residual effects? We take our kids to the doc when they

get sick don’t we? Of course we don’t eat our children, but you get my point. All of this made me

reflect on some internet funnies my bro down in Texas sent me. Here goes…only in this stupid world

does a drugstore make the sick walk all the way to the back to get their meds and healthy folks can

buy cigarettes right up front. Banks leave the money vault door open many times but chain the pens

to the counters. why do we leave our expensive cars in the driveway and store all our junk in the

garage? Do you gentle readers ever wonder why we never see a headline that says, “Psychic wins

lottery? Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called the “rush hour”? The man charged with investing

your life savings is called a “broker”! Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes? Why do they

sterilize the needles they use for lethal injections…hummm? Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes, why don’t they make the cotton

picking airplane out of the same stuff? I know that those are somewhat silly examples of how our

world works at times and it causes us to scratch our heads. One last thing that popped into my mind,

why do we wind up with some of the folks that are trying to win the highest office in the land being

so controversial, unwanted, untrusted and undesirable and those are the ones the press promotes

the most? Surely  folks, we really cannot be that brain dead and uninformed, can we? We really are

a lot like sheep aren’t we? It does cause some pause though when we think about the uneducated

drug dealers in the worst part of the inner city and realize they can count. They know exactly how

many grams in an ounce and exactly what to charge for it and I would bet ya that they also know

how to make exact change. Put that in yer pipe and smoke it! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion,

I trust all will have a really good spring! I’ll c’ y’all, all y’all.

Some Things I Dislike

Gentle readers, we all have certain things that rub us the wrong way. You know push our hair back

against the grain. I have a few I’d like to share with you. My compadres at the T Bar Inn have heard them

all and I reckon I need a new audience. Our country is nineteen TRILLION dollars in debt and the faint

of heart and “do gooders” would like to bring all of the indigents of the southern hemisphere into our

country and put them on our bountiful social programs. Heck, why not bring all indigents from around

the world and give them more than our ordinary citizens are allowed to have? That sort of thinking just

makes me CRAZY! Something else a little less offensive is when I see an ad on the “telly” or in a publication

somewhere and you have the local news anchors, celebrities or sports figures standing there slightly

at an angle with feet spread apart, arms folded and looking down at me. WHAMMO! What am I, some

sort of undeserving moron about to be blessed by what they have to offer? NOT! Am I to picky here?

Another one of my gripes is when I see performance horses, well bred performance horses come into

the arena ready to perform and their noses are three inches off the ground. They look more like

bloodhounds sniffing out a convict than an American Quarter Horse. That, Charlie Brown, in my opinion

is not a natural way of moving for a horse. I have and you have seen hundreds if not thousands of horses

on the move and they DON’T carry their heads below their shoulders. Who started that crap anyway?

On the “telly” you can see two different advertisements. One is for the Wounded Warrior Project and

the other is a P.E.T.A. produced ad with sad eyed dogs and cats that need to be rescued and given

new homes. You can do either for nineteen dollars a month. Which do you think most folks give too?

My last complaint is taxes. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s local, the state or the feds, they just can’t

seem to squeeze enough of our hard earned incomes from us to satisfy their needs. Education in this

country is a SHAM! Yet, every year we need to ad more to the education budget so the CHILDREN

don’t suffer. Give it a rest you ‘BURRO-CRATS”, it’s old, it’s stale and it ain’t working. Give folks the

opportunity for more charter schools and other options. The teacher’s union has always opposed

those options. It would screw up their play ground and the hold they have on education. I reckon

that’s enough relieving my pent up “gripes” and high blood pressure for a little while. If I offended

anyone, I don’t really care. I have a first amendment right to do just that as you have to offend me

with some of the above mentioned. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember silence is

sometimes considered to be acceptance, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Not All Cowboys Are Cowboys

Not all cowboys are cowboys I think is a fairly accurate statement. I have friends and know other folks
around the area and some from my past that would consider themselves to be “cowboys”. They aren’t
now and were not back in my past. I can tell you gentle readers that the only person that can hang the
title of “cowboy” on you is a bunch of “cowboys”. Most folks that have never spent any time on a big
outfit where it takes a man or woman with those special “cowboy skills” just can’t appreciate all that is
required to be a “cowboy”. I hired a feller part time to help out on the ranch. Why, my goodness, he
had his own spurs! Turns out he couldn’t even saddle a horse much less ride one. For the short time he
was there he rode a tractor. Another mistake I made was a neighbor’s boy just home from a number
of years in the military. He had done some cattle work, according to him, in years past and could do
whatever was required of him there on the ranch. Well, by golly, he couldn’t. He had all the appropriate
gear, including a young horse he brought with him. By week’s end he discovered that he was in way over
his head. He didn’t know how to rope. He found out real quick he couldn’t “ram and jam” the company
horses or cattle. He hung around for a few more weeks and decided to move on before I had to let him
go. Both of the above mentioned fellers looked like they could sure be a cowboy but that depended on
who was going to hang that title on them. I know there are ranches that do not allow any horses on
them. All the cattle work is done on foot or all terrain vehicles. No “cowboy” is going to ride a four
wheeler to work cattle and call himself a “cowboy”. Most big outfit cowboys are required to be able to
ride “snotty horses” on occasion. They must be able to shoe their ponies, rope wild cattle by themselves
on occasion and get along with the rest of the crew. They might spend weeks living out of a tee pee or
just sleeping on the ground while the spring and fall works are going on. I fully appreciate those guys
that want to look like and do their best to act like cowboys because they respect the occupation. I
have worked with some really good “hands” and always wanted to be a skilled as they were on the job.
I excelled in some areas and came up short in others. I always seemed to get along with young horses.
I wasn’t much of a roper but have roped and doctored my share of cattle on the open range by myself.
There is a country song that says, “don’t call him a cowboy till ya see him ride”. Even then you may be
getting a pig in a poke and it won’t be a “cowpoke”. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, take care
of your kids, your dogs and of course your ponies and be kind to your neighbors. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Our Hope For Tomorow

Our hope for tomorrow, gentle readers, is of course our youth. I sometimes wonder where we

are on a scale of one to ten how we are doing in preparing our youngsters for the future. They,

after all, will be calling the shots and will be living in a pleasing environment that suits the majority

or they will be stumbling, cheating one another, unhappy and dissatisfied with life in general.

Let me explain my cautious attitude about SOME of our young folks. At present when COLLEGE aged

kids are attending ivy league schools or any major university, when interviewed cannot tell you who

the vice President is or who the current Secretary of State is or when the War of 1812 was fought.

They know the most popular rock star or whomever is at the top of the food chain in their young

lives when it comes to someone to look up to.

I watched a video clip of some Pee Wee football players lined up to defend their goal and they

were dancing and hopping around with all sort of gyrations in order to please themselves and the

crowd. Why? Why they had seen the BIG BOYS, you know, the professional football players do their

end zone dances and self indulging antics when they had made a play they most likely were paid

millions of dollars to do. As the little Pee Wee players were dancing and entertaining themselves,

mostly, the other team ran around their end and scored a touchdown. Go figure.

The Carolina Panthers football team started giving footballs away to kids in the crowd whenever

they scored a touchdown. The quarterback started this action and it spread to the other players

and it was really fun to watch some little boy or girl receive a “real” football from a professional

player who at that time is famous. Yesterday as I watched one of their playoff games the little kids

had gathered in one spot just beyond the goal post backed up by their dads in hopes of getting

a football. After one touchdown there were so many little hands reaching for the football, the player

had to push some of them out of the way so he could give it to the little one he wanted to have it.

Boy, you talk about some upset kids pushing and shoving and trying to take the ball away, it was

sad for me to watch. One kid started screaming and pulling on his dad’s coat because he didn’t get

the ball. See where I’m headed with all of this? Me thinks we live in a disposable society. Too many

of us believe it when the lady on the T.V. or radio says we deserve a certain house, car, job, type

of clothes or furniture we must obtain it, why? Well, by golly we deserve it.

I love to see kids involved in F.F.A., 4H or any program that gives them a taste of how the world

works. Somehow we must see that our youth, all of our youth have some degree of a reasonable

work ethic. I don’t suppose the job matters so much as their desire to be there and to the very best

that they can without complaint or “sluffing off” while there. The “Donald”, however qualified to

take care of business and “make deals”, is really tickin’ me off with his constant “put down” of

everyone that doesn’t agree with him. He may be the man for the job, but he is one heck of a sorry

example for our youth in my opinion. I am just a little on the irritated side today as I see my phone

company has jacked up my rate considerably and the tax man bumped my property tax up some 44%.

I know as a senior “geezer”, I didn’t deserve all that….or did I? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion,

mom and dads, teach your children the value of hard work and responsibility,…that’s your job. I’ll c.

y’all, all y’all.

 The Right Kind of Morning

Yep, gentle readers, I do believe this is one of those special mornings, at least for me. It is the second

day of January of our Lord 2016 and it’s clear and not as cold as it has been. Last night when I came

in from dancing, I didn’t go down and plug in the heater in the water tub at the corral because It didn’t

seem as cold as it had been the past few nights. I knew darn well that I would be bustin’ ice this

morning with that heavy sledge hammer and I was. It was about like I suspected only a couple of inches

thick or maybe a hair more. The past few days and you already know this, have been really cold, cloudy,


and not so inviting to want to be outside for any reason for any length of time. I did have to mount ole’

Alice Chambers, (my Allis Chalmers tractor) and move some snow drifts around. I will tell you this, it’s

awfully hard to keep yer nose from running and to keep that junk out of yer mustache!! What a deal.

One of the special things about this morning is that large herd of antelope just across the road. They

have had breakfast and have settled down into the tall grass and snow to soak up those nice warm rays

of sunshine. Much to my surprise as I was watching them out the front window, two magpies flew down

into my drive way and started picking around through the gravel where there was no snow. I have always

liked magpies and I’m not sure why, I reckon it’s because they are not common here at the ONO. I saw

one about three weeks ago but had not seen any since. I have been told they were very common around

here in the past but something or other killed them off, I forget. While I was writing, a cottontail hopped

upon my front deck and sat in front of the door as if I was supposed to let him in. I will tell you gentle

readers this, I am over run with rabbits and they are not all that welcome as they are eating tender

chutes on my young trees and leaving pellets all over my walkways and I know if I don’t start thinning

some of them out there will be three times as many in a few weeks, right? I am encouraged to see a

warmer day coming my way as I don’t embrace the cold like I did when I was younger. I have told you

in the past that I have reached “geezerhood” and you old “geezers” know exactly what I’m talking about.

For you pre “geezers”, you might want to brace yourself because it will be here before you know it!

I reckon I’ll grab another cup of java, let it warm up a little and go move some more snow and be happy,

happy, that I am able to do so many of the things that I am capable of doing and maybe one of my

new years revolutions (resolutions) will be to not let whining be a big part of 2016. Stay tuned, check

yer cinch on occasion, prepare yourself for whatever may come your way this year and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.



Well, lets see here. I have had a broken leg, separation of foot from ankle, cracked ribs a broken heart and shingles. I reckon if Terry Bradshaw can warn folks about the shingles virus and talk about it to

strangers on the “telly”, I can discuss it with you, my friends. I will tell you that shingles can slip up on

you when you least expect it. In my case, I was relaxing in the old Lazy Boy watching the “telly” late one

summer evening when my left shoulder began to ache. I would rub it on occasion thinking that I had

maybe bumped it or scraped it doing the chores of the day around the place. The pain got worse. It’s

sort of hard to describe other that it just flat out hurts. My leg hurt when that fourteen hundred pound

horse fell of me and that time I was thrown over the dash board of my new pony out in the “boonies”

and cracked some ribs. All of that hurt but not like that red rash of ugly whelps creeping over my shoulder

when I finally went in the bathroom and took a close look. I knew what it was from what others that had

had the shingles told me.

Shingles are caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox. When you get

chicken pox you acquire that particular virus and it may wait years to attack you if it does at all. I

understand now that there is a vaccine to help protect you from the shingles virus. It’s like a lot of other

vaccines, it will not guarantee you that you won’t at some time or other get the shingles.

I have also endured prostate cancer some  fourteen years ago and managed to beat that. Knock on

wood. The checkup, biopsies, and treatment were painful but, of course, well worth it as I sit here

writing this column.

I went to the doc with my diagnosis of shingles. I had not seen this doc before and he couldn’t or

wouldn’t confirm for me right off the bat that I did indeed have shingles. I don’t think he approved of

me telling him what my ailment was until he had the chance to take a good look and then tell me

what was wrong. He finally said, “yep, you’ve got the shingles and I’ll give you some meds but it will

take some time to get over this. It just doesn’t go away at once.” About that he was right. I had made

plans to drive down to Texas for a long overdue visit and now I would have to cancel my trip as the

virus was right over my shoulder where the seat belt strap would fit and I knew I couldn’t stand to have

it there for some twelve hours or so. I sure didn’t want to drive without my seat belt. So, here’s the

deal boys, you go and get your P.S.A. test for prostate cancer if you are over fifty. You might also get

a colonoscopy to see where you are in regards to maybe having pre cancers in the colon. For sure,

ladies and gentlemen, go get that shingles vaccine at first opportunity. If it will prevent you from getting

the varicella zoster virus you will be forever grateful. It’s always a good thing to get on the internet and

study any ailment you may think is hanging around ready to pounce. Start the year off right, it will

make you feel good about yourself and give you come peace of mind. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on

occasion, pray for peace but keep yer piece handy and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


The Middle of Nowhere

Gentle readers, I know that you have heard someone say, “we live in the middle of nowhere.” Heck,

you may have said it yourself. I know that I have as a figure of speech. Actually, when you stop to

consider where the middle of nowhere is, it isn’t ! It doesn’t exist. Nope, the middle of nowhere has to

be somewhere, right? Right. You might live fifty miles from the nearest town or post office and it’s

a dirt road almost all the way there. But you do live somewhere. You live fifty miles from the nearest

town or post office. The middle of nowhere, in my mind anyway, is a state of mind. When we find

ourselves surrounded by open space, big sky, the sounds of nature, we just assume it’s the middle of

nowhere. It’s really not, unless you just want it to be. There were times when I worked for Harry McClure

over at Ridgway, Colorado in the San Juan mountains that I was purty darn sure I had found the middle

of nowhere. In the summer I would haul a horse west towards Telluride and then turn off the highway

and follow a trail, more or less to where I would unload my horse and start prowling the timber and meadows

checking on Harry’s cows. The breeze slightly moving the branches on the big pine trees and the sound of

a crow or an eagle soaring above me made me feel that I was in the high lonesome. I liked it. It brought

peace to my soul and a reprieve to my spirit. There were those times that I just wanted to stay up there,

in the middle of nowhere. Many of you know exactly what I’m talkin’ about here, don’t ya?

As we prepare to ride into a new year with great anticipation of what may lay ahead, I want to switch

ponies here with another view of “the middle of nowhere”. There are naysayers out there that would have

us believe that America has become the middle of nowhere. They would have you believe that we, as

Americans, are not relevant any longer. Our time has come and gone, that’s what they believe and are

trying to convince us that we do in fact, “live in the middle of nowhere,” as a matter of speaking. Not so.

No way. Let me remind you again as we stumble into another year that there is hope, promise, and

great expectations for us to regain the footing that we have lost in the past few years. America IS the

hope of the world. America is the country that every other country looks to when peril is at their

doorstep. We, you and me, as Americans will overcome all of the disabilities and hardships that political

correctness has crippled us with. Yep, that’s a fact Jack!! Let me wish all of you the very best that a new

year has to offer. There are those of you suffering in great pain with the loss of a loved one or some other

malady that has thrown it’s cloak of darkness over you. It will be okay, give it time, lots of time. You will

rise above the sadness that you feel. I know. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, for Pete’s sake,

please don’t drink and drive and maybe, just maybe I will c. y’all, all y’all.


The Bomb Proof Horse

Gentle readers, you hear it all the time, “that ole’ pony is bomb proof”! Beware of the Christmas

pony that may or may not be ‘bomb proof”. We were fortunate to have three for our kids over the

years. But there again, here is my poem entitled “THE BOMB PROOF HORSE”.


Old paint for twenty years had done his best.

We roped and doctored the wild ones,

he bay sat the kids and passed every test.


Old age had roped and snubbed’em to a post.

He needed rest and some grandkid lovin’ the most.

He watched the saddle room each time I passed it by

and I know he wondered why he wasn’t brushed and tied,


and made ready for the saddle and a trip around the rim.

He didn’t savvy retirement and what was best for him.

Paint was a loyal trooper, I loved him heart and soul,

but finding his replacement had to be my goal.


I seen the ad at the sale barn, “cowpony for sale” he can do it all.

Anyone could ride’em and he’d come when he was called.

The picture showed a bald faced bay correct in every way and

gentle to the core.


Guaranteed to be BOMB PROOF and there was plenty more.

Why you could ride’em bareback with no bridle on his head,

cue him with yer legs, open gates, sort the wild ones,

enough said!


I called and got a lady, she said to come on by

and she would let me try’em, she hated to let him go

and then began to cry.


She’d raised him from a baby and now the kids were gone,

her husband run off with a stripper and she was all alone.

“There ain’t no one to ride’em and I got to let him go.

I told her I come and check’em out and then for sure I’d know.


When I seen this lady I understood why her hubby left,

she was fat and ugly and she didn’t smell the best.

I rode ole’ bay around the pen and he seemed to be OK.

I stuck’em in my trailer and handed her the pay.


I couldn’t wait to ride’em when I got’em back home,

took’em out to the pasture to ride him all alone.

It took him all of two minutes to throw me across the fence,

run back to see old paint while I surveyed all my dents.


Heck, I tired’em every morning for a week or two

and he leaves me a’walkin’ home in the morning due.

I called that ole’ heifer to get my money back,

but she had left the country with my money in a sack.


I made myself a plan to get even with this old bay.

There ain’t no way he aint gonna’ have to pay.

Bright and early one morn when I went down to feed

I put a stick of dynamite where he couldn’t see.


While he was munchin’ his oats I lit that twisted fuse

and hit behind the wagon to watch’em pay his dues.

When the dynamite went off he flew outta’ his stall,

plumb into the next county and you know what? Old

bay, why he weren’t ”

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and think about this, “isn’t it interesting that after you shoot the

wolf, he no longer kills yer sheep!” Have a blessed Merry Christmas and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


A Walt Disney Christmas

Gentle readers, on the chance I didn’t get to the cement pond for my usual swim, I try to get in a good walk and lots and lots of dancin’ on the weekend. I didn’t get to go swimming this week and I have to admit, I was just too darn lazy to make the trip into Fort Collins some twenty five miles away just to swim. I had no other reason to be there. Usually I try and have other chores I need to do but not this time.

As I was out walking this morning down the county road I see where ole’ Peter Rabbit got his self run over and four crows were having breakfast. All of a sudden, out of the blue here comes Baldy, the bald eagle swoopin’ right over the top of this buffet. The crows scattered and then regrouped and decided to run old Baldy off as they didn’t want to give up their breakfast. It surprised me to see those four crows,

Heckle, Jeckle, Reckless, and Helpless take off after that big old bird, you know, the symbol of freedom for our country. How dare they? They dared and not only that they attack him. He seemed to keep his cool, maneuver around behind a couple of them but to no avail. I stopped in my tracks and just watched them circle trying to position themselves for victory. They kept getting higher and higher and higher until I lost sight of them. I figured Baldy would lose them or visa versa and the winner would return for the spoils. As I began my walk again I noticed a Great Horned Owl (Owl Gore), sorry about that owl, I was just kiddin’. He obviously had been watchin’ all of this and waiting for the war parties to leave and he would get his share of Peter Rabbit. Now I had come along and fouled up the whole deal. In disgust he flew away to the North and kept on going. I walked to the end of the county road and came back to find none of the above had returned for the meal.

There are tons and tons of antelope in the area right now as there always are this time of year. I saw a muly buckskin buck and six does yesterday across the road from Howard’s place as I was coming back from town. Stuff like that just calms my soul and for some reason I can’t explain, I find a certain measure of peace that takes over. I think it was because I was raised out in the boonies in West Texas where coyotes, rattlers and rabbits were the only wildlife for viewing.

Son Andy has the benefit of not only elk, mule deer, bears etc. in his area or in his yead on a fairly consistent basis. A couple of times I have decorated a spruce tree in the front yard with lights in hopes of seeing come of the local critters gathered around it in the snow on Christmas eve. Didn’t work, but it was fun to try just to see if old Walt Disney really could come to life. It did this morning. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, pray for peace and keep yer pistol handy. God helps those who help themselves. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


A Reminder

Gentle readers, as another year is winding down I want to remind you of who you,  we are. We are

Americans that have just given thanks for the absolute blessings we have to live here in the good ole’

United States of America. The world is at war around us and our leaders can’t seem to find a way

to honor America. We just seem to stumble, mumble and do our best to avoid what is the most

valuable gift we cherish today, our FREEDOM! Why on earth do you think the whole world wants

to come here? It’s FREEDOM. The freedom to work, live out our faiths, to believe or not believe,

to come and go as we please. I say that with a wee bit of my tongue in my cheek as I think about

the trying to get through any airport.


It is time for Americans to come together as one body with manly separate parts. It’s time for folks

that have a chip on their shoulder and an air of expectancy to get real. We all need to be contributors

to this great nation that we share. It’s gonna’ take more than the folks that get up and go to work

every day and pay their taxes and get involved in their communities, churches and schools. We just

can’t continue to go on and let this country slip into the abyss as if all is okay. IT’S NOT!  It’s time to

stand up, speak out and not back down because some body or some group is trying their dead level

best to put a guilt trip on us.


If we pause, just for a moment and consider all of those who have fought, gave up their lives or

returned home crippled in body and mind so you and I can go Christmas shopping and buy those

things that we think we have to have. Why don’t you take a small portion of that Christmas budget

and give it to a charity that you believe in or help a family that is struggling in your community.

It is always better to give than to receive, you know that, and you should be teaching your children

that valuable lesson. I certainly don’t think we should give to someone or some undeserving group

that refuses to get up off their duff and make some contributions on their own behalf.

America is the only country that has always rushed to defend those that can’t defend themselves,

rush food, aid, medicine and comfort anywhere in the world where it is needed and yet there are

those that want to see us destroyed or devalued. I would encourage you this holiday season to

give of yourselves to at least show courage, pride and determination to not let America and freedom

take a back seat to NOBODY. God Bless America! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, don’t back

up and don’t back down and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all!


The Holidays

Yep, here we are again, gentle readers, right smack dab in the middle of the holiday season. I trust you

guys all had rewarding and memory making Thanksgivings in the best of ways. By the way, before I get

too far along, let me give a big THANK YOU to all of you who have ordered calendars and all of the nice

and encouraging notes you included with your order. You really have made me feel so special, much more

than I deserve. It appears that there will be enough calendars to go around as I ordered extra this year.

Boy, I miss that “Little Miss Martha”! I was having coffee this morning and at present this is the Saturday

before Thanksgiving as I write. I pondered how much I had on my plate to do to get ready for all the

company. My house needs a really good going over. There’s groceries to be bought, laundry to be done

along with some decorating. Since Martha passed, I don’t usually get too festive around here mainly

because it’s just me except when company arrives for a day or two or friends drop by. I reckon that’s

just what old men do when they live by themselves. All you guys that are single or widowers know

exactly what I’m talkin’ about here. We sooner or later come to realize how much our wives did and how

much we all took for granted. Martha has been gone almost thirteen years and I have kept things in order.

I am not a clean freak, but I do like an orderly home with the food pantry in good supply. I recently did some

painting in one bathroom and the family room to change colors a little. It looks really nice. I’m glad that

I made myself take on those projects as small as they were. I am comfortable just leaving things like they

are for the most part. My dinning table is almost forty years old. It has it’s shares of dents, scratches and

what not for all those years on the ranch raising kids and many times we would run in for a bite with our


spurs still on and the chairs bear the scars of some of that type of activity. But ya know what? There are


a ton of memories there that if I bought a new table and got rid of that old table, I would be throwing

away so many special thoughts and memories. Every time I sit down for breakfast or any meal there, I

am in my comfort zone. I think my family cuts me some slack when they join me there for our meals

and conversation because they realize the importance of that lumber with all of it’s scars.

I don’t know about Christmas cards this year for all. I will send out a few to family but that will most

likely be it. All will receive calendars and I usually receive cards from some of you and I do so hope

that your feelings are not bruised when you don’t get one from me.

It is a special time of year for us all and we are living in such perilous times around the world. There

seems to be so many with little regard for what others have given up to let us live our lives in freedom.

A freedom that seems to be slipping quietly away because of political correctness and all that goes with

it. Let me encourage you to not feel like you have to please everyone, and that we don’t have to like or

share our personal lives with everyone so we dare not hurt anyone’s feelings. That doesn’t really sound

like the Christmas spirit does, it? I think you get my meaning. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion,

teach your children how to make change if they don’t know how, love this country, be kind to your

neighbor, and I’ll c. y’all all y’all.


Mountain Lions And Horses Plus Funny Stuff

Gentle readers, this column is gonna’ be sorta serious and wind up with some funny stuff…I hope!

A couple of mornings back when I went out to feed after an overnight rain, I found my horses to be

extremely excited. They were running in circles with their heads up high and constantly looking in

every direction. Usually, I just give them a “com’on boys” and they are in the corral wanting their oats.

Not this morning. Ole Howdy, my older fat paint horse finally ran into the corral, stopped looked at me

then suddenly leaped straight up off all fours and kicked with both hind feet. I’ve never seen him even

crow hop under any circumstance. Nugget, my dun, finally came in and looked in all directions before

he came under the shed for his oats. He stood where he could see behind him at all times and that is

not the way he usually positions himself when eating. I’ve seen horses with lions in the area before, not

only here but on the western slope. Scary stuff for those ole’  ponies.

Recently I was listening to a radio program featuring Red Steagall (cowboy poet, singer from Texas)

and he was interviewing Buck Taylor (Newly) from the old Gunsmoke  series. Red ask Buck to relate any

funny stories he had while on the series. Buck related that he had not had any to speak of, but he told

one that Doc and Festus had been involved in. It seems Doc and Festus were special guest at a Rodeo and

after the rodeo they had a table set up to sign autographs for fans. A grandma with her young grandson

were in line and according to Doc. grandma kept telling her little grandson, “now you know who the

man is with the beard, right?” He always replied “yes, he knew”. She kept this up until they finally

reached Doc and Festus and she pointed to Festus and said, “now you know who this man is…right?”

To which the little boy replied, “yes, it’s Jesus!”” That’s funny, funny stuff!

I was told that someone from my kid’s generation were complaining to their kids just how lucky they

were. He said “you guys have it so easy….why, when I was a kid I had to walk BAREFOOT ACROSS TWELVE

FEET OF SHAG CARPET JUST TO CHANGE THE T.V. CHANNEL !””  Also, I do want to comment on the

recent happening when Whoppie Goldburg made disparaging remarks about Carley Fiorino’s looks!

ARE YOU KIDDIN’ ME? If I was Whoppie, I don’t think I would be commenting on anyone’s looks!

Enough said I reckon except let me wish you and yours a HAPPY THANKSGIVING. Remember to always

count your blessings and remember when you leave this world, you may leave some stuff behind, but

the most important thing you leave here on this earth is your reputation! Stay tuned, check yer cinch

on occasion and I’ll c. y’all , all y’all.

A Good Horse

Gentle readers, over the last forty some odd  years I have thrown my leg over a good many horses.

I couldn’t tell you the exact number but it would have to be around a hundred or so. Out of that eighty

five to one hundred and fifteen or so, there are only six that I can recall here at age seventy five that I

would hazard to call a “really good horse.” I think most cowboys have different expectations for the

different horses they may be riding at the time. A good horse to me is one that I can easily catch on

a cold frosty morning and when saddled and I’m mounted, we ride off relaxed and confident. I always

hated to be mounted on a colt that I considered a little unpredictable or even a seasoned ranch horse

that you just could never completely relax on. A good horse, if not bothered by some ailment you are

unaware of, will eagerly step out and be ready for whatever comes. Most of my years spent “cowboyin'”

required roping and doctoring cattle out on the range or on wheat pasture. Many, many times I was

by myself. You always feel better if you have a buddy with you that can help out if you find yourself in

a storm of somewhat. I didn’t mind so much being by myself if I was mounted on one of those really

“good horses” that I knew would do his best to be his best and try to take care of me and himself at

all times in the process. Being on a horse like that lets you relax to the point that you can rope better

mostly because that ole’ pony will put you exactly where you need to be when you are ready to

toss that nylon corral. He will do it EVERY time without exception and when you have either tripped

that cow, steer or whatever, or have it choked down to the point you can step off with a piggin’ string

and get it tied, he will keep your rope tight until you ask him to step up which he will do at once.

Cowboyin’ is one of those jobs that presents a good many dangerous moments like many other

occupations that folks choose as careers. I never ever got injured while riding a “good horse”, never.

I take that back. I did get my feelings hurt when my “good horse” turned a flip with me only because

we were on the trail of a bad eyed steer and he was punchin’ a hole in the wind to get us in position to

rope when he stepped in a hole and over and down we went. Fortunately neither of us suffered injury

if you take away a bruise or two and maybe some sore muscles. I would have given most anything to

have had horses like him all of my career.

A “good horse” knows his job. He knows what is expected of him and he trust that you will be fair

with him and if something goes wrong he knows there will be no retribution  from you if he’s done

his best. I have seen cowboys screw up, blame their horse and go to whipping on them trying to prove

how tough and in control they are. The end result is a horse now that you can’t trust because he can’t

trust you and at first opportunity he may just try to pay you back for that whippin’ he got. There just

ain’t nothin’ much better than a “good hoss” unless it’s  a good woman. I’ve had both and I feel blessed

more than I deserve. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, be kind to your dog, your pony and of

course, that beautiful spouse and children that you have!! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

 Cowboy Cartoonists

Gentle readers, I wanted to be a cartoonist long before I became one. I have always enjoyed drawing

any subject, just as long as I could be drawing. At nineteen I sent some illustrations to the local paper

there in Texas hoping they might, just might have some use for them in advertising. Little did I know.

Little did I know how awful they really were and that was not how one goes about getting started in

a career in art. Moving along: I lost interest in an art career for many years. When my cowboy career

started and I had the opportunity to manage a ranch, I posted cartoons in my office when someone

on the ranch had a wreck. The cowboys enjoyed seeing themselves in those cartoons and the more I drew

the better I became.

Two of Texas’ notable cartoonist were Ace Reid of “Cowpokes” and Lex Grahm and his “Back Forty”

panel. I bet most of you have seen those classic cartoons for many, many years.

I  met Lex and actually spent a couple of days with him and his family on their ranch in Wichita

Fall, Texas receiving instruction on the art of western sculpture as Lex was not only a cartoonist but

a talented sculpture. While there I watched as his crew printed out his “Back Forty” calendars which

were very popular and thought how neat that would be to do that some day.

Interesting how some things come together in your life when you least expect it. I started doing

cartoons for a small ag paper years ago in eastern Colorado. Then for some magazines and now

magazines and other papers as well. My calendar “Hoots from the O NO  Ranch” took the place of

Ace Reid’s “Cowpokes” calendar with the advertising agency that did his for so many years. After

Ace passed away they began to look for another artist to replace his work and I was selected. My oh

my!! How could that ever come to pass I thought? Ace was my idol when it came to his cartoons.

I met Ace’s wife at a cowboy art gathering, but never Ace. I know Wally Badgett (M.C. Tin Star)

of the Earl cartoon panel also seen here in the Fence Post. I know for a fact that Wally, myself, Lex

and I’m sure Ace Reid are cut from a different cloth than most of you. Cowboy cartoonist can be as

unpredictable as a two year old colt. We make it a point to make life fun and hopefully can spread

some of that fun to you as you read our “stuff”. Cartooning is not an easy occupation as it requires

a great deal of managing your thoughts around what you think is cartoon material. Our cartoons are

not always funny. Sometimes funny, sometimes cute and sometimes you may have to stop and take

a second look and rethink the cartoon to get it’s full meaning. If we can get you to at least think about

it, we have done our job. I reckon doing cartoons is a lot like writing a weekly column. It requires you

to come up with a different subject matter, so to speak, week after week and make it interesting and

after you have done hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them, you sometimes wonder if there

is any thing left out there that is usable. There always is, or so it seems. I will speak for all cartoonist

and say that we appreciate you taking time to view our work. We always try to outdo the previous

week and many times we fail, but we try. “Laffin” really is the best medicine. When you have had a

generous belly “laff”, you ALWAYS feel better. Stay tuned, check your cinch on occasion, support

your local cartoonist and your local law enforcement, be kind to your neighbor and I’ll c. y’all, all





I have written about old Lester on several occasions in the past. As I was thinking about what it takes

to be considered a “good man” these days, my thoughts turned to Lester. To refresh your memory, Lester

had been a cowboy for over sixty years working on large panhandle Texas ranches. He had been on the

LX’s for over fifty years and was well known in the area around Amarillo as the real deal. Lester was not

much bigger than a whisper, wore a large tall crown hat, much like you would see in the 1920’s and 30’s.

He wore a large hearing aid in each ear as he was really hard of hearing. I went to work for the outfit

in the early seventies and was as green as spring grass. Lester lived by the cowboy code. It was his

Bible you might say. There are just cut and dried rules on most of the big outfits that one is expected to

know and follow without exception. I was in the process of trying to digest this “cowboy way of life”.

They put me with Lester a lot because, of course, he would be the best teacher for a greenhorn.

Lester, like a lot of old guys in their eighties, could be a little grumpy, short tempered, and could

issue verbal abuse if he felt you had not paid attention and were short of ‘try”. One of the rules is

that you never used another man’s “stuff” and for God’s sake you never rode one of his horses without

his permission. The occasion arose that with the three horses in my string, I had ridden one really

hard the day before this particular gather. My other horses either had sore back, or were not usable

at the time. Lester would not be coming out on this occasion so the cow boss suggested that I ride

Lester’s little paint horse that was his favorite. I refused because I didn’t know if this was a test or

not, but I knew if I did and Lester found out he would verbally rip me apart and I was wanting no

part of that. A severe scolding from Lester could leave a young cowboy scarred for life, or so I thought

at the time. I think I wound up riding one of the other cowboy’s horses so we could get going.

There was that one time on a gather to pen some hair brained heifers late in the day that I

received one of those “Lester scoldings”. Lester was taking the point on this gather and I was directly

behind him. Why the cow boss put Lester in the lead I’ll never now as he could move like Tim Conway

at times when he thought he was actually punchin’ a hole in the wind. Just before we reached the

pens Lester was falling way behind. There was a deep rough ravine just before you reached the pens.

Those heifers started to look in that direction as I punched my pony up and pulled up beside Lester

to seek permission to go ahead of him and keep the heifers from getting away. One of the cardinal

rules on any large ranch: YOU NEVER RIDE PAST THE MAN AHEAD OF YOU! As I rode up to Lester to

see if I could go around, he shocked me when he pulled his horse up and said, “you #$%#&* if you

think you are better than me, go ahead you $$%&*%$!!!! I did go ahead in an effort to turn the

heifers but it was too late. It didn’t matter that Lester was going to lose them anyway, the cowboy

crew gave me another verbal spankin’ for upsetting Lester. Lester was a man of principal. I learned

much from him even though it was a “tough learning process” at times. I moved on to  bigger and

better things and took Lester’s principals with me and I believe that they have served me well. Too

bad Lester never got around to spending time in our nation’s capital. Yep, that’ a down right shame.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, hug yer spouse and yer kids and let them know how

important they are to you and for certain, be a per of principal!! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Scared Half To Death

Someone ask this question some time back..” if you have been scared half to death on two different

occasions…are you deceased?” Gentle readers, I am not yet deceased, but have been scared half to

death twice. Once years ago while skydiving I was scared half to death. The other occurrence was a

couple of weeks ago. My neighbor Mia called me one Sunday afternoon as I was reclined on the sofa

watching a football game. “Jack, did you know that there is a huge fire coming toward your house?”

(I paraphrase her call). “NO, I DIDN’T AND THE WIND IS REALLY BLOWING…THANKS MIA”, I blurted and

ran and looked out the front door. Children, it was if I was staring into the gates of hell!. Less than

three hundred feet away was a wall of flames and dense, dense smoke. I ran outside and turned on

the front yard hose and tossed it across the front sidewalk. I then ran down to the corral and turned

on the faucet and drug that hose up towards the front of the house. By then a sheriff’s deputy had

arrived lights flashing and said, “the fire department is on the way and they will come right here

first. There is some six hundred acres across the road from me that hasn’t been grazed but very, very

little in the last two years. The grass and weeds were about ten to fifteen inches tall and the wind had

a steady gale of 35-40 mph and gust of 50-60 mph and it’s right on top of me or so it seemed. The

deputy drove off and all of a sudden I found myself holding a running hose and covered in a dense

cloud of smoke and soot. I could hardly breathe and kept trying to keep my eyes open enough to

see what was going on around me. For a brief few seconds I even felt the heat from the fire and I gotta’

tell ya, Charlie Brown, I was scared half to death. I hate to admit that I suddenly got confused about

what I should do. I had the thought that I was not only going to lose my home and everything in and

around it, but maybe you might find me in the obits in a day or two. All of a sudden the smoke blew

away in a different direction and I saw some of my neighbors out on the road. I jumped in my truck,

drove out to the road, grabbed a shovel out of the back and started to fight the fire in the ditch. Three

of my neighbors joined me while we waited on help to arrive. That’s another story, but I’ll let it rest

for now. When it was all said and done there were about ten fire fighting units, I think two ambulances,

and a number of police cars. It burned, they say 400 acres, I think it might be a little less, just the same

it was enough to provide a memory I shall not soon forget. Later that day I was just inspecting everything

and noticed I had left the walkout door to my garage open during the fire. The other roll up doors were

closed and they faced the oncoming fire. Gentle readers, the floor of my garage was covered in soot,

burned grass and ash as well as the eves of my house where there were spider webs. I reckon that

you can be scared half to death on two different occasions and live through it all.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and please, please be extremely careful this fire season!

I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Lion Hunt

Some odd thirty years ago I moved my family from Texas to the western slope of Colorado to manage

a corporate ranch of some thirty thousand acres. Most of which was B.L.M. and forest service permits.

The deeded land was several sections which is large for a mountain ranch in Colorado. The ranch had

been purchased by these folks from the West coast about three years prior to my coming to manage it.

They were not cow folks, as I like to refer to folks like these that buy these big ranches. It didn’t take me

long to realize that the ranch had been mismanaged during that time and their financial advisors wanted

someone like myself to get the spending under control and try and make the ranch at least cash flow

if at all possible. I faced a very difficult task at best. Now to the lion. I pulled into my ranch house one

snowy day in November to see my old dog had something at bay in an open faced wood shed. When the

dog ran to my truck a large mountain lion broke from the shed and ran right in front of my truck and

down  off the side of the hill. That was an exciting experience for me and when I ran into the cowboy

crew later that day I mentioned it to them. One of the men whose nose seemed to always have a brown

spot on the end of it as he was a favorite of the wife, who of course was one of the owners, called her

that evening and told her I had seen a lion. Oh boy, oh boy, it’s time for a lion hunt. They would be out in

a day or two, get a lion hunter with dogs and by golly we would get that old mountain lion!! They did

arrive by private jet in a couple of days and the hunt was on. I wasn’t involved and didn’t want to be as

I had lots to do to keep my head above water. Late that evening I was driving through the ranch when I

spotted one of the lion dogs slowly trotting down the road almost stepping on his tongue he was so tired.

I stopped, loaded him in the truck, called the owners on the radio, told them I had one of the dogs and

he appeared to be lost and was out of gas. “What should I do with him,? ” I asked. “Where are you?” a

curt voice wanted to know. I told them of my location and was told to bring the dog up the road a ways

and turn him loose. They were up on the side of the mountain and would call him up. I did as I was told.

The next morning as they were preparing to leave I was told to come up to the “main house” for my

instructions before they left. I could tell the ranch lady was not in the best of moods as I approached her

for my instructions so I calmly ask, “how was yer hunt”? “Oh, it was going okay Jack until you screwed

(she used the bad word here) it up.” I politely ask, “and how was that”? “WELL YOU PICKED UP OUR


OUR LION”!! I knew better than to defend myself. You didn’t do that with these folks. I received my

instructions for things she wanted to get done until they came back at Christmas. I wanted off this

ranch as soon as I could find something in the area as my son still had one more year of high school

and I didn’t want to move him again. I did find a bit of a promise of a job and of course, gentle readers,

little brown nose let the lady know and she called me up and fired me immediately. She did tell

me that I most likely didn’t get a fair shake and I was an honorable man. Hummmm…I reckon they

didn’t want a man of my caliber managing their ranch. Oh, and you didn’t quit them as that would

make them look less than admirable in the community. It was me that was going to get fired for

being not capable of satisfying their needs. She did tell me that she knew I wasn’t real fond of them

and likewise!! So the axe came down and I was called by their business offices and ask what I needed

in the way of compensation. I was given that if I would get off the ranch as soon as possible, he

was instructed to tell me. He also told me in private he knew what I was up against and was sorry

to see me go. He also quit a few weeks later after spending twenty some odd years with these folks.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, be as honorable as you can as often as you can and I’ll c. y’all,

all y’all.

That’s My Story And I’m Sticking To It

Gentle readers, most of us, if not all of us have a good story or two and sometimes they may appear

to be beyond belief. Yep, it’s sure happened to me. Like the time I was breaking six colts for the ranch

in Texas. I had gotten one going and was starting another. I had no real issues with either. One of my

cowboys always fancied his self to be a top hand but he had never started a colt and ask if he could

take this colt I was working on and finish him. I agreed only to discover that the colt bucked him off

the first two and only times he tried to get on him. He informed me that he didn’t want to go on with

the colt. “That bronc is gonna’ kill somebody and it ain’t gonna’ be me!” blurted out Billy. The next

morning if my office when the crew was all together I asked if any of them wanted to take that colt

and make him into a ranch horse. I had not one taker and knew Billy had warned them about this

sorrel horse. The thing of it was, I was in my middle forties and all of the cowboys but one were ten

to twenty years my junior. I told “Little Miss Martha” that evening I was going to start again on the

colt and if she wanted to bring her camera down to the bronc pen the next morning, she might get

some good pictures. She agreed. The next morning came and I choked down my eggs with an

uneasy stomach and we headed to the bronc pen. After a little ground work I pulled the old bronc’s

head around to my left knee and stepped up to mount. He blew up before my right leg cleared the

saddle but I landed in the saddle just the same but was unable to get my right foot in the stirrup.

The pony bucked across the corral and hit the other side head on, but then wheeled around and rode

off like a broke, gentle hoss. I had a big grin on my face and rode over to Martha and ask, “well,

did you get all that”? She said, “hold still,” and then took my photo on a docile sorrel colt standing

‘still. “I didn’t get any pictures while he was bucking cause I couldn’t stop watching the action and

get the camera up to my eye…I’m sorry.” So there I was children on this gentle looking colt in her

photo and I was still trying to tell all my friends what a bucking machine he was. Well, that is my

story and I’m sticking to it. That’s my story, what’s yours? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion

and sometimes even with a witness, nobody believes your story any further than they could toss

a dead hoss. As a sidebar, my calendars are in so look for my add near my column. I’ll c. y’all, all


The Big “C” 

Yep, gentle readers, we all know what John Wayne called cancer. He called it the BIG “C”. He, if I

remember right, said that this was one battle he was going to lose. I got an email from a former

high school and college classmate. He was struggling with stage seven prostate cancer. He had

had a double bypass and liver failure in the past two years and now this. Trying to be brave about

it all, he told me his doctor had given him a hormone shot and that he might have hot flashes and

have a desire to put on a little make up…ha. ha. ha. Of course I told him how unfortunate I thought

his situation was and that I, too, had taken a hormone shot when I had my prostate cancer years

ago. And yes, I had hot flashes to the tune of about three to four an hour for weeks or so it seems.

I was miserable and yes, “your feminine side will start to flirt with you on occasion”, I told my

classmate. The reason for the hormone shot, gentle readers, if you don’t know is to shrink the

size of the prostate, thusly shrinking the size of the tumor or tumors. I will stand up and testify

that it was not a fun time in my life, plus the fact “Little Miss Martha” was in a life and death

struggle with her cancer. She, like “the Duke” lost her battle.

It is a difficult situation when someone you know reaches out to you when they are out on the

ledge and the rocks are chipping away beneath them. There’s not a lot you can say other than you

are sad for their situation, that you will pray for them and wish them well.

There are new treatments and new drugs that are helping in the battle against cancer, but we

need to find a cure for all the different types of cancer that there are.

Saturday night at the dance hall I was surprised to see a feller there that once was a regular and

on occasion teach one of the dance classes. A couple of years ago the was diagnosed with cancer

of the pancreas. That can be a very deadly cancer and he had an advanced case. It was gloom and

doom for him we all thought. He came out last year and was just a whisper of his former self and

looked really, really bad. We all gave him a hug and wished him the best. He could hardly talk above

a whisper. Saturday night he was very thin but had good color, a very strong handshake and strong

voice. I even saw him on the dance floor a few times as if he were never sick. I was so encouraged

to see how he was doing. Who knows what the future holds for him, but he is living in the moment.

Let me encourage all of you men out there over fifty to get regular checkups on the colon and

the prostate. There are no warning shots from either of them until, too many times, it’s just too

late. Life is precious. Life is special and certainly worth living. Don’t be the tough guy. Don’t be that

guy that ignores getting checkups just because you are feeling okay right now. I’ve been there my

friend and done that and am just reminding you to use some common sense. Your family will

be thankful that you did. Stay tuned, check yer blood pressure on occasion along with your cinch,

and remember your presence here is a gift! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Cowboy Strike 

In 1883, in the panhandle of Texas near Tascosa, twenty four cowboys off three of the largest ranches

in the area decided to go on strike. Yep, they weren’t gonna’ work for thirty dollars a month any more.

The work was too hard and the days too long to work for such a low wage. They would hold out for

fifty dollars a month and found and “bosses” were to be paid seventy five a month. They formed a small

union and before long more than two hundred cowboys had come to join them. They all paid dues and

unfortunately, while not working they spent all their dues plus more hanging around the saloons and

brothels in Tascosa. Not only that but other cowboys that were out of work came to replace them on

the ranches that were being struck. It didn’t take long for them to realize it wasn’t gonna’ work and

being broke and bored, they tried to get their old jobs back and some of them did.

I have never been a fan of unions for various reasons. I have friends and distant family that are or

have been union workers and speak highly of their situations. What if? Let me paint you a picture,

gentle readers and take you down this road a little ways. What if Charlie (our ranch cowboy) goes down

to the corral for the morning gather to get his horse for the day’s work. Charlie’s horse is already saddled

by the “saddle tech” who saddles all of the horses. That’s all he is required to do. The evening before, the “horse

hoof” tech had put new shoes on not only Charlie’s horse but the other cowboys as well. That is all that

he is required to do. Charlie and the other cowboys know that the cattle will be where they expect them

to be because the “fence techs” have done an adequate job of keeping the fences in good shape as has

the “windmill tech” has kept all the windmills running smoothly. When Charlie and the “cowboy techs”

have safely gathered the cattle and have them penned, the “roping techs and branding techs” take control

of the branding. Charlie and the other cowboys sit on the fence and eat apples slices and drink Arizona

Sweet Tea while they watch the other techs at work. Do you sorta see where I’m going with this? That’s

pretty much how I see a unionized ranch working. Most likely Ted Turner and “the Donald” would be

a few of only a very few that could afford to own and operate a ranch under these circumstances.

There are jobs available in this country and need folks who are willing to give a day’s work for a

day’s pay. The problem is, there are not enough folks that want to work that hard any more. We have

made it too easy for them to sit on their behinds with their hands out, like those folks I see sitting outside

of Wally World on occasion. enough said I reckon. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember that

there is nothing as rewarding as putting in a hard days work unless yer in the lockup, and even then I think

it might make you feel better than sitting around all day. Those panhandle cowboys learned a good

lesson way back when. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Weatherman

Well, here we are again, gentle readers, me writing to you about this week’s subject matter, the weatherman,

slash..weathergirl.  It is the 14th day of Sept. and the weather gal says 94* for this day. I had to take the

Harley into Fort Collins, some 28 miles away for an oil change and new headlamp. It was cool enough for me

to wear a leather coat. The mornings have been pretty cool with just a slight touch of fall in the air for the

past two or three weeks. If you remember, we had such a late, late, spring with lots of rain and cool, cool

days. It seemed to go on forever. The result was lots and lots of grass which is still here even with more

and larger cattle added to the place for summer grazing. That’s a good thing. The bad thing is that it has

been hot and dry for weeks now, at least here at the ONO. As a result, as I was headed into Fort Collins

Saturday evening late, there was a huge fire coming across the prairie from the northeast. It appears as

if some moron threw out a smoke on the interstate in a high wind. I have some neighbors in that area that

never bothered to mow one blade of grass or cut their weeds this summer. Some of them have tall weeds

and grass right up to their doorstep. Same with their corrals and plus all of that, they have hay stacked

everywhere. I gotta’ tell ya Charlie Brown, I don’t get that kind of thinking. You put not only yourself at

risk but all of your livestock and property. If that fire had gotten within fifty yards of their domain, it

wouldn’t be standing this morning, I guarantee you!

Let me go back to the weather person, I’ll be p.c. here. I really don’t remember when I saw my first

weather gal on the telly. Was it in the late 80’s or up into the 90’s. I just don’t remember my first time.

I’m pretty sure she was attractive. A weather gal has to be pretty and most of them are very fit and I’ve

noticed lately that most have large chest, if you will. Why would I notice that instead of the weather? I

reckon it’s a man thing. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t mean to insinuate that these gals are using their

“good lookingness” to divert some of us away from what the weather is actually going to do. Not at all.

I have found that most of the time these gals are very skillful and present the weather in a professional

and timely manner and they are 90% right most of the time. Occasionally the weather man is a handsome

figure of a man, but not always. That most generally falls on the news anchor man to be double agent

007 and his counterpart is “almost Miss America” and they make a striking couple. The weather gal and

the “almost Miss America” act friendly towards one another but sometimes you can just feel the tension

about which is the most appealing to the viewer. I’m gettin’ sorta’ silly, ain’t I? However that’s my slanted

view of things today. Slow news day for me I reckon. Well, I’ve purt near used up my allotted space and

told you absolutely nothing you didn’t already know. As a sidebar, I am still waiting on my new calendars

and am getting a little concerned. I will give them a call when I close here. I do hope you had a blessed

and joyful summer. If you didn’t, it will get better given time and if you choose to let it. Stay tuned to

this column and the weather person, get your firewood stacked and your propane tank full. They say

we have an El Nino coming this winter with lots of cold and snow. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. By the way, be

proud of who you are!

Keep It Simple  

I like to say that I am a simple man. Maybe a little complicated at times, but just the same “simple”.

It’s not that I don’t like challenges or being in situations that demand something more than just a

simple answer. It’s not that I don’t admire those that have more ambition, drive and a much better

education than I do. I like anyone who is easy to like. Gentle readers, most folks I have found to be self

serving, self admiring and believe themselves to be a notch or two above those around them, I wouldn’t

classify them as “simple folks”.

I always tried to avoid anything that was labeled “some assembly required” if I was going to have to be

the one that was the assembler. On the other hand I know folks that could easily jump into any task with

all the confidence in the world and “get’er done.” I never was one for those large complicated puzzles. I

reckon that I just didn’t have the patience to see it all the way through. I remember the time when I had

my art exhibit at the Colorado State Fair and would be gone from home for two weeks. “Little Miss Martha”

had won a new Bar B Que grill at her place of employment. Now it was a rather large grill with lots of parts.

She informed me that while I was gone she was going to put that bugger together and it would be ready to

grill when I got home. I’ll be danged if she didn’t get it done. She told me she just dumped everything in the

garage floor, carefully read the instructions and put it together one piece at a time. I guarantee you I would

have had a half dozen pieces left over if I had been required to do what she did. Martha was a simple, easy

going, patient woman who seldom spoke until she was satisfied she was indeed saying what she wanted

to say in the manner she wanted to say it. Me, on the other hand, I have had to pull my size 11 boot with

spur attached out of my big mouth more times than I want to admit to. I am a simple man. I like things

that are not too complicated to deal with. I like a good simple horse. One with a easy way about him.

One that is willing to try whatever is ask of him or her, but will do it in  a way that is least complicated.

I like a man that will look me in the eye and without trying to pull the wool over my eyes. I like women

that are conservative in their dress and the way they present themselves. Women that are what I would

call, “hawdy” with too much makeup, too much perfume, not enough clothes to be considered modest,

and what the heck, let’s have as few tattoos as possible. None is just fine with me. A simple woman can

be extremely beautiful with a loving spirit, good nature, and willing to not be artificial. I know a woman

who has had her face lifted so many times her eyebrows are just behind her ears. She thinks she is

beautiful and very desirable. Not so to me. I feel sorry for her that she has so little confidence that she

put herself through all of that. Just the same, songs with a simple message, words that are not hard to

find meaning in, a slap on the back on occasion and a gathering of family or friends where there is nothing

but harmony and peace and a good “laff” on occasion is simple, a good simple. We live in a complicated world. It gets more so with every passing day. Folks seem to always be looking down into that little contraption they believe has all

the answers. It doesn’t. Let’s just keep it simple. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, stack yer firewood

high, hug yer kids and count yer blessings every day. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

I Beg Your Pardon

I gotta’ tell ya gentle readers, I get so upset every time I see one of those yahoos or yahooetts sitting on a

curb somewhere with their little sign that reads, “stranded, please help, God bless”. Or it might go something

like this, “homeless vet, disabled please help” and so on it goes. They have come back to the Wally World

and I have to admit there are times I just want to jump the curb and see how disabled they really are.

Then we have these folks that each and every month are asking for donations through the mail. I know, I

know, there are folks like St. Judes, Boy’s Town and so many others that are funded by grants and out of

the goodness of our hearts. I have always tried to help as many as I can when I can. The problem is that

they will take your name and some of them will put it on a mailing list and sell it to others that are looking

for help. Sooooo, not a single day seems to go by that I don’t either get a phone solicitation or one by mail

wanting me to send money. “I beg your pardon”. That time I couldn’t rub two nickels together, not a one

of these outfits saw fit to send me two nickels. I reckon that just must have not known how shallow my

pockets were. We have always had beggars among us. They are prominent in the New Testament. We are

supposed to help those that cannot help themselves. I said, “we are supposed to help those that cannot

help themselves”. Of course the key words here are “cannot help themselves”. Well, a feller might tell ya

that there is no way he can help himself from being a bum or a beggar. “Man, it’s just to easy to let

somebody else fill yer coffers if you look sad and weary and I got that down to a fine art. Yep, you can

bet that too many of them do and if that doesn’t work, throw a little puppy in the mix while they are

pulling at your heart strings. Who is gonna’ not give some money to help a little speckled pup from going

hungry? It might shock you good citizen if you knew how much money these moochers take in on a short

day’s work. “I beg your pardon?” The thought came to me recently while I was wrestling with a guilt trip

laid on me by some free little gifts I had been sent in hopes I would send $25-50 bucks back in return, the

thought was, if I died tomorrow not a one of these folks would be out of business. That makes sense don’t

it? So I still wrestle from time to time as to who and how much I am going to give if any at all. Much depends

on what my bank statement looks like for that particular month. I do feel better when I give. “It is better to

give than to receive”, right? On the other hand, I have had my hand slapped, if you will, for doing a charitable

deed for someone who I thought were good folks that really needed help. They were out and out bums.

“I beg your pardon”. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, don’t weaken and got for the throat if

necessary, make America great again!, I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Cowboy’s Image


The cowboy’s image varies from place to place. In the Midwest, South and most parts of the West, he will dress much the same and use much the same gear. There are some differences in the length of one’s rope or how he may shape his hat or the type of bit he puts in his pony’s mouth. That means absolutely nothing to city folks or those in foreign countries that have always admired the cowboy. They know what they are supposed to look like because they have seen the “Duke” in his high water pants with his sleeves rolled up and his lmost funny way of walking. Don’t get me wrong gentle readers, I watched three of his old movies this past weekend. No doubt the “Duke” was a cowboy in real life and was an actor portraying one in his movies in the days of old! The modern cowboy looks nothing like John Wayne and this leads me into my little story that I have touched on in the past.
I was invited to entertain a large group of heart surgeons from around the globe several years ago at one of Colorado’s mountain resorts. When I arrived in my sport coat, Wranglers, boots, hat, white shirt and tie the feller that summoned me seemed to fall into a state of panic. After proper introductions he blurted out, “WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO…where are your guns and your rope and your chaps,” he demanded to know. I was somewhat taken back. I thought he knew he was getting a cowboy humorist and story teller, but the “real McCoy”. It didn’t take me but a fragment of a second to figure out he thought I should be wearin’ a pair of “woolies” (Angora chaps), two six guns and a rope with which to do rope tricks.
I struggled to explain to him that I was a cowboy humorist. I would tell some stories relating to cowboys, ranch life and also some (what I hoped) would be funny and entertaining poems.
When I walked out on the stage with a spotlight on me my eyes focused on the first three or four rows of folks. Guess what I saw? All Chinese, yep, every one on those rows apparently were from China. I knew I was in for a difficult time but you do what you were paid to do and give it your best shot. It took more than a few minutes before I heard any “laffter” and it wasn’t from those first few rows. Surly there was a surgeon or two from Arizona, Texas, New Mexico or anywhere where cowboys live and work. Those folks got it.
I worked very hard at my craft that afternoon but was relieved to pick up my check and accept a few compliments. Very few compliments I might add. I’m sure many of those present expected some trick shooting along with rope tricks and maybe a horse that would come out on the stage and bow down. Sometimes we just have expectations about certain things we don’t have a whole lot of knowledge about. You’ve been there and know exactly what I mean. Out of all the entertaining I have done over the years I have only had two incidents where I felt as if I had failed and that, of course was one.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, and expect great things for the future when there is new leadership in our beloved America. Keep yer hammer cocked and yer powder dry and I’ll c. y’all.


Cowboy Stories  

Gentle readers, as most of you know, at least you folks that are familiar with cowboys, can attest that
the “real ” cowboys love to tell of their adventures. Yep, we love to tell stories. I was listening this
morning to a radio program on 650 AM out of Cheyenne, Wyo. called Cowboy Corner. The host is Red
Steagall, song writer, poet and country swing band leader from Texas. On this particular morning he was
visiting with the legendary horseman Buster Welch. Red insisted that Buster talk about his early days
as a cowboy. Both Red and Buster are a few years older than yours truly. Buster begins his story with
a cowboy friend of his when they both were starving cowboys looking for any kind of ranch work as they
were dead broke. They ran into a feller in the local café that was looking for someone to break some of
his ranch horses. Buster’s friend knew this feller by reputation and knew that he had some really rank
horses. Many of these horses would be five to six years old and unbroken. Big stout ponies with lots
of fire and brimstone that could really buck. Buster’s friend ask this feller to buy them breakfast and they
would discuss the deal. After eating they agreed to a deal for so much a head to break these horses.
For some reason these spunky cowboys had no transportation so they hitch hiked close to the ranch
and walked the remaining few miles. When they got there everyone had gone to town and in the
bunkhouse they found all of the cowboys saddles, bedrolls etc. There was to be a big gather (roundup)
in the morning was the reason for all of the gear in the bunkhouse. They waited and waited and
nobody showed up so Buster’s friend decided it would be more fun to pull a prank on these cowboys
whom he did not know and get the heck out of the country before they returned to the ranch. That’s
just the brain of a young and restless cowboy…who knows? Buster agreed so they took all of the
cinches off of the saddles and hid them and then proceeded to fill all of the bedrolls with salt and
crackers. They slipped away in the darkness and according to Buster his buddy was “laffin” and slappin’
his leg for the first mile up the road. They never heard the outcome of such a prank.
I have told a lot of stories to my kids about some of the things that happened while out with the
crew or working by myself. Some of the stories my kids were there with me and would have their own
version of what happened. I hope that in years to come they will share these stories of their dad with
their grandkids when I’ve ridden over the divide. In my opinion, a cowboy that can tell a good story in
“cowboy fashion” is well worth the time one might spend listening to that experience. Stay tuned
gentle readers, check yer cinch on occasion and keep the faith!! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


If you’ve ever spent much time around bovines, gentle readers, especially range cows, you know
that there can on occasion be an issue. They are like folks in a lot of ways depending on what mood
they happen to be in or what their particular situation is on a given day under a particular set of
circumstances. On this particular day Eldon wasn’t expecting what eventually happened to him.
It seems a neighbor’s heifer, a real goofy heifer got in with some of his cows. This bovine was not
only goofy, she was unpredictable, angry, with absolutely no ambition to go along with the plan
that Eldon had devised to get her separated and ready for the owner’s cowboy to come pick her
up. This heifer was so out of control she stirred up Eldon’s cows and some of them began to get
a little “antsy” and short sighted on a simple plan to separate the agitator from the other cows.
According to Eldon this heifer was “just plain dangerous” and bouncin’ off every corner of the
corral thusly stirring up Eldon’s cows. Eldon happened to be in the alley way in an effort to cut
off his cows in another pen when he got “freight trained” by one of his cows. I mean he got
freight trained head on in the middle of his chest and set airborne only to be kicked and stepped
on in the melee. Eldon is not an old guy like me but he’s somewhere behind me in my tracks.
We don’t react as quickly children when we reach a certain point in life and bad things can
happen as a result. Eldon was explaining how all of this happened down at the T Bar Inn a
few mornings back. He didn’t appear really to have any obvious open wounds from this
“mad cow attack” until he says, “look here, let me show you something”. He pulled up his
shirt and there was a bruise the size of a volleyball on his hip. He wasn’t able to show us the
full results of all the damage without, let’s say, looking a little indecent in a public place.
I spent a good many years working with “bremmer” cross cows and some full blood bulls. I never
got run over like Eldon, but I did on one occasion get my feet kicked out from under me as
a cow ran by me and took a swipe with her lift hind foot. She was right on target. Now, of
course I was a lot younger than Eldon is at the time and that has it’s advantages. Now when
it comes to horses…I have been bucked off numerous times, had a horse just get mad and
throw himself down on the hard ground penning my leg underneath him. I had a horse step
in a hole as a full run and turn a summersault with me still in the saddle. I have had several
horses rear and fall over with me and had one almost get me drowned in a flooded creek.
I reckon all livestock can get you hurt for any reason at any time so we have to always be
aware, alert and well advised not to say, “hey y’all watch this”. I do hope your summer is
going well and it’s time for me to mount up my old orange tractor, Alice Chambers, and get
some more pasture mowed. I do have all my firewood hauled, and my hay picked up and
in the hay shed for next winter. Stay tuned, be advised to be cautious when it comes to
picking your favorite politician in the coming months and let’s make some positive changes
in this country for our kids and grandkids. Okay? I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. Oh, and by the way,
check yer cinch on occasion.

A Little Texas Humor

Actually, there is nothing little in Texas unless it’s a little regard for folks with no common sense. Does
that make sense, gentle readers? I was in MacBreakfast this morning having breakfast and I noticed a
couple come in about my age and the feller was wearing a straw hat (cowboy style) just like mine. This
type of hat I have only seen on cowboys not Dairy Queen Dudes or Rexall Rangers. As we stood in line I
commented, “well sir, I know of two fellers that look good in cheap hats!” He “laffed” and we agreed
that this particular hat is very durable, cheap and looks good all in one. As it turned out they were from
Amarillo and had come up to Cheyenne Frontier Days and were headed home. We got in a short visit
and even though it’s been over forty years since we lived in Amarillo, he and I discussed certain cowboys
known in that area. What fun.
I wanted to share a  little “glimpse” of Texas humor with you and most deal with signs you see on
farm or ranch property. Here goes; BEWARE OF ..WELL JUST BEWARE! NO TRESPASSING..I OWN A FIREARM
WARNING SHOT! Here’s a cute one…”I’m a secondhand vegetarian…cows eat grass..l eat cows! Here are a
couple on Texas weather…In case of a tornado warning..Go to Cowboy Stadium..there is no chance of a
touchdown there!! Welcome to Childress, Texas where everybody knows everybody and our weather is
Well, our weather has certainly been a little bipolar with all of this good, good moisture but dang, it’s
really hard for folks to get any real decent hay put up. I drove by a hay field this morning where I have
made intentions to buy some of this hay when it’s finally put up. It has been cut, got a little shower on
it last night and is supposed to rain again this evening and tomorrow! Maybe, just maybe those showers
will bypass this hay crop. I always kid about it starting to snow right after Cheyenne Frontier Days and
sometimes that first snow is not that far off. I have gone and gotten one load of firewood and will get
another when it gets a wee bit drier.
Let me leave you children with a couple of things to think about this week. “If your life stops when
your heart does….don’t you think that your life begins when your heart starts?” Huh? There must and
hopefully it won’t be too much longer before common sense prevails over political correctness! God
I hope so! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, lay in the tall grass and keep yer powder dry and
I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Folks You Meet

Gentle readers, by the time you receive this publication, Cheyenne Frontier Days will be in full swing.
I exhibited my cartoon art work there for, as memory serves me, fifteen years or so. Not only did I have
original full color, nicely framed cartoons, I had prints of those, cartoon books, calendars, coffee mugs,
tee shirts and on occasion place mats. I had so much fun doing CFD all of those years. It’s only a thirty
minute drive from the ONO. One of the pleasures of doing such an event are the folks you meet and
friendships that you make and in some cases for many, many years to come. I try to run up each year
and visit with some of those old friends, some who had booths next to mine or close by. I usually jump
on the Harley as it’s easier to find a parking place and run up for a few hours.
One feller that I remember as a real character came by to buy a cartoon. Her looked as if he had just
fell off the local freight train as it came through Cheyenne. He was shabbily dressed, hadn’t shaved and
walked with a noticeable limp. He was wearing one of those old soiled fedoras that “Freddy the Freeloader”,
Red Skelton’s hobo character wore. “I have seen yer cartoons before and I like’em. I’d like to buy one of
yer originals,” he quipped with a friendly smile. I was a little anxious unless this feller had a wad of cash
on him. “Was there any particular cartoon you had your eye on?” I asked. “Yessir, this one right here. I
come by when I reckon you had gone to the bathroom and kinda made myself at home. Hope ya don’t
mind?” “Oh no, not at all,” I shot back. The cartoon he was interested in was $ 5 or 6 hundred in that range
and I was wondering how all of this was going to go down. “Well, now, he said, would ya take a check on
a Kansas bank?” ” Sure, with proper identification I sure will. Do you have your driver’s license with you?”
“I do, now son this check is on my son’s account up there but he has given me permission to use it how I
see fit.” Now I am concerned but even more concerned when he opened up his wallet and it was fat as
an east Texas tick that had spent the day on a coon hound. Not with money children, just little wads of
paper that surly had meaning and were stuffed in every crease and corner of that billfold. I was getting
wet feet by now but something told me to trust this old feller as he came across as being the salt of the
earth with maybe a little dirt on it. I told him I would take his check and I felt if it were not good I would
have misjudged him and that amount of money was not going to send me to the poor house. His
check turned out to be as good as gold even though it looked as if he had been carrying it for decades.
I was pleased that he turned out to be honest. “Never judge a book by it’s cover,” I repeated in my
mind. I do hope you get to go to CFD and have some fun and just don’t judge anyone by the way they
are dressed, especially me! As a sidebar my 2016 Hoots cowboy cartoon calendars should be arriving
in the very near future. Be safe, have fun, remembering we live in the GREATEST country in the world.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, hug your kids, and I’ll c. y’all all y’all.

A Good Morning

Gentle readers, I reckon that any morning that I roll out of bed is a good morning. This morning was a little
extra special. I woke up actually a little sad and depressed for some reason. I remembered that today was
the day my daddy passed away in 1987. With “Little Miss Martha” also departed, it just sort of slapped me
up beside the face. I think as we get older we dwell on this sort of thing on occasion.
I made my bed, brushed my teeth, made some coffee and went down and fed the ponies. It was so nice
and cool earlier so I decided that a good “hossback ride” would help to cure my ills. I came back to the house,
got a cup of java and settled in on the back deck and just relax while the horses had their breakfast. I decided
that I would put off eating until I got back from my ride.
Ole Nugget and I drifted off the hill and across the creek in a running walk. He was a little fresh but always
comfortable to me as he is a really gentle horse and that’s important for old guys like me. We located the
steers and looked them over as we rode around them and through them. Even though I had put a lot of fly
spray not only on Nugget but a little on myself, the deer flies were doing a number on us so we headed back to
the house. I felt so much better already. It is true that the outside of a hoss is good for the inside of a man.
I was energized so I drug an empty water tub out of the corral and out in the pasture close to the house so
there will be more clean water for the steers as their creek water and holes of water in the pasture are not
so inviting any more. I started up sprinklers in my yard and flower beds and came in for breakfast. By now I
was singing to myself and feeling really spunky. A big breakfast of sausage, eggs and biscuits and more coffee,
I was on top of the world.
Folks are always asking us (me and you) how we are doin’? My usual reply is “better than I deserve”. I stole
that little phrase from a feller named Dave that is a financial guru and has a late night radio program where he
gives advice to the folks that call in. I have followed some of his advice and as a result I find myself in a
comfortable situation when it comes to my finances. I do feel that I am doing better than I deserve because
I am in good health, have lots of friends, family and get to contribute to this fine paper and am embarrassed
at times when some reader compliments me “better than I deserve”.
It’s time to go move the sprinkler, get another cup of coffee and maybe take the Harley into Wellington
for a little ice cream later on. What a great morning, thank you Lord for all I have and the things that could
come my way. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, be wary of political correctness when you feel
it is draggin’ you under. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Crazy Things Critters Do

Gentle readers, I’m sure you have witnessed Felix, your cat or Sargent, your dog do something that seemed completely out of the ordinary. I am going to relate some really unusual observations I have made in the last few weeks just watching ordinary critters.     I had a farrier come out a few weeks back to trim my pony’s feet. My dun horse is a real character. You no more than have him tied to brush him or throw a saddle on him before he starts to untie the lead rope. He never seems to get it done, but does he ever work at it. The farrier started on Nugget’s left front foot when Nugget reached around and tried to unbuckle the shoeing apron. I might have mentioned that I saw, I ain’t makin’ this up, two jackrabbits chasing my neighbor’s cat across the pasture. That poor cat looked terrified, but managed to get home before those mean ol’ rabbits nailed him. I had a hard time believing that myself. The other day I was digging Russian Thistle out of my horse trap when one of those, I call them, “Bull Bats”, some call them Prairie Bats, flew off the ground right in front of me. I had almost stepped on her eggs. I mean they just lay them on the ground without any cover or protection at all. Later that evening I was sitting on the back deck having a cup of coffee and watching the steers peacefully grazing along. All at once one steer stops, lowers his head, cocks it slightly and begins to take a step back. ” Oh my God, he’s gonna’ get snake bit”, was my first thought. Suddenly that Bull Bat flew up right under his nose as he must have almost stepped on the eggs. That silly steer along with two of his buddies, I ain’t makin’ this up, took off chasing that bird and they chased it for at least thirty or forty yards. Crazy. I’ve never seen that before EVER!  I also mentioned last year when my dog got snake bit that I looked and looked for that pesky rattler and finally gave up. Later in the day I walked down to the corrals and opened the feed room door to enter and happed to look down and see that rattler crawling along beside my right foot. Children, he wasn’t over three to four inches from me and apparently had been crawling along with me for some distance. I grabbed a shovel off the wall and dispatched him at once. All of the above are most unusual and the last one unsettling. The Fourth of July has just passed. I hope you had a fun safe one and got to eat lots of hot dogs and water melon.  As a sidebar, folks, our country is headed, in my opinion, down the drain. We have to stick together, stand together and fight with all we have if we want to always see our flag, our constitutional freedoms and our independence still in tack. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, look for the unusual, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. 

A Letter (Email) From Home

“Hi Mom and Dad. How are things on the farm these days? I have been really busy on my new job
here in Chicago and it’s really taking some getting used to. One would think that as many folks that
work here where I do, that you could make friends in a short time. It hasn’t happened that way, at
least not yet. I did meet a new employee today. His name is Gerald and he is from Kansas. I think we
are going to get a bite to eat tonight after work and he is from a farm family as well. I’m trying my
best to like my new job and surroundings but it has been difficult. Chicago is so big and diverse and
I feel like a small fish in a very large pond. I’m glad to have my education and all that, but I really miss
all of you and especially sitting on the front porch these summer evenings, eating ice cream and
listening to the crickets and frogs.
How is old Rowdy doing? I know he has slowed down a whole lot. Does he still refuse to wander
out to the mail box and meet Mr. Charlie when he delivers the mail? He has been a good’un, Rowdy
I mean. Well Mr. Charlie hasn’t been too bad either. I don’t think that dog ever caught a rabbit, but
I remember the porcupine he caught! Man, what an ordeal that was!
Is Jimmy still going with that little cheerleader? He always was a ladies’ man. Little brother or not,
I still envy him at times. I have had no such luck here in the big city. Seems everyone is in such a hurry
to get somewhere to do I don’t know what. It’s crazy and I think it’s gonna’ make me a little crazy
also before it’s all over.
Dad, have you got the corn in and any hay put up as yet? I know its a busy time for you and I wish I
were there to help out. I just couldn’t wait to get off the farm and look at me now. When I look in the
mirror in the morning I see a farm kid looking back not an aspiring young businessman. Maybe I should
have taken that job at the co op instead of moving here. Live and learn I reckon. I’m sorry for whining
so much, it’s just that I didn’t know what I had until I didn’t have it any more.
Well, my lunch break is almost over and I need to get back to my pigeon hole and earn my keep.
Take care, say hi to Jimmy and give old Rowdy a scratch behind the ears for me. I will find a way
to get home before too much longer and see all of you. I might even ask Kristin Copeland to go
dancing with me. I should have done that a long time ago. Love you all. God speed and here’s hoping
the weather stays in your favor. Farm boy forever!”
Gentle readers, does that ring a bell with anyone you know? Stay tuned, Check yer cinch on occasion,
remember our vets who have given so much, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Perfect Man

Gentle readers, if you take notice, I listed the title of my column as THE PERFECT MAN and then I added my name underneath. Ah…nothing could be farther from the truth. I will tell you a story I heard about a perfect man if you will indulge me. Keeping in mind Father’s Day has just past and I hope all you dads out there had a perfect day.
In the small prairie church one Sunday morn, the pastor’s message was on self indulgence, being prideful, and just thinking that we as individuals are more important than the person next to us. The pastor ask, “is there any woman in the congregation this morning that thinks she is perfect? Do you know of a woman who thinks she is perfect? I personally have never met the perfect woman and doubt I ever will,” he mused. He went on, ” is there a perfect man in the congregation this morning? I know of only one perfect man that ever walked the face of this earth and it wasn’t in this state or in this county and we all know who that was. Does any man in the congregation think that he is perfect or have you ever seen personally a perfect man?” As with the women, there were no hands raised. Just as the pastor began to move on with his sermon, finally one hand went up in the back of the room. “Brother Raymond, are you saying that you are a perfect man,?” ask the pastor. “Oh nosiree, I certainly am not a perfect man, Brother pastor.” ” Well then, do you know of a perfect man that you have heard about?” the pastor quizzed. “Yessir, I do know of one man.” “Well, don’t keep us in suspense, who was it,?” the pastor ask impatiently. “It was my ex wife’s first husband!”
As far from being perfect dear children I try, at least I think I try to remember to improve myself on a daily basis. I don’t know what it is about getting older that makes me strive to do better and leave folks with a better impression of me. It must be when I was younger and so much busier that I just never paused enough to consider the benefits of self improvement other than on the job. My loss, I wish I had.

Speakin’ of paws (pause), did you hear about the three legged dog that went into the saloon in Cody, Wyoming tottin’ a pistol? The barkeep ask, “why are to carrying that big pistol with you in here?” The dog replied, “I’M LOOKIN’ FER THE MAN THAT SHOT MY PAW!” Okay, okay, that was a little lame (pun intended) so I’ll end with that. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, always be the better man, remember we live in the greatest country in the world…I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Good Times

I would call this late spring and early summer one of the good times. No way around it. I have never seen so much green country and Coal Creek that runs through the ONO is still running and has been for almost a month now. It has rained almost every day for the past five weeks and I got another inch this past Saturday night and it came in about twenty minutes. Wow! The Rockies are magnificent with their snow capped peaks against that beautiful blue Colorado sky. Such beauty!
I tried to mow weeds yesterday but the ground is too soft. I was doing more damage than I was doing good so I decided to hold off until it dries our somewhat. We are expecting more turbulence in the way of afternoon storms today. I had to have a few more steers delivered as I didn’t think between the ones I already had and my two ponies, that they would be able to keep up with all the grass.
I was out riding last week with a friend and we spotted a mule deer (doe) down at the creek getting a drink along with a few Mallards drifting on the water. Usually it’s antelope that I see on my place instead of deer as there is just not a lot of cover along the creek or in my pastures. Yes, this season is certainly one of the good times. I will have to place this in my memory bank for when it’s hot, windy and dry with tumbleweeds stacking up against my fences.
I am still very active in the cactus patch and making progress with eradicating those troublesome plants. I feel so fortunate to live where I do and have the views that I have and on top of that have so many friends and family close by.
The Miller Moths are all but gone. It seems they were here in the millions until that bad storm Saturday night and now I find only a few outside or in the garage or feed room. There is one at present bouncing around the window in front of my computer but I’ll dispatch him shortly.
I’m excited about the political situation with all these new faces wanting to change this country back to what it used to be before this last administration took control. It seems we are in such a mess not only in the Middle East but right here at home. A lot of folks are just scratchin’ their heads wondering what is going to happen next. Myself included.
Here locally it appears we have a serial shooter sniping at folks not only on the interstate but on some of our country roads as well. One wounded and two dead so far.  It’s not good times for everyone as I have friends that have lost loved ones this past few weeks and I feel for them as they struggle with finding a new normal in their lives.
When it warms up a little more I will jump on the Harley and make a run into the Post Office to get The Fence Post and catch up with what my fellow columnist have to report. There is a lot of talent in this paper and I enjoy them all.
Yes, it is a good time for me as I have lots to do this summer but am looking forward to being out in the pasture and soaking up this sweet Colorado air. I do so hope that this is a good time for all of you knowing that all this rain does present some problems with getting crops in and hay out. Just the same, lets enjoy all of the “good stuff” we can. Remember to be kind to your neighbor, friendly to those you don’t know, stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, fly Old Glory at every opportunity and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Do Clothes Make The Man? 

Gentle readers, it was important to my folks to dress their best for even the most mundane occasions.
I believe as I reflect on it, living through the great depression created somewhat of a triumph for surviving such an event. You can go to most any church in anywhere America on Sunday morning and find men in casual clothes and maybe even sandals. The women also may be very causally dressed. I have even witnessed men in cargo shorts in some services. The mega churches have in some ways, I believe, encouraged folks to “just show up” on Sunday morning as long as you are covered up as to be somewhat modest.
My dad never went to church, never without a suit and tie be it on Wednesday or the Sunday evening services. My, my has time ever changed. I never envisioned “Freddie the Freeloader” (Red Skelton’s character) being a fashion plate for today’s casual man. When I go out dancing the older folks such as myself and those some years younger are dressed as you might expect. Of course being a cowboy I have the pressed Wranglers, boots, western shirt on most occasions and my cowboy hat. Now, I have jeans that are ripped in all sorts of
places as a result of “mad cow disease”, fist a cuffs with a “bob” wire fence or whatever, but I don’t wear them to go dancin’ or any other place unless it’s the co op or for parts. I see young women and guys in jeans that appear as if they were run over by a bush hog. They are ripped in all sorts of places and that is just the style for too many young folks these days. “Like, how do you like my new jeans? I got them at Fashion Center and they were on sale for like sixty eight dollars!” “You’ve got to be kidding me!! Sixty eight dollars? The last pair I bought were like almost twice as much as yours and like they don’t have nearly as many rips and tears like yours!!”
I mean, heck, if that’s where we are headed, why don’t we just cut some rips and tears in our shirts? Wouldn’t that be like, just as cool as having jeans that show more skin than a mini skirt? I will have to admit the young folks I come in contact with may have jeans that are ripped to shreds but they will be wearing fancy cowboy boots and a shirt or blouse that is acceptable.
A few years back fashion was for a man to start wearing his shirt outside of his pants not being tucked in. I have come to accept that if the shirt is not all wrinkled up. To me, we are turning into a sloppy bunch of folks that could resemble “Freddie” in our near future. I hear today that one man’s opinion is that this younger generation just out of college or about to me will not own much of anything like my parents strived to. First, their student loans are so monumental, the lack of job opportunities for too many, is small and they have been taught that in come cases it’s deplorable to outshine your friends and have more than what they deserve as a whole.
On the other hand I have met many young folks that are educated, have good jobs, dress well and have a generous plan for their lives. Kudos to them, I wish there were more but I have to think that is just where we are as a society at present.
If a cowboy has ripped jeans it’s because of “workplace violence” and he didn’t buy them that way. He is too proud of who he is and what he represents to present himself in that manner. Enough said, I reckon. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, tuck in yer shirt and buy respectable clothes if you want to look respectable and not so “Hollywood”. Picture George Strait in your mind…he got it right! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Let’s Talk About The Weather

Gentle readers do you remember those times when you felt a little awkward trying to visit with someone
you had just met or someone who was hard to converse with? Your next move most likely was to start
a conversation about the weather. It appears at present that rain is the topic of conversation as I write
this on May 22. It has been raining here off and on, mostly on, here at the ONO for almost a month. It’s
wet. Actually, it’s wetter than wet if there is such a thing. I slipped down to the cactus patch for a brief
period yesterday when it wasn’t raining and I not only pulled up cactus but lots of mud with it. Very
tiring I gotta’ tell ya. I think I’ll wait until it dries out a little before I go back and try that again.
I made a fast run to the “old country”, Texas last Sunday and was forced to come back on Tuesday
because of flash flood warnings down in the Permian Basin of West Texas. I will tell you that there
is water standing from Wellington, Colorado to Midland, Texas, a distance of almost 700 miles. I have
never in my seventy five years seen a weather system that covered so much country for such a long
period of time. On my way back to Colorado I crossed flooded highways at Vega, Texas and close to
Dimmitt, Texas. I got into a horrible fog between Dalhart, Texas and Boyce City, Oklahoma, plus all
of that there was a torrential downpour for almost thirty miles of that. When I got back into Colorado
and on the interstate south of Longmont, Colorado, another torrential downpour until I reached
Wellington a distance of oh, I donno, forty miles or so.
I am not complaining about the weather, no sir, I am so glad to have so much moisture this time of
year. However, I am about ready to holler “CALF ROPE”!!! One feller pointed out to me this morning
over coffee that if this was winter and this system was a snow storm we would be under four or five
feet of snow, and I believed him for sure. In a few days, hopefully we will see that bright yellow light
in the sky and it will begin to warm up again. There was that one cotton farm I drove by outside of
Brownfield, Texas where it appeared the old farmer was building a structure that make me reflect on
what Noah’s arc was supposed to look like. That is down in the Bible belt for sure. It didn’t have
anything to do with him having his animals separated in pairs and they seemed to be a little restless.
Of course I jest, but his fields were flooded and he had water standing in his driveway up to his front
We are blessed to receive so much moisture and it will be of great benefit if it hadn’t killed all of
the sugar beets and washed away a couple of dozen houses on the river. Again, I jest and I am not
complaining. I have not seen this much water in Coal Creek that runs through the ONO in many
years and it’s just plain good!! I am a Happy Jack for sure!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch and yer rain gage, trust but verify, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Cactus Patch

Woe is me, or maybe whoa is me is a better description of how I feel today. I am gonna’ put a whoa
on the cactus patch for about a week while I make a run down to the old country Texas to see my
bro and sis and their families.
Twenty years ago when Little Miss Martha and I purchased this little ranch it had an abundance of
cacti on a good portion of the eighty four acres. We set about with grubbin’ hoes and started pulling
the cactus up one at a time and putting it in large piles. When the piles had adequate time to dry, I
would burn them. I spent many days in the patch pulling, piling and burning cacti. It paid off as we
had some productive pastures that carried more than it’s share of steers or whatever happen to
be runnin’ here at the time. It’s taken a good many years for this dreaded plant to return in abundance,
but alas, that it has. I am blessed with four inches of rain in the last ten days or so and the
ground is good and soft and the cactus comes up out of the ground many times with little effort on
my part. I have researched the best ways to get rid of this nuisance, but to get rid of it and have your
grass available for immediate grazing, it’s best to pull it up by it’s roots, stack it in large piles. I use a
forked hoe to hook under the plant and extract it from the ground. I know, I know, trust me, it is
very hard work and it takes a lot of time, but I get the best results from using this method. I tried
dragging it with the blade on my tractor and did have fairly good results at times. The end result
is that it still has to be raked up and some of it pulled up with the hoe. If you just leave it there, sure
most of it will die and not go back to root, but you can’t graze the areas where the cacti lay.
For the last three weeks I have religiously and faithfully gone down in the pasture, weather permitting,
and extracted the cactus. There are places where the cacti is so close you can take a step or two and
you are on another plant. In other areas you could walk ten paces before encountering another
cactus. I will tell you this, “this old cowboy’s butt sometimes comes draggin’ in the back door after I
have been in the house for an hour or so! Just kiddin’. I would never work that hard, but it dang sure
feels like it on some days. If I had to guess, I would guess that I have cleared maybe twenty five to
thirty acres at present. I had one of my grandsons come out and help me on one occasion and boy
our shirt tails didn’t hit our back for about three hours. We were worn out. Three hours of pullin’ up
cactus is hard on anybody, I don’t care who you are. Just the same, after I get out of the shower
in the evening, I feel really good and part of that good feeling is because of what I have accomplished
by just plain hard work. When I get back from Texas I’m going to hire a couple of extra hands to help
me and get a big jump on what’s left. That is if I can find somebody that is willing to do that type of
work. Maybe I can shame them by showing them what I have done mostly by myself and remember, I
just turned seventy five. Actually, I’m seventy five going on fourteen or so it seems at times. I am
blessed to have this good health but in a way, I am responsible for my health by staying busy and trying
to eat most of the right things like bacon and eggs for breakfast and a good hamburger or steak for
dinner. I don’t know how a vegan could do some of the things I do and have any gas left in their tank
at the end of the day. It’s hard work folks that has so many, many rewards at the end of the day.
Well, lets see, hummm…it’s seven thirty and I think I can hear my pillow, “Jack, Jack, it’s bedtime
and you need your beauty rest. That’s a fact, I could use some BEAUTY  rest. Stay tuned, check yer
cinch on occasion and I hope your place has it’s pretty spring dress on like my ONO.
One side note: I read in the Bible in Leviticus that if a man lies with another man he should be stoned.
Washington state made marijuana (Mary Wanna) and same sex marriage legal all in the same day.
So, I reckon I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Waylon and the Cowboys

Waylon always wanted to be a cowboy and according to him, he done his best on the O6 Ranch out
of Alpine, Texas while doing a documentary which turned into a music video. He determined as he was
stepping up on his bus to go home to Nashville he weren’t no cowboy.
Gentle readers this documentary about real cowboys, how they live and what is required of them to
earn the title “cowboy” was done, I believe, in the early eighties. It could have been earlier. I have written
in the past of being one of the opening acts (cowboy humor) when Waylon Jennings was the headliner.
Waylon and I and his wife, Jessie sat on a couple of bales of hay backstage and discussed life in general and
also his documentary, which is excellent by the way. I’ll give you directions shortly on how to get there if
you are online.
Waylon grew up in Littlefield, Texas, a short stones throw from where I grew up. I did not know him
back then but I knew he played with the Buddy Holly band on occasion and was fortunate enough to
have lost a coin toss that kept him and Tommy Allsup off of the plane that crashed that night in a cornfield
and killed Buddy, Richie Valens, and “The Big Bopper in 1959 in a corn field I believe in Indiana.
I ask Waylon about the feller that showed up at the ranch on a motorcycle for the spring works because
he also wanted to know what it took to be a “real” cowboy. As it turned out he left early as the hours were
too long, the nights too cold out with the wagon and he didn’t always get to ride when he wanted too. He
was a “gunsel” or a greenhorn and was “all hat and no cows” as they say.
Waylon confessed to me that even though he stayed the full three weeks out with the wagon branding
calves, moving cows and general cowboy labor, he was ready to get home. It was more difficult than he
expected but he wouldn’t have missed the experience for any thing. In the video Waylon sings around the
nightly campfires, gets in the branding pen and brands a few calves and whatever they ask him to do.
This video shows the viewer in living color what it’s like to be on a “big outfit” cowboyin, each and every
day and eating what the cook throws your way and sleeping in the rain, eating trail dust and getting
caught up in a wreck in the branding pen. If you’ve done any cow work at all, this video will make you
want to saddle up and ride out with this crew of men and one woman and absorb what the west is all
about on a working ranch. Here’s how you get there. Google Waylon Jennings O6 ranch music video.
It’s over fifty minutes long so you need to set aside the time to just relax and enjoy an honest to goodness
approach to “cowboy life” in living color. The music is excellent all through the video. I came to the
conclusion after watching this video for the second time that Texas is my wife and Colorado is my
mistress! Yes I love them both. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, and here’s to green grass and
fat cattle. I hope you enjoy the video. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

A Top Hand

A Gentle readers a goal to shoot for when your occupation is “cowboy” is to be called a top hand.
Meaning of course, that you can do just about anything with considerable skill when it comes to
punchin’ cows or in lay man’s terms, caring for livestock a’horseback.  There are top hands in the
world of rodeo as well, but it’s a little different than ranch work. Hence my poem ” A Top Hand”.

I try to leave preachin’ up to preachers
and teachin’ up to teachers.
I’d never tell a seamstress how to sew
or a cook how to prepare his dough.

A saddle maker prefers a certain type of tree,
a  locksmith can make any kind of key.
A farrier can build yer horse a shoe
and a vet almost always knows what to do.

A jockey knows if and when to use the whip.
A sailor knows how to sail his ship.
A guitar picker prefers a certain pick,
A muleskinner knows how to avoid the kick.

A banker knows when to lend a loan
and a ramblin’ man knows when to go home.
A farmer knows when to plant the seed.
A rancher knows when his cows to breed.

A waitress knows when to smile.
A runner knows when it’s the last mile.
A carpenter knows when it’s square
and a barber knows how to cut yer hair.

And me, I just watch and observe the cow,
she’ll teach me something and show me how.
A top hand I ain’t, but it’s my goal,
There’s one thing I can do and that’s plug a hole.

Pluggin’ a hole requires some skill
’cause if not plugged some ole’ sister might spill,
head to the brush where they all will,
yer left in the dust with “looks that could kill”.

A feller has to cowboy up and stand his ground,
be sure the bunch quitter don’t get around,
’cause that’s his job and it means a lot
fer a feller’s reputation sometimes is all he’s got.

The time might come in the very near
when yer in the bar havin’ a beer.
A “waddie” might toss some words solid as sand,
“that feller over there, is sure nuff a top hand.”

Me thinks that some of them fellers in Washington need to learn how to plug a hole as well!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, and Thank you Lord for all this wonderful rain.
I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. Top Hand


Mother’s Day

Yep, gentle readers, as you read this Mother’s Day has just passed. It’s that time of the year when we
honor and remember our Mothers. I hope your mom is still living and you took the time to at least visit
with her and NOT by email or a text. I’m hoping you were able to go see her, hug her and give her some
flowers. She appreciated the flowers but that hug and that “I love you Mom”, meant more than anything
in the world. The very last time I saw my mother (alive) was in a nursing home in Midland, Texas. She was
wheelchair bound, could not speak because of a stroke in the past but was very mentally alert. At 86 she
had lived a long time. She was a talker. You could not get a word in edgeways and you were expected to
be patient and listen even if it took four days for her to finish her conversation, as one sided as it was.
Here we were, the silence was almost deafening and I really ran out of things to say because she could not
answer me. It was frustrating to say the least. Her sad blue watery eyes told me that she knew her time
was short and most likely she would not see me again. I lived too far away and my job prevented me from
making another trip in the near future. I was sad. It was difficult to see my mother in such a condition
when I knew she had so much she wanted to tell me. Her heart was breaking as well as mine. The only
consolation is that my sister and brother lived very near and saw her almost daily and attended to her
needs the best that they could. I fumbled for the right words to express before I got up to leave. I had
a plane to catch and needed to go. I gave her a healthy hug, a big smile, a kiss on the cheek and said,
“I love you mom’ and hope to see you again before long”. We both knew that probably wasn’t going
to happen. I left her with big tears in her eyes but they spoke volumes to me as I turned and walked
away. It was really a sad time for her as well as myself. The trip home was difficult as I felt maybe there was
something more I should have said or tried to do to let her know she would be missed and how I
appreciated the many good things she did when I was young to let me get a firm grip on being a solid
individual with a good work ethic and compassion for those less fortunate.
Within a few months I was back in Midland looking into her casket. “Jack, your mom looks beautiful,
as pretty as I believe I have seen her in years,” spoke one of her brothers. I had to agree. The summer
dress with the floral pattern and her makeup done to perfection as well as her hair seemed fitting.
It was that time in life when your last parent has gone to rest and you somehow feel a little different.
More alone than maybe other times in your life. Well, that was twenty years ago. I miss her weekly
phone calls when she could speak and yes, I miss just putting my ear to the phone until I thought
it might have grown to my head. Miss ya Mom!! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and ladies,
I do so hope you got the Mother’s Day that you all deserve. Mom’s are so very special!
I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Real People

Gentle readers, last evening I watched a documentary titled “Droughtland”. It was an hour feature
about the effects on agriculture in eastern Colorado due to a long lasting drought. This program was
on public television and produced by what I would call “city folk”. These guys went to the core of
their subject, the farmers and ranchers in the eastern part of our state. They spent days interviewing
and filming men, women and children at work, at worship, and at play in their natural environment.
Here is a sampling of what they learned. One woman who has a booth at “The Taste of Colorado”,
a food fiesta, if you will, that takes place in Denver, I believe in City Park, each year. Along with some
of her friends they try to educate our urban and city friends about the benefits and the necessity of
agriculture. They have little quizzes that one can try to come up with the correct answer, if nothing
else, just to get folks to stop and talk to them. This lady reports that she tried to get a gentleman to
stop and participate, his reply was, “I’m not interested in agriculture, I’M A VEGETARIAN, !!! Are you
kidding me? I knew that there was a disconnect between those folks that produce the very food we
eat, but give me a break. Another instance one woman inferred that when she is in the supermarket
she sees the mist being sprayed on the vegetables and of course, THAT IS WHERE THE VEGETABLES
ARE GROWN! Good grief Charlie Brown, is this for real? I reckoned that it was as I watched the
The message that the documentary was trying to convey is that agriculture is more important than
how green some park or golf course is that requires large amounts of water. FINALLY, city boys have
discovered who the REAL PEOPLE are in the sun up to sun down work a day world busting their respective
behinds to put food on our table day in and day out.
Farmers, ranchers, equipment dealers, housewives, ministers, sale barn owners, and even a politician
were in the mix to show urbanites what goes on day to day in  stressful life situations for the folks,
these REAL PEOPLE that live on our farms and ranches. The folks that are dismayed when the crops fail,
but have hope and trust and faith that next year will be better. That rancher that had to sell all but a
few of his cows because he couldn’t feed them. He bought back in at a later time when it appeared that
times would be better only to have to sell out once again.
At the end of the program the film maker was asked what impressed him the most while producing this
documentary. He said, ” I was surprised to find REAL PEOPLE out there working so hard without
complaining through extremely difficult times to bring us what we have come to expect to find on our
dinner tables.(I paraphrase) He went on, “they all, every single one of them talked about their faith and
their trust in God that things would get better next time around. I wasn’t going to put the “Faith and God”
stuff in my film, but I couldn’t leave it out, it’s who they are! They are real people and they pray for rain
each and every time they pray. Maybe we should all pray for rain for them!”.
Ahhh… a convert! Yes, gentle readers bless him for doing this film and coming to the understanding that
folks in agriculture are REAL PEOPLE, doing our very best to feed a hungry, hectic, sometimes selfish and
not so thankful nation of folks that are smack in the middle of the “rat race” and don’t take time to even
try and understand the value and necessity of where their food comes from and the REAL PEOPLE that
produce it. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and give yourself a big hug if you are involved in
agriculture in any form or fashion. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


Free Range Ramblings

Gentle readers, this column is another one of those where I just sort of ramble around talkin’
about this and that as I have no consistent column material. That’s okay with you I’m hopin.
As I ramble into this writing it is the day after tax day and the weather is a little on the wild
side. Yep, it’s been snowin’ and blowin’ and it’s cold for this time of year. My ole’ ponies have
shed a good bit of winter hair and I reckon that they wish they had it back. The next couple of
days will be unsettled with more rain, wind, snow and cold. But let me tell ya, I don’t really
care as the ONO is really, really dry at present. My pastures that are usually greening up this time
of the year don’t look all that good. Speaking of looking good, my last visit to the eye doc, after
she checked my vision, she stated, “well, Jack you are seeing very well.” I replied, what you mean
is, I’m looking good?” She shot back “yes, and that too.” She’s purty cute so I was just checking
out her vision..ha ha!
In a recent column I wrote about every thing and every one having a season. My good friend
“Buzz” Folley crossed over a couple of days ago. What a nice man and he just happened to be
another Texan that moved to Colorado years and years ago. Buzz was one of those guys that
was so easy to visit with and he would help you in any way he could. He had me bring ole’ Alice
Chambers (my AC Tractor) over to his place one time so he could do some welding on it and
get it up and running like it should be. He ask nothing in return even though I tried to pay him.
He spent three hours working on that old gal. He invited myself and my girlfriend at the time
to come over and load up on plums from one of his tree. I’ll miss ya pard.
I hate to see another go around of politics creeping into our future for the next year. It gets
so tiring as I expect to start to see television ad after ad talking about how stupid and unfit for
public office one’s opponent is. It’s disgusting and really sad to see and hear all of the mud
slinging, lying, and chest beating coming our way. A good cow camp looks really inviting to me
during all of this.
As a side bar I bit the bullet and paid off the ONO and on top of that my old Buick. I’m out of
debt children and it feels so good to have that behind me. Plus all of that, my place seems so
much more friendly and comfortable now that it’s mine, not the banker’s and mine!
As I was writing the phone rang and it was Eric, one Buzz’s sons wanting to know if I would
attend his funeral in the morning and say a few words about his dad. “You betcha’, I’ll be
there”! The snow is beginning to really come down and I reckon the ole ponies could use a
little more hay and I need to bring in some more firewood. I’m so blessed!
Take care, stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and never hesitate to compliment those
that you care about. It will mean more than you know! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

For Everything There Is A Season

Somewhere in the Bible there is, and I paraphrase, everyone and everything has a season. I reckon that’s
about as close to the truth as one can get. Tax season is upon us and yep, I will be giving Uncle Sam more
money besides what I have already given him. Man, that guy must have a hard time with putting together
a budget and staying within it. I got a cute email from the Evans family and here it is. The I.R.S. ask a feller
if he had any dependents to which he replied, “yes, 12 million illegal immigrants, l.l million crack heads,
over 4 million deadbeats, 80,000 criminals in 85 prisons, plus 450 idiots in Congress. The I.R.S. responded
that his answer was unacceptable to which he replied, “who did I leave out”? I feel that way at times and
it get more frustrating the older I get.
Roger Thompson’s season came to an end recently. If you recall, Roger wrote a column about horses
in the Fence Post. He was a good man. As I creep closer to old number 75 in May, I realize that at my
age, a lot of folks’ season comes to an end. I’m always tellin’ my buddies at the T Bar Inn that I ain’t
goin'”!! Nope, I don’t reckon that is on my agenda any time soon. How about you? I really love “living”
and I want all I can get. There are those out there at this moment suffering from illnesses and depression,
and who knows what they might welcome their season coming to an end. That’s a sad thing to say but
I do believe they are there.
As I write on this second day of April, the snow is falling and that is not unusual for Colorado or any
of the Northern or mountain states. Lord knows I need the moisture as it is very dry and the prospects
for any real measurement of moisture is purty slim.
I mentioned that my prairie dog town was wiped out not too long ago by the plague. Well, they are
back on my neighbor’s place just across the fence to the North. I was draggin’ up cactus with the old
Alice Chambers (my tractor) with a blade on the back when I saw the nasty little rascals running from one
burrow to another. I want to know…do some of you folks in the burbs just load these critters up and
haul them out here to the ONO and dump them so they will have a better life than on your golf course
or in your park or back yard? Just askin’. Those prairie dogs have many, many seasons it appears.
I’m hopin’ for a good strong spring with lots of moisture and lots of grass and warm days, cool
nights, open country, pretty women and gentle ponies. That’s what old cowboys wish for just in
case you didn’t know.
The seasons come and they go all by design. We live out our season and move over for the next
generation to have a shot at “gettin’ it right!” There has been some talk about folks living to be
one hundred and twenty years old. Good grief Charlie Brown, would you really want to live that
long and plus all of that overpopulate the country and break the government’s budget? Ha ha ha!!
Nope, there will come the time for my grandkids and yours to take the reins and ride this ol’
bronc. Speaking of politicians, apparently there are no bronc riders available. That could change
as I am seeing some younger faces that speak a language I understand and they seem to have the
courage to stand tall and call a spade a spade. Political correctness has run it’s course and has
ruined many a reputation in some folks business and personal lives and I’m talkin’ about some
really decent folks affected. It’s time to close with stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, don’t
be fooled by the I.R.S. phone scam that is currently going around. Wave to yer neighbor, smile
at folks ya don’t know and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. By the way, I trust Easter Sunday was one of your best!

To Be A Cowboy

It  wasn’t hard at all. I had grown tired of the corporate world. I was tired of deadlines, quotas, suit
ties, paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork and all the B.S. that went with it. I had had a falling
out with one of the “big wigs” from corporate headquarters back east and decided it was time to just
“git ‘er done”. We lived on 70 acres north of Amarillo and had a few ponies and our place joined a ranch
to my north. On weekends and sometimes on late summer days I would ride over If I saw any cowboys at work
in the pasture and see if they were in any mood to put up with a greenhorn. They were. They were glad to
show me what skills they had and what they could do with them. I was impressed so I made myself available
at every opportunity to work with them under any and all conditions. I wanted to do a man’s work in a
man’s world and raise my kids under those conditions. It was less than two years after leaving my company
job with the company car, vacation, expense account etc. that I was managing a large ranch for an independent
oil company. I was still very green but very ambitious and dedicated to making a new life and lifestyle for
my family.
Gentle readers, I remember my kids in their cowboy gear ready and willing to ride out with dad and do
whatever was ask of them to the best of their ability. I watched them watch the cowboys and sometimes
cowgirls go about the task of handling cattle. I knew they were soaking in all their little minds could absorb.
They were so little and at the same time so much bigger than their “little kid bodies” as they got better and
better at what they had learned about working cows and handling horses. I was so proud of them and of
course, still am. When I look at the old photos of my little girl in her big bonnet and boots and chaps and a
grin that would stop you in your tracks, I want to go back to that very time. My little boy draggin’ his first
calf to the branding fire as if he had done it forever. You can’t know the feeling unless you have been there.
I have ridden the “brasada” (brush) on the Mexican border, the rolling mesquite hills and canyons along
the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle, the lush pastures in North East Texas and of course, the Rocky
Mountains on the western slope, the front range and the prairies to the east. I have seen so much different
country, worked with all sorts of cowboys. Yep, cowboys are as different in their dress (I call them our
costumes) when it comes to personalities, shapes of hats, types of leg coverings and ability to rope and
mostly how well they savvy livestock. I am still learning about horses at age 75. I try all different types of
experiments on my ponies from time to time.
The life of a cowboy, rancher, or farmer is a blessed life. Many times the monetary rewards are slim but
the personal rewards one benefits from raising his family in that environment are indeed priceless.
I have no reason to look back to those days before I made that decision to “cowboy up”.
Those special occasions when several families would come together for brandings and it was work, work
and more work but when your head hit the pillow at night you were at peace with the world. All of the
good food, stories, fellowship and yes, watching those little ones watch the big ones “workin’ cows”.
I could go on and on but no need. I had an aunt that encouraged me to do what I did. She is gone now
but I am so glad I followed her urgings. Thank you Aunt Johnnie. Stay tuned my friends, check yer cinch
on occasion, and remember to “ride for the brand” and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Original Thought

Gentle readers, have you ever stopped and wondered who said or wrote a quote that you
found to be of some interest? For example: here are a few quotes that I remember that just
sort of jump out at me right now. “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
“The harder I work the luckier I get”. “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man”.
The older the violin, the sweeter the music.” “Either lead, follow or get the heck outta’ the way.”
So, who is responsible for these quotes plus many, many more? I have been told that either
Winston Churchill or Will Rogers said the “outside of a horse”… There is this one feller that
seems to have written or quoted a good many of these and his name is Anonymous. Seems
like I have come across a bunch of quotes that this feller has come up with. I bet you, like
me, when you have heard a joke that just knocks your socks off, sometimes wonder what
kind of person does it take to come up with such foolishness. Somebody had to do it.
I am a big fan of the late John Denver. If you have ever really taken the time to listen to the
words of his songs, most of which he wrote, are so far beyond what you find in ballads by
any other artist. In my opinion, his songs are masterful. The lyrics in his songs, not just a few,
but all, are so arranged that they put him heads and shoulders above most song writers. Now,
I happen to enjoy all types of music except rap music. Some pop music is out of my wheel
house along with really hard, hard rock music. Mostly, I enjoy country and western which
by the way, is getting closer and closer to pop. I love good gospel music like the Gaithers
produce and any good old mountain music and blue grass.
Music is a universal language. Any and all cultures have their own taste in music but they
all make some type of sound with instruments as far back as history records. It’s in our
D.N.A. I always get a kick out of pulling up beside or behind someone in my vehicle or on
my Harley when it appears as if their little heads are going to flop off the way they are
bouncin’ around in their cars listening to their favorite type of music. Music can make me
very mellow, very sad at times or put me on top of the world depending on what mood I
happen to be in.
I want to leave you with a few of my personal quotes that I have rendered over these past
years. As far as I know I am the author of these and that doesn’t mean that someone somewhere
has come up with the same thought and put it to paper. Here goes: “Little hands  like little
minds, they go in the direction in which they are lead.” “The thing that impresses me about the
cowboy is his ability to be unimpressed with folks of a pretentious nature.” Last but not least,
“some folks are educated beyond their capacity to have any common sense.” One or more of
those may pop up somewhere down the road in some form or fashion and you will know how
they originated. Here’s a thought, stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, hope for open
country and gentle ponies and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

My Thoughts On Spring

Yep, I know, gentle readers, I am a little premature on the subject of spring. I reckon that I am
jumping the gun because I see bright sunshine and we will be in the 40’s today and maybe in the
60’s in the next few days. Heck, I even wore my straw hat to coffee this morning. I am doing my
darndest to nudge spring along as fast as possible. There are some drawbacks and one of them is
“the tax man cometh and the tax man taketh”! At least this year he is gonna’ get in my back pocket.
Then there is the wind that usually comes with some vigor for a few weeks. I have noticed shoots
of green grass peekin’ up through the snow in my yard and the seedless cottonwood appears to
be trying to bud out. Also, I’ve noticed that my ponies have loose hair just wanting to jump off
their bodies onto me whenever I get close. I don’t ever remember horses wanting to shed hair
when it’s been so cold lately. Heck, it was zero just a couple of nights ago. Maybe my horses are
like me and they are shedding hair for the same reason I wore my straw hat this morning. They
are so tired of the cold and snow and are just wanting to see some warmer weather and especially
some green grass in the pasture. Those folks up north  in the Boston area, man this has
been one winter I don’t think they will ever forget. Every time I watched the news and got a
glimpse of what they were going through, I felt so blessed to not have to be dealing with what those
folks are.
Down in East Texas this time of the year the Magnolia trees are starting to bloom and the clover
comes in abundance all over the country. We had to really watch for our pasture steers that
might have consumed too much or that rich legume. However, I think that this year is different
and they may have fallen behind for their usual spring. I saw on the news just a few days ago that
Dallas had a daytime high of only 15*. I don’t think I ever  saw anything near that cold in the
10 years we lived in that general area. There were some wind chill factors that got that cold or
maybe a little colder and plus all that, they had several snows and lots of ice and of course lots
of accidents. I think that all of us are ready for some good ole’ spring weather and then jump
right into summer. My ponies need some time put on them. I did put them through “we’re gonna’
learn how to walk over the plastic tarp”, school a few days back. They passed and even when I
shook the tarp at them and tossed it on the back of their neck. It took some patience on my part
and some courage on theirs, but I was pleased and they knew that I was bored or I wouldn’t
have put them through that. Oh well children, I’m runnin’ out of room and subject matter so I
should close before you get bored. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion,
remember to remember the less fortunate when you pray and remember you are an AMERICAN!
I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Let’s Keep It Simple

I think, gentle readers, that I may be reacting out of fear. That could be part of it, however, I find myself
longing for what some would consider the “long ago”. As I have mentioned, I don’t have a smart phone
’cause I don’t think I’m smart enough to operate one. Most likely they scare me and I’m convinced that
my flip top phone I got a year ago is good enough for this old cowboy. I use it rarely, very rarely. I have
to admit that when I see a child seemingly comfortable “thumbing” their way through these phones
with their chubby little hands, I’m intimidated. Yes, I am! I surly, like some of you from my generation,
are feeling left behind as the world seems to be spinning completely out of control. I don’t want to
own a drone and I certainly don’t want my Uncle Sam having one over my place to see if I emptied
the oil I drained from my pickup into the soil somewhere the weeds are bad. I just don’t, it’s not
in the spirit that I think they need to operate. For goodness sake, all they have to do is to Google me
up (beam me up Scotty) to see what’s going on out here at the ONO.
There was this lady from Amarillo who’s husband I thought a great deal of ’cause he was handy
when it came to working cows and bustin’ the brush, and she informed me a year or so ago that
he had passed. Yep, the big C, cancer had claimed him as it did my “Little Miss Martha”. I began to
receive emails from her every now and then. She was fishing! That’s how I had it figured. She was
looking to replace her husband. I was flattered but not interested. When I received that email
where she was describing my place, where the wagon wheels were placed, I got nervous. She’s
married now and that’s a good thing.
I was baking a cake recently and noticed on the box it warned me “not to eat the batter”. I ate
the batter like I did when I was a kid. I just couldn’t help myself. I am so tired of being told what to
eat (that always changes every five year) when to eat it, how much to eat..bla bla bla. If you are
anything like me, close to my age you too may have gotten a gut full of the “do gooders”.
Yes, of course, they have some value from time to time like “DON’T SMOKE”! I don’t. I quit
twenty six years ago. God bless’um for always reminding me what an idiot I was for smoking.
I do like to keep it simple. I don’t have the big screen T.V. or wyfi or whatever that is. I love
my coffee ( I hear now it’s good for you) and it’s bacon and eggs almost every morning. Sometimes
it’s oatmeal, and sometimes, like last night I steamed some broccoli…ugh!! I know children, I
know, when you reach my age I reckon you begin to miss those days when you ran and played
without sunscreen (I wish I hadn’t)…but we didn’t know. I’d grab a rifle, jump on an old bronc
and head to the far windmill to hunt rabbits on the way. I am glad I don’t have to get up to
change the channels on the “telly” anymore but it would be better for all of us if we did.
Just sayin’…..
Today, we expect our politicians to lie, I reckon they always have. We don’t expect our teachers
to be seducing the students, or our kids to be sniffin’ paint, or doing drugs or having sex at twelve
but some of them do. We live in a scary time. We seem to always be waiting for the other shoe to
drop and if it does, we hope it doesn’t drop on us.
I am encouraged to see some of the youth today, and I’m talkin’ city kids, taking up F.F.A. I think
maybe they know that they have missed something along the way. It’s the country. It’s grass, it’s
cows, pigs, horses, corn fields, hay meadows, you know, it’s the simple but sometimes hard life.
I do miss all those simple things from my past. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and
remember to encourage our youth to be involved in the things that will benefit them later in life.
Be kind, be encouraging, and above all be your best. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire   

Don’t kid me, gentle readers, I know that old George had to have told at least one lie in his lifetime!
Right? We have all lied and sometimes regrettably lied to save our butt or to keep from hurting
a loved one’s feelings. Recently, after painting my house yellow, and yes, it was a brighter yellow than
I had anticipated, I ask my daughter what she thought. I put a lot of value in her opinion not only
because I love her so much but because she has a degree in interior design. “Dad, I’m not gonna’
lie, I think it’s a little to yellow for my taste.” I was so glad to hear her say that because I knew she
felt that way and I shouldn’t have put her on the spot. What a sweetheart! “Honey, do you like my
new shoes?” Little Miss Martha ask many times. “Yes, yeah, those are cute,” I would reply as I felt
my pant legs getting warm. Sometimes we have to “miss speak” as they say now, to keep from getting
all jammed up. Right? Several years ago at Cheyenne Frontier Days, a feller dropped his wife off at
a booth right across from mine to look at western fashions. He came over to view my artwork. In a
moment she hollered ,” James, James does this red skirt make my butt look too big”? Children she
was rather, should I say, ample in the butt department. James shot me a wily grin, turned and in an
effort to entertain the rather large group of folks in the area, he shot back, “nope, it’s yer big butt
that makes that skirt look to small!!” She dropped the skirt, shot over to my booth and eared him
down like one would a bronc and stated, “we’re leaving now James!” He looked like Wily Coyote
just before the Acme safe landed on his head. She also was entertaining the crowd. To say he
miss spoke would be miss speaking but at least he did tell it like he saw it.
One would think that it’s okay to miss remember and to miss speak today the way some folks,
especially those in politics, are having to “fess up”. Man, Charlie Brown, what an example to set
for our young folks. I think that those that have to really embellish their experiences have “ego”
issues. They just need to look taller, smarter and more courageous than their peers.
When I was in F.F.A. I had a lamb for a project. He was not doing well because he wasn’t getting
enough of the right kind of feed. I was afraid he would be sifted at the upcoming fair and not
make the sale. I had asked my Dad for some help. He bought one bundle of milo stalks and brought
it home. That would last no time at all and it was a poor bundle at best. Coming home from hanging
out with my girlfriend one Saturday night my headlights bounced off of a pile of milo in a farmer’s
field. I just happened to have an empty feed sack in the back of my car. It had rained so I couldn’t
pull into the field, I had to walk to steal the grain. Just the same I got my car stuck and had to walk
home one mile to get my dad to help me get unstuck. When we arrived back at my car he ask
me, “son, why did you steal that grain?” “I told him I slid off the road, got stuck and got the grain to
put under my wheels in order to get out.” My pants were really gettin’ hot about that time. No way
did he believe me, but didn’t press the issue. My lamb got sifted just the same as she didn’t make
the sale. I was ashamed of what I had done but to keep that animal fed I most likely would have
done the same thing again. My ole Dad was tighter that Dick’s hat band and I reckon that is one
reason I am a little stingy with my purse strings at time. My horses are fat however! I do wish that
we all could be a little more honest when it really counts. My belief is that those who work hard,
really hard in a physical environment are probably closest to the bone when it comes to “telling it
like it is.” We have been lied to so much in recent years from those that represent us, that I think
we are all getting really sensitive to those who “miss speak” as if that is an okay thing to do!
Stay tuned my friends, tell the truth when it really matters and your pants will not catch on fire.
Check yer cinch and I’ll c. y’all, all y,all! 

The Value Of A Job

You and I have heard it said, gentle readers, “if you love your job, you will never work a day in your
life”! I think there is a great deal of truth to that in many cases. I have had a number of different jobs
since I was but a mere lad of fourteen. Oil field roustabout, pump repair man for oil well pumps,
salesman for Sears, district sales rep for Proctor and Gamble, and cowboy/ranch manager. Which
one was my favorite. The most satisfying job I ever had besides father/husband, was working with
livestock on various ranches. There is nothing that brought me more pleasure than riding out on the
morning with a crew of men that were of good reputation, knew their respective jobs, on horses that
knew what to do, when and how to do it, of course unless you were on a green horse or a colt. The
morning air, the sound of ponies feet swishing through the wet grass, the anticipation of what lay
ahead. That job had value to me, a lot of value. It stirred my insides and in it’s own way was very
peaceful. Sometimes if you were feeling a little frisky you might have a fleeting thought of your pony
breaking into and bucking at the sight of something unexpected like a surprised rabbit, or deer or
whatever. At times you might hope the cattle about to be gathered would be unruly which would
require some effort on you and your comrades and ponies to keep them together. I have to say
that the ranch life for me and I can speak for my family as well, was good, really good. It had a
great deal of value for all of us. It gave me the opportunity to put my children a’horseback at an
early age and take them out on the morning with me and many, many, times the cowboy crew.
Had they objected, I would have never ask them to embrace the same lifestyle as their dad. They
not only looked forward to riding out, but especially loved the “wild” gathers when they were
required to “cowboy/cowgirl” up and take care of themselves if necessary. That’s all in the past
now with only memories of those days that brought me so much satisfaction. Yes, I still get on
the back of one of my horses from time to time just for the sake of living in the past. I still get to
ride among a few head of steers in the summer months and maybe cut one out and “play” a little.
I’ll be a cowboy and have that mentality until I die I suppose. That’s what cowboys do regardless of
their situation in retirement.
There are too many folks out there that just don’t want to go to work because it does nothing but
make them glad to get home each evening. For sure there are some things during the work day that
bring pleasure but maybe not all that much. There are generations of folks that have never really worked
at “working” and making a contribution to the society in which they “leech” from. I wish everyone
would and could work at something that added “value” to their taking up space on the earth.
The President in his speech recently indicated that maybe if there were more jobs in more places
of discontent in the middle east, it would bring about peace and maybe “we”, the U.S. could make
that a goal to shoot for. Personally, I don’t think for a minute it would stop some “radical” from
choppin’ off some poor soul’s head or burning them alive and video taping it in the process. That’s the
world we presently live in and even for religion’s sake, how any human being can find satisfaction in
doing such horrendous things to others. My oh my….God bless America again! Stay tuned, check yer
cinch on occasion, find value in being a good American and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Interesting Facts About Texas

Well, gentle readers, you guys know how proud we Texans are of our birthplace….right? Well, we
are, at least all of the native Texans that I know are. And yes, sometimes we take it too far when it
comes to “bragging” rights. I have come across some interesting facts about the “old country, Texas”
that even I didn’t know. I was, of course, aware of some of them,  but not all. Please don’t consider
this “bragging”, just facts.
The name “maverick” comes from Samuel Maverick a Texas lawyer and pioneer. (1803-1870)
The bowie knife used by Jim Bowie, one of the heroes of the Alamo was actually designed and
built by his brother.
It is still a hanging offence in Texas for stealing cattle or get this, putting graffiti on your neighbor’s
or anyone else’s cattle!
“Oscar” the Academy Award statue is named after Texan Oscar Pierce. It is said he looked just like
the statue.
Dallas/Fort Worth airport has the largest parking lot in the WORLD.
At 268,601 square miles, Texas is the largest contiguous land mass in the U.S. Alaska (sadly) is the
largest state. “Boy, did that ever hurt”!!
The word “Texas” was the Spanish pronunciation “Tejas” of the Hasinai Indian word meaning friend.
The city of Slaughter, Texas has never had a homicide!
Texas is called “The Lone Star State” as a reminder of it’s fight for independence from Mexico.
Texas was an independent nation from 1836-1845 when it entered the union by treaty ( the only
state to ever enter the union that way).
It’s capital building in Austin, Texas is slightly smaller than our nation’s capital. However it’s dome is
seven feet higher than our capital in D.C.
By the way, Mr. President, just a reminder there are not 57 states in our union only 50.
Texas retains the right to fly the Texas flag at the same height as Old Glory.
Neil Armstrong from Houston, the first man on the moon uttered the very first word from the moon
and it was “Houston”.
George Straight is from Texas and he happens to own a piece of “Mad Jack’s art”. Just had to throw
that in.
Charlie Alderton, (1857-1941) a Waco pharmacist invented Dr Pepper in 1885). Notice there is no
period after Dr
Davy Crockett, congressman from Tennessee, (he goes way, way back and distant on my family tree),
told his peers in congress, “Ya’ll can go to hell…I’m goin’ to Texas!”
The Texas state motto is “friendship”.
Their dish…Chili.
Sadly, Texas has the largest carbon footprint because of it’s oil and gas industry.
In about thirty minutes, I have a lady friend (from Texas) coming out to ride horses with me, YIPEEEE!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, be strong in your faith and in your logic, soft in your criticism,
and soft in your heart! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Mad Cow Disease

Gentle readers, it has been a while since I’ve heard any discussion about Mad Cow Disease, BSE or
the correct name is Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. Wow, that’s quite a handle would you agree?
According to those in the know, it is caused by an infectious prion. It is believed that when cows eat
contaminated feed that contains animal proteins in bone meal, containing blood etc. they can become
infected and it causes a cow to become unstable, nervous, and they may even stumble and fall. In many
cases according to the information I read, it can be terminal within three months. It was first discovered
in the UK in the 1980s and then again in Washington state in December of 03. I, myself, have seen
Mad Cow Disease up close and personal on many, too many occasions as illustrated in my recent poem:
Mad Cow Disease is for real, I know it to be true.
I’ve seen it up close and personal, it ain’t nothin’ new.
It’s causes and effects, well, there’s been some debate,
scientist swear and declare it’s cause is somethin’ that
the old cow ate.
They’ll tell ya it’s bone meal, like ground up bones and blood
and added stuff.
I ain’t real sure ’bout that, I sometimes wonder if it’s a bluff?

They say it’ll make an old cow stumble, stagger and fall.
Make’s um crazy and cross eyed and not just a few but all!
To me, now that jest don’t make a whole lot of sense,
fer I’ve had them old sisters put me through, over and under the fence,
and nary a one staggered, stumbled or fell.
They appeared to be, at least to me, some kinda demon
straight outta’ hell!

I cain’t tell ya the times I’ve been run over, stomped and kicked
by some ole cow determined to distribute some painful licks.
Why I’ve had busted ribs, a broke leg and a busted arm,
and most times ya don’t have time to get prepared,
cause they jest mostly don’t sound an alarm!

Yes sir, Mad Cow Disease is real and that’s a fact Jack.
If yer young and fast ya might have time to react.
But fer me, I’m way past my prime,
and old age, for me, has come at the most INCONVENIENT TIME!

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and here’s to open country, good neighbors,
and gentle bovines! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Gun Control

Dear hearts and gentle readers, at this writing it is a Saturday and I have been watching the old
western movies as I sometimes do in the winter. The movie Tombstone has just finished and I had
an interesting thought. “Gun control,” is what the Earps tried to enforce in the town of Tombstone,
Arizona. It didn’t work. When a group of defiant cowboys came to town with firearms the Earp
brothers, who were marshals and deputy marshals along with their friend John “Doc” Holliday
went down to the O K Corral where the cowboys were loafing to arrest them. As Paul Harvey would
say, “you know the rest of the story.” There was a gun fight, all but one of the cowboys were killed and
two of the Earps were wounded.
If we fast forward to today there is the constant threat from some on the left side of the spectrum to
try and remove most if not all guns from society. I have a really hard time trying to understand what it
is that they do not understand. ” If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”! Yes, we might be
able to have long guns for hunting if that hadn’t been outlawed in the process. Most of those folks don’t
approve of hunting animals for sport and a food source. Let me give you a good example to make my
point if you will. On the national news day before yesterday it was reported that somewhere in New
Jersey, I forget where, a fellow had opened a new business, a deli. Now it is my understanding that the
state of New Jersey is one of the toughest places to own a hand gun. Back to the deli…a robber comes
in the deli, produces a hand gun and orders the owner to hand over all the cash. The owner produces his
own hand gun and according to the owner, the last words he heard the robber say was….”I didn’t think
you were supposed to have a handgun”…he was shot and killed by the owner. Get my point you pin heads
that don’t believe in private gun ownership for decent, responsible, law abiding folks!!
As I have written before it was not unusual for many of us teens in our little high school at Sundown,
Texas to have a 22 rifle in our car or pickup when we came to school. Sometimes after school we would
go hunting snakes and rabbits on our way home or during our field trips in F.F. A. It is not uncommon to
see any farm or ranch truck in Texas that doesn’t have a gun rack in the back window or at least it used to
be that way before there was so many extended cabs and trucks with four doors.
I had a fellow ask me once not so long ago why I needed a concealed carry permit? Why did I feel the
need to carry a weapon on my person at any time for any reason? “Why friend, I replied, the occasion
might arise when I have to save your butt because you are not armed.” I feel that way friends. I really do.
There were two different occasions when someone or some ones tried to force their way into our home.
When I produced a pistol pointed at their head, their heart felt completely different and they abruptly left.
Yes, I called the sheriff and he responded and picked them up.
We live in difficult and trying times. We are bomb barded with all sorts of issues as we go through our
daily lives. There are those times when I feel a little safer knowing that I have a weapon handy and that I
am not going to shoot anyone unless I feel that my life or someone I know is in immediate danger. Just
sayin’….you know like my friend that doesn’t like guns. Actually, I have heard that “gun control” is having
a steady hand and the ability to pull the trigger if absolutely necessary! Stay tuned my friends, check yer
cinch on occasion, and remember an argument with the P.E.T.A. folks or the folks in favor of strict gun
control will get you nowhere but out of breath, and always keep yer powder dry! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Joy That Kids Bring

Our lives, gentle readers, can find joy down many avenues as we journey through this life. I found great
joy in just glancing to the West as I went out to feed my horses this morning. The Rockies are magnificent
with their snow covered peaks and various shapes under a partly cloudy sky.  As I have mentioned I have
an unobstructed view of the front range where I live. I find great joy in children as I have also mentioned.
Although my kids are grown with kids of their own which are all but grown, I am so looking forward to
having me some great grand babies! I also have written about one of my granddaughters who was born
with a great deal of calamities. She soon will be sixteen and cannot speak however her laughter is infectious.
She cannot feed herself and will always wear diapers or so it appears at this point. She is our baby and we
all have learned so much from her. She has her own way of teaching us patience, understanding with her pure
innocence. She has brought us all such great joy even in the most difficult of times.
When son Andy was maybe three, of course I always had him in his little “cowboy outfit” whenever I took
him anywhere. Big hat, boots, little jeans and a gift of gab and a ready smile put so much joy in my heart as
did his little sister when she was born two years later. Son Andy and I were going into Amarillo from our place
some ten miles north of town. As we made our way past a small ravine with a big cottonwood tree, he was
standing up in the seat (that was back in the olden days) and my eyes drifting off to the cottonwood tree
I focused on an unexpected event. There was a man and woman, almost nude making love under that big
ole tree in broad daylight. I tried desperately to direct Andy’s attention somewhere else. To no avail, he had
already seen the pair doing their desperate deed. “DADDY, DADDY, WHY IS THAT MAN FIGHTING WITH
THAT WOMAN?” he pleaded. “Ugh, I think they are just wrestling maybe. She’s okay, I don’t think she is
getting hurt.” Of course I didn’t know for sure what their situation was, but they both seemed to be comfortable
with what they were doing. I did call the sheriff when I got to a phone and reported it just in case it was
more than I had suspected.
It doesn’t have to be my kids, it can be your little ones that lighten my heart. Little kids just doing what
little kids say and do, that is if they are not misbehaving, like running amuck in the grocery store or anywhere
else, but being cute and innocent. My daughter at 14 years of age while riding up to cow camp through the
forest with her mom, brother and me, ask me if it was okay to discard her chewing gum. I had told the
kids to be sure and respect this beautiful ranch and not do anything that would desecrate it. I felt so
blessed that my little girl would be so mindful of what I had ask of her. A small bit of gum in the middle of
an aspen grove? I “laffed” under my breath and assured her that would be fine. I am so proud of our
children, how they have turned out, how they are raising their kids and just remembering all of the
joy that they have blessed me with and there is so much more to come! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on
occasion, remember to spread a little joy around on your journey and also remember that those
little ones around you will be grown and gone before you turn around twice. As a side note, a four
year old girl drowned in an icy pond in our area this week. How tragic!! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Joy Of Heifers

Gentle readers, when I first sailed off into my career as a cowboy I had an old time cowboy
with some reputation tell me that there was nothin’ dumber than a heifer unless it was a pen
full of heifers. If I am to be fair here I have to say a lot of that depends on the breed and how
they have been raised and handled. That being said, I will reference you to my first real experience
with heifers in my early cowboy career. Martha and I had a little 75 acre place some ten miles north
of Amarillo, Texas. It joined a four section ranch that was usually under lease to whomever happened
to have it leased at the time. Most of the time, myself or me and one of my buddies where hired to
take care of whatever livestock was running on the place at the time. A young man fresh out of
college with deep, deep pockets and family ties to old ranching and oil families leased the ranch and
hired me to take care of some, I believe the number was eighty three heifers, un weaned off of the
historic Waggoner ranch. The heifers were delivered to a large water lot on the north end of the
ranch. The water lot consisted of a two acre “bob wire” fence and a windmill and a set of working
corrals. I had four of my friends come out to help me receive the heifers as the rich kid wanted them
turned out to pasture after we were sure they knew where the water was. Now, children, the fat
soggy Hereford heifers were pulled off of their mommas that very morning. I wanted to keep them
in the water lot for a few days and let them get the “walk” out of them. Oh no, we have to turn them
out within the hour. After they were unloaded and the trucks pulled out and the heifers had gotten a
drink, at least some of them had, I was told to turn them out. I had two of my cowboy buddies get out
in front of them in order to try and keep them under control. We opened the gate to the water trap and
they took off as if Satan hisself was after them. They were gonna’ find their mommas. It was a mile to
the other side of this section and they headed straight for the section line at a full stampede. I gotta’
tell ya it was a wreck in the making as we busted through the mesquite and cactus trying to keep up
with these young ladies. The two cowboys out in front tried their level best to keep these goofy, excited
heifers from hitting that fence of cedar post and five strands of tight “bob wire”. To no avail the first bunch
piled into that fence like a line backer going after a wide receiver coming across the middle. BAM!
After stretching the fence and breaking the two top wires all but two headed south down the fence line
but two went through the fence and myself and two of my buddies had to cut the remaining wires, go
after the stunned heifers, rope them and drag them back through the fence far enough away so we could
repair the fence. We left them tied down until we got the fence repaired. The other two cowboys had gone
with the heifers for another mile and all were so tired and run down the heifers slowed to a trot and the
guys came back to see if they could help us. I turned my buddies loose and stayed for a few more hours
to keep my eye on the little gals. They walked that section fence for three more days stirring up dust and
only stopping to drink and maybe grab a quick bite of grass. I would go over twice a day and check on them.
They lost more weight than Pee Wee Herman on Slimfast in those three or four days. They finally settled
down for the remainder of the summer and when we shipped them in the fall. Well, that’s another story
for another day. It has been my personal experience that heifers, at least to me, are harder to handle than
a bunch of steers. I too have seen some high headed snot slinging steers that were just as bad, but not that
many. I’m just sayin’……no offence ladies! Stay tuned check yer cinch on occasion, read that good book
on occasion and be kind to yer neighbor! I’ll c’ y’all, all y’all.


Momma Hanks

This doesn’t have a great deal to do with my mother, gentle readers, but it does somewhat. We’ll get into
that as we go along. Long ago and far away when I was but nineteen years of age I was offered a scholarship
to a newly founded junior college if I would come and play basketball for their only sports team. Actually they
had a rodeo club but it had no backing or funding from this new little college, that’s the way I remember it.
They had no dorms or cafeteria but did have a small student union where we could gather during the day to
visit, study, grab a snack or whatever. I didn’t consider myself to be much of a basketball player although I had
started on the first team my senior year and had played a lot my junior year. My brother was the basketball
star in the family but he was going to Texas Tech at the time. The scholarship only covered books and tuition.
Therefore, I had a job early before class cleaning up an oil field service company offices, making coffee etc.
before I went to school. After class it was off to basketball practice and after that it was back at the job
greasing trucks, changing oil and maintenance around the place. On weekends if we were not off on a road
trip with the team I might be out on a well servicing rig doing the usual grunt work on a pulling unit. That’s
a rig that pulls and replaces the pipe, or sucker rods and or the well pump itself.
I lived with two of my teammates  who were sloppy, unorganized and lazy when it came to keeping a clean
and orderly apartment. Typical guys they were. l had been raised differently. My mom made sure my bro and
I made our beds, helped with the dishes, vacuuming, and sometimes the cooking on a small scale. I just didn’t
like clutter, still don’t and so me and my roommates were always at odds for keeping our place halfway in
order. Especially if we expected any girls to come by I would put them to work (the guys) in order to help me
get ready. Sooooo…I was given the nickname, Momma Hanks. That spread around the campus like wildfire.
I flinched anytime anyone addressed me in such a manner, but some of the girls thought that was just sure
alright for a man to have such tendencies. Here was the main issue with it. It seemed to never fail during a
home game when I was on the free throw line trying to settle myself down so I could make a basket, from
somewhere in the bleachers you could hear, “YOU CAN DO IT MOMMA HANKS, MOMMA HANKS IS OUR
MAN!” Great Scott Charlie Brown, talk about a confidence builder, NOT! Chances were about fifty percent
of the time I would miss one or both free throws. My coach did not like the tag that I endured because he
knew it was a problem for me and suggested that maybe I could back off being so particular about the
appearance of our apartment. I couldn’t help it folks, I’m the same way today, I get up in the morning,
wash my face, make my bed, brush my teeth and go out and do chores. I also do my own laundry, ironing,
vacuuming, dusting, windows, dishes, and whatever else needs to be done. I just let my feminine side
appear and “git’er done”! I would like to take a moment and give praise to The Fence Post for putting out
such a super Breed Issue recently. Well done and very, very professional! The Nation Western Stock show in Denver has just wound up, I hope you took the time to go, it is so always worth your time. I have been under the
weather but discovered I had a bad sinus infection and got some steroids and anti biotic and am a
brand new man!! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, be civil but serious, be kind but cautious, and
above all be good to yer kids and love on’um every chance you get! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Off We Go

Yep, gentle readers, off we go into this new year of 2015. The number 2015 seemed so distant and
far out a few years ago it was hard to get my arms around it. Well, here I am givin’ it a big ole
hug right this minute. I wish I felt better as I struggle into this new edition of my life. I still have that
bad ole’ cold that I have had for weeks and just can’t seem to get better. I do have an appointment
with the doc in a few days. I did go out New Year’s eve as I had a date for dinner and dancing. My poor
date. She had to endure my runny nose and persistent cough, but we just made the best of it as we
do so enjoy dancing and each other’s company.
It was just a couple of mornings ago that I went out to feed and it was 23* below. That is not real
conducive to getting over a cold or whatever it is that I have. I just know that I am tired of being sick
and tired! I have had colds as bad as this one, but I don’t remember one that last as long as this one
This cold weather and the snow covered ground reminds me of the winter of 79, that’s 1979 not
1879. East Texas winters are just dreary, rainy and if the temps get below 25* for a daytime high, it’s
very unusual. We had ten days of snow off and on and daytime highs being below freezing and a wind
chill there for a day or two of being a little below zero. That’s not too bad you say, but with the
humidity very high, it makes it very cold. I was nursing a bad cold back then, however our problems
were monumental to say the least. All of our ponds on the ranch had frozen over and we were losing steers left
and right as they would fall through the ice and drown or freeze to death later. We did eventually
get past this hardship but we lost between fifty and sixty steers in the icy waters. Now that I
experienced that part of my life, this part of having a cold and only having to feed a couple of ponies
in the morning puts things in perspective. Funny how that works, right? As off I go into this new year
I really am not whining or at least not trying to be that obvious. For a man that will be 75 in May,
that is if I survive this cold, I am in darn good shape for the shape I’m in. I do feel so blessed. When ever
I get the least bit down I have to remind myself that my “Little Miss Martha” would love to be here
under any circumstances just to love on her kids and grandkids. That again puts my life in perspective.
As I write this on the second day of January, it was twelve years ago today that the doc with tears in
his eyes told her that he had done all he could to save her but it just wasn’t to be. Children, those
are difficult moments. The very saddest of the sad. She lived for fourteen days. That was twelve years
ago and off I go into this new year of 2015 with much hope for you and me as we step up to the plate
for every fastball that is thrown our way. We will need to play our cards close to our vest and our pistols
close by. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, don’t believe everything you hear on the six o’clock
news and let’s do our best to be our best. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Sick Pen  

Gentle readers, any ranch of any size and all feedlots have a place to put sick cattle to isolate them from
spreading their illness to the other livestock. The sick pen can be a sort of sad and depressing place to visit
and doctor cattle, in my case over many years of running yearlings on wheat pasture. Most of the time,
however, a good doctorin’  will send most of your patients back out to pasture in a week or so. In fact, if
the victim is doctored in the pasture before he or she gets too sick that’s all that’s required to maintain their
health. If that doesn’t do the trick they go to the sick pen and some become chronic and never seem to recover.
I always said “after you get $50 bucks worth of meds in a chronic, they die”.
I sort of feel like a chronic this Monday morning before the new year. Yep, I ‘ve had a cold or whatever for
four weeks going on five. I got a pneumonia and flu shot and shortly after came down sick. Go figure. They say
a flu shot will not give you the flu. When I worked in the ER at the hospital I had to have every kind of shot you
could think of and I never got the flu there or any other type of illness. I think the jury may still be out on if a
modified live virus in the flu shot can in fact give you what you are trying to avoid.
It’s 12* outside with snow in the forecast. By 5 p.m. it will be down to 1* and could get as cold as 15*
below tonight. I just don’t handle the cold like I used to. It doesn’t help if you are sick when you need to
be out in it doing chores. It is astounding the number of folks I know that are sick. Almost half my coffee drinkin’
buddies are out sick and some have been out for weeks. After coffee this morning with the boys I had to
run down to the market and buy more tissues. I have run through three large boxes in the past 10 days.
When I approached the cashier I offered a “GOOD MORNING”!  No response from her. She just looked at
me. Sorta hurt my feelings. You know how I am when I try to be friendly and folks just blow me off. I tried
once more, “man it is cold this morning.” No response other than she just glanced at me and went back to
checking out my purchases. I was gettin’ a little perturbed at this point when I noticed a little hand written
note on the cash register. It read, “your cashier has temporarily lost her voice due to a sore throat.” I gave
her a big grin and a “God bless you…I thought you were being rude to me.” She smiled and sacked up my
goods. I had to tell her how I used to lose my voice at the National Western Stock Show almost every year
I was there from having a cold and talking to much. I don’t think she was really interested in my past
problems at the stock show.
I most likely look like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with my shiny red nose. I do plan on getting better
very soon and I hope you are not going through what I have been burdened with as of late. I hope to get
out of the sick pen along with many of my friends and get back to normal.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and keep that wood stove cranked up, it looks like a cold one!
I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Happy New Year  

Gentle readers, I think it is necessary, or at least it is for me, to look back at the year that has just
passed us by and consider how it went and why it went that way. What part did I play in how my
year molded it’s self and did I do good and could I have done better? Whadda’ think? How abut you?
There is a side of me that lends it’s self to confrontation. I do not suffer drunks or fools and I
consider myself to be a no nonsense kind of guy. Yeah right….a cartoonist and there is not a shred
of nonsense. Okay, okay, so there is more than one type of nonsense. In my estimation there is
useful, fun and rewarding nonsense and then there is that stupid and sometimes nonsense that
breeds hurtful consequences. This is the honest truth. I have for this past year been trying really
hard not to be so confrontational over issues that just really would be better left alone.
I wish I were more like my children. Son Andy and daughter Sunni have their mom’s sweet
disposition. They can let little things that might get under my skin just pass right over. They are
the kind of folks you want to be your neighbor and your friend. They are less judge mental than
their old dad. I’ve heard it said that we teach folks how to treat us. I am forever pokin’ fun at
myself and pointing out my flaws. Actually, I just pointed out a major one didn’t I? Sometimes,
your buddies and friends will jump on the band wagon and began to point out more flaws than
maybe one would love to have pointed out at any given moment…hummmmm. Therefore I
might just take offence at too much pokin’ and opine that maybe they are stepping over the
line. After all, I did start it right? reminds me of a story. A feller goes into an employment agency
to apply for a job. The girl at the desk ask….”what are you qualified to do?” He responds, “well,
I have managed corporate ranches, actually eleven at one time with a budget of $65 million.
I have a PHD in finance, and a minor in reproductive physiology and am an X Navy Seal and
on the board of directors of the First National Bank in Dallas, Texas.” ” Wow, that’s impressive,
Sir, actually I do have a position with a young woman who is a billionaire and owns several
Fortune 500 companies and several large ranches. She is looking for someone to manage her
companies, ranches, live on her estate and provide security and be her live in lover. She is
beautiful by the way,” the lady finished. “YOU GOTTA’ BE KIDDIN’ ME?” our cowboy blurted
out. The lady smiled and stated…”YOU STARTED IT!” That’s funny don’t ya think?
Back to the new year. Me thinks that we all should count the chinks in our armor and take
a really close look at who we are and who we could be given a makeover. I plan on putting
forth a real effort to be a sweeter guy, a more understanding guy and a more patient guy.
Just don’t come up to me with alcohol on yer breath and start tellin’ me what a stupid, hard
headed jerk I am and how if I was any uglier I’d be poster child for abused jackasses!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch, be a real sweetheart, fly old Glory at every opportunity, and
I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Peace on Earth

Ahhhh…yes, black Monday is over and the Christmas season has begun. Joy, peace, good will towards man and women fighting over Barbie dolls, items being grabbed from other’s shopping carts, shoving, pushing, cursing and fist being thrown. Yes, Christmas season has begun. We have to get our share, right?
We can’t disappoint our kids by not giving them all that they ask for this Christmas. How about giving them a hug like the little black boy hugging the cop over his fear and concern about the unrest in Ferguson, Mo. Good grief Charlie Brown, where are we? How did we get here? Why do we act like a bunch of spoiled children who didn’t get their way? Gentle readers, I can get down and out sometimes this time of the year when we should all be counting our blessings and ready to give something of value to someone we love or maybe someone we haven’t met yet. Slowly but surely we have evolved into a nation of “gimmie that”, I deserve that. Ever hear this?….” Come down today and get zero financing and select the “whatever’ it is YOU DESERVE! Actually, I don’t deserve a new car or truck or guitar or handmade cowboy hat until l can afford to buy it without getting into financial trouble. There are lots of things that I don’t deserve and guess what?

You don’t either. I know there is a lot of unrest in our country. There are those that absolutely
cannot handle the truth anymore. They want what they want and by golly, they will do whatever it takes to get it. They might set a building on fire, smash and grab whatever they can get and run like hell. The sad part of that is they feel no remorse. Remember, they deserve what they got for whatever reason they can come up with to justify for breaking the law.
Did you ever stop to consider why most Christmas card themes are about the country?  So many are about countrysides covered with snow. Sleighs running down a snow covered road pulled by a high stepping pony with sleigh bells on his harness. The country is peaceful. Country folks are peaceful. They gather during the holidays to share and to express their love and concern for one another. Yes, I know, folks in the “burbs” and the inner city are the same and enjoy the love and peace that comes this time a year. In my opinion, there is no way they can enjoy the same kind of peace that we find on a cold starry night here in the “boonies”. A cow camp cowboy might be a little lonely if he or she has to spend the holidays alone but they will have a peace and quite that compares to none other.
Remember this season to share whatever it is you have to share with others that are on hard times. The folks that are too lazy to work, or a down and out wino who chooses that life style will take what you give them and give you a “God bless you” when they really mean, “thanks sucker” . That didn’t sound all that nice now did it? That’s purty much how I feel when it comes to sharing with those that don’t deserve it. We should do it anyway because we have been blessed. I hope you get your shopping done without injury or an empty bank account. That’s not what this season is all about. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving, my turkey turned out “perfect”, or so my guest said. We had much fun, shared much love and hugs and good wishes and departed in grateful and happy moods. I hope yours was the same. One thing we all can share along with our love, is common sense and good will. Stay tuned, check yer cinch

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Gentle readers, I am not sure when or where the phrase, “baby it’ s cold outside” was given birth, but I have to tell ya it’s certainly been appropriate here as of late. I think all of you have had your share of this really cold weather except maybe down in the deep south. I was talking to my brother in Andrews, Texas this past week and he shared with me that he had been out walking their dogs when it was 24*!!
I almost “laffed” to myself. “Wow, I said, that’s purty cold for down there!” He agreed. I then offered, “I think we got to a high of 4* above and it was close to 15* below last night.” Hummm. I reckon it all revolves around one’s perspective, right? That morning in question when I went down to the corrals to feed my ponies I reflected back to the past as I find myself doing more these days as I become an “old timer”. I was knocking the snow off my big dun horse and was for ever more thankful that I wasn’t required to throw a saddle on him and go to work. Been there and done that bla bla bla! Just a few miles to the south and in most every feed yard in Colorado and other western states, there are cowboys riding pens looking for any sign of illness. My hats off to you boys and girls, it’s a tough job, but as they say, “somebody has got to do it”. My deep belief is that you would rather be there than driving a laundry truck or whatever. Now, I have to tell you being a cartoonist and columnist is a purty darn good job to have on the cold miserable days. It gives me the opportunity to catch up on my cartooning, that is if my mind is fertile and functioning. Yep, I did my research for drawing cowboy cartoons from the back of a cow pony.
Still at it on a very small scale, but over thirty years of being involved and most of the time, actively involved, it has all helped in my creativity in my art and writing capabilities. There are carpenters  out today in a little better weather, but they were out when it was the coldest building houses, apartments etc. to meet the demand of a growing populous here in Colorado. They are no doubt younger men as I expect the feed yard cowboys and cowgirls are younger folks, just the same it’s a numbing way to draw a paycheck.
City folks that stop by the market on the way home from work to pick up a “quick fix” for dinner or by the deli for the same reason just don’t have a clue when they get home to that warmly constructed home to partake in a healthy well designed meal how it all came to be. That’s okay I reckon, not everyone can be a rancher, farmer, cowboy or carpenter and I have to confess you would not want me to be your carpenter!!
It should be much warmer when you receive this column and I most likely will be covered in a warm blanket waiting my turn to have my other eye operated on for a cataract. Can’t wait, the one eye turned out so good, I am excited. Maybe our winter won’t be as cold as it has started out to represent it’self.
It’s that darn global warming that’s responsible for this anyway…..right? Children, stay warm, stay
tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember to be responsible citizens and set examples of how you would like to see others behave. Love this America, support our troops, trust but verify! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Hang and Rattle

“Hang and rattle”, is cowboy slang for doing everything you can to stay on a bucking horse when
it appears you may just lose the battle. But hey, don’t we all hang and rattle over and over as
we stumble and struggle in our daily lives? We just got through “hanging and rattling” by having
to listen and watch all of those mostly stupid and insulting political ads. Wow! I’m glad that’s all
over for a while. Sometimes we have to hang and rattle if we think we might lose our jobs or if
our marriage is in jeopardy. We hang and rattle until that blood test or whatever comes back
from the doctor’s office so we can know if we are in ill health or not. We hang and rattle while
the insurance man looks over our truck or car to determine what kind of and how much damage
has been done. The farmer hangs and rattles as the storm approaches. Is that a hail cloud in
there? Will my crops be wiped out? For sure some of the corn in our area was. That first time
you throw a leg over that young horse that is a little scared and unsure of what’s about to happen.
You ‘hang and rattle,” hoping you don’t have to “hang and rattle” if he or she decides to chin
the moon. As silly as it is we “hang and rattle” when our team is barely hangin’ on in the contest
and we aren’t sure if they will pull out a win this time or not. Really? As Hillary would say, ” At
this point, what difference does it make?” Actually none ’cause there ain’t a darn thing we can
do to insure their win. I used to wear a certain tie on Sundays when we went to church and the
Dallas Cowboys were going to play later in the day. I wouldn’t take off the tie, it was my good
luck charm. Them Cowboys never knew how many games I won for them over the years!
You girls have had to “hang and rattle” when your mother in law was looking over your shoulder
in the kitchen as you were trying to get a good meal put together that would meet with her
approval….maybe, maybe not…I’m just sayin’. I know it bothered Little Miss Martha when my
mom made herself available to “save the day” if necessary. As it turned out, it was never
necessary. I always seem to “hang and rattle” around income tax time until all was resolved.
So you see, gentle readers, our everyday lives many times require us to “hang and rattle” and
we just didn’t have a name for what we were doin’. Now you do! Stay tuned, and oh, by the way,
just so you know. I bucked off more times than I was able to “hang and rattle”, check yer cinch
on occasion and let’s all hope our future in America is brighter! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


Country Folks

Country folks, as my friend and fellow columnist, Lee Pitts puts it are “folks that live at the end
of dirt roads”. How true and some of that is changing. I can see it almost every day. There are a
number of folks that are beginning to realize the value of “folks that live at the end of dirt roads,”
and they want to be a part of that way of life. Not all are able in this economy to get out of the
city and all that makes for higher blood pressure and move to the country and still be able to make a living. I so wish that everyone that wanted to live that lifestyle could do so. Gentle readers, those of you who have been faithful to this column for any length of time know that I am very conservative in my thinking when it comes to politics and also how I spend my income. I have a soon to be fourteen year old truck a fourteen year old Harley, a nine year old automobile and a couple of “used” horses with some age on them. I have come to the conclusion, and there again this is my opinion and mine only, is that most folks that are country folks and live at the end of dirt roads are like me, conservative in nature. Not all, of course are like me, there are some country folks that are liberal in their thinking about many things. I had a brief discussion with one of my neighbors that tends to be somewhat liberal, and he called me “stupid” for not voting on an issue the way he wanted me to. Most liberals are absolutely sure that they know what is best for you and conservatives, the way I see it, tend to say, “well, why don’t we just let the individual decide on what’s best for him or her on all issues.” That, to me is the difference between liberals and conservatives. It’s fairly plain to me today to see what liberals have done to this country since they have been in control  for the last six years.

Look, we are all in this together. We all mostly want the same things out of life. We want freedom, liberty, justice and a safe environment to live and raise our families. We don’t want to be told what to do about everything all the time! Government has gotten so big and cumbersome it apparently can’t function in such a manner that is respectable and honorable. We have lost our admiration around the globe in many countries. America, to many allies and to many not so friendly countries, is losing respect and losing ground in many ways. To repair that, it is going to take all of us taking time to consider the opposing view, and finding respect for one another. In other words, it’s going to take us all acting like folks that live at the end of dirt roads to find common ground. At this writing the election is still a few days away and I along with you are glad when all of the negative adds are over and done with. According to the T.V. and radio adds, there is not one suitable candidate out there that is qualified to do anything at any time. All are idiots, crooks, liars and whatever else comes to mind. I don’t doubt that some of that is true about some of folks that are running. What does all that type of advertising say about us as a society? Sad huh? I’d say so. I’ve heard it said that “we are
losing the wisdom of the past ever since the expressway bypassed the corrals”!! Just sayin’……
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, be kind to yer neighbor and remember to hug yer kids!
I’ll c’yall, all y’all.

Election Time

As I get older gentle readers, I realize the importance of having the privilege to express our
concerns in the voting booth. First, let me make it clear that this column is my opinion and
this publication may or may not agree with my views. That being said, I personally feel as if
our country is at war with itself. The waters are extremely muddy from where I stand. I was
shocked to hear the first lady quote after her husband’s election to be President, that this was
the first time she was ever proud to be an American. Are you kidding me Charlie Brown, why
was she living here if she was so disgusted with the American way of life?
It appears when one group of politicians get in power they keep their hold on the country
for a while then they disappoint the electorate and get booted out. I’m talking about both the
elephants and the jackasses. It also appears that it’s always and I mean always, about them and
what they can personally gain from being in control. From the mail that I receive, I have to believe
that most of you, like me, are disgusted, furious, and disappointed in how this grand old country
is viewed by most of the world. I believe that you teach folks how to treat you and this present
administration has taught the rest of the world that they shouldn’t be so impressed with us as
we really don’t deserve that type of recognition. Just because we have always been on the side
of personal responsibility, freedom of expression and all of us being born with the opportunity
to achieve any goal within reason that we set for ourselves. Not only that, we are first with financial
aid and military aid to any country that needs us in times of disasters. It helps if that country
has the same values that we have, but we don’t let that stand in our way EVER!
It’s election time again and it’s your opportunity to go make your concerns heard. We still have
the power in this country to set our own table for what we would like to have served up in the
future. Sometimes, I think that we take too much for granted, we are too spoiled, too lazy to
get off our duff and do the right thing. Let’s not do that this time around. We are in serious
trouble with open borders, extreme radicals, some home grown, that want desperately to
bring us to our knees. Remember the three young Colorado girls that almost made it to Syria
to join up with our enemies? Here in America, how can that be, we ask ourselves? We have
to find the parts of our being that require us to be patriotic and invoke common sense at
every opportunity. This is America, the best, the brightest, the most favored country in the
world. Why do you think everyone wants to come here to live? It’s FREEDOM… that’s why.
Freedom is not free, it never has been, never will be. Just think of all the young men and
women who have given their all to keep us free and look what we have done to insult them.
It makes me very sad, however I know that we will stand firm, fast and deliberate to put us
back to where we should be. Most of you will receive this the day before the election. If you
have not voted already as I have, please, please go vote. We absolutely cannot let America
slip any closer to the abyss than it is now. I know, I know, it seems hopeless with all of the
politicians running this country that are just blowhards, big mouths with meaningless chatter
that drives us up the wall. Remember what I said, we teach others how to treat us. It’s time for
that crap to STOP! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember to lay behind the log
and keep yer powder dry and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

If I Knew Then  

Gentle readers, how many times have you thought “if I knew then what I know now?”
I had that thought cross my mind on numerous occasions as I relived some experiences
that weren’t so comfortable for me at the time. For example: if I knew then what I know
now, I wouldn’t have tied that new rope to that cross tie buried up in the sand and then
tied off solid to the saddle horn and tried to stretch my rope while riding a green broke
hoss. When the rope came tight and jerked the cross tie loose, the bronc broke into and
I went out the back door. When I hit the ground on my back, the tie whistled by my right
ear just inches away. I learned a valuable lesson but if I had it to do all over again, nope!!
Then there was that time when ego forced me to put on that new pair of  “big roweled”
fancy spurs with the fancy spur straps when I knew I could get into trouble with them on
that particular morning. I would be riding Jiggs who had already put me in the hospital
on one other occasion. We, on this gather, would have to push some “trotty” cows
across a deep narrow ravine in order to pen them. When Jiggs felt as if he were put
in a tight place with little room to escape, he would just go to bucking or maybe flip
over if he got to jumping up in the air. Jiggs was a “Big” horse at 1455 pounds. When
we got to the bottom of the ravine he began to get nervous with all of the other horses
scrambling to get up the other side of the ravine. I took my feet out of the stirrups just
in case I might need to bail out. Jiggs, however, began scrambling up the other side in
big jumps. I couldn’t find my stirrups as they were flopping and naturally, I just dug
my boots into Jiggs in order to ride out the storm. Big mistake! When we topped out
the other side, Jiggs was bucking as hard as I had ever experienced. It was totally my
fault as I had dug those big spurs into his flank on the way up out of the ravine. I landed
on the back of my head in the gravel from about nine feet in the air. Talk about hurt?
I didn’t know if I would ever get up and walk again. If I knew then what I know now,
I wouldn’t have tried to rope that ole’ steer with pink on that windy hillside north of
Amarillo. I was by myself and riding a trusty, older, savvy ranch horse. He was one of
the best I ever threw a leg over. Running wide open into the wind, down hill, I stood
in my stirrups and just as I started to toss my loop, my pony either tripped or stepped
in a hole and we turned a summer sault. The rope went back over and around me and
the horse landed on top of me and rolled off, got up, shook himself off and went to
grazing. I was hog tied with the rope and it was tied solid to the saddle horn. I was
amazed that I was still breathing and didn’t seem to be hurt other than a little stunned.
I talked softly to ole’ grey as I began to free myself from the rope. I got him gathered up
and rode slowly back to the house still trying to understand how it all happened so fast
and how I survived that “wreck” Thank you Lord,” I whispered as I never looked back.
I would have just let that ole’ steer go until I had help or when it wasn’t so windy or in
such rough country. We live our lives children, wishing we had “do overs”. It’s just our
nature. I have been extremely lucky and blessed, that’s for sure. How about you?
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, go vote, raise a fist for freedom and I’ll
c. y’all, all y’all.

Now Let’s See

Well now, let’s see, gentle readers, it’s off in the morning to have cataract surgery on my right
eye. I am excited, yes I am. I have high hopes of being able to see clearly once more. Ya really get
tired of straining to see at certain times. Every one that I have discussed this with that have had
the surgery sing high praises, including my sister and brother. You geezers and geezeretts that
have had this done I bet feel the same way. The Rockies with their newly snow covered peaks looked  especially good this morning and I betcha’ will look even better in a few days. Getting old sucks to  say the least! But it’s my time. Yep, I was never gonna’ have the aches and pains that my dad always  talked about because well, I would somehow just be immune to all of that “gettin’ old stuff”. Not so,  nope I had to have reading glasses at forty and yes, the aches and pains began to slowly creep into  my daily routines and then just sort of took over for the long haul. When you consider your life style  and the type of occupation, “cowboy”, had a lot to do with how quickly I began to fall apart and  be resigned to live with the results of that type of occupation.
I see now that Halloween is fast approaching and some of you may see it as an evil occurrence
that comes once a year. It’s an uncomfortable time for you because of your religious beliefs. I
understand that as my family at one time sort of fell into that camp for a short time period. I now
feel like it’s just a time for kids to dress up as someone totally different, in most cases, to who
they are now. They might be a princess, a pirate, or a politician and go from door to door looking
for a handout. Isn’t that what most politicians do? Back to reality, it’s a fun time for kids to dress
up and go out in hopes of being scared or scaring others and getting a sack full of candy in the
process. That’s the way we approached it as kids and never had an inkling there was anything evil
or bad about it. Little kids aren’t about being bad, they just want to have fun and be safe in the
I see now so many political ads that I am almost going blind in the process. I hope after I am
seeing better that all those uninformed, stupid, and down right hateful musings don’t make me
totally blind. I would not watch them at all but they just keep popping up on every channel and
every program. I reckon not so much on Direct or Dish T.V. but surly on all the others.
I see that I have written a column in an ag oriented publication and have not mentioned a cow,
horse, sheep, pig, chicken, llama or rabbit. My apologies. I do surly see the benefits of all those
just mentioned, plus our 4H clubs, FFA chapters, ranchers, farmers, equipment manufactures,
veterinarians, and all who are consumers of such! That all being said, stay tuned, check yer cinch
on occasion, remember that seeing is not always believing, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


Well, now just let me tell you gentle readers what’s going on today here at the O No Ranch.
Actually, not a whole lot but maybe enough to keep you interested. The morning started off at the T Bar Inn where I had coffee with the hombres that share that time with me. Then it was off to the cement pond to go swimming. I hardly swam at all this summer as there were not enough lap lanes available because high school swim teams and other swim teams had most of them occupied. But I’m getting with it now and trying to get back in my swim shape.
I came home, ate a huge breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy and orange juice.
Then it was down to the corral to pull some cockleburs out of Nugget’s forelock between his ears. As I have mentioned ole’ Nugget is a big Zebra dun with some thoroughbred breeding in him as he has a long neck and that race horse look. For you “newbies”, he is not crossed with a Zebra. They are called Zebra duns for the few Zebra like stripes running across his front legs in some places. He took offence to me wanting to clean him up as he has always been somewhat touchy about his head and ears. I thought we had those issues resolved? He pulled away a couple of times and finally he got a couple of swats on the rump from the lead rope and boy did he ever look surprised! I don’t know if anyone had every given him a spanking or not for being a bad boy. He shaped right up and came up to me and dropped his head so I could get the burrs out. It took all of five minutes and I turned him loose and he followed me as I was leaving the corral as if to say, ” hey man, I’m sorry, okay?'”
Next it was off to the prairie dog colony on the back side of my place. The nasty little
vermin are doing their best to ruin that part of my pasture. I took the 22 mag with me just in case I got the opportunity to shoot at any of them. Much to my surprise I didn’t see a one. Not only that, after some investigation, I found no fresh dirt, no droppings around the holes. What I did find was a few skeletons of prairie dogs outside the holes and in some cases, swarms of flies clustered around the openings of some of the holes. Yep, the plague has got’em, I do believe. As least that’s what I’m hoping. For you folks that cherish these nasty little critters. How many little critters to you know of that have a bowle movement on their door step and then when one dies they all jump in for a meal of “prairie dog delight”?
Well, that brings me to now. I reckon I am through with this column for this week. Next week I have cataract surgery on my right eye and will I ever be glad to get that done. So, my friends, stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, please vote in the upcoming elections, remember to help yer neighbor and be a good American. I’ll c. y’all, all y, all.


The Saddle Room

Gentle readers, the saddle room has always been one of my favorite places to hang out when I have  run out of other things that require more of me. It’s a refuge, a place to collect my thoughts if need  be, much like the honey house is to Tom the bee man. I like the smells that are always present there,  even if it’s a somewhat sweaty saddle blanket. I just like to look around as I sit and ponder what will  be my next move when confronted with important issues about life or just plain ole’ ranch life. I can  sit and study my hand made saddle and try and improve things about it. Should I find a more
suitable place to hang my pill gun or should I try and find a place in the medicine bag for it? Little things  like that ease my mind and also occupy it for long periods of time if I so choose. I like being there on  cold winter days with a heat source that wraps that warmth around me as I listen to the cold wind  slamming into the building daring me to come out and play. No way. It also was that place when I came  in carrying my saddle after a grueling day and set it on the saddle rack that I felt a great deal of satisfaction
of just being who I was, a cowboy. That saddle was my work bench and my horse my transportation  while on the job. He was also my pard good or bad, depending on what horse I rode that particular day.
When Little Miss Martha and I bought this place some twenty years ago, after I spent days, hard  days of building fence, I built my saddle room. I wanted it to be western. After all, here we were out  on the prairie with those magnificent Rockies in the background, so it had to look western and not sterile.
I built a log sided saddle room with one window and a small porch. I was putting in a water line one  hot summer day when I see this feller come walking up the road towards my place. He came in to  where I was working and introduced himself and pointed out his house down the road a ways. He then went on to say, “that little building there is sort of quaint and interesting but I assume you will  replace it with something more suitable in the near future?” Children, I was stunned. However looking  this little pot bellied, thick glasses muskin over with his soft hands and skinny arms I just figured he  was way out of his element. I quipped, “actually, I’m going to build a forty foot loafin’ shed out of the  same material and surround it with lodge pole logs for the corrals!” He just sort of melted, looked at  the ground, muttered something about having met me and walked away. He moved a few weeks weeks  later. That ole’ saddle room looks just as inviting today as it did twenty years ago. I rode ole’ Nugget  checking on the steers yesterday and when I plopped my saddle down, the thought occurred to me
that I was still a cowboy with a saddle room to find my peace of mind in if necessary. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, fight for freedom and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


The Judas Steer

You may have used a Judas steer yourself if you have ever found yourself taking care of a bunch  of yearlings, especially yearling heifers with a little ear on them. Let me explain a little more clearly  when I say a “little” ear. That term doesn’t reference that the ear is small, quite the contrar, it means  that the animal has a somewhat larger than normal ear unless we are talking “bremmers”.  A  “bremmer” is slang for Brahman. So, most cattle referred to as having a little ear usually have some  Brahman blood in them. It has been my experience after running these crossbred yearlings that  have some Brahman breeding for many, many years is that they can be a little hard to gather on  occasion. These cattle do better in any hot humid climate but have had successes elsewhere. Fort  Worth, Texas and east of there is hot and humid and you see lots of yearlings on wheat pastures  as they can do really well if maintained.
On the ranch at Terrell, Texas we ran several thousand head of mostly steers on wheat pasture.  After they were processed and kicked out on pasture it was necessary to prowl through them  a’horseback looking for any kind of sickness such as foot rot, pick eye, lung issues etc. Most of  the time a steer can be cut out of the bunch and roped fairly quickly ( unless I was the roper) and  doctored. If that first loop was missed, he most of the time would return to the bunch and they  would scatter from hell to breakfast. After you spend all winter with those cattle they can began  to be more concerned when you ride in and through them looking for problems. Come shipping
time in the late spring and early summer these cattle have become a little “trotty”, meaning they  will make a jailbreak and scatter all over the country when they are being gathered and heading  for the shipping pens. I swear I saw seven heifers scatter in nine different directions on one  occasion. Now this is where the Judas steer or heifer comes in to play. The day before the gather  we collect a victim out of the herd and pen it off with food and water in the corrals we are  going to be shipping cattle from. The morning of the gather we have the steer haltered and tied to  the entrance of the main pen. When the main bunch is thrown together and headed to the pens  our hope is that a few of them will spot our Judas steer and head in his direction as he usually is  bellering his head off and jumping around. In most cases we were always able to pen all of the  cattle but there were those times when we would have to go back and rope and tie down the  “jail breakers” and haul them in to be shipped. That takes so much more time and is hard not only  on the cattle, but the cowboys and horses as well. Our cattle were run on lots of different pastures  so we didn’t have to gather thousands at a time. I’m not sure we could have with those “little”  eared cattle. Gentle readers, there are Judas steers all around us today. The one that comes to  mind is our welfare system. Think about it. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, avoid the  Judas steer when you can and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. As a sidebar, if you have cattle on pasture and have  a pen in that pasture that you would put them in, leave the gate or gates open all the time. Cattle  like to loaf in and around corrals. It can sure make it easier to pen them when the time arrives.


It’s That Time Again

Gentle readers, it’s that time again and we ain’t talkin’ Howdy Doody Time. Nope, old man winter
is just peekin’ around the corner. Yes sir at this writing it is snowing in the Dakotas and we are
expecting a “skiff” of snow here along the front range of the Rockies. I’ve been slowly but surely
getting myself and the O-NO ready for whatever comes our way. Yesterday I unhooked, unplugged and wrapped the swamp cooler until next May. All of my firewood is neatly stacked and the propane man came by yesterday and filled my tank. I have been trying my darndest to get an equipment shed or barn build. Everyone is just to busy. Business is good. Barn builders have more than they can do and I have had a couple that never returned phone calls requesting bids. I reckon that’s good for them but not so good for this old man. I still am blessed more than I deserve. I am healthy, my pastures are covered with grass from fence to fence. Joe’s steers have done really well this summer on my place.
I believe that the Alice Chamber’s (AC tractor) will make the winter fine after Animal, my friend and mechanic, worked it over recently. The Harley is coming out of the shop in the next day or two. Riding season is all but over for the most part, however I try to ride year around. I just finished illustrating a children’s book for a friend of a friend and she was delighted with the outcome. A well written book about little girl’s who grow up to be rodeo queens. Hopefully you will come across it soon and buy one for some little girl this Christmas.
I watch programs on the “telly” that deal with folks in Alaska from the State Troopers, to folks
that live in the bush year around. Their winters are really tough and it makes me feel a little weak
in comparison when I compare my winters with theirs. I have spent many winters in the cold on
the back of a horse looking after someone else’s livestock and sometimes my own. I know what it’s like to be a’horseback  in sub zero weather. I’ve retrieved cattle that have fallen through ice on the water ponds and played nursemaid until they made it on their own or they didn’t. I could go on and on like any rancher or cowboy that lives where the weather can be nasty.
What I have to do now is to prepare myself mentally for long winter days with little to do outside but feed the ponies, split firewood and move snow around to make access in and out easier. None of that do I really mind doing unless the wind is blowing snow around at 60 mph. I have no cab on my tractor. Oh well, it is what it is. Would I rather be in town during the winter? No, I can draw my cartoons on those worst days and take afternoon naps. Life is good, it soon will be good and cold! I hope y’all winter well and have those school functions, social gatherings and whatnot to take up some of the dreariest of days. Take time to honor your folks if they are still living and let your kids know how much they mean to you! Plus all that, do your darndest to be a good American and patriot! I’ll c. y’all,
all y’all.

My Favorite Things 

I reckon that maybe I should have called this column “some of my favorite things”. I was
watching a program on R.F.D. T. V. where  five young women were trying out to see who was
going to get the honor of singing “The Star Spangled Banner” at an upcoming event. The women
were all country gals, all attractive, and could be anyone’s “girl next door”. My, my Charlie Brown,  I listened to all five girls sing and all and I mean all, made me tear up. I always tear up when I hear  the right version of that song. It’s too often that some singer takes the liberty to run off key with the tune, the words, and vibrate and rattle all over the place. I don’t tear up on those occasions.
The right version is one of my favorite things. The smell of a summer rain on sagebrush gives me pause to take an extra deep breath. Another of one of my favorite things. Positive happy folks with a sense of humor that seem to always be cheerful is another one of my favorite things. Of course, my family, my kids, my grandkids that I adore and do my best to maintain a top quality relationship filled with love, respect and yes humor. We all have a great sense of humor. I would say that my family is at the top of the list of my favorite things. I love little kids. I love it when they are playful with me and connect with me if only with their little bright eyes. Most any little kid will play “hide and seek” with you even if they are in their mother’s arms at the grocery store. Adorable, playful children are for sure one of my favorite things. I like it when a horse responds to my cues. When a horse knows exactly what to do, how to do it and the right moment to do it is one of my most satisfying things on my list. I enjoy talking to folks that I know are up front with me, not trying to be something that they are not, and are willing to share their private thoughts. I so enjoy my coffee sessions most mornings with my coharts at the T Bar Inn. We are a loose bunch of reprobates that have fun, share many things together, “laff” and sometimes allow a certain quiet when the situation calls for it.

I love to draw, to create my cartoons. Sometimes I surprise myself when I finish one and reflect that that was almost better than I thought I could do. That pleasures me to draw a situation, get it right down to the “T” and then come up with a caption that brings it all together. Yes, that Is one of my favorite things. Another of my favorite things is to write, what I think is, a decent column that I believe most of you readers  will enjoy. I lack being the “word master” like my friends Tom the bee man and Lee Pitts and of course that funny vet, that Blackie Baxter guy. Just kidding Bax. No I mean you are funny and your peers are always striving to get close to where you are.  A double rainbow, a Blue Quail flushing out of the brush, the right song and the perfect gal to dance with, a full moon on a cold winter’s night casting it’s light on the snow covered ground, the rumble of my Harley as I ride late at night in a cool breeze past a freshly mowed hay field and yes that special hug from one of my kids, grandkids, friends or even a stranger that feels the need to hug you or to be hugged. Kinda’ “sappy” at times ain’t I? I reckon this is who I am gentle readers, at least most of the time.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, learn to love something or someone that you have put on the shelf. You’ll be glad ya did. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Paint Your Lawn

Oh my, some of the things we can come up with to satisfy the urgency to not fall behind
and thus fail to impress. I see where folks are painting their lawns in areas where there has
been a severe drought or water shortages. Yep, we sure don’t want to have to walk out to the
mail box or have our neighbors walk or drive by and see that we don’t have a green lawn.
Personally, I never have been a fan of artificial turf used not only on the football fields but anywhere.
Seems to me, gentle readers, that our world is so artificial and synthetic anymore that nothing
seems real. Nothing much seems to be, well, you know, like homemade ice cream turned by a
crank and a dish cloth over it to keep the ice and salt from falling out when you churn.
Yep, we can get our tummies tucked, a lifestyle lift on our face, (I could use one of those) get the fat sucked off of our hips and buttocks and of course implants where ever they are needed.
We drive plastic cars, eat frozen foods, wear plastic clothes, rubber shoes, some wear toupees and what ever will make us look more acceptable to others, or so we think.  Life is good…right?

Actually, life is good. Most of these things have improved our lives in certain ways. With wireless phones and little hand held computers we can stay on top of all that goes on around us. Kids can watch a little porn if they so desire and don’t get caught. Drug dealers can handle their transactions much faster like any businessman or woman can in the corporate world. Now we have drones moving overhead, sometimes we don’t know where or when or for what purpose? They have sure helped by “popping” a few bad guys along the way, but is that all? Anyone can get on the computer and find your location, check out if it looks as if you have painted your grass or not and see what type of property owner you indeed are.
As you know there are some really cute videos that come across your computer. Some appear to be real and or not, and some are the real deal. I love the ones where some little toddler is dancing or singing or whatever, don’t you?
Sometimes it’s just hard to tell what is real and what is not. We certainly have learned from too many of our politicians that not much about what they say or do or pretend to do is really real. It’s make believe. It’s pretending. It’s painting your lawn green because one, a water shortage, you need to impress, or you are just to lazy to maintain a pretty yard. To be honest with you, I do have some plastic flowers in my home, but in my flower beds outside, I have some beautiful Texas wild flowers that glorify my YELL oh house.
Fall me thinks is about to fall. These mornings are damp, cool and the days much shorter. Summer for the most part is gone. It’s Monday Night Football, falling leaves, warmer clothes and so on. Girls, please don’t get under the tanning beds, well, because it’s not good for you in the long haul and it’s almost like painting your lawn green!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and wave old glory each and every chance ya get. I’ll c. y’all, all

The Color Yellow

Just now, gentle readers, I plucked a lemon drop out of the fruit jar on the kitchen cabinet ’cause
my sweet tooth told me to. I like things that are colored yellow. I love lemon pie and lemon pudding.
I like a good lemon cake but lemonaide gives me heartburn. Go figure. Little Miss Martha is partly
responsible for me likeing the color yellow. It was her favorite color. She prefered yellow roses over red roses. She always wanted our house to be painted yellow. Just recently I decided I would do exactly that. I had several shades of yellow in little cans that I got from the big box store that I was applying to my house so I could make an informed decision on which one would be the right one. My daughter, Sunni, has a degree in interior design and she suggested that I try several shades as to not overdo it. As I was applying the different shades this huge, I ain’t makin’ this up, yellow butterfly came floating by. Back and forth, back and forth just fluttering as if it had to get my attention. I paused long enough to name it Martha. Martha was like a butterfly. She was soft, mellow, graceful, beautiful and non threathing. I am almost sure Martha was part of that yellow butterfly or just maybe it had been sent by her. At least I like to consider those sort of things….do you?
I picked out the lightest shade of yellow that I had applied. I have a red metal roof and some red panels on a few of the larger windows. I didn’t want to overdo it. I overdid it! Yep, I went down and had this particular shade of yellow mixed up, paid for it and started painting. Oooooppps! It turned out to be a little more yellow that I had wanted, but ya know what? My house is painted. It looks nice, clean and fresh and yes, yellow. Sunni says that it should fade a little given enough time. However, the more I look at it with all the pretty Texas wild flowers planted around it and my little Hummingbird that comes to eat several times a day and the prettiest green lawn I have had in years, it’s all good. I do wonder if Little Miss Martha were alive and here to say, “Jack, ya done good, or hummmm, I don’t know Jack,” which one it would be. I think she could live with it, I hope my neighbors can.
As a side bar, I got busy building some new “bob” wire fence and tearing out old rotten fence braces with new ones. I dug all the post holes the old fashioned way, by hand. That project took about a week and I have to tell you that there is nothing that makes one feel better than to put in a hard day’s work and look back at what you have accomplished. It’s extremely rewarding to me to have some sweat equity in this last quarter of my life. This morning I took ole Nugget for a “runnin’ walk” ride around the fence line and to check on Joe’s cattle  that are pastured here. It was a good ride as Nugget has had a lot of time off with me being busy with other chores. All in all, I feel so blessed to have what I have and the “want to” to keep it all together. Life is so short. Too short for to many like my Little Miss Martha, but that yellow butterfly sure gave me a boost.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, be sure to count your blessing, be good to your
neighbor and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Snake Stories
I received a cute snake story from Ross from down the road a ways. He related how when he
was a young man he helped a feller, an older gent, stack hay out of the field and then restack it
in another location. This all took place in the foothills west of the O No. It seems that there were
usually two hay trucks in the field getting loaded at the same time and then unloaded and stacked
in a barn. Mr. Cope, the older gentleman came out to the hay field to see how the boys were getting along with stacking and moving hay. He apparently decided that he would jump in one of the trucks with one of the young bucks that was moving the hay and just observe how it was all going. Ross says that it wasn’t long before Mr. Cope bailed out of that truck and took off running to his pickup.
It seems the young feller driving the truck ask Mr. Cope if he wanted to look in the glove box at
the baby rattler that he had caught and put in there. Apparently not!
At coffee the other morning Eldon, one of my neighbors to the west, brought up the subject of
rattlers. They have a large farm and ranch enterprise that covers lots and lots of ground. He related how he had warned a new employee not to just jump under any piece of downed equipment without taking a long and careful look for snakes. The fence crew had killed nine, count them nine, rattlers in a half mile! I, myself, have not seen a rattler this year. If you remember last summer when old Clancy, the wonder dog, got snake bit, that same rattler that I looked for for over an hour without any luck, crawled right up beside my right foot when I went in the hay room. I think it must have been the same one. I dispatched him to snake heaven right away as I have done all rattlers that I have found around the house. I have found them at the mailbox, in my garage, my backyard, the corrals, and of course, in the pasture. If you remember we also had a horse bitten a couple of years before.
As a sidebar I received a letter from an older woman down in southern Colorado some time
back telling me that if you would apply electricity by way of battery or hotshot to the bite area, it
would cure it in a short time. Hummmmm? She also said she would never go to the doc. if she got
bit, just have someone run get the hotshot and work her over. She was serious, I ain’t makin’ this
I know that just because I haven’t seen any rattlers around the house doesn’t mean that there
are not any here. I didn’t see the one that crawled right up beside me last year and wouldn’t have
even know that he was near unless he hadn’t made it a point to take a little walk (crawl) with me.
Well, tonight is dance night and I’m tired. I have been setting corner post for a new fence and
digging the holes, yes, with a shovel, posthole diggers and a big chisel bar. The ground is still
wet so he hasn’t been to bad, but bad enough for an old man. I do have a corner brace set and
ready to go and no, of course, I’m not to tired to go dancin’…..are you kiddin’ me? Stay tuned,
check yer cinch on occasion, find your redeeming qualities and flaunt them! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Just The Facts Maam 

Wow! I gotta’ tell ya gentle readers, it is hot outside this morning. I have been trimming
horses feet and had to quit. That’s hard on an old guy like me whether it’s hot or not.
Now, those are just the facts. I didn’t color around the edges and did my best to stay inside
the lines. What in the heck are you babblin’ about? you may ask. Well, I had a reader confront
me about a recent column. He thought I might have been a little ambitious with some of
my reporting on what some states dole out in the way of welfare. Now we all know that
cowboys are many times guilty of adding a little flavor to their stories and that’s what
will make a good story a better story much of the time. In this case I was reporting facts that
even I found hard to believe and you may have as well as the above mentioned reader. By the
way, I always encourage you to voice an opinion on my columns or me good or bad. Many
times it encourages me and prompts me to strive to do better.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch. In my reporting of this particular state, which happens to be
Hawaii, I offered you could receive $60,000 in welfare benefits. What I didn’t make clear is
that a single woman with two children can qualify for $49,175. That’s just the fact! Here’s
where the sixty grand figure comes into play. The average working “stiff” would have to earn
$60,000 to get the same amount of benefit after taxes etc. that the welfare mom gets in
Hawaii. This was reported in the Hawaii Reporter in Honolulu by way of the Cado Institute.
You can find what every state offers in the way of welfare payments by going to Google on
your computer.
When I want to share an incident or story about something that happened to me or someone
I know, I have to depend on my memory. Don’t you? Isn’t that what memories are for? I do not
embellish my experiences, I just tell you what I honestly remember concerning the details.
Do I get every word right in every conversation? Probably not, you wouldn’t either. I have had
folks and by the way, folks that,in my opinion, have lived very quiet, uneventful lives, accuse me
of coloring way beyond the lines when I am telling of some event in my life. I have many many
good stories to tell and have already told most of them in this column. They are true, every word
to the best of my memory. I do appreciate you folks that read this column and support me. I
offered that to the feller that was critical of my column. I appreciated his opinion and will
appreciate yours as well. I feel blessed to have been writing this column for over twenty years
and that you would still take the time to read it. As a closing comment. Hell did freeze over
night before last. I went to Wally World, got a good shopping cart with four good wheels and
my checkout girl was georgeous! That’s the truth!! Just the facts ma’am, as they used to say
on that old T.V. program Dragnet with Jack Webb back in the fifties. I told ya I was an old guy!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, valor is a virtue, and truthfulness is tedious but necessary.
I’ll c’y’all, all y’all.

The Best Response Ever

Gentle readers, I came across a really neat human interest story and wanted to sharing with y’all.
I intend no malace towards anyone in this story which is a true story. Here we go….it appears we have the arresting police officer on the witness stand being drilled by the defendant’s lawyer. “Officer, when did you first come in contact with my client?” “Well, when I arrived on the scene of the alleged offence, I spotten him about a half bolck away”, was the officer’s answer. Lawyer, “and what made you think that my client was the person you were looking for?” Officer, “from a description of a reliable witness,” says the officer. Lawyer, “and who was this reliable witness that gave you this imformation?” Officer, “it was the first responding officer on the scene.” Lawyer, “officer, let me ask you a question…when you report for duty, isn’t it true that you officers have a locker room where you leave some of your valuables under lock and key before you go on duty?” Officer, “yes, that’s correct.” Lawyer, “so now I am to assume that you don’t trust your fellow officers not to steal from you, but you would take his word as the truth when  it came to giving you a description of my client a half block away?” Officer, “no, actually I do trust my fellow officers. The reason we put our valuable under lock and key is because on occasion a lawyer will come through our locker room!” The judge, jury and all present got a good “laff” out of the best response ever!
On a sadder note, I had to put down Clancy, THE WONDER DOG, yesterday. It was heartbreaking as I had never had a dog that was so, reliable, loyal, protective and just fun to be around. He was an eleven year old German Sheppard and his hips had completely given out where he could not stay on his feet.
I have had really good dogs before and you may recall that in my cartoon panel called “Hoots from the Ono Ranch”, featured in this paper, I feature a dog called Beulah. She was a really good dog and when she had to be put down I decided to keep her alive in my cartoon panel.
Dogs and I suppose cats, can be very special when you take the time to enteract with them. It took me years to learn that our pets can almost be human if given the opportunity. I will miss Clancy a lot. I didn’t any more than get him buried and then found myself looking around for him as he was always by my side. If he was not by my side he was going around the corrals, the perimeter of our house and yard pulling guard duty. He was even trying to do that the last couple of days and I could see how difficult it was for him, but to him, that was his job and he was going to do it. If there is a heaven for dogs, he surly is there havin’ a grand ol’ time. Time does march on and one of these days I will be like ol’ Clancy unable to get around and I’m thinking I just might like to be put down instead ofsit in a wheel chair all day droolin’ down my shirt. Maybe, maybe not? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and do your best to be a good citizen and a good AMERICAN! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


Do you consider yourself to be a polite person, gentle reader? I think that I am as I make it a point to speak to most folks that I come in contact with. However, too much of the time they are engaged in looking down into that little box that has all those configurations and icons in it, for me to get their attention. They don’t want to be spoken to I reckon when they are busy with whatever. For me, too much of that type of behavior too much of the time is being impolite. I always make it a point to open and hold a door for the person coming in behind me or the one coming out towards me. Most folks here where I live in this little burg of Wellington, Colorado seem to be pleased when I do that for them. I know that it pleases me when someone does it for me, especially a young person. I believe that being polite is a virtue. There are those times when I look directly at someone who is looking at me and say, “howdy, or how ya doin’?” only to have them completely ignore me.
That really gets my dander up. I consider that rude behavior as if I didn’t exist at all. Maybe they just thought of me as the “hayseed” that I am or a “country bumpkin”. If so, they are living in an area where there are a lot of country bumpkins and why they would choose to be here, I don’t know. There could be of the reasons why folks don’t return your greeting. It could be that they are going through a crisis like I was years back and have been hurt so bad that they are withdrawn until times are better. I know that folks are like that under those conditions.
I also know that folks move here from areas where folks do not speak to one another and think nothing about it.
When you do not appreciate when others are friendly to you, you need, in my humble opinion, to embrace that friendly greeting as you would a greeting card when you are in need of one. At the dance hall, I always speak to everyone that I come in contact with unless my mind has wandered and I am not paying attention. I have only come across a very few ol’ soreheads that ignore me when I have greeted them. I have been run over by one fat guy that always seems to be in a sour mood. I don’t think I have ever seen him smile. Don’t know why, haven’t ask and don’t care to since he is a “grouch”. He never says, “excuse me, or oh, I’m sorry,” when he freight trains you but his dancin’ partner at the time seems to be embarrassed about it. If I run into someone by accident or visa versa, I always say I’m sorry unless I know that they are unconcerned and want their place on the dance floor unconditionally. Folks, life really is too short to not be polite to one another when given the opportunity.
I know that it makes me feel good when folks speak to me or hold a door for me and I assume that it’s that way for most of us. I have held the door for others only to have them brush by me and never look back. That makes me a little sad for the most part. I don’t think that I have ever come across farm or ranch folks that were not always friendly and ready to greet you and have something nice to say even if it’s about the weather.
If you are one of those whose lives are commanded by that little box please lighten up, look up once in a while and smile at someone and say “howdy”. It will not only do you a world of good, it will do them likewise, unless they too are lookin’ down thumbing their way to who knows what? Stay tuned, gentle readers, and remember liberty is earned by great sacrifice and can be lost by being complacent. Check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. As a reminder, remember also to support the local rodeos in your area.


That’s what we have, gentle readers, FREEDOM! I would like to say we have
absolute freedom, but alas we don’t. I am writing this on the Fourth of July, Independence
Day. I also am listening to a speech on the radio by Ronald Reagan in 1986 on July
the Fourth. It makes me so sad to see where we are today in this wonderful land of
America as opposed to where we were in 1986. So much has changed and not for the
better in this old cowboy’s opinion. These past few years have brought forth folks that
would prefer that you listen to what they have to say and for God’s sake, don’t express
your own ideas or thoughts. Why? Well, because you are wrong, you just are in their
minds. As Americans we are slowly but surely being scared to death by almost every
government department and program. Some of which have been helpful in saving lives
such as the seat belt law etc. Today, our government wants to “nanny” us from the
cradle to the grave. Did you know that in some states folks on welfare can receive as
much as, I ain’t makin’ this up….$64,000 a year. In many of our states welfare folks can
get forty to fifty thousand dollars a year for doing absolutely nothing! Why work? There is
no incentive for them to make any effort at all to provide for themselves. None at all.
I suppose I could rant and rave forever but you gentle readers know where I stand on
most issues so I’ll slow down a little.
I took a break and went into town for the pancake breakfast and to visit with friends and
also to watch the parade. From all appearances one would think that all in attendance at
the parade were patriots. Most all had their kids dressed up in red white and blue and
waving little flags. I liked that a lot. Some however seemed to have that entitlement
mentality. I discussed that with a feller over my pancakes that is running for county
commissioner. At the parade I noticed some men cared not, didn’t know better or just didn’t
give a darn enough to remove their hat when old glory passed by. That I didn’t like. I wanted
to just walk over and slap their hats right off their heads. This is America, we can participate
or choose not to. I choose to and know that you do also. This America as we know it will
never be the same as it was in 1941 unless we have a world war and all stick together.
Me thinks that there will be too many that don’t participate. It’s a new time in a different
America. It’s up to you and I to make our thoughts known and to heck with political correctness!!
God bless America again. We usually get what we deserve as we make our own beds and
have to lay in them. Every one in America gets their say….so say yours and when you do
don’t be shy. It is indeed time in this year of our Lord 2014 to stand up for freedom!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, speak your mind and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


The Right Morning

Gentle readers, I have been sitting on my back deck drinking my third cup of java and just
taking in the morning. As I write it is a Saturday and appears to be shaping up to be a glorious
day. A little windy right now but otherwise, just right!
I was out early to feed my ponies. i like to give them a little grain just to keep them coming
into the corral in case I need one of them for any reason. I came back in, ate breakfast, visited
with my brother from the old country, Texas, and retreated to the back deck. Ol’ Clancy, the wonder
dog, and he is old like me, was settled in on the cool grass in the shade of a Cottonwood tree.
A momma bird who has a nest above him keeps dive bombing him and coming within inches of
taking his head off. He just lifts an eyebrow and seems oblivious to her intentions.
After the ponies ate and returned to the pasture ol’ Nugget, my latest addition and a
beautiful red zebra dun he is, headed towards the fence that seperates him from his girlfriend.
Yep, my neighbor has an assortment of minature donkeys, horses and a goat that run to my
south. There is a young mare in season who has fallen for the dun and likewise. They do their
best to get their noses together across the fence and “sweet talk” one another. The only
problem with that is the other horses with her don’t approve of the relationship and they cut
her off much of the time and won’t let her reach the fence by herding her around and around.
That has been intertaining to watch this morning. The funny part was when they forced her off
the fence and ran her off they left the minature jackass to stand guard over ol’ Nugget who  is
sixteen hands and weighs well over thirteen hundred pounds. Funny stuff but to me it had the
makings of “the right morning”.
You have heard someone say “I was just watching the grass grow.” Well I was this” right
morning.” We have had so much rain the creek flooded for the first time in years and my pastures
and yard are excellent. Of course the pastures have way too many weeds but underneath is an
abundance of grass. I did sit right there with coffee cup in hand and swear that I could see the grass
growing under the morning sun.
I could hear a Harley running off in the distance and it gave me an itch to jump on mine and
cut a hole in the breeze. To lazy I guess after a night of dancing but I reckon I’ll get to it before
the day is over. I rode ol’ Nugget yesterday and we are still working on his seperation anxiety
issues. He did much better and only whinnied when he saw the neighbor’s mare running up the
fence looking for him.
Yep, this is one of those “right mornings” as far as I am concerned. I will refill my cup and head
back ot the deck and take in some more of this small pleasure that is offered. There were so many
other things I could have written about like our government that seems like Superman in a
Don Knotts, (Barney from Mayberry) episode where nothing  ever goes right but you would think it
has the way he presents his side of the argument. I think we would be better off with “Barney”
running this country than the present administration. And that’s all I have to say about that! Stay
tuned, be cool, be honest and trustworthy and be absolutely sure your kids observe this behavior!
I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


The Morning Birds  

Gentle readers, I wasn’t quite ready to hear those Mourning Doves just outside my
window at four thirty this morning. Nope, I wasn’t. They were cooing their mourning
sounds in the pine trees and it took me back to long ago and far away. Yep, in my
early thirties I was asked to haul one of my horses from Amarillo down to Del Rio, Texas
and plan on working on a border ranch for a few weeks. As it was, a feller that I had
worked for before had leased eighty eight thousand acres, the old Burr Ranch, along the
Texas, Mexico border and was going to purchase the exsisting cows that were present
there. His old banker wanted all those cows gathered out of the brush so he could personally
count them and know that his collateral was indeed there. I have to tell you that to call
these old mossy cows wild would be an understatement. Five of those old cows could scatter
in seven different directions!
Back to the birds. There were about a dozen Mexican cowboys, two anglo college kids,
a white ranch manager and his thirteen year old son. The college boys occupied a single
wide trailer which they shared the bath room with me. I slept out in the back of my pickup
because the bunkhouse was full of young Mexican cowboy who talked and listened to loud
music too late in the night for me to get any sleep. The white college kids did the same.
I remember those song birds every morning around three thirty to four making their early
morning conversations. I was so tired from being in the saddle all day the day before that
I just wanted those stupid birds to shut up and let me get at least one more hour of sleep.
We usually ate at about five thirty to six in the morning and then hit the saddle for another
hot day in the Brasada (thick brush). The Mesquite trees were a lot bigger there than up at
Amarillo. It was hard to get around and the pastures were huge. You could easily get lost
and I did a time or two when seperated from the other cowboys. The brush was full of Javalena
hogs, five to seven foot Diamond Back rattlers and wild, wild cattle and on occasion, Border Patrol
looking for these Mexican cowboys. It was three weeks of “poppin’ brush, ropin wild cows
and hopin’ you didn’t get yer pony gored or a Mesquite thorn rammed through your boot.
Or even worse, wind up waging war with a six foot rattler or have a wild pig run under your horse
and maybe get you bucked off. Some of all of that happened to this guy or that guy, but never
me. Talk about luck. Three weeks of wild memories that I’ll never forget and I was reminded
of it all at four thirty this morning. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion. Have a freedom
filled Fourth of July and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


With the price of today’s cattle I have heard that rustlers are making the best of it in
many areas of the country. Let’s take twenty running age bred cows with solid mouths and
good calving history and they could bring sixty thousand dollars or more. Let’s face it
gentle readers, some folks are just to lazy to work but calloused enough to take what
belongs to someone else. It happens every day in every community on small and large
scales. If a set of cows, yearlings or whatever are being fed because of adverse conditions
or just being backgrounded to turn out on pasture, they can be an easy target. Range cattle
that are isolated, but gentle enough to gather into a corral or makeshift panels can be
loaded rather quickly in the middle of the night and be across state lines by the next day
before anyone even knows that they are missing. Unbranded livestock are an easy mark.
A good horse, a handmade working saddle, even a good cowdog are worth so much more
than in the past. Of course we don’t brand our dogs and there may be some dogs and horses
that the owner’s wish would get stolen but that never seems to happen. Back in the late seventies,
we had twenty some odd ( I don’t remember the exact number) of replacement heifers
stolen on a Saturday night right out from under our noses one mile from ranch headquarters
just off a state highway. We didn’t check on them until the following Monday and it was
a little too late. Our local range detective told me it was a local kid from the salebarn who
did it but without the cattle being recovered he could not prove it. Nothing ever happened.
The heifers were branded but apparently went into Oklahoma or Louisiana.
Let’s face it, some folks are just theives with no afterthought, of course unless they get
caught. We had a father and son who were our local theives in the community in which we
lived. The old man had been caught several times and released after thirty days or so in
the county jail. He never stole anything worth enough to send him away for a long time, just
enough to get by on. He taught his teenage boy everything he knew about being a theif. They
felt comfortable in the cafe with the locals, many whom they had stolen from. It was their job.
They never seemed to be embarrassed by their choice of employment. I would strongly
suggest that there are folks like that where you live. Keep records of personal property for
recovery and insurance purposes and above all, brand your livestock if possible and keep locks
on your gates. Cattle are like pure gold in today’s market so make it really hard for someone
to take what belongs to you. Doesn’t it feel really good and powerful to come in from a long,
hard and HONEST day’s work? You bet it does. As an afterthought, I do hope all of you dads
had a meaningful and happy Father’s Day. I know that I did. It can be difficult for us all to
try and make sense of this unpredictable world in which we live and that makes family so
very important! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember freedom is not free.
I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

More or Less

Gentle readers I remember reading an epitaph of a cowboy gunned down in one of our
frontier towns. The feller’s name was Lester Moore. It read, “Lester Moore, shot six times
with a forty four, no Less no More!” Which is a lead into my thoughts and some furnished by
the internet by way of a family member. In regards to the way we live today and the way
we used to live when I was but mere children. Here we go: Our phones, wireless, cooking
heatless, cars keyless, food fatless, tires tubeless, dress sleevless, youth jobless, leaders
shameless, relationships meaningless, attitudes careless, babies fatherless, feelings heartless,
education valueless, children mannerless, country Godless. All of this, me thinks makes us
at times speechless, and our government appears to be clueless and many times worthless!
I do not by any stretch of the imagination find us hopeless and I don’t color myself blameless.
I could do more than I do. I do vote each and every time and for the person, not the party
that I feel is our best hope for redemption.
Of course y’all all know that not every child is mannerless or jobless in their youth. You
also know that not all babies are fatherless or relationships meaningless. I do think that
our country is slipping into the abyss of being somewhat Godless on occasion, especially in
our national media and in our entertainment via movies or the internet or television. Our
present administration I don’t think is totally clueless even though they give that distinct
appearance too much of the time. I have met and know so many young folks just out of college
that find it almost impossible to find a job that resembles their degree from school. I danced
with a young woman last night just out of school with a degree in elementary education and
she was very concerned that she may not be able to find employment in the school system.
On and on we go eating fatless foods on tubeless tires in keyless cars and all of the above
certailnly have a great deal of merit. We live in intresting times all the while watching a
world around us that seems to be spinning totally out of control. We must all do our part
to be better folks, set better examples not only in our behaviour but in our attitude. Right?
Dang right I’m right! There are just too many folks with an air of expectancy that believe they
should be taken care of without making a contribution to the society in which they live.
I’m tired of that B.S. and it won’t change until we begin to play hardball with the loafers in today’s
world and some around the world that now find us weak and vulnerable. Just be a good scout and
always Be Prepared. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, always vote and I’ll c. y’all,
all y’all.


Gentle readers, I just happen to fancy windchimes and Hummingbirds. That don’t make
me a sissy does it? I’ll tell ya what else I fancy. I fancy butterflies and flowers. I also fancy
little babies and a soft summer night with lots of stars. There’s something about those things
that I fancy that seem to have a calming affect over me. Of course I like my ponies and my
Harley but they are a little different as I have a certain amount of control over them.
My mother was in the Sundown Garden Club when I was a lad and in the summer, even
before my brother and I rose in the early morning hours to get to our summer jobs, we could
hear the water from the hose hitting the flowers in the flower bed beneath our window. Yep,
mom was already up and at it watering all her flowers that she so loved. I had no intrest in
flowers at the time. She tried to tell me that a lot of the Texas Tech football players were
also into growing flowers because she knew that football was my game. I’m thinking..”how
in the heck does she know if Tech football players like flowers?” I suspected it was a ruse to
get me to take a positive intrest in things of the floral family. It didn’t work. It didn’t work
until I finally matured and remembered how nice it was to always have flowers around the
house and in the house during the summer months.
We also had a honeysuckle vine growing up a lattice work leading into our kitchen and
sure “nuff”, those Hummingbirds found their way across that desolate Mesquite covered
prairie to our kitchen entrance. I grew fond of those little birds mostly for their seemingly
resolve to just do whatever they needed to do. There always seemed to be a cat wanting
to devour any and all of them. I don’t think we ever lost a one. The Hummingbirds usually
don’t arrive here at the O-NO until July and I’m always surpirsed when one flies right up to
the feeder on the back deck as I’m sitting there having a little rest. I do have lots of flowers
around the place in the summer months. Ahhhh…summer is almost here. I’ve been spraying
weeds, mowing weeds, and haven’t had to water much with all the rain we have gotten.
I happen to enjoy writing this column when I have anything to say at all. I thank you for
taking time out of your day to read it. I’m really not a big sissy, I’m just a gentle old
geezer finding my way through “geezerhood” and i’m liking it. Stay tuned, check yer cinch
on occasion, raise a fist for freedom and the constitution and i’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


At this writing, gentle readers, it is Memorial Day and it is shaping up to be a delightful
day or so it appears at this time in the morning. I just returned from a trip over the hill to
the western slope of Colorado for my grandson’s high school graduation. These kids, twenty
two in all, were all home schooled. What a neat bunch! They seem to have a lot of savvy
about them and seemed much more mature than a lot of seniors I have encountered in the
past from the public school systems. Wait! Don’t get your panties in a wad with that last
statement. I also have grandkids in the public school system and they also have put it all
together. There are graduates from private, charter, and public schools that seem to have
zeroed in on their purpose for the future. Many kids will graduate with a sense of entitlement
and expecting the world to come running to them and that is the sad part. Teachers in all
systems teach and go beyond that many times, however, I was impressed with these home
schooled kids and their savvy grip on what lays ahead. Many were country kids and we
know they always seem to have a “leg up”.
Moving on…it has rained and rained and rained and I am not complaining. Nope, but there
will be some that will have issues with all of this rain. East of Collbran, Colorado, just east
of Grand Junction there was a huge mudslide. Get this…according to the news, it was two
MILES WIDE and four MILES LONG and over two hundred and fifty feet deep. Folks, it takes
lots of rain to loosen that much ground that fast. We all know that it is a result of global
warming (tongue in cheek). Regardless, that presents a big problem as there, at this time,
three folks unaccounted for.  My pastures are lush, the steers are packin’ in on and the
ponies are sleek. It’s time for flies, mosquitoes, Miller Moths and all kinds of bugs to appear
as summer approaches. There is going to be lots of clover this year and it’s not always that
way. It’s been a wet year. It’s been a wet chilly year and I’m ready for those eighty degree
days the weather girl has promised this next week.
I reflect on the warriors who have made this country free by their sacrifices in wars that
took so many wonderful young men and women. Today we salute them and honor them for
what they gave up for us in today’s world. I watched a documentary of World War Two when
we were losing so many fighter pilots that they began to enlist women to fly the fighter planes
and also bombers and they were never recognized until some forty years later for their bravery
and skills as fighters. WAY TO GO GIRLS! It’s too bad that men have such egos at times that
they just couldn’t acknowledge what these wonderful women had done!
I approach summer with the hopes it will be a good’un and I and my kids and grandkids
will have lots of fun and be safe in all that we do. I hope the same for you.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, God Bless America again, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

I Ate The Batter

Gentle readers, I’ve never met Duncan Hines and I’m sure he is a fine feller. I was in the
process of baking one of his cakes just the other day and I noticed that he put a warning on
the box for me NOT TO EAT THE CAKE BATTER! Are you kiddin’ me Charlie Brown? I always
eat the cake batter, always have. My my, my, one just can’t be too careful these days, now
can we? I actually took a drink out of my garden hose a week or so back. I looked around to
see if anyone might see me. Who gonna’ see me when I live by myself in the “boonies”?
As a lad, I carried non poisonous snakes around my neck just for something to do for
entertainment. I rode an oil well pump jack when I was twelve. My buddies and I carried our
22 rifles to school and left them in our unlocked cars. Do ya see where this is headed?
At school sponcered events we would have never thought of saying anything insulting or
being unkind or rude to our sponcers, parents or teachers. Our schools, parents and
sports leagues saw to it that we got plenty of exercise. We learned out to accept losing.
When the Sundown Roughnecks (my football team from West Texas) lost the State semi final
game to the White Oak Roughnecks of East Texas even though it was a tied game. They
crossed our twenty yard line one more time than we crossed theirs. That was the rule back
then. There were no overtimes. That was a tough one. If there was a bad misunderstanding
between two guys, it was “fist city”. We didn’t go get our guns. My principal didn’t have to
call my parents on those two occasions when he took a board to my butt for misbehaving.
Today, “Big Brother” I think, tries to scare us to death about too many little things that
most likely we don’t need to be concerned about. They have done some good things like
seat belts, Amber Alerts, and the Food and Drug Administration. Things like that we need
to be aware of like warnings on cigaretts and tobacco products but forever more…not
fracking and for Pete’s sake, CAKE BATTER!! There has to be some middle ground to all of
this concern over how we live our lives and just who gets to set the rules and after all, who
will benefit the most? Dear friends, I do hope you are able to enjoy the upcomming summer
with picnics, bar be ques, rodeos, camping and of the fun things you like to do without
someone throwing a wet blanket on you in the porcess. It’s really okay, I think to eat that
cake batter, it hasn’t hurt me, hasn’t hurt hasn’t hurt me! Stay tuned, check yer
cinch on occasion, fight for your right to be heard, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Winter Kill   

As I write, gentle readers, it is Mother’s Day. So, to all of you mothers I hope in spite of
this awful weather, you had a rewarding love filled day. Sometimes, doggone it, things
just pop up and sort of kill our spirit when we have had our heart set for a different
outcome. Our winter was so long and tedious and unforgiving most of the time that I
just wanted it to be over. It’s not over today. Wet, sloppy, heavy snow is blowing sideways
and when I went out to feed early this morning it was like February all over again. My
horses have shed most of their winter hair so they seemed to be a little uncomfortable
even under the shed with good alfalfa in front of them. The pastures are in great shape
from the winter moisture and recent rains, but now are covered in snow. I reckon all of
this extra moisture would be okay if it was going to warm up tomorrow. Nope, it’s gonna’
be cold and miserable for three more days. That’s what the cute weather girl said this
morning as I was slurping down my first cup of coffee. Yep, I had the wood stove fired up
once again but this continuing winter weather sort of kills my spirit especially on a Sunday
when I should be out and about. I know, I know this too shall pass and I’ll forget it even
happened a few months from now. This storm is not going to kill any plants, I don’t think
as it’s going to stay close to freezing or maybe a little below. That’s what the cute weather
girl said. I know she can’t be to far off the mark because she is so darn cute! Sometimes
it takes a really cute weather girl to life the “winter kill spirit” of an old cogger such as
myself. I’m only kidding, I am more refined than that…right? Of course I am. I would prefer
to be out on the Harley or even mowing the grass in my overgrown yard instead of peering
out the window only to have my spirit dampened. I was going to mow that tangled mess in
the yard yesterday only to discover that the old riding lawnmower that I had just reconditioned
last summer and had used twice this year would not fire. Nope, deader than my spirits as
they are today. So, now I’ve got that issue to deal with as I am a lousy mechanic and worse
carpenter just so you know. However, how many of you can draw a funny cartoon? Hummmm?
I need to decide what I am going to do to lift my spirits today. A nap? maybe, that a possibility.
I think it’s more than a possibility because it is good sleeping weather and I did dance my
socks off last night, so a nap, I’m sure will be in order. Again, all of you moms, accept what
ever praise, love and kuddos that are heaped on you today. You have eared them all. I do
wish that my kids had their mom here to heap kuddo on. Such is life. I hope I didn’t dampen
your spirits to much and when you read this I hope it’s 80 degrees with a soft breeze blowing.
It’s coming and I am so ready for summer!!! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember
that you are somebody and that you live in the greatest country in the world. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


Well, gentle readers, it’s that time again. Yep, my 74th birthday on this earth is rolling’
in my direction. Do I apologize for living 74 years? Of course not. I wouldn’t have it any
other way. I do become a little disturbed when I see my father in the mirror each morning
when I go to shave and brush my teeth. I think he was a lot better looking at my age than
I appear to be, to me anyway. How did all of this happen so quickly? I didn’t think that time
would pass so fast. Time wouldn’t pass fast enough when I first discovered that first whisker
on my clean, youthful, handsome little face at sixteen. I wanted to grow up and be a man and
have all that hair on my face like Jerry Lee Ferguson. Heck, he was sixteen and had to shave
every day if he wanted to look like the rest of his classmates. I wanted time to pass so I could
not only shave but be able to leave home and do “my own thing”. When the time came for me
to leave home and do” my own thing,” I was taken back by what was going to be required of me
many times while I was “doin’ my own thing”.
I am enjoying life and I look forward to living a long , long time and seeing many things I have
not seen and doing some things that I’ve never taken the time to do. I don’t look forward to going
to the funerals of my older siblings, their mates and so on. That is, of course, as old Harold
pointed out to me, that they do indeed die first! Whoa, I hadn’t thought much in that direction.
And there are my grandkids! Holy smoke Batman, what’s happening here? I have one grandson presently in Nepal on a mission trip and wanting to join the Marines when he returns. His siblings, a set of twins, will be teenagers this summer. My grandson,  who lives nearby, is driving a
Mustang and his little sister is going to be 15 this fall wants, at present, to be a Marine sniper?
Of course I hope as she grows she may want to consider something a little more domestic
and feminine. She is such a georgeous little doll and of course all of my grandkids, all six are
beautiful and handsone. I ain’t makin’ that up, they ARE! Yes, time seems to really fly past us when we get to a certain age and I reckon that’s the way it was all designed. There is a lot that doesn’t even bother me any more and there are certain things that get me rattled and can make me madder than hades because I see my beloved country in disarray like an unmade bed. There
seems to me to be to many folks that just seem to have lost the desire to do anything but expect you and I to pay their way! Don’t get me started on politics! This is where I close and for those
of you who have birthdays coming up in the near future, HAPPY BIRTHDAY and love your life and
live to improve it. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and please don’t let the P.C. crowd
ruin your day, especially if it’s your birthday! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Spring has Sprung?

Spring has sprung or has it? Not sure about it gentle readers, but I’m hoping it has for
real this time. The pasture is greening up, the cottonwoods are trying to bud out and the
fences and corrals are full of tumbleweeds. The birds are melodious each morning when I
go out early to feed the ponies. Speaking of my horses, man are they shedding! I could weave
a Navajo blanket just out of the hair off my new dun horse. By the way, his name is Nugget
and children, he is a nugget. What a neat horse he turned out to be. My granddaughter, Kailee,
loves to ride him. It’s a struggle for her to get on as he is so tall, but she manages.
I have a lady friend down in Texas that sent me some Texas Bluebonnet seeds along with
a host of Texas wild flowers. I have broadcast some of those in the pasture in low lying areas
and have planted some in my clay pots in and around the front and back decks of my home.
I hope they survive.
My Easter was wonderful as I rode the Harley south about forty miles to my son in law’s family
for dinner. I did get caught in a couple of small showers on the way home. Just enough to get damp but it doesn’t take long to dry out at seventy five miles per hour on the interstate on a motorcycle.
I am holding off puttin out any steers as of yet as it appears that they will be drillling for oil either
on my place or my neighbor to the south. If they decide to drill on me a lot of fences will have to
come down, cattle guards built etc. I will hold off a few more weeks until that decision has been
made by the oil company. Did you say “Jack Clampett”? Just kidding, quien sabe, who knows what
will come of it? Now that would make for a really nice spring, you betcha’ Little Beaver. For you
younger folks, Red Ryder, a comic cowboy character had a little Indian friend by the handle of “Little Beaver”. That was way before many of you were poopin’ yer diapers. I am glad to see warmer weather, milder nights and longer days on the horizon. I have many, many things I need to get done this summer and fall. Next month I will be seventy four years of ornriness, feeling great, looking smart, I said looking smart, smartie!! No kidding Charlie Brown, I’m ready to get back on the pitcher’s mound and wait for Lucy to come up and aggrivate me or for a big shower to fall. That’s the neat thing about spring. Everything for the most part is fresh and new and moving us towards tomorrow.
If you are your family has illness or desperate problems I trust you will do your best to be the best
you can until circumstances deal you a better hand. I know that life can be extremely difficult at
times and I just hope it’s not your time. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, stand guard,
be alert, favor freedom and don’t back down, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Pot Luck

Gentle readers, this is one of those pot luck sort of columns where I bounce around a
little with subject matter and get some issues off my chest. WARNING! There may be
parts of this column that you don’t agree with and my name may be called in vain. So
be it.
I went out to feed the ponies this morning winding around three foot snow drifts. Are
we serious here? This cotton pickin’ global warming is gonna’ ’cause me to pull what’s
left of my hair out. Climate change it is called now. Regardless, the lefties would have
us prevayers of common sense believe that global warming is causing all of these
terrible snow storms, tornados, hurricanes and you name it, it’s caused by “climate
change” which in turn is caused by our cows passing gas and so on and on. I’m really
weary of that “crap” excuse my French. Of course, it’s only Americans that are the real
culprits, no one is China, Russia, India or any where else is as bad as we Americans
This one is a little touchy. The Rancher in Nevada, I believe his name is Bundy is in
hot water. In my opinion Mr. Bundy placed himself and his family’s livlihood in such a
terrible situation.  Here are the facts as I understand them. Mr. Bundy’s family had an
agreement with the state of Nevada to graze his livestock on public lands without any
fees being charged. He, of course, had to maintain fences, water systems, and any
supplements that might be necessary during his use of the land. Apparently the Federal
Government took over ownership or responsibility of said lands in 1993 and started
charging grazing fees for Mr. Bundy’s cattle. Mr. Bundy refused to pay any grazing fees
whatsoever. Grazing fees on public lands are about 10% of what they are for private lands.
Mr. Bundy, in my humble opinion, should have placed some monies in escrow for future
debate if he was not going to pay what all the other ranchers were paying for their use
of government lands. It makes my blood boil to see the feds show up with dogs, guns,
tazers and “big, bad boy attitudes” to gather and sell livestock that belong to a private
citizen. I was glad to see that folks showed up and armed by the way, to protest on behalf
of big government running roughshod over Mr. Bundy. On the flip side, I believe Mr. Bundy
brought this on himself. I don’t like to see folks that are on welfare when they don’t need
to be. Was Mr. Bundy a welfare rancher by refusing to do what was required of all ranchers
on public lands? I was glad to see the feds back down, even if just for now, and no one
was shot or seriously injured. I don’t think that it’s over by any stretch of the imagination.
I do hope it can be worked out to the satisfaction of everyone. If any good came from it
at all, I do believe that the “Feds” discovered rather quickly that “America” is a little sick
and tired of “Big Government” flexing it’s muscle!! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on
occasion and remember, we the people are the government!! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


I Don’t Do Drunks

Most folks that get a little “wasted” or a lot “wasted” somehow get the notion that
thay are required to entertain whom ever is around them. That just happens to be one
of the pitfalls of being beyond their limit of sober understanding. Have I been drunk
before? you querry…yes, of course. When I was young, single and stupid, I have been
exactly like the folks mentioned above. And gentle readers, I am not boasting about it.
My dad, being an ex drinker and a pillar of the community and a deacon in the Baptist
Church was often disappointed by his youngest son, yep, that being me when I would come
home from a night of drinking. I remember that night I walked in the front door and puked
in the living room on mom’s new carpet. She came in and bless yer heart, cleaned up my
mess, as I stumbled off to bed apologizing all the way. Man I wish there were “do overs”
in our life time so we could make right all of those mistakes we made as we “did our thing”.
After I got married it was rare if I drank at all. If I did it was a can of beer after a hot morning of branding calves or something similar. I didn’t keep any alcohol in our home and “Little Miss Martha” was all in favor of that.
I have had a few encounters with drunks in the past few years. Nothing serious other than
having to physically remove one guy from my chair at the dance hall. The manager had him
tossed and apologized for me having to get involved. Recently a street bum came in the dance hall early and was wandering around pestering folks. He could have been mistaken for a working man who had just come off the job as he was dirty and smelled as if he hadn’t had a bath for a few days. He came to my table bringing me a glass of water as he noticed that was my drink of choice at the time. “Ya don’t mind if I sit down do ya?” he blurted out with a big smile on his face. I coined him as a con man right away. “I reckon you can sit for a minute,” I quitely offered.
“I’m lookin’ for a job…I’m a truck driver!” “Well, I’m not hiring so you’re in the wrong place,”
I shot back. He just stared at me and ask me if I knew so and so and so and so and I replied
that I didn’t. “Pard if you’re a truck driver you need to go to the oil patch up in North Dakota
cause there’s lots of jobs up there. “I ain’t stupid, feller,” he boasted. “You’re trying to send me down to Denver and I ain’t going back down there!” “No, I’m trying to send to you North Dakota if you really want a job, ” I glared back eye to eye. He tried the old “stare’um down” trick but it wasn’t working so he slapped me on the back and offered, “I didn’t come over to irritate ya, so I’ll be going,” said he as he got up. I came up with, “yeah, well be careful,” and that was the last I had to deal with him. Not so with many of the other patrons as he went from table to table most likely trying to get someone to feel sorry for him and buy him a drink. I often find myself on the short end of holding my cool when a drunk refuses to leave me alone. So far so good I reckon. Being sober is so much more fun. If you are one of those guys or gals that likes to get drunk and stupid, trust me, only your drunk and stupid friends are glad that you’re there!
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, don’t drink and drive as it might be me you run over…and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Winter That Was

Yes, gentle readers, this past winter, in my humble opinion, was a winter that was. In fact,
I don’t think it has fully left as of yet. I just started the woodstove on this March 31 date.

By the way, have you signed up for the Afforadable Care Act? As I write, this is the last day you can do that without penalty. The only thing that the ACA and my column have in common is that you have to read it to know what’s in it! I digress

Back to winter. The wind is blowing about forty mph in a steady gale and it’s right out of the north and it’s cold, cold, cold. I have  a friend coming out this morning and we were going to ride horses. She will be disappointed I’m sure, but I didn’t order up this weather.

According to our weather person, it will be cold and windy all week long with possible snow and rain showers. Now folks, this is not unusual weather for this time of year. I have seen it worse in years past. The difference is this winter has been consistant. It’s been cold, wet, windy with snows and tumbleweeds seemingly an everyday occurance. It’s not like that but it seems to be for me anyway.

Yes, there were those few precious days in January when it was 55-60* during the day. Of course those days were followed up by big storms that seem to come one right after another. Our neighbors up the eastern seaboard and the midwest really got socked this year. They won’t forget this winter any time soon I betcha, nor will I. I’m ready to get in a litte Harley time on a warm summer night.

Man, that will release all of your demons and cares of the day. It seems that the older I get the faster time seems to run around me and not even look back. I know that in a couple of weeks or so the weather will moderate and I can spend a lot of time outside. I think that’s what makes me grouchy is having to be indoors so much this winter. If it was doing chores or splitting and hauling firewood to the house I didn’t even want to be outdoors.
The ponies are finding a little green grass now and then but it needs to warm up for that
situation to improve. I’m betting that next winter is milder but of course I will be older and most likely just as grouchy.

As a sidebar I lost another friend to cancer this past week and saw on the news yesterday where two motorcyclist hit head on and were killed.  Very sad. You guys be careful this summer when you are out and about. Look out for your neighbor, slow down and for Pete’s sake, throw those darn smokes away. I did twenty four years ago and it was one of the toughest things I ever had to go through, but you can do it also!! You’ll love yourself when you just don’t need them anymore. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, love this country enough to stand up for the red white and blue

! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Out of the Ordinary

One of my special programs on the “telly” is Texas Country Reporter. There is the feller that
drives all over Texas visiting with unusal folks in unusal places that do things that may be
out of the ordinary for most of us.

Of course, Texas being the large land mass that it is, this guy can find lots of subject matter and of course, me being from the “old country” Texas, I really enjoy this program most of the time. This past Sunday morning was one of my favorite of all time shows.

Gentle readers, that reporter made ole Mad Jack cry. Yep sure “nuff” I was brought to tears over a young girl, a fresman in high school, in East Texas. This lass was not only a beautiful young girl but she was legally blind. What was out of the ordinary about her you querry?  She holds the record in pole vaulting for the track team. She also runs the 440, plays basketball and is a steller student. Just to watch her perform blew me away.

How can she do all of that when she can only, as she describes it, like looking through a soda straw and then just seeing mostly a blur? He sat across from her and ask her what she saw when she looked at him?
“Oh, I just see a white blur mostly, I really can’t make out your features,” she said. To listen to
this young woman talk about her disability as if it were nothing made me want to start counting my blessings. To watch her dribble the basketball in traffic and make baskets was beyond my understanding.
I’ll bet most of you guys that go to rodeos have either heard of or seen the “One Armed
Bandit” perform during the rodeo. This feller lost one arm in a tragic electrical accident. What
makes him special? Well, I’ll tell ya…he gathers up several longhorned steers on his horse,
runs them upon the back of a flatbed truck and sometimes up on top of the cab as he is
cracking his bull whip!

I had the occasion to visit with him at the Loveland, Colorado rodeo years back and I was taken back by his confidence and the courage he showed by his unbelievable feats of horsemanship and controlling longhorns. Gentle readers, that’s out of the ordinary. I couldn’t do what either of the above mentioned have done and can do, could you?

I gotta’ tell ya Charlie Brown, there are folks out there that go way beyond the pail
when it come to being “out of the ordinary”. I wish I had not only their courage but the
wisdom they have gained from their tragic experiences. Stay tuned, stay cool, check
yer cinch on occasion, raise a fist for freedom, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all

What’s Next

Gentle readers I am a little dismayed, alarmed and wondering what’s coming next? Here is my problem.
Our President, the President and most influential man in the world stated a couple of years back that he had been to all FIFTY SEVEN STATES here in America. Hummmm, don’t know when exactlly we acquired the additional states. I don’t think we acquired any more. A  congress woman just the other day stated that this country (the USof A) had been formed and we have had our constitution for over FOUR HUNDRED YEARS!!!
ARE YOU KIDDIN’ ME CHARLIE BROWN? Then there was that other congressman a couple years back objected to us putting any more infrastructure on one of the, I believe islands in the Phillipines. Should we dare ask why?
Get this: he thought that any more weight put on the island would cause it to TIP OVER AND SINK IN THE OCEAN!
My friends, here we have supposedly educated folks with some degree of intelligence making and enforceing the rules by which we live. I am not to encouraged by what I see going on in this country from time to time.
Yes, of course, there are smart, educated folks out there involved in politics and some of them are doing their very best to keep our ship afloat. Apparently they are not in positions that delegate a lot of responsibility.
I would bet you that most fifth graders know how many states there are in our country and if they don’t, shame, shame, shame on our educators. Any middle school or high school student should know how old this country is and when our constitution was adopted. If they don’t, again I say shame on our educators. How in the world is a young person supposed to respect the highest office in the world when that person does not know a simple
fact as how many states make up the United States. Honestly I can really get frustrated when, for example, I was called to jury duty recently and most of the one hundred or so folks sitting there with me were glued to an iphone or some sort of personal computer or gagdet! I personally struck up a conversation with a young female realator and we were able to converse most of the time. I said most of the time when she didn’t have to check her iphone or send a text. I reckon I am just gettin’ too old for what I consider to be the dumbing of
America. When I see folks like Beyonche (sp), Miley Cyruss, Madonna, J.J. Cool Whip or whatever or whoever our young folks want to immulate, I want to toss my cookies. There are groves of young high school and college age kids that come out to C&W dance on Friday nights and it’s really fun to watch them expend all of that energy. The energy that I used to have. They do give me hope as most of them are respectful, polite and fun to be around. I think we need more cowboys in politics these days. Men and women with common sense
and the knowledge in how to apply it. What’s next? I ain’t sure, but I’m playing my cards close to my vest.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, say a little prayer for America and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.ext


There are all kind of traders out there and If you don’t believe me go to Craig’s list. Trading has been a method of makin’ some sort of living for all kinds of folks. I bet cave men traded certain types of bones to use as weapons depending on what was available and what was most needed at the time. Mountain men traded with the Indians for all sorts of things like blankets, furs, horses, directions and shelter. You have your local atomobile traders on almost every corner in some areas of your city. Buyer beware, right? That’s pretty much true with whatever you purchase. Most of the time you get exactly what you pay for. Sometimes you get a little more or a little less.
But we learn from our trading experiences. I have bought lots of horses during my ranching years and some deals were steller and some in the cellar. Buyer beware! I recently purchased a ranch horse from a trader. I found him on Craig’s list and liked his looks from the get go. I knew he belonged to a trader and it appeared that most of the horses they had for sale that didn’t have a lot of age and were gentle sold pretty fast. The dun horse was still there as the days past and I missed out on a horse that I had a real interest in, so I called on the dun. I made arrangements to go down, pick him up as they offered to let me keep him a few days and give him a good look over. I rode him on their place, loaded him in the trailer and brought him home. My daughter and I saddled ole’ Howdy my paint and off we went again into a very windy afternoon. The dun is a BIG horse. Sixteen hands or a little taller but built nicely and did very nicely on a new place with new surrounding, high wind and water to cross. He didn’t do so good on the water, but finally followed Howdy across the creek and all was well. I rode him again today, trimmed his feet and he did better than I had thought he might. I always worry somewhat when I buy a horse from a trader simply because they don’t
know a lot about what you’re buying and know very little of his background or any health issues. Three of the last four horses I have bought were from traders and they all were capable ranch horses and I didn’t give a lot for any of them except one and he was a little lacking, but adequate. The dun is still young enough to last as long as I most likely want
to be a’horseback. There is always that chance of something hidden away that is undetected health wise that we don’t know, but I’m taking a chance on him as his price was reasonable. Cowboys are always looking for a trade of some kind be it a pocket knife, bridle, rope, spurs, or anything that might improve their image at the present. Right guys. Darn right I’m right. We just can’t help it and we’re always happy there is a trader somewhere close by. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember to say a little prayer for our troops! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Calf Rope

Gentle readers, when was the last time you just had to holler “calf rope”? Meaning, of
course that you had had enough. You give up, you surrender, ya just don’t want no more?
When I was a kid if someone, usually my older brother got the best of me in a wrestling
match or whatever, I would holler “calf rope”. I’m not really sure how that phrase came to
be, just the same, that’s what we would holler. I gotta’ tell ya, I’m hollering “calf rope”
right now on this winter. I give up, I surrender, I just don’t want no more cold and snow.
There are folks all across this country, maybe you included, that feel just as I do. It’s really
been one of those unusual winters. Of course we all know that it has been caused by
global warming?
I hollered “calf rope” just recently when I couldn’t stop coughing and blowing my nose
for days and nights and days and nights on end. Finally I gave up and went to the see the
Doc and it turned out to be bronchitis. Nose bleeds, no sleep, no energy and constant
coughing and blowing was about to drive me nuts. Alas, I have antibiotics and am almost
back to normal. I missed a whole weedend of dancin’. I had bronchitis when I was in
Advanced Infrantry Trainning in Fort Ord, California. On manuevers out in the sticks and
sleeping on the ground with extremely hot days and chilly nights, I got whacked with it.
Thought I was gonna’ die before I got back to base and to the base hospital. Mercy!!
There was that other time when I got disgusted with my corporate job and decided
“the cowboy life” was for me. Although I was well paid and had many many benefits, I
just couldn’t stomach who I had become and where I was headed. Nope, I wasn’t doing
anything wrong other than saluting the corporate flag and dringking their particular
Koolaid. But that was my job and I was good at it but I felt a strong need to be on a horse
making my living that way. I hollered “calf rope”, quit my job, upset my folks, confused
my wife and took it on the chin for a couple of years before I felt good about my decision.
Go ahead and holler gentle readers, if you feel the need. It helps….sometimes!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, embrace freedom and liberty and remember
to LOVE AMERICA. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Sound of Music

Music has been with us since man decided he could kick up his heels, or so I opine. I love a lot of things about life and two of those things are little children and music. You most likely won’t find me rattling my bones to rap music. Rap music is not in my wheel house. As mentioned before I try to go dancin’ each and every weekend. Why? I love C&W music and I love to dance. On Saturday nights at the dance hall a feller comes on before the band and brings his recorded music and then sings some of the most popular songs. He is quite good.
Back to children. As my dance partner and I were doing a little two step we came upon a wee child about three years of age I’m guessing. She was standing on the edge of the dance floor watching intently as the couples danced by or so we thought. As we passed by her we both leanded down to see if she would take our hand and dance along with us. She pulled her little arms in close and the look she gave us said, “I don’t talk to or dance with strangers!”
When the music ended we went back to the table and this little doll remained in that one little spot she had picked out.
I noticed that she was not zoned in on any dancers, but the cowboy singer. She looked down at the floor and began to take little tiny steps, maybe not over three inches at a time. Slowly but surly she made her way out on the dance floor one tiny step at a time. By now almost everyone in the place had cast their attention in her direction. It was almost as if she was sayin’, “if I take little bitty steps no one will ever reaslize that I have moved.Finally, finally she had gotten to within three to four feet of Alan, the singer. I got his attention and motioned for him to sing to her. He got down on one knee and the words of his song, “I love you just the way you are.” She stood like a love sick puppy just staring at him without moving a muscle. She had found her man. His music had moved her so much she just had to be in his presence.
When the song was over Alan took her hand and bowed to her and everyone cheered and clapped. Her mom, who was having dinner with her husband and another child a few tables back decided it was time to get her daughter collected before she created any problems. When this little doll realized her mom was coming after her she took off and tried to hide behind some sound equipment. She was finally taken back to the family’s table, but not without some issues.
That was the highlite of my evening watching this little girl be so affected by “the sound of music”.  I realize, gentle readers that not everyone is affected by music as so many of us are. That’s okay! When I was maybe for or five I would take one of those wooden Coke cases and turn it upside down and then step upon it. That was my stage. With an empty bottle I would pretend to be one of the Philsbury Dough Boys, a singing group which was popular on the radio back in the forties. That was over sixty five years ago and not much has changed. I couldn’t sing then and certainly cannot now. Still, the right song can put me on top of my game. Stay tuned, my friends, check yer cinch on occasion and wave Old Glory. God Bess America is one of those songs that can make me a better person for that particular day. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


Looking Ahead

   Gentle readers, that big bright light that I have been keepin’ an eye on today has me lookin’ ahead.
Yep, the ole sun is out and warming up Mother Earth and melting all of this snow that lays in bunches all over the place. You most likely will have a hard time choking this down….but I had a robin fly into one of my pine trees just outside the window on Feburary the 10. Feburary ten was one cold, froggy, nasty day with frozen fog and snow on every thing including ole Clancy, my dog and Howdy, my fat paint hoss. It was also my deceased wife’s birthday and was a sort of sad and gloomy day for me until I saw that robin. I finished my coffee and started in on a good spring cleaning of my house. That’s how much it perked me up. Our spring should come forth with lots of green grass and hopeful hearts for what lays ahead for the summer. I know, I know, we still should have another four to six weeks of now and cold on occasion, but, February is almost over.
   I finished up fourteen months of volunteering in the ER at one of our local hospitals this morning.
I had mixed emotions about that. I felt it was time to call it a day but leaving those wonderful folks that I had gotten so attached to was difficult at best. Good soldiers they are to the last man and  woman. I had no idea what they had to endure in eight to twelve shift hours. I was glad to have been a very small part of their team. It gave me a different set of eyes when it comes to compassion and “riding for the brand” when it applies to getting a difficult job done in a caring and professional manner.
     I recharged the battery on the Harley yesterday and gave it a good cleaning up. I’m lookin’ ahead to the time when all the mud has dried up and the temps are warm enough to fire it up and make a run.
I’m still lookin’ foreward to finding the right horse for my place. There are a couple I hope to go throw a leg over when the weather lends it’self for such.
    Those folks down in the southeast and up the eastern seaboard I reckon are lookin’ ahead to getting their weather patterns back to normal. They are getting poked in the eye for sure but children, this is what memories are made of. If our lives were so mundane and if there were no ups and downs and  unexpected happenings in our lives….we would be bored to tears. We do live in exciting times not only in our everyday world of politics etc. but in agriculture also. Cattle prices have stayed high and it appears that they will for a good while to come with the livestock numbers being so low. I remember when a dollar a pound for a four hundred pound yearling was almost beyond belief. Now that same calf can bring as much as two dollars a pound. Yes, the cost of business goes up as well, but the bottom line is the cow calf producer has a better than average chance to survive than in the past.
    Yep, I’m lookin’ ahead to more robins, strong green grass, heavenly summer nights, and more memories to be stored away in this old noggin. I wish the same for you. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion,
stand tall for liberty, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Rhyme And Reason

Gentle readers, on rare occasion I get a little philosophical and words and phrases seem to flood my vacant but curious brain. This happened in the near past and rhymes and reason wouldn’t leave me alone. So I penned this poem I call Rhyme and Reason. If it gets a little to deep for ya…..go shovel some snow.

          According to the Good Book

 everything has a season.

I say, “for every rhyme

there is a reason”.

        In our comings and goings

in our hurries and slowings,

in our measured thoughts

are not always knowing.

       There’s a rhyme and a reason

       To do unto others or so it seems

may be like an undreamed dream.

It’s not present until we dream it.

To make it real, we must redeem it.

        In our taking and our giving

we hope it’s all uneven.

Our giving overtaking our taking,

that’s our believing.

       There’s a rhyme and a reason.

        In our living and our dying,

we must always be trying

 to find the good in all the worst.

 To share our water to satisfy a thirst.

         Living, but not knowing

when our comings may be our goings.

when our hurrying may be our slowing

 when our taking may be our owing.

          There’s a rhyme and a reason.

      Do you know your rhyme?

does it always have a reason?

are lessons learned

and always with meaning?

        Once young and now I’m old.

 When will all my tales be told?

Was my life just grist from the mill?

It’s not what was said, but how

it made me feel.

        There’s a rhyme and a reason.

       There is a rhyme and there is a reason,

be it sad or be it pleasing.

Be it praised or be it cursed.

Our last coming is now our last going,

as we pass in our hearse.

        Stay tuned gentle readers, hope and pray for change, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Where Are Your Boots?

“WHERE ARE YOUR BOOTS”? demanded this strange woman whom I had never laid eyes on in my life. I seemed to be Charlie Brown on the pitcher’s mound once again. I stood looking down at my feet thinking “who is this woman and why is she asking such a dumb question?” Okay, gentle readers, here is how it all happened. Once again I found myself at my favorite hangout, the steak house and saloon where I go go to be with friends and dance the night away every weekend. I walked to my table (they keep a table reserved for me there) and removed my coat and hung it on the back of my chair. There was a man and woman (married I’m guessing) sitting directly behind me. After this woman blurted out her question, I was some what stunned and replied, looking down at my lace up ropers, “these are my boots,” I offered in a somewhat defensive but weak voice. “NO, I MEAN YOUR COWBOY BOOTS…..THOSE ARE NOT COWBOY BOOTS…THEY..THOSE ARE LIKE DANCING SLIPPERS”!! she barked. I glanced at her husband? He leanded back in his chair with arms folded rolling his eyes as if to say, “here we go again”! This woman had thrust her foot foreward and said, “these are boots,” your’s are not boots!” She was wearing a ladies dress boot with a zipper up the side, pointed toe and dressy heel. I was somewhat frustrated by now as I just stared at her and finally spoke in a direct way, “would you like for me to ‘splain why I wear this type of boot”? She glared at me and shot back, “YEAH, ‘SPLAIN WHY YOU WEAR THOSE INSTEAD OF COWBOY BOOTS”! I started slowly in a measured cadence, ” ma’am, when I was forty two years old, a 1450 pound horse fell on me and broke my right leg and seperated my foot from my ankle. So now, I am an old guy with, according to my doc. traumatic artritis in my ankle joint. I have a brace on my ankle now and have to wear a boot like this one that laces up in order to be able to dance.” Her face softened but she wasn’t done with me as of yet. “Well,… did that happen?” Knowing full well she wouldn’t have a distant clue as to what I was about to tell her, I relayed how I roped a steer to doctor him and my loop was to big and he was about to run  through it bla bla bla bla and the horse was jerked own on me in the mud bla bla bla. “YOU ARE A MIRACLE MAN!” she blurted out. “No ma’am, I’m just an old guy with a bad leg that wants to dance. Her husband had become some what intrested in my story as he had leanded over the table but said nothing. I just had to finish this way, “are we good?” “We’re good but you are a miracle man!!” As a sidebar, you most likely have this paper on the 10th of this month. It would have been “Little Miss Martha’s 69th birthday. She, bless yer heart was the complete total opposite of this loud mouthed woman I had encountered. Yep, I really miss that little gal! Stay tuned my friends, check yer cinch on occasion, lay behind the log and keep yer powder dry and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

A Pause to Opine

As I have stated before, gentle readers, I consider myself to be a casual observer of the human condition. We are off into the new year and I have observed some intresting things. These things have overlaped from 2013 to present. Keep in mind I don’t really object to all that I have observed, but some of it I surely do. For example: there is this insurance company that uses a lizard that talks, has somewhat of an ego, and can be more intelligent than most humans. I said “can be”. They also have a pig named Maxwell, who can ride a watercraft with his neighbor’s girlfriend on the back. He can drive a convertable, go to pro football games and sit in the stands with his buddy, and walk into the driver’s license bureau on his hind legs and present his ipad with his indentification on it and get his photo taken and be on his way. Now, of course, this pig also talks but seems to always feel a little insecure and picked on. Well, I think if I was a walking talking pig that interjected myself into a human’s world as if I were human, I would expect to catch some flack. Actually, those commercials are really cute and I look forward to see what new ideas are going to pop up in the next commercial.    Now, I have noticed that not only in this past year, but in the past few years our children are being prompted to believe that there are no losers in their little worlds. That’s right. We are all winners and we all share in the trophies of this world. We don’t want to hurt one’s little feelings by suggesting that maybe they didn’t put forth the effort or just maybe they aren’t as talented as the kid sitting next to them. That’s life. We are cheating the little buggers when we treat them like that. Charlie Brown knew that he wasn’t always a winner. I don’t know if he ever won a baseball game when he was the pitcher. He always gave it his best shot and that is what counts. Now last but not least….I see areas where somebody out there is trying their best to strip away a man’s “manhood”. I saw a commercial today where women have found a new device to remove unwanted hair on their legs, armpits and lips. What do I see next? I see a guy shaving the hair off of his chest and his arms. Why not yer legs buddy, or do you just do that in private? Gentle readers, I don’t know where all of this is headed but I opine that it’s not gonna be good! We need heros. We need men and women to be heros and be the standard bearers for their children. We need warriors, we need dutifull moms. We need dads to so fishing, hunting, golfing, bowling with their kids. We need more family time. When I was a kid never a night passed that we didn’t sit together for a Bible verse and say the  Lord’s prayer before any of us retired. That may seem so unconventional and outdated in many homes today, but I have to tell ya, it couldn’t hurt. Just a few moments spent together for one purpose and that purpose is just to refocus and reflect on the day and what lays ahead tomorrow. “LIttle Miss Martha” always started her day with a cup of coffee, her Bible open and her quite time before she headed off to work. What a gal. I gleened so much from her setting the example. One I should have set. Shame on me! Life is fun, exciting, rewarding and can be treacheous as well. Take time to share with your spouse and your kids. Make it a team effort. You won’t regret it. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, rise to the occasion, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

What’s In A Name?

Gentle readers, as I was riding ole’ Howdy, my fat paint hoss a couple of days ago I rode down the dry creek that runs across my place. It does have water in it on occasion, but not like it did when we first bought the place almost 19 years ago. I digress.

I pictured myself as if I were riding through a fast moving cold mountain stream like that Russian guy, “Glad-I’m-Here Pukin”. He’s always mounted on a horse with his shirt off riding through a cold river. Tough guy. He wants to be tougher than our guys or appear to be so. Me thinks he might have a little of the “short guy’s syndrome”.

But after all, we had the “Duke”. Yep, ole’ John Wayne, I guarantee you he was tougher than “Glad-I’m Here”.

Now, once upon a time I was listening to a liberal progressive talk radio host who moved to Denver from Lost Angels, California. Do you know what he had the gumption to talk about?

 He said the Duke was  A CROSS DRESSER!! Are you kiddin’ me Charlie Brown?

The “Duke wearing a bra and panty hose under that vest and gunbelt? No way, I’m sayin’ “NO WAY”!!

 I bet that radio host never approached the “Duke” and ask him if he was wearin’ women’s underware.

Not on your life. John’s name before movie fame was Marion. Just sayin….I know some guys name Marion and they don’t wear women’s underware, not that I’m aware of anyway I don’t think that some liberals really like tough guys, but I’d bet most do.     

Now how about “Mad” Jack? Well, I’ve “splained this a time or two before, but just so you know, I’ll condense it again.

 Long ago and far away in Texas I wrote a letter to the editor of our local rag in regards to our welfare program. I signed it “Mad” Jack Hanks. Some in the community, just for fun began to refer to me as “mad” Jack.

 Fast foreward to Colorado and my beginning a second career as a “cowboy humorist, cartoonist and columnist”. After some thought, I opined that most folks would not remember if my name was Jack, John, Jim or Homer, so I hooked “Mad” onto my first name and I don’t think most folks forgot my name when it came to my second career.

Names can say alot about a person, thing or a place. How many times have you seen a dog named “Duke”. I haven’t seen a dog yet name “Glad-I’m Here” or Obama as of yet. Not even Hillary comes to mind when I think of dog’s names. It’s usually Butch, Madolyn, King, Rusty, Rose and so on. I just happen to like the name “Charlie Brown”.

 Ole’ Charlie and I seemed to have had a lot in common as time passed us by. I’ll never be as cool as Charlie Brown, but I have learned not to approach that stupid football any more.

How about you? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and do the right thing! I’ll c.y’all, all y’all. common over the years. Well, friend, if you have a nick name I trust it’s not “Stinky” or something that makes you uncomfortable.

Men vs Women

Gentle readers while watching the Sunday morning news program with George Step-on-all-of-us but hosted this time by Martha Radish (don’t know if she is a vegan or not, but would bet on it), I learned something new. Yep, I always learn or am able to gleen some oats from the chaff. One of their discussions was how women are becomeing more dominant in the corporate world. The guest were the (at one time) CEO of Hulett Packard. A lady fighter pilot who now is in command of a fleet of fifty fighters. There were three other ladies one who was the CEO of General Motors and the other two I don’t remember, but trust me, they had significant power. Now, I am all for women having significant power. I will be the first to hollar “HOORAY” when a woman through her own hard work and dedication to her profession breaks through the glass ceiling. Martha stated that women hold less than 20% of the jobs at the top managing the largest companies. Hummmm? I thought to meself… I bet that men hold less than 20% of the “stay at home” dad jobs in this country. What are we trying to accomplish here. Do we as a society feel the need for women to hold 50% of the CEO positions in America in the top companies? Who is going to raise the kids and give them the instruction and care and love that only a mother can give? I have no doubt that dads are good care givers when required to stay at home, but an upset stomach can be better soothed when moms take over. On the ranch in Texas, as I have mentioned before, I always and I mean always, gave the cowboy’s wives and daughters the opportunity to work for pay on the ranch when I needed them to fill in. I have always felt that women are more sensitive to the needs of livestock and the care of equipment. Now if a woman has raised her kids and wants to find full fillment in work outside the home Kudos to her. I think that if women want that top corporate job, to be the queen bee, they should not have children at home for a dad or a nanny to raise. That’s just me. My “little Miss Martha” , who by the way on the 16 of this month passed away twelve years ago. I miss her. She was the best mom ever. She had such an influence on our children that prevails today. I reckon that’s where I find my bias Charlie Brown. Our times are a’changing and we will change rilght along with some of it. We need to reserve some caution before we encourage half of the women in this country to flee the home and find their perch in the tallest of trees. My thought for the day. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, raise a fist for freedom, and I’ll c.y’all, all y’all.

The New Year

 A new year always presents new challenges good and bad, exciting and maybe even numbing at times depending on the circumstances. I mentioned before that my new year’s “revolution” (I like that terminology) is to be a better listener and not jack my jaws so much when not necessary. So far so good!     I stayed home on New Year’s eve for the first time in a number of years. New Year’s day found me in the ER helping to assist those fine doctors and nurses in the care and well being of those folks that had to be there. There were a couple who most likely should have stayed home like I did as they found themselves maybe wishing that they had.    I am excited about this new year that’s approaching because I just don’t know what lays around the corner. It’s somewhat odd, but as I get older I anticipate things to be, and usually they don’t come to pass as I had hoped for. But that’s just it…. we don’t know what to expect from day to day in most cases. I had a friend from the past approach me at the dance hall this past weekend. His wife had cancer about the same time as my “LIttle” Miss Martha and she had survived. He did his very best to encourage me before Martha passed that our faith would see us thorugh. He made me some angels from horseshoes and they are displalyed in my home today. It was obvious that he was alone and wanting to visit for a brief minute. Yep, the cancer had returned and laid claim to his lovely Beverly two years ago. He was still hurting and my heart went out to him. I knew for sure how he felt. I assured him that time will help to lighten his load. It just takes time. I’m hoping that 2014 does not present any trying times for me and my family or for that matter, you guys also. I’m hoping we skate through a wonderful year with joy in our hearts and a feelling that we have done something that contributes positive to someone else’s well being. Let me encourage you in my “coggerhood” (if that’s a word) to live your lives to the fullest and let those that are special to you know how much they mean to you. Dad’s, hug your kids and you be sure and use the “L” word (love) often. It will have lasting effects on their confidence and will carry them all of their lives. Most dads in my generation did not hug their boys and I don’t remember hearing the “L” word at all. My memory goes to a letter my dad wrote once and I am almost sure he told me he loved me. Of course I knew he did without a doubt. He was at every football and basketball game cheering me on and I got that “good game son” after the fact. It’s a new year with lots of new possibilities and opportunities for us to show up and show off our good intentions. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.y’all, all y’all. God bless you and yours in this new year and God Bless America!!

Me and Wyatt

Gentle readers I received word on my dinasour of a cell phone that it was out of date and would no longer be of service. I would have to go in and upgrade my phone in order for my provider to be able to service me. Sooooo, I find myself in the shopping center with all the little nooks and crannies and yes, of course, there is the store I am looking for. I was somewhat taken back when I walked in.

There was this long counter, much like you would see in an auto parts store with all of these folks lined up and waiting in lines to be taken care of. A feller approached me, took my name and assured me someone would be with me shortly. And he was.

 He was a big ole’ feller with a soft voice but looked as if he had been a cage fighter. I doubt it, but that’s the way he appeared to me. While he is taking care of me I noticed a “cowboy” looking character enter the store and it didn’t take him long to have everyone’s attention.

He was mad and on the war path over a bill he had received. As it turned out he was given over to a fellow where he would be standing right beside me. He was giving his represenative a really had time and wanted everyone in the place to know that he was a rough and tough cowboy and he had this feller waiting on him almost shaking in his boots so to speak.

The big feller waiting on me would cast him a glance once and again. He got so loud, vulgar and threatning that everyone was looking in our direction  This had gone on for a good fifteen minutes and he says to the feller waiting on him, “you can quit shaking, I ain’t punched you yet”!

That about did it for me. I was finished and ready to leave but for some reason that part in the movie Wyatt Earp, who is new in Tombstone, walks over to the loud mouth at the gambling table and slaps him across the face because he is so disruptive and obnoxious and loud.

Now, gentle readers, by no streach of the imagination was I even, even thinking about slapping this feller who was much younger and looked as if he could handle hisself if the occasion arose. I did place a firm hand on his shoulder and say, “pard, you need to lighten up a mite,….it’s the Christmas season.”

 I gotta tell ya, you could have heard a pin drop. I said that to him in a very non threatening way. He tuned to face me and quipped rather loudly, “YEAH, I KNOW…BUT I HATE DEALING WITH SOME OF THESE #$%#$%&*% COMPANIES!” I offered,”

I know friend, we’ve all been there, but it is the holiday season and cowboys don’t act the way you’re acting right now!” I stuck out my hand and told my name was Jack. He shook hands with me but didn’t make much eye contact. I squeezed his shoulder, told him to have a nice day and turned to leave. I was sort of wondering if I would get that blow to the back of the head, but I didn’t.

 There was a collective sigh of relief and a lot of folks smiling at me when I opened the door and left. Sure hope it went well after that, however I don’t think ole’ Wyatt would have gotten the same results if he had done his business like I did. Actually, it was sort of fun to see him calm down and realize what a jerk he was being.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.ya’ll, all y’all. Remember to respect those that deserve it and vote for freedom!


Well, it’s time again for those of us who decide to make a New Year’s resolution to get busy and “git’er done”. My resolution, forgive me if I screw up here as I am listening to our President at a press confrence ducking and dodging, is to be a better listener.

Yep, I got to learn to sometimes just shut up and listen. I am fond of the old saying, “it is better to keep yer mouth closed and let folks assume you are a fool instead of opening yer yap and prove that you are indeed a fool!” My dad was a quiet man but my mother on the other hand, would not let you get a word in edgeways. Well, maybe ONE word, but that was it. She assumed, I suppose that whatever she had to say was much more important that what anyone else might offer up.

That’s sad and I am embarrassed to admit it, but that’s just who she was. Didn’t keep her from having a good heart and she was one who was always for the underprivledged, and proved it time and time again by helping those who desperately needed it. I am not as bad as my mom was, but I know where the chinks in my armor are.

My father in law, my dad, and other men I have known had a way of just absorbing a conversation without butting in but when they did speak, they spoke volumes with a few selected words or phrases. That’s who I want to be before they put me in the box. We learn certain behaviors when we are young and it’s up to us to correct the ones that are not constructive when we recognize them.

There are those times as a story teller when my “yapping” pays dividends. It helps to be able to converse in such a way that those receiving the “yapping” are enjoying it or at least can comfortably bear it. There is a happy medium that I hope to find so I don’t bore anyone with constant drivel.

You will notice that my columns are not real long as a general rule. As a result, when I have said all that I felt needing “saying”, I quit writing and wait for another day to unload on my readers with whatever is on my mind at the time. I want us all to have a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year. I will work on my self improvement and hope that I am successful in my endeavors. As a sidebar, my new horse did not work out and the folks that sold him to me will come and pick him up with no hurt feelings. They guaranteed him to be a certain way and unfortunately I didn’t find him to be so. He did have many good qualities but I didn’t think he would be safe enough for a novice rider that might be my guest and want to ride him.

 I will let them keep one third of the price of the horse for the cost that they had to be responsible for. They were okay with that as was I. Good folks they are. I didn’t expect them to take the horse back. But here we are again looking for that safe, sensible horse with no issues.

 I mean no issues like being silly about his head, feet, no rear, no buck, no colic, no cribbing, never foundered and easy to catch. A good ole’ retired ranch horse that still has some good years in him without being ridden hard is what I need. With that said, let me wish you all a wonderful 2014 and GO DUCK DYNASTY!

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember to do good unto others, and I’ll c.y’all, all y’all.

Christmas Already

Wow!, gentle readers, it seems as if I just took down my Christmas decorations a few days ago! Some folks I know leave theirs up all year long. Christmas lights, that is, on their humble abodes. I reckon that’s okay. It just saves you having to put them up again and again. Some might say that is a little tacky and red neck and I say it’s none of my business what they do. It does cheer me up and give me the Christmas spirit to see houses where the folks have gone to great lenghts to really make their respective yards and houses look so festive. After all, it only happens once a year, right? Me, I usually don’t put up my artificial tree unless my kids and grand children are going to be here for Christmas. I always put up a few things that make the house look like it is indeed Christmas. Yeah, I know, I did say artificial tree. I used to always buy the real thing until a year or so ago. I never could get my trees to stand up straight and have the Angel on top not look as if she were doin’ the “rock and roll”. Then there is the little job of keeping it watered and fresh and the lights burning and so on and so forth. I reckon I have reached “geezerhood” where it’s just not as important to me as it used to be to do all of this holiday stuff the right way. I think it was thinking about the cleanup and putting everything away when it seems to just roll right back up on ya in a few days. I said, it seems that way to me and that saddens me just a little to think of myself as a grinch! I’m sure if little Miss Martha were still here we would be going all out but of course, I would expect her to do most of it. That’s the way most men are. And she would and wouldn’t mind it at all. That’s the way most women are. Just the same I take great pleasure in watching the little ones get so excited and expectant this time of year. As a sidebar, if you didn’t get a lot at Christmas when you were a tyke, I would offer this….don’t over do it with your kids. They will just expect more next year and may not have the appreciation for what you gave them this year. It’s just human nature. Martha and I always were generous with our kids because they always seemed to appreciate that we did for them. We did not go overboard because the grandparents usually were very generous also. As a general rule in years past we tried to do something nice for the “down and out”, and always did something special for the ranch employees. I do miss that part! Have yourself a very Merry Christmas and remember it only comes around ;once a year! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember it is more blessed to give than to receive! I’ll c. y’all, all y’al

Bronc Stories

Gentle readers, after “cowboying” and manageing ranches for so many years I have had many opportunities to throw a leg over some ole’ pony that most cowboys would refer to as a bronc. That doesn’t mean that that particular horse will buck every time you get on him or her, but it doesn’t always mean that they won’t. I have had both types in my string. It has always been my preference to know that a horse is going to buck at some point or other than to not know at all. I have never had a horse in my string that was a really bad “bucker” all  the time. I wouldn’t have a horse like that. My precious body is worth so much more to me than that and always has been. Now, I have had horses that could and would buck really bad under certain circumstances like a rope under their tail and a wild calf on the other end. They have records at the hospital to confirm my musings.    While having coffee at the T Bar Inn this morning my friend and neighbor Ole’ Howard told me a really cute “bronc” story. Now Howard had told me this story a time or two but being the old guys we are we excuse such endeavors because we are also guilty of retaleing stories more than once ourselves. Sometimes we don’t always remember the complete story anyway. Okay, back to Howard. He raises running horses and good ones at that. He’s a thoroughbred man who raises big stout horses. He was telling me about this big filly that he put on the track and she just wasn’t gonna’ make a running horse so he put her up for sale. Did I mention that she could and would really buck hard at times? This Doctor, a hand surgeon as I recall came out to ride her and see if he indeed want to own her. She stood quietly as she was saddled but Howard did mention that she hadn’t been ridden since she came off the track a few weeks before and that she had been fed really well and might be a little “fresh”! This doctor who was dressed not quite like a cowboy, but maybe an educated man of the horse said this to Howard, “Sir, I am an accomplished horseman, and I can ride this horse.”! The horse stood still as our accomplished horseman mounted. She didn’t move out as quickly as our accomplished horseman desired so he whacked her on the rump with a large ridding crop. After Howard help this accomplished horseman extracate himself from a large portion of the fence, he (the doctor) removed his saddle from the filly and left post haste without comment. Stay tuned my friends, check yer cinch on occasion, God Bless America, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all!

My, My How Times Have Changed 

By the time you receive this column it will be December! Amazing! Today, however, it’s a week before Thanksgiving and it is 13*, a fairly strong wind out of the north and on occasion, snow fluries. Man, it is cold! The weather is one thing that has not changed so much over the years regardless of the “global warming” faithful.     I have been sitting by the wood stove reading through the history of Martin County Texas of which I recently wrote. Reading about their local schools and closely looking at the photos of the students and teachers. I became aware once more of the lack of smiles on everyone’s face. Now, this particular photo was taken in 1907 ( the year my dad was born) and there was this one kid, I’m guessing about twelve years old. He was wearing his cowboy hat, as most of the boys were, and he was grinning from ear to ear like “Howdy Doody” while picking his nose. There were at best count around thiry five or so students and four administrators including teachers. This was the entire student body. The boys in overalls, cowboy hats as most of their families were either ranchers or farmers. The girls were wearing white cotton dresses and it appeared they had lots of starch in them. Their hair was either in pig tails or long curls if not in a bun on top of their heads. Most all of the girls were smiling and looked very dignified. It was important to look dignified and somewhat educated in those days unless you were a young boy straight off the farm or ranch. Folks back then had very little of anything unless it was callouses from hard work. Although the boys were a somewhat rough looking bunch, as one might expect of young men at that age, the girls looked almost eloquent in their own way. Today, we have so much to not complain about, but we do. I just complained about the weather didn’t I? There seems to be a lot of unrest today in how our society is evolving. The good ole’ days are gone. I look back on my childhood in the fifties and reflect on how much simplier it was to just live and not expect “lots of stuff”. My first single shot 22 at age ten was one of the happiest days of my life. Our first television at age fourteen had me on top of the world. Man, we had arrived. It didn’t matter that it was only on three or four hours a day, but it was a marvelous thing sometimes just to watch the test pattern when it was coming on or going off. We are a blessed nation living where we do and having the freedoms that we have. It is up to us to recognize the value of it all and not let it slip into the hands of folks that want so badly to change what we have enjoyed for so very long Those kids in those photos are all gone now. They lived under difficult circumstances compared to the way we live today but they had nothing to hold up in comparison. Today, to many of us are wanting things we don’t need. There are to many folks on “public assistance” that really just need to get out and get a job, any kind of job. It would be hard for most of them to look “dignified” in a photo they might take of themself on their “free cell phone”. I’ve said to much, time to get the heater plugged back in at the water tub. Take care gentle readers, stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember it is more joyful to give than to recieve, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

The Cowboy Culture    

Let me take you on a trip to Amarillo, Texas. The last time I went through Amarillo their welcoming sign coming into the city had the two L’s in Amarillo replaced by cowboy boots. Amarillo has always been proud to be called a “cowtown”. There is a significant wealth in the Amarillo area that comes from agriculture and yes, lots of livestock. The American Quarter Horse Association is located in Amarillo. Almost every businessman in Amarillo owns at least one pair of cowboy boots if not several and guess what? They wear them ALOT! There is a certain amount of respect that goes with the word “cowboy”. In the panhandle of Texas there are sure “nuff” cowboys as there are in other parts of this great country where livestock is appreicated, admired and considered many times as part of the family. “My cows”, you will hear that alot around a ranching community.    In the Amarillo area as well as Fort Worth, Houston, and other large and small cities in Texas the local car dealer will be sporting a cowboy hat, boots jeans that he or she wears while advertizing their products. They most likely are also involved with cutting horses or something that relates to horses as well as their car dealership. That’s just part of Texas and the “cowboy culture”. How many times have you seen a politician, retired t.v. or movie celebrity doing a commercial leaning up against a corral fence with a mountain vista behind him or her while wearing a denim shirt with sleeves rolled up or a denim sheep skin lined jacket? They do it because it works!! Folks want to identify with people of the “cowboy culture”. They want to feel as if they also have a great deal of common sense and the toughness that’s required to be a part of what I might refer to as “Western Idenity”.    I am somewhat dismayed to see many of the up and coming C&W singers dressed like Clem Kaddlehopper (Red Skelton’s character”) Ripped jeans, shirt tails out, baseball caps on backwards and too many tattoos!! That’s one reason a feller (a good Texan) like Geroge Straight remains so popular among folks of all ages. He’s got class. I realize that styles change sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Look through any retail catalogue like Penny’s, Kholes, or whatever and you will find sloppy looking young men and even pre teens that might appear to be on their way to a soup kitchen. I think it reflects our society as a whole. Somewhat reckless, unmotivated, lazy, expectant and “just throw caution to the wind”.    Take time if you have time to go somewhere to a “ranch rodeo” and to the dance afterward and observe real cowboys and the real cowboy culture. I am always happy to see the Salazar brothers from Colorado (both politicians) with their cowboy hats and boots on. I may not agree with every thing that they might have said or done, but I do agree with the way they are proud of their upbringing and their “cowboy culture”. Kudos gentlemen. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, be proud to be an American (I CAN) and live in the West! I’ll c.y’all, all y’all.

West Texas History-Crime

Gentle readers, in the past I have mentioned that I love reading the history of our country and especially stories that relate to the West and how folks lived and reacted to their enviornment. I was given a book by a friend of mine, Garland Weeks (voted sculpturer of Texas a few years back) and the book is about a county in Texas by the name of Martin county. Martin county is located East of the Midland Odessa area which is in what’s now called the Permian Basin of West Texas. These stories take place in the late 1880s’. First short story: Black Jack Ketchum held up a train headed to Midland loaded with watermelons and chickens for a large Fourth of July celebration. The outlaws built a fire on the tracks and stopped the train. They not only robbed it but made the crew and passengers eat watermelons with them before they departed. In our second story we have a Texas Ranger involved. The Texas Rangers since their birth in the 1840s’ commanded the respect of everyone in the grand state of Texas. They were tough, determined and effecient in their efforts to catch the bad guys. Well, there is one Ranger in this story that might not have lived up to the logo of “one riot, one Ranger”. A Sheriff by the name of Charley Toms and a Texas Ranger went to one of the nearby ranches to arrest an outlaw by the name of Tom Ross who was suspected of staying there. They were told that Tom Ross and the other cowboys were moving some cows and they rode out to where the herd was located. They rode up to the herd and Tom Ross rode up to meet the Sheriff as the Sheriff didn’t know what he looked like. The Sheriff was talking to Ross when Captain Rogers, the Ranger, rode up and Ross took off. Shots were fired and apparently Ross’s horse went down. Another cowboy took him a horse and he escaped. The Sheriff and the Ranger stopped at a nearby ranch and got fresh horses. They found Ross just over the next hill. With an extremely lucky shot, Ross fired at the Ranger and shot his bridle reins off of the bridle.He yelled at them to throw down their guns which they did post haste. Our Ranger falls off his horse and starts yelling, “I’M SHOT, I’M SHOT’!! The Sheriff told him , “you better get up or you will be shot”! Ross rode up, unloaded their guns and and ammo in their belts and gave them back their guns. He decided he should go ahead and shoot the Ranger but the Sheriff talked him out of it. Ross later fled to South America and came back at some later date and married one of the local gals and lived a decent life. Not quite like it is in the movies I reckon? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.ya’ll, all y’all. I know what let’s do….let’s go rescue America!!

Today is the sort of day I think that a zombie would enjoy. Yep, it’s cold, rainy, dreary and just the perfect October day for helping us find our way into the waiting winter that lurks just around the next corner. I went to a Haloween party this past saturday night and the zombies were there in full force. Now I mean, gentle readers, these folks that I saw were doing their “dead” level best (of corpse a pun intended) to recreate the walking dead. For me, I have never yet watched that T.V. show called “The Walking Dead”. For the “life” of me I can’t understand the fasination that so many of you have with it. I hear folks talking about it constantly and I mean people that I consider to be intelligent, resourceful, and not leaning on fantacy all that much. It’s my understanding that in order to kill a zombie you have to cut it’s head off. Before that though, you need to shoot it with a 12 ga. shotgun using double ought buckshot. Is that true? Actually, most mornings I feel like “the walking dead” when I first get out of bed. I walk with a stagger, sometimes stumbling sideways with my eyes rolled back in my head. Don’t “laff” I bet you do the same yourself on occasion! I think I much prefer to be an angel when my time comes. I don’t want to stagger around with a bunch of out of sinc folks with cuts, bruises and bandages all over my body and you could throw in lots of dirt, blood and just nasty stuff on top of that. WHAT? I’ve already been that way? Of course I have. It always happens when your are processing cattle or involved in a branding somewhere at some time or other. Zombies don’t scare me at all. I’ll tell ya what scares me: Example: Ole Joe came out this dreary morning to fetch the remainder of his steers I pastured this summer. Yesterday I was thinking that I would jump on “Howdy”, my fat paint hoss and gather up those bovines so they would be penned and ready to go. However it was windy, real windy and from past experience I know not only cattle, but horses can get more than stupid in high wind. So I threw some hay in the back of the pickup and drove down along the creek in an effort to locate these steers and bait them up into the horse trap by the corrals and maybe even into the pens. Of course one of the steers was across the fence on the neighbor’s place which is about 250 acres of rough ground but he was standing right close to a big wire gate that came into my place. I tossed off a little hay for his buddies to eat so he could watch them while I opened the gate to put him back across. He threw his head up and watched me open the gate and watched closely as I walked down the fence and crawled through in order to get behind him. Oh boy! Talk about stupid, not me…him! He just knew that I, in fact ,was a zombie that had come to devour him. He’s thinking, maybe if he just took off for Albuquerque or parts unknown, he’d be better off. I was glad I didn’t come on my horse or he would have taken off the minute I rode through the gate. I have a bad foot from a horse wreck when I was in my forties so I knew I would have to outsmart him instead of outrun him on foot. I went back to the truck, brought down a little hay and placed it in front of the gate and boldly walked through the gate and placed my skinny body between him and New Mexico. He began to shake his head a little (that’s always scary) and then he sort of jumped to one side, wheeled around, ran in a short circle and then blasted through the gate. YEAH! Yep, they trailed the truck into the horse trap and eventually into the corral. I smell my beef stew in the croc pot so I reckon I better stop the zombie talk and go stir my brew a little. I hope you all had a fun Haloween! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, vote for freedom and I’ll c.y’all, all y’all.
Ranches of the West
Through some of the trade journals and magazines at my didposal, I try and keep up with whats going on in the West or anywhere for that matter, where cattle ranches are operating. More and more celebrities and corporations are buying up the large land masses across the West where ranches have been established. It has been going on for many many years. In some ways it’s a good deal and in other ways not so much. I call the O-NO a ranch but as I have tried to explain before it is a “cartoon” ranch. By that I mean it is my inspiration for my cartoon panel and calendars. I only have 84 acres (have leased larger parcels in the past to go with it) and yes, I keep some ponies here and run some steers here in the grazing months. This is not a real ranch. I have managed ranches in scale from 4850 acres to over 30,000 acres. The folks that owned the smaller ranches for the most were ranch people. The folks that owned the 30,000 acres were “Dairy Queen Dudes”. They were just playing “rancher” to impress their peers and because they could. They had obviously deep pockets. Gentle readers these folks that sometime play cowboy ie Ted Turner, at least keep their ranches from development and they pay their employees generally very well. A cowboy that works for a smaller family owned outfit today might expect to make 1500 to 2000 a month and he or she would get a house, half a beef, some insurance (don’t know now with Obamacare) and a vehicle to use for ranch business. The play like ranchers might pay a cowboy $ 3000 to 4000 a month including all the mentioned above with a few weeks vacation. Most ranches will provide employees with a couple of weeks vacation after the “payday” (shipping of calf crop) I have managed ranches and worked for small outfits and big big ones. I got fired from one of the bigger ones “Dairy Queen Dudes” because they wanted to “own me”. As I told them , “I have only one master,” as I pointed towards heaven. “We don’t like you and we know you don’t like us,” was the last word I heard from them. Take that back. “You’re fired”! those were the last words. My My what a relief it was to know it was over and I could get away from such self centered and shallow folks. A ranch is a wonderfl place for a family to be that really wants to be there. A perfect place to raise your kids and to watch them compete in the real world. As long as there is an operating ranch out there somewhere there will be some good folks on it doing whatever it takes to keep it running. I have worked for the rich and famous and they treated me like family and took extremely good care of my and my family’s needs. I have met others like “the Polo” clothing magnet from New York as he had a large ranch close to one of the ones I managed. Nice man. Let his employees do their job and treated them with a great deal of respect. He even came into the cafe and sat down and had coffee with me and I barely knew him. It’s easy to see how he came to his success. So there you have it. As long as there are ranches there will be cows and of course there will be cowboys a’horseback doing what cowboys do. The mechanics of ranching change over time just as most all businesses do, but the fundamentals remain. I don’t want to leave you with the thought that all large operations are owned by folks just playing “cowboy”.They might spend more time in their jets than they do on their ranches but the icing on the cake is the ranches are operating and the West is still alive. LOL ( long live cowboys). Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember that freedom is not free and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.
A Day of Dedication  
 I came across a quote, gentle readers, that I really liked. Here’s what it said, “aspire to inspire before you expire”. How cool is that? Actually I think we all inspire most everyone  that we come in contact with. We may not, however, inpspire them in a positive way all the time. What if we set a personal goal for one day each week to make a consistant effort to inspire someone in a positive way for that day? I know, I know, that sounds admirable and we might try it a time or two and then completely forget about it. Think back in time with me for a moment. How many times have you wished that you could go back in time and have a “do-over”? Man, I have to tell ya, I can’t count the times that I wished I could do that very thing. I have made so many mistakes in my life and have said things and done things that really hurt other’s feelings and to much of the time it was those that I loved the most. A comment off the cuff that was meant to be “cute” was a comment better left unsaid.    I love to see folks that are happy, joyful and seemingly have it all together. They inspire me to want to be just like them. We are living in difficult times. The future is so unpredtictable and so uncertain I think most of us feel the need to play our cards close to our vest so to speak. There are a lot of angry folks out there and I am guilty of falling in that column from time to time. I have not been inspired by but a very few of our politicians here of late. Our government it seems has gone to “the dogs” and we as citizens just can’t seem to get our arms around what’s going on and get it straightened out when so much of what goes on in local, state and our federal government is like a bamboo sliver under our fingernails. Ouch!! Maybe if we could set aside special moments to aspire to inspire others we might could get ourselves to thinking on a more positive than negative course. We need to be inspired. I love it when someone like the little Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Muslim terroist is still speaking out against those who tried to silence her. What bravery!! If we all could be so brave and stand as tall as that little girl has stood. She certainly inspires me to want to be a better citizen, to be a better man and a better friend to those I call my friends. How about you?    As a sidebar there has been a miscue on my calendar adds getting  in this paper. Here’s the deal: My calendars are $10.00 ea. that encludes being signed and postage paid. Two calendars for $15 (same deal) . Just add $ 7.00 for each additional calendar. I still have them available but depending on demand, I don’t know how long they will last. My address Is Jack Hanks, P.O. Box 825, Wellington, Co. 80549 Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, please aspire to inspire and I’ll c.y’all, all y’all.
Tid Bits 
Gentle readers, this column is exactly that..”tid bits”. What that means is I just don’t have any real meat for a column today so I’ll toss out some tid bits and hope that will satisfy you at least for this week. I don’t rely on my readers to furnish my column material each and every week. Maybe if I did I would have something to write about huh?   
   I did go in to the cement pond after coffee at the T Bar Inn and go swimming. By the way, thanks to whom ever bought one of my cartoons off the wall there. I don’t know who you were but the waitress handed me an envelope with some cash in it. A big thanks to the folks at the T Bar for allowing my artwork to hang on their walls and to sell it for me. What a deal?    I had laid off of swimming all summer long as the pool was always full when I went in so I’m glad to be getting back in the water and getting that good exercise that swimming offers one. I then stopped off at Wally’s World and picked up a few items. One thing I had to get was a cake mix and frosting. One of the nurses in the ER suggested that I bake a cake and bring it down for all to share in. I would say this….”if this cake doesn’t turn out all that good, all those doctors and nurses are in the right place.” ha ha! I do bake a pretty fair cake but it’s just so easy with the cake mixes that they have today. I promised that I would do that, so I reckon I will. I don’t expect any of the cute single nurses there to ask me if I want to get married any time soon after they have eaten my cake. I really don’t. 
    Today is a georgeous fall day. I always have an excess of energy after swimming, sort of like a “runner’s high” that I plan on spending a good bit of the day outside. I do have quite a few calendars to get ready to mail and have a load of laundry in the dryer as I write. I “spect that the Harley will get some miles put on it and the fat hoss,Howdy may expect the same before the day is over. If not today, possibly tomorrow. I am really pleased that my pastures, yard, trees and all rooted species are going into winter in such good shape. I usually have sent home the steers that I pasture for Joe by this time, but I think we are good for a few more weeks.
     The antelope are beginning to show up in bunches these past couple of weeks as they do most every fall about this time. By Thanksgiving there seems to be several hundred in our area out here. Me thinks that I have just about “tid bitted” myself out of something to say. I sure can’t promise much at times ’cause what I don’t know, I surly can’t pass on to y’all. For those of you who have purchased my calendars a big ‘”THANKS” for your support. There are still some available for a while. I hope you have a great week, and maybe by the time you get this the government shut down will be a thing of the past. It’s jr. high all over again. I’m tellin’ you guys those bozos running this country are like a bunch of little spoiled brats except for those few that really do have our best intrest at heart. Take heart, stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, count your blessings and I’ll c.y’all, all y’all.
The Art Of Stuttering
Gentle readers, there are among us some folks that have the disability of not being able to speak without repeating themselves and that is not really what my point is in this column. That being said, stuttering is not life threatning, it’s mostly just an inconvenience from my observations. Several years ago at an ag confrence where I was the guest speaker I told a story about a cowboy that stuttered and as it turned out, it was a big hit. Everyone, well almost everyone, enjoyed it. Little did I know that there was a feller in the audience that was a bad stutterer and also was very sensitive about his condition. Had I been aware of this I would not have told that particular story. The next day, heck it might have been that same night, I received a phone call from a lady that was present at the confrence and let me tell ya sister, I got an earfull. She berated me up one side and down the other for telling that story. Man, Charlie Brown, there was nothing I could say that would make her back off.     A good many years ago there was a polictical commentator whom I cannot for the life of me remember his name. I think it may have been Kennedy. He died a few years back but when he was popular he made stuttering an art form. He would repeat certain words in such a cadence that made every political intellectual, real or imagened, want to immulate his style of speaking. For example: If this feller was ask, “do you think the President is doing a capable job?” His answer would most likely go something like this, “The President, is uh, is uh, doing what…what…what he is only capable of doing. I…I …I think that if his …his his..uh staff was of a more formable structure, he…he …would better equipped.” Now it’s my humble opinion that all of that stuttering was totally unnecessary but for some reason it made him appear to be smarter than most of us. Just listen to some so called expert on any subject that requires a good deal of study, reply to something concerning that particular subject and you will be surprised at how many folks have taken to this “art of stuttering” when trying to answer what might be a very simple question. I…I…I…know that I would never…uh…venture…into such a lame way of getting my…my… point across. Why would you….ug…why..would you want to go…uh…go all the way around the barn twice before…before you uh…actually went in? Stay tuned my friends, check yer cinch on occasion, stand tall for what ya believe in and I’ll c. y’all all y’all. As a sidebar, my calendars are going fast so look for my ad in this fine paper and order yours now. They make really fine stocking stuffers for Christmas.
I Should Have Known
Gentle readers, I surely should have known that I couldn’t just walk up to that ole gentle cow grazing beside the little stream peacefully and milk out that big teat so her frail calf could suck. I should have known that she would kick me three times before I could turn her loose. I should have! I should have known that just because the Mexican cowboys down on the border rode out into that muddy bug filled pond and filled their sombreros with water and drank without reprocussions that I could also. I couldn’t, I should have known. My gut hurt all night long. I should have known that just because in every John Ford western movie every horse that jumped off into a flooded river could swim safely that my horse would. He didn’t and I could have drowned. Of course I didn’t. I should have known not to stick a tissue up my bleeding nose in a high wind and then decide I could light my smoke without having a flameout. It burned my mustache nearly off and by the time I had beat it out with my gloved hand, I looked as if I had been in a forest fire. I should have known! I should have known that just because that ole bronc decided he wasn’t going to unload from the trailer that I could just barley touch him with a hotshot and he would unload and stand still. Of course not, he ran a quarter mile away before I got him corraled again. I should have known that ole Stretch, my big gentle hoss would not allow me to let a steer get behind him and put a rope under his tail that he wouldn’t come unglued. He came ungluded and bucked so hard he not only threw me off but he threw himself down and purt near knocked both of us silly! Is it just cowboy logic, stupidity, or over confidence? Couldn’t tell ya friend, I just know what happened and that I should have known!   As an aside, my 2014 Hoots calendars have arrived. You will see adds for them in October. However, if you want to place an order now, the calendars are $10.00 each and that’s signed, with postage paid. Two for $15.00 same deal and add $7.00 for each additional calendar. Cash or checks sent ot Jack Hanks, P.O. Box 825 Wellington, Co. 80549. My supply will be limited. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, Ring the freedom bell, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.
Things to Ponder
Gentle readers, when I rolled out of the rack at six this morning I swear I felt new twinges of discomfort that I hadn’t felt before. That can be so discouraging. My shoulders are now giving me fits and that’s both of them. I pondered…”could it be the hay I loaded and then unloaded not so long ago”? I’ve decided that it’s just possible that my old bod is just giving up the fight after 73 years of life on this earth. Some of those years were extremely difficult on the human body. You cowboys know exactly what I’m talkin’ about here.     I received some cute emails lately that paint a more clear picture of my current situation. Here’s one: If a rabbit runs and hops all of his life and lives only 10 to 12 years and a tortoise does mostly nothing but mosey along and lives to be 150 years…why should we exercise? If walking was good for you the postman would be immortal! The difference between a rut in the ground and a grave is the depth. It is, for a fact, far easier to get older than it is to get wiser! It is also extremely hard to make a comeback when you have been mostly nowhere.      I have often mentioned the cute young women that I am privileged to dance with. Here’s a cute story about the old guy (like me) that was very wealthy (unlike me) who went to a large social event with his new bride. She was not only ravishing, she was only in her earlyl twenties. A couple of his buddies pulled him aside and wanted to know how on God’s green earth he was able to get such a young trophy wife. “Bob, how did you do that? Did you tell her you were in your early fifties?” Bob answers, “I told her I was in my earlly nineties”!    Ponder on this if you will: Now, I promise this is no bull, I actually did this not so long ago and I was so proud of myself afterward. The phone rings and I hear a young and sexy voice ask, “is this Jack”? Of course I perked right up. “Yes it is,” I responded. “Oh high Jack…how is your weather up there today?” she asked. I told her it was fine but began to now wonder who would be asking me such a question. “Jack, my name is Amy and I had a special offer I wanted you to consider if you’ve ever had any plumbing or heating issues…Before I let her finish, I offered this…”Amy unless you are looking for a date tonight you have the wrong number”!! Befuddled, she remained silent for a short moment and then replied, “thank you for your time Mr. Hanks and then she abruptly hung up. I colored myself “cool” for being so cleaver.     Here’s one more thing to ponder: the Muslin brotherhood warned our government last week that if we didn’t quit meddling in the middle east they would no longer provide us with Motel managers, taxi drivers, quick stop managers and no more technical assistance for our computers!! Put that in yer pipe and smoke it Charlie Brown. For Pete’s sake, what is this world coming to anyway? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, salute old Glory and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.
I Should Have Known  
Gentle readers, I surely should have known that I couldn’t just walk up to that ole gentle cow grazing beside the little stream peacefully and milk out that big teat so her frail calf could suck. I should have known that she would kick me three times before I could turn her loose. I should have! I should have known that just because the Mexican cowboys down on the border rode out into that muddy bug filled pond and filled their sombreros with water and drank without reprocussions that I could also. I couldn’t, I should have known. My gut hurt all night long. I should have known that just because in every John Ford western movie every horse that jumped off into a flooded river could swim safely that my horse would. He didn’t and I could have drowned. Of course I didn’t. I should have known not to stick a tissue up my bleeding nose in a high wind and then decide I could light my smoke without having a flameout. It burned my mustache nearly off and by the time I had beat it out with my gloved hand, I looked as if I had been in a forest fire. I should have known! I should have known that just because that ole bronc decided he wasn’t going to unload from the trailer that I could just barley touch him with a hotshot and he would unload and stand still. Of course not, he ran a quarter mile away before I got him corraled again. I should have known that ole Stretch, my big gentle hoss would not allow me to let a steer get behind him and put a rope under his tail that he wouldn’t come unglued. He came ungluded and bucked so hard he not only threw me off but he threw himself down and purt near knocked both of us silly! Is it just cowboy logic, stupidity, or over confidence? Couldn’t tell ya friend, I just know what happened and that I should have known!   As an aside, my 2014 Hoots calendars have arrived. You will see adds for them in October. However, if you want to place an order now, the calendars are $10.00 each and that’s signed, with postage paid. Two for $15.00 same deal and add $7.00 for each additional calendar. Cash or checks sent ot Jack Hanks, P.O. Box 825 Wellington, Co. 80549. My supply will be limited. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, Ring the freedom bell, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.
Now and Then
Gentle readers let me take us back to then and them. Them being the hardy folks that decided to pull up stakes, load up a wagon with all that they felt like they could haul to their new destination out west and arrive with most of it intact. Now, we rent a U Haul truck or a moving company that is insured to deliver all of our wordly possessions to our new home in very good shape. At least that’s what we expect. Back then men and women might be required to walk seven to ten miles a day over rough terrain in a cloud of dust that a team of oxen and a burdened wagon stirred up as the wagon train struggled along. Somewhere along the way to the “new land” a family might have to stop long enough to bury one of their own, maybe even an infant or small child. That person would most likely be laid to rest in rocky soil next to the trail with a crude marker or pile of stones as their epitaph. Can you imagine having to leave a child or anyone out in the wilderness, a place where you would never ever be able to come back to and relive memories? That, my friend, is tough. Now if anyone gets the least bit ill traveling, somewhere along the route will be a medical clinic, an ambulance available or a large hospital to care for the sick. Back then a house made of sod from the prarie or rough cut timeber from the forest would have to be acceptable if you want to survive. Some folks lived in tents until they could have some sort of structure built that was more stable. Now we take our tents, sleeping bags, Coleman stoves and prepared meals to the camp site for a few days of relaxation. Many times back then water would have to be hauled from the creek or river up to the dwelling for cooking, washing clothes and bodies and maybe even for livestock in some cases. Now, we just turn on the faucett, hot or cold, depending on what our needs are and we can go outside and fill the livestock tubs just by raising a handle. Back then school many times was held in someone’s home as well as church. Dances were rare occasions and cowboys might ride thirty miles one way to have an opportunity to hold a pretty woman on the dance floor and then ride thirty miles back to the ranch. Today, I just jump on the Harley, or get in my Buick or the Dodge truck and I’m ready to dance twenty five minutes later. Then there were more men of great courage with a mind set of determination and honor. Always ready to help anyone in need and expect nothing in return. Sometimes my mind ponders what was really good back then and some of the things that are not so good today even with all that we have been blessed with. Me thinks that to many of us are spoiled rotten, to expectant, and just to plain lazy to give back much to what we have been given. Look up occasionaly from that i phone, i pad or whatever and be aware of what’s going on around you. You just might find a way to help someone that really could use your help. Partner, it will MADE YA FEEL SO GOOD  about yourself! After all we are just a “touch” away from having our house warm or cool, and lights that just come on instantly and a screen to watch movies, sports or dramas (soap operas), or our children can be entertained for hours with cute but educational programs. What a deal we have today. Have we been blessed or what? Sometimes in the ER I see folks that don’t appear to be very blessed There again, I don’t know their backgrounds or their full intentions on how to live teir lives. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, wave old Glory and take time to thank God for all that we have and can have!! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.
Close Encounters
How many times, gentle readers, have you had one of those close encounters of the almost panic situations? NEVER? Oh I bet you have. I have had several in my comings and goings at different times in my life. The latest one was two days ago. I returned home from my morning coffee resolutions at the T Bar Inn only to discover Clancy, “the wonder dog” and been bitten by a rattler. It’s obvious even at first glance what happened to him. I was really surprised because he usually just will look at a bull snake, cock his head a little and wander off. Just the same I examined him closely to discover he had been bitten on the nose and according to the vet that is much easier on a dog’s recovery than on the leg. I grabbed a shovel and started around the house pokin’ under ever tree and in every bush lookin’ for the snake. I went down to the corrals, through the garage and covered every inch until I was satisfied the snake had left back to the pasture. I went and got anti biotics and pain and swelling medicine and came back and doctored ol ‘ Clancy. A few hours later I remembered that I had ol’ Howdy, my fat paint hoss penned off as he was trying to founder. It was time to feed him and put some fly spray on him as the flies seem to be really bad. Just about every where I see cattle they are all bunched together fighting flies. I opened the door to the feed room and started in. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something come crawlin’ in behind me and right by my right foot. Yep, it was a rattler! I ain’t makin’ this up! That ol’ rattler was within two to three inches of my right foot and I’m wearing loafers. He decided that he would try and get under the wooden floor and found out he couldn’t get it done. That gave me time to restart my heart and grab a shovel off the wall beside me and cut off his head. I then took my knife and cut off his rattlers, seven in all. He was not large, maybe fifteen to seventeen inches. He was large enough to hurt me bad if I had not seen him and stepped three inches to my right and landed on his back. I throw him out in the yard until I could finish what I was doing and then I would toss him out in the pasture. When I got back to where I tossed him, he was gone. I think he went under my bush hog parked nearby. Some three hours later I was out in the back and I saw him squirming around still trying to crawl. I reckon he was lookin’ for his head. I picked him up and tossed him over the fence into the pasture. He scared the T-“waddling” tar out of me. I am watching the ground very closely and I suggest, my friend, tha tyou do the same. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, LET FREEDOM RING and I’ll c.y’all, all y’all.
“I Remember Boots”
Yep, my ole cowboy cartoonist mentor “Boots” Reynolds has crossed the divide and I would surey bet he has made a zillion friends on the other side. What a guy! Boots was born in a mental hospital in Oklahoma where his mother had a severe case of Alzheimer’s disease. What a way to get a start in life. Boots was raised by his cowboy dad and lived and worked on ranches all over the
country. He also was a jockey and a rodeo clown. Boots was a funny funny guy. He most certainly had a cowboy cartoonist brain that qualified one to draw cowboy cartoons. He was a great painter having some of his cartoons favor the cover of Western Horseman and many rodeo programs. In 1996 Boots was voted “cowboy cartoonist of the year,” by the Academy of Western Artist in Fort Worth, Texas. Boots always had a booth at the Cowboy Christmas Show in Las Vegas during the National Finals Rodeo and I bet you have “laffed” at one of his cartoons. He also had many many Leanin’ Tree Greeting cards wherever they are being sold. Boots put out a hard back book called Boots N Beans and it featured recipes of some famous hombres and some not so famous, myself included. Boots most accurately portrayed the horse, the cowboy and the cow in a real way that put you directly in front of that old wild cow or leavin’ the seat of a well used saddle while being catapulted over the head of a roman nosed, pig eyed spay footed bronc. Boots knew his subjects well and thats what all cowboy cartoonist and western artist strive for.      Boots and his wife Becky traveled with a pot bellied pig. At first glance one might think that ole Boots was somehow kin to that pig and I say that loveingly. They stopped once to spend the night with “Little” Miss Martha and I and Boots had hoped that the pig could stay in the house with him. Not a chance!! The poor pig had to sleep in the van instead of wandering around our house at night. That was just Boots being Boots. He was different, he was onery, he was funny and he was respected not only as a great artist but a wonderful contributor to western art and humor. I’ve always said that “laffin” is good for your soul and it’s better than chicken soup in my estimation. Boots, we miss you but you have left a legecy that will endure the test of time. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.ya’ll, all y’all. Remember to honor our flag and raise your voice for freedom.
Ranch Raised Kids
 Gentle readers I recently came across a photo of three little cowboys at a ranch rodeo. They stood like good little soldiers with their cowboy hats across their chest as old glory was being presented. These little boys were all of four to five years old and the serious look on their little faces told me that they “get it”. They, even at that age, know the importance of their gesture. They have watched their moms and dads and have learned the lesson well. I have seen so many ranch raised kilds at spring brandings dutifuly do whatever is ask of them without comment or complaint. It’s just what you do on a ranch. It’s whats expected of you. I have watched little cowboys and cowgirls being interviewed by some “civilian” from town about what it’s really like to be a cowboy and live and work on a ranch. Their precise responses always seem to take the interviewer back a step or two. They are just not used to little folks being so forthright and well spoken though it may come in slow and measured answers. I remember when my little ones roped and drug their first calves to the branding fire. Sunni, our daughter, was only six and she opted to rope a small calf on the ground and get some help draggin’ it to the fire as she didn’t think she would ever get it done on the back of her little horse. Son Andy, was eight and riding a regular ranch horse and he did quite well. He could always out rope me when he got older. Good kids with a measure of pride that went with who they were and what was expected of them. Little cowboys and cowgirls have listened to enough tailgate conversations by their dads and other cowboys and ranchers about life in general. It soaks into their little skins and all of it has meaning. It may be some good “bronc ridin’ stories” or what some cowboy did or said that was important enough to be repeated and passed on. Ranch folks are just different. Different in a wonderful way. A way that encourages decency, honesty, integrity, and being proud of one’s family and friends and that special horse and of course the dogs. Ranch wives are so very important because so much is required of them. Some times they have to balance and explain what certain “cowboy words” mean and why the little ones need only to trust mom and dad and do “whatever” the “cowboy way”. I love little kids and I especially love to be around ranch raised kids and just observe them. Without saying a word I know what their parents are most likely to be like and what their ranch family represents. I know there are some ranch folks that are not as, well, let me put it this way, “not as good of represenatives of ranch families ” as I would like for them to be. Just the same, I hold that ranch raised kids just have a “leg up” on kids that are raised as urban or city dwellers. May God bless your family and remember to love on your little ones and let them know how special they are. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and most of all honor “old Glory” and what she stands for. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. 
A Look Back
     This Sunday morning after chores, breakfast, a little “T.V. church and American Rancher on RFD T. V., I got envolved in an old Roy Rogers movie. As I watched Roy and Dale and that moron, Pat that drives the Jeep, pursue those four bad guys. You know those bad guys that all ride bay horses with thick necks that they seem to always be jerkin’ around, and pass the same rock formation twenty six times during the chase. I digress, gentle readers. It dawned on me if Roy, Dale, Pat , Bullet and the crew were doing today what they did back in the forties and fifties, they would all be in jail. Why? I’ll tell ya why. You can’t ride down a public road and chase folks, good or bad and shoot at them when they are trying to get away. Roy, bless his good old heart, just seem to always take the law into his own hands when it came to “makin’ things right”! If it were today, Roy and Dale would both be in jail for unlawful use of a firearm from a public roadway and Bullet would be in the animal shelter because he was always off leash and being used to apprehend suspects without due process and I doulbt if ole Bullet even had his county license and all his shots.Here’s the way it works today, if someone robs you, hijacks your vehicle with your mother-in-law inside, you would be in big trouble if you pulled out a pistol and tried to shoot them before they got away. You would be in even bigger trouble if your mother-in-law wound up being a victim of your poor aim. Yes, times are a’changing children from what I observed and relished as a child watching Roy and Gene and Hoppy, The Cisco Kid and the Long Ranger and Tonto bring those “outlaws” to justice and do it so swiftly and most likely the only ones wounded were when the bad guy got the gun shot out of his hand. Then we progressed to John Wayne who trashed the bad guys “the John Wayne” way. There were exceptions like in his later movies that didn’t include guys like Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson, when “The Duke”, got hisself killed. In the “Cowboys” and later in the “Shootist”. In too many of his movies he could get shot more times than Bonnie and Clyde and put on a few bandages and ride off into the sunset the next day. We do still have those special folks among us. We have heros like our wildland firefighters, our folks in law enforcement, our armed forces and many teachers, pastors, and all types of folks out there and you may be a hero to someone yourself. If you ain’t, ya otta’ be! Stay tuned,check yer cinch on occasion and remember to stand up for freedom. I’ll c. y’all, all y,all.



Webster says “freedom” is the state or quality of being free. A cowboy knows what freedom feels like when he’s on the circle in a “gather’ or just prowlin’ the country looking for any problems that he might come across as he rides. A biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of the car window and he (she) knows the freedom of the open road and all that power underneath you. Anyone who lives in the country and has those values that most of us country folks share like honesty, being fair and friendly to our neighbors and appreciating all that rural life has to offer up cherishes our freedom. Gentle readers, you have your opinion and I have mine and this paper is neutral when it comes to this type of article. I firmly believe that we are losing a tid bit of freedom here and a tid bit of freedom over there and most of us have begun to realize that it is going to reach a tipping point before to long. Our government be it national or state and sometimes even regional have forgotten that they “work for us”!!! We have entrusted them to represent us in a manner that is foremost ethical, honorable and trustworthy. It ain’t happening to much of the time. I’m tired of hearing about those that feel the need to whine because they didn’t have this or didn’t have that while they were growing up. By dangitt, this is America. It’s about having the freedoms to pick and choose what you want to do and how you want to go about it when it comes to making a contribution to this country, to your family and to yourself. I don’t owe you crap! If it’s not the scandel with the IRS (wonder if I’ll get the audit next year?), it’s Lybia and our Ambassador and crew lost to violence and will we ever get a straight answer to who really fumbled the ball or who just didn’t really care? I doubt it. Fast and furious! That slid by us by executive order. What kind of b.s. is that? Several counties in eastern Colorado what to succeed from the state and form their own new state because our state government seems to only want to satisfy a certain heavily populated area of the state and to heck with rural folks You know those folks that provide the food that we eat on the land that they live and work.                       

 It’s out of sync. It’s not working. We can do better. I don’t blame eastern Colorado for wanting to get completely away from all this “we’ll do what we dang well please” type of government. I admire those thoughtful and caring sheriffs in Colorado ( I believe 52 out of 56) that are   sueing the state government on the recent passage of those stupid, unenforceable gun laws!! God bless you all for your courage to honor our constitution. It’s up to us to make our concerns known. I just did. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all!

Wind Rain and Fire 

If you listen closely, you will most likely hear the phrase, “it global warming” that causes all of these tragedies to occur like forest fires, floods and tornados. Color me skeptical if you like, but I ain’t buying it. Climate change, yep, I can go for that. The climate is obviously changing as we do, as our planet also does. It has been hotter, colder, windier with more flooding and larger tornados at different times in our planet’s history. The recent forest fires here in Colorado have devastated and disrupted so many families in so many different areas of the state. It was so dry and hot for so long and may be again this summer. Presently I am looking at beautiful green rolling hills and snow covered vistas to the West. San Antonio, Texas was recently flooded with heavy rains and last year it was in a severe drought the best of my memory. Those tornados in the heartland, especially Oklahoma, just make us realize again what an unpredictible force mother nature can be at times. At ten years of age I witnessed a tornado rumble past our place some half mile away and yes it did sound like a freight train and yes it was big, black and very scary to a lad of ten. It happpened on a clear day after a large rain storm. I slept on the floor of my mom’s and dad’s bed room that night. The folks along large rivers like the Mississippi get flooded ever so many years. They expect it. It’s what happens and I suppose because they always seem to rebuild and to replant their crops it is a way of life. We will always have fires, floods, hurricanes and tornados like we always have and we will deal with it the only way we know how, hitch up our britches, clean up the mess and if we choose, replace what was lost with something new. One thing you can’t replace are precious lives. I was looking through the many photos albums Martha and I put together over the years since we first got married and some before. Gentle readers, that’s my whole life. That’s my history. The history of the Jack Hanks’ family. How would I feel if it all blew away or was lost in a fire? It’s hard to imagine every thing that has been recorded of our lives and our children’s and grandchildren’s lives all gone. Never to be again. It makes you appreciate what so many have lost in these fires, floods and tornados. Is the polar ice cap melting at a faster rate than in the past?. Some say they can prove it. Some say it’s because livestock produce to much gas and our autos, tractors lawn movers and what ever else are causing this to happen. Some would say we are bad bad folks for living like we do. We don’t hear a lot about developing countries with their polution so bad that their citizens have to wear mask to keep from choking to  death at certain times. To some, these folks in the far East get a pass for the most part, while we here in the U.S. have our feet held to the fire. (no pun intended) Let’s hope and pray for suitable weather for us all and may the “nay-sayers” find someone else to beat up on, even if it’s just for a little while. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, stand tall for what America represents and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

So You Want To Be A Cowboy?

  Do you really want to be a cowboy and if so for what reason? Most likely for the same reasons I did way back then. If I knew then what I know now, would I do it all the same way? Yep, I would. I enjoyed my life on the ranch and there were only a few times when I would question why I chose to live such a life. If you really want to be a cowboy, and I mean a sure “nuff” ranch cowboy capable of filling all of the requirements that one in that position is required to fill, answer me this: how old are you? How much experience do you have around a working cow ranch? Do you feel comfortable riding someone else’s horses that you are not familiar with? How much does it require for you to earn in order to support yourself and your family? Are you married to someone who has the same interest and goals that you do? Have you ever lived miles from town on roads that are subject to being difficult at times. Can you go without high speed internet and maybe even television? When is the last time you put in a 15 hour day when your shirt tail didn’t hit your back because you were constantly on the move? I ask a brand inspector at Amarillo once if he knew of any good ranch jobs. I wanted to lose my business suit and start punchin’ cows for a living. He looked at me and without letting any pauses get in the way he stated, “there ain’t no such thing”! There are good ranch jobs for folks that are committed to living and honoring that life style. Obviously, that brand inspector wasn’t able to “ride for the brand” as they say, at least that’s my guess. You guys that are smart enough to realize that a “cowboy job” is a job for a young man most of the time. If you team rope, go to cow sortings, and the such and maybe even make a ranch branding once or twice a year enough to satisfy that craving for ranch life without having to quit your good job in town and beg your wife to let you “cowboy” you are two jumps ahead of the dogs. I know of , and have worked with guys who “cowboyed” into their eighties and in some cases beyond that. They were the pureist of the pure. Guys like Spike Van Cleave of Montana, Old Johnny, of Ridgway, Colorado. There was Tom Blassingame and Boots O’Neal of Texas and I can never forget Lester Bryd of the LX Ranch at Amarillo. I only worked with two of these old guys but I guarantee you there are hundreds more all across the U.S. on ranches big and small that I just don’t know about. I see a good many guys “struttin’ around with spurs bouncin’ of the pavement or coming out of the Post Office and I can tell by the way they are dressed and the way they speak and handle themselves that most cow outfits owned by folks that savvy the cow wouldn’t take a second look at some of these “Dairy Queen Dudes” for employment. If you really want to be a cowboy just answer one of the many classified ads in the Fence Post here and give it a shot. You only live once pardner and I can tell you form experience there is no better life if you happen to lean in that direction. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and stand tall for you beliefs!! I’ll c.y’all, all y’all.

I Know What I Don’t Know 

Gentle readers, we know what we don’t know! Know what I mean? Ya know? It’s kinda’ like this the way I have it figgured. I think we all know that we don’t know what we would have known if circumstances had been different. For example: I often wonder way back on that cold December morning in 1982 if I had decided to just go over to my ranch office and do paper work instead of deciding to help the cowboy crew get caught up on doctoring some sick steers we had just received. After all it was cold wet and very muddy and ole’ Jiggs was one big ole’ pony if he were to have a wreck in all that mud. The night before I read that story about that ole’ “waddie” that broke his leg in a hoss wreck and had the presence of mind to cut his boot off before his leg swelled up. I saddled my pony, went to work in some traps close to the house and in fifteen or so minutes I had that 1450 pound hoss down on top of me and yes, I had a broken leg and a seperated foot. Today I suffer from traumatic artritis in that limb and will from now on. What if I hadn’t made that decision to move my family to Colorado some twenty eight years ago? Would my little darlin’ wife still be alive? Would I be writing a weekly column, drawing cartoons and riding a Harley? See… I know what I don’t know. Most likely I would not be drawing cartoons for public consumption or writing a weekly column and most certainly I wouldn’t be riding a Harley. What if I hadn’t gotten so disgusted with my corporate job all those years ago and made the decision to change directions and hang the suit and tie in the closet and go to punchin’ cows for a living? I know that I would not be the man that I am today if I had to trade all the experiences I have had, good and bad, for staying a “townie” and acting more civilized like town folks do. What about you Buckwheat? Have you ever sat back and reflected on the “what ifs” in your life and your “comings and goings” for all of your adult years? Of course you have and you are just like me….you know what you don’t know! I reckon that’s the way it is supposed to be. Will Rogers once was quoted as saying, “it ain’t no more difficult for a man to be in two different places at the same time than it is for him to come back from some place he ain’t never been”! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember to stand tall for all of the right things and I’ll c’yall, all y’all.  

John Wayne’s Bull   

 Kenneth was a neighbor of mine. He and his wife owned and operated the local furniture store and had done quite well thank you. As many successful businessmen do, Kenneth got in the cattle business. Not only did he get in the cattle business he went out to Arizona to one of John Wayne’s bull sales and bought a few bulls off of the “Duke”. Ol’ Kenneth is a wonderful, honest and decent man but he had only one flaw that I can recall. He couldn’t stand the sight of blood. Kenneth calls one day, “Jack, could you come up here and give one of my bulls a shot. He’s down out in the pasture and I am afraid that if I give him the shot and he bleeds I might pass out. You know how me and blood get along?” “Sure, I’ll be right up,” I assured my good neighbor. When I arrived Kenneth had a disposable syringe all loaded and ready to go so we jumped in his pickup and drove down to where this long yearling Hereford bull that used to belong to John Wayne lay. He was propped up on his front legs but looked somewhat out of sorts. “Kenneth, If I can get him up should we try and take him to the squeeze chute and doctor him up good?” I offered. “I don’t think he can get up Jack, that’s why I had you come up here to doctor him for me.” I squatted down beside this ol’ bull, rubbed his hip a little and jabbed him with the syringe. Well, gentle readers, that’s when he decided he would just get up and escape syringe and all. I didn’t even have time to administer the meds, I just jumped up and try to bull dog him before he got completely on his feet. In an effort to toss me aside, one of his large but tipped horns scraped my chest, ripped my shirt and peeled enough hide off my collar bone to make a holster for a large pistol. I might have embellished that just a tad. However, he did open me up enough that the blood began to run down my chest area. Well, ya know what happened next…..Kenneth in the process of trying to hold the syringe in the bull saw my bloody shirt and passed out faster than  a pilot light in a hot water heater sitting outside in Chug Water, Wyoming in a windstorm. The bull tosses me aside, gains his feet and heads to the barn. Before Kenneth comes back into my world, I wiped as much blood off of me with my shirt and if I remember correctly, I tossed the shirt in the back of his truck. Kenneth does come around rather quickly and we were able to pen the bull that John Wayne used to own and doctor him without much effort. He wasn’t quite as sick as Kenneth suspected. In fact, if that ole bull was as tough as the “Duke”, you could have shot him three or four times and he’d be ready to service the cows the next day. Well, maybe not. Kenneth is still on his ranch and still in the cattle business, but I believe the last time we visited he was running Holsteins steers. I’m not sure the “Duke” would aspprove of that, but then again….quien sabe? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. Remember to stand tall!

Cabin Fever

Gentle readers, it’s always just about this time of the year that cabin fever sets in. Even though we have had pretty much an open winter without much snow, it’s still been very cold at times and wind? You wouldn’t believe unless of course you are my neighbors up the road in Wyoming. I did catch a nice morning a couple of weeks back and after breakfast I stuck the “wood” (that’s saddle for new comers) on ol’ paint and we rode the perimeter of my place checking on the condition of the fences and also on how many prairie dogs had been added since I last took a tally. The morning was beautiful being fairly warm and no WIND. When I got back to the house I decided that maybe I should get the oil changed in the Harley. I called the shop and was told to bring it in at 1 o’clock. It’s about 30 miles to their shop. I went out to the garage and 12:30 and cranked up the bike and the wind started blowing. Man did it blow. It was way worse on the way home. On days like this I usually try and catch up on my cartooning, house work etc. I have a “cabin fever” story for you. Pete and his three friends always took a camping trip in the spring just to get away. Pete’s wife told him in no uncertain terms was he to go camping this year!! His buddies went on with their trip as planned and when they got to the camping site they always used, there sat ol’ Pete with a fire going and his tent set up and a cold beer in his hands. “Pete, what in the world are you doin’ here?” one of his buddies ask. “Well, it’s like this: after you guys left my wife came up behind me and put her hands over my eyes. To my surprise and shock, when I turned around she was naked as a Jay bird, took me by the hand and led me into the bedroom. She gave me a pair of handcuffs and told me to handcuff her to the bed and “do whatever” I wanted, so here I am. Well, I reckon ol’ Pete caught heck when he got back home but at least he was able to ditch that ole “cabin fever” for the time being. I wouldn’t suggest you fellers try anything like that unless you intend to be homeless the rest of your life. Spring is only a few weeks away and we really could use lots more snow. We’ll see. Stay tuned, check your cinch on occasion, stand tall, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

What Some Words Mean

Gentle readers I have touched on this subject a time or two about what words mean. If you will be so kind to bear with me I will retravel down a somewhat familiar road to some of you with a twist at the end. Ah ha! Let me get started here. Some of you will remember a good many years ago in this column I wrote about the meaning of words. What do they really mean? “Does mean mean that you are mean or you mean well. Now you have most likely  latched onto my drift with that play on words. I went on in that particular column with some examples of how our language is structured and how confusing it might be to someone who was not familiar with it. A few weeks after the column was published I received a call from a drug enforcement agent out in Virginia who ask my permission to use my column. As it turned out he was an instructor for not only DEA agents but FBI agents as well. One of the classes he taught was on interrogating suspects and what to look for in the way they answered. In other words, there are a number of ways that give clues according to how some folks place their words. At least that’s the way I understood his explanation. Anyhoo, of course, I gave him my permission and as a matter of fact I was pleasured to meet him and his sister who was also in law inforcement at the T Bar Inn for breakfast some years later. Now to get up to date. The Sunday before Valentine’s Day I had finished my shift at the hospital and stopped at Wally World to buy flowers. It would have been Little Miss Martha’s 69th birthday had she lived and I wanted to place flowers on her grave. As I mulled over the vast varity of selections I noticed a feller next to me that seemed to also be having a problem on making a decision. I left for a little while and purched some groceries and returned to find this same feller there. He put me in mind of a cross between Jr. Sample (Hee Haw) and Larry the Cable Guy. A mouth breather he was. l spoke, “looks like you and I can’t seem to make up our mind when it comes to buying flowers.” He shot back, “oh these #$%#$% women, ya have to buy’um candy or flowers or jewelery seems like all the time. They are always expecting something!” I should have left it alone but I just had to reply, “I’M ON MY WAY TO THE CEMETERY WITH MINE, which way you headed?” He seemed to have turned stone cold and looked down and away as if to make his final selection. I turned and walked away knowing full well that words have meaning and I was wondering if when he went home if he might have found some more cheerful words for his mate. I bet maybe he did. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


The Farmer

Gentle readers, if you watched any of the recent Super Bowl advertizements you may have seen an ad by Dodge trucks called “The Farmer”. It was narrated by the late Paul Harvey. I understand that he originally did this at an FFA convention some years ago. It was a very stirring reflection of what it means to be a farmer or a rancher. It presented the challenges, hardships and rewards that come from working the soil, raising livestock and being the provider of our nation’s food supply. I had begun to think in the past few months that the common man, the salt of the earth kind of folks have been shoved aside for the more appropriate polictically correct left of center way of thinking and doing. I don’t think that any more and I’ll tell you why. While listening to talk radio and veiwing various programs on the “telly”, I found no one, absolutely no one that didn’t like the Dodge ad. Nada, not one. That covered both sides of the aisle: donkeys and elephants and everyone in between. There was just something about that ad that brought what America represents to the front and center and it could not be ignored. It just couldn’t! Yes, I am sure there are those out there that could have cared less. “Just a bunch of hick farmers and cowboys, trying to play on our heartstrings. I don’t need that crap I can go to the store and get what ever I need whenever I need it. I don’t need to be fed propaganda like that!” Yep, I would almost bet that there were a few way off to the left that might have felt that way. I believe that the majority of folks that watched that ad all of a sudden were proud at least for a moment, that they lived in a country where common folks played by the rules, worked hard, paid their taxes, prayed to their God and took a moment to mess up their grandson’s hair and scratch their dog’s ears. Yes, I know other folks do the same and work just as hard as a man of the soil or a cattle producer and love America like most of us do. Folks, this is America, land of the free, home of the brave and we need to be prepared to stand our ground and let anyone and everyone know that thinks they can change it to some other way of being, thinking or doing that rubbs up against personal freedom and our constitution… ain’t gonna’ happen!! I do miss Paul Harvey and there are others that are trying to follow in his footsteps and I say “God bless’um”! As far as this sudden panic over guns: the news media does not miss the opportunity to report every gun incident that happens on a daily basis. There is a method to their madness. Recently there was a young mother who shot all three of her children and then herself because her husband had left her. All died but the youngest child. Let me ask you a troubling question. Suppose you are that dad that left. Would you rather your children were forcefully drowned in the bathtub, had the life choked out of them with a rope, or stabbed repeatedly with the same knife mom used to cut their birthday cake. If I were in that situation I, as hard as it would be to imagine, would rather that got a bullet to the head and have it over almost before it began. How about you?

Bunkhouse Cowboys

Gentle readers, last night I watched an old movie called Monte Walsh and it was starring one of my favorite actors, Lee Marvin. The movie was based on a couple of cowboys who were buddies and where one went so went the other. They knew how to do one thing well and that was “cowboyin'”. The time period was the turn of the century or the late 1880s. Many of the bigger ranches were being bought by folks from back east with deep pockets and knew next to nothing about cattle ranching in the west. Back then cowboys were necessary and the more skills they brought with them to the ranch the more secure were their jobs. Cowboys were not married men as a general rule and they all lived together in the bunkhouse. I never was a bunkhouse cowboy as I was married when we lived and worked on the bigger ranches. I am inclined to think that bunkhouse living would be a lot like my living in the barracks when I was in basic training. Early to bed, early to rise, eat what the cook comes up with for that particular day and your shirt tail is not likely to hit your back during a normal day of ranch activity. There are still some of the larger ranches that have bunkhouse accommodations for the single cowboys that work there. It may be for seasonal work or full time work. I adjusted to the barracks living because I was a young man and had no other choice unless I wanted to go to the stockade for some time. You do what ya gotta’ do. Back to the movie. These two cowboys seemed well adjusted to their situation. They had a roof over their head, two, maybe three meals a day and a place to roll out their bed and have a small space of their own. As they got older they began to realize that “cowboyin'” was a young man’s game and unless they wanted to be relegated to cooking for the cowboy crew at some point and time they just might have to find another occupation. Lee’s buddy decided to marry a widow in town who owned a hardware store and give up the bunkhouse style living. That left our hero to just do the only thing he knew how to do and that was to be a cowboy for as long as his body could endure the aches and pains of everyday ranch living. It has been said that there is not a piece of machinery that will take the abuse that a cowboy will. I find some truth in that. To all of you young cowboys out there that throw a saddle on a pony most every morning. You have my admiration but I will tell you that there will come a point and time where those little incidences of getting run over by some irritated cow, or getting bucked off to many times and wrestling calves at the branding fire will pay you a return visit. I have to say that I would not take one day of city living for one day a’horseback tending cows….unless it was that cold winter day in the Texas panhandle that I got severe diarrhea some five miles from the house on that ol’ rough trotting grey….yeah, I might consider makin’ a trade there. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Main Thing

Gentle readers, not to long after my Dad passed away my Mom had a stroke and it limited her speech to two words. As strange as it may seem to you as it did me at the time, she could only utter these two words, “main thing”. Now let me tell ya children, it’s really hard to carry on a conversation with someone in that situation. For example, Mom would call me on the phone from the nursing home down in Texas and when I would say “hello”, I would hear those two words, “main thing”. Now it depended on how she phrased those two words or the emphasis that she placed on them which forced me to decide if she was having a good day or one not so good. “How are you doin’?”, I always ask. If it was a “MAIN THING”! I could maybe expect that she was in a good mood and felt pretty good. If I got a “main….thing.”..then I expected she might not be havin’ a really good day or maybe someone was ill that I needed to know about. “How is uncle Joe doin’ these days?” I might ask. Uncle Joe was one of her younger brothers that had been having some serious health problems. If he was okay she might reply with a moderate “main thing” which meant things were still about the same. If I got a big “MAIN THING”! it could mean that he was doing better than expected or that he was doing really really poorly. I just had to decide which one it was or ask her if he was doing better and see what her reply was and the same visa versa. Mom had always been a big talker. In fact when she could talk, many times if I needed to lay the phone down and go set something off the stove or whatever, I would just go and do it and when I returned she would still be blabbin’ away about something that was most likely important to her and her alone. Her opinion seemed to be the only one that mattered. She could literly drive you crazy at times as you wanted to have a conversation with her and if you started talking she would just talk over you until you shut up. It was rude to say the least but that was a big issue with her for whatever reason. Now talk about karma!! I stand amazed many times how “what goes around comes around” works in this world we live in. As I was going in the post office yesterday a feller stopped long enough to hold the door open for me and I was a few steps away. I offered, “thank you sir, you are a good man.” To which he replied, “what goes around comes around.” I agreed. Bless my mom’s heart. Here she was so used to controlling every conversation and not letting anyone share with her what was happening in your life, and now she was forced to be the one that had to listen. She lived that way for a couple of years before she passed. I went down to see her in the nursing home a few months before she had another stroke that took her and we comunicated a lot with our eyes. You can say a lot that way. She has been gone since 1996 but on occasion I wish whenever the phone rings I could pick it up and hear, “MAIN THING”! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all!

My Friend Jan

Barry called me the other day and told me my best friend had passed away. It wasn’t unexpected. He was a chain smoker like three to four pack of Winstons a day. Most of us smoked way back then and not only did I , but his darling wife and daughters always encouraged him to use some common sense about the amount he smoked. Years ago he had open heart surgery and one would have thought that would curb the smoking. It didn’t. He died on Christmas day and I talked with him last a few weeks prior. It got to where he didn’t have the strength to visit. His mother named him Jan Lajuan Brooks. I reckon she wanted a girl. That was almost like being named Sue. He was all man, always busy, always into some project or other. I met him in 1963 when I worked for Sears in Odessa, Texas. I sold T.V.’s and he managed the mail order catalog business. We had many, many adventures together besides our families sharing much of our lives. I think the thing that sticks most in my mind was our trip, just Jan and I made down to Big Bend National Park along the Mexican border. We took a couple of rubber rafts, a supply of food, our pistols and some fishing gear and had a buddy drop us by the ranger station. Now, gentle readers, this was before the movie Deliverance. The rangers ask us where we planned on putting into the river, did we have adequate medical supplies and food and were we armed? “Yes, we have all that taken care of,” we offered back. The ranger warned us this was dangerous territory as we were going to float roughly 60 to 75 miles down the Rio Grande. “There are bandits, mountain lions and rapids in the river. We will fly over you every day in our plane and be sure and look for us. If there is a problem wave a white flag at us when we fly over. Check back in with us when your trip is complete.” We assured him we would. Our buddy took us as close to the river as he could get and we packed our gear down and off we went. There are some deep, deep canyons and some really rough country. We were excited. The third day out we were not sure if we were in tune with where our maps indicated we sould be. Some time later we spotted a Mexican man and four young men we assumed where his sons. They were peasants. Very poor dressed if dressed at all. I told Jan I was going to row over to their side and see if I could get some sense of exactly where we were. I spoke very little border Spanish and understood less. Jan warned me about getting out of the raft and approaching them as they might decide tojump me, take my pistol and shoot both of us and take our bounty. They all smiled as I waded to shore. “Buenas tardes, I spoke and received the same reply. “How far to Boqouillas canyon,” I asked politely in English. “Si,’ he said and pointed in the direction we were headed. He didn’t understand me and I had no way to get him to as I tried drawing a map in the sand, but didn’t know enough to get the “how far” understood. He had been eyeing my large knife on my gun belt as well as my pistol. He said in English, “knife” and stuck out his hand to receive it. “Don’t you give him that knife Jack, he’ll cut your throat and I don’t want to have to shoot anybody,” Jan barked. I took out the knife and handed it to him and stepped back a step or two. He admired it and passed it around to all the boys in age from maybe 14 to 25. They all agreed it was a good knife and the old man handed it back to me. “Pistola,” he offered as he held out his hand. Oh, so now he wants my pistol does he? “Don’t give’em that gun Jack he’ll kill both of us,” Jan barked again as his eyes blinked rapidly through his thick glasses. We called him “Blinky” at times because of his nervous habit of constant blinking. I pulled out that big ol’ chrome plated 45 and cocked it and pointed it at the old man’s head and replied, “see”! “Si, he said, bueno,” and they all  retreated from me and we thanked them and tossed them a can of tomatoes and corn the best I remember. That was quite a trip my friends before it was all over. to much to cover but I will miss my buddy. We talked every week, sometimes twice a week on the phone. I did tell him I loved him in our last conversation and as hard as it was to repeat it for him, he said, “I love you too buddy.” Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all all y’all.

Way Back Then 

Gentle readers, as we prepare for a new year, my thoughts have taken me back to the middle 1940’s. The big war had just ended and I was five years old. Way back then there were a lot of things that were rationed. Gasoline and tires were rationed and the best of my memory we had certain coupons that entitled us to this or that and how much of either I don’t know. I remember that photo of my mother leaning against our old Ford sedan and she is wearing her overalls, a bandana tied around her hair and a paint brush in her hand. She was in the process of painting our family car, which we were lucky to have, with a can of paint and a brush. My oldest sister, may God rest her precious soul, worked at the bank and at the end of each work week, as I recall, she would bring home ONE piece of bubble gum for my older brother and I to share. It cost her a nickle and a nickle was a lot of coin in 1945. My brother and I got a half of piece of gum and at night we would, yes, put it on the bed post so we could continue to chew it the next day. It had to last all week. Simple little pleasures way back then. I recall one cold snowy day as my brother, my mother and I had been to Amarillo from where we lived at Pampa, Texas, some 70 miles distance. We were about one third of the way home when mom stopped to pick up a soldier standing along the highway braced against the wind. We gladly took him down the road to White Deer, Texas where he would be home for Christmas. We never gave it a second thought, we owed him and owed him a lot for our freedom. I remember as a wee lad standing on an old Coke container (wooden) and an empty coke bottle in my hand as I listened to the Grand Ole Opera on that littlel wooden radio. I was pretending that I was on stage with the stars and singing right along with them. I knew a few of the songs as I remember. I also remember the old black man that came by each spring to plow up my mother’s garden with his mule. He let me sit on that mule one time because I told him I was a cowboy. We were happy the best I recall. Sure mom and dad had quarrells as did my two sisters and my brother and I. Life was good. I went to school not being afraid of anything except there were two girls that like to chase me at recess. I remember that night my dad, my brother and I laid out on a blanket and just observed that beautiful summer night with all those stars in the sky. That was where heaven was, We would all go there some day. Life was good way back then. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and may God continue to bless, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


Big Oil

 I wonder if some of the folks out there, maybe even you, have considered where we might be without big oil? I’ve began to give it some considerable thought as we slip into another year with lots of problems to solve. Or should I say, “that need solving”! Gentle readers consider this: with Christmas right on top of us, where would be be without oil production? It most likely would depend on a steam engine pulling freight cars to deliver the “goodies”. Ya see, there would be no trucks to deliver the freight and you would need to get a’horseback or hook up your wagon or buggie to go to the mercantile store and buy those Christmas presents. Most likely your house would be heated with wood ( no bad deal there) but there would be no oil unless it was of some animal to light your lanterns. You couldn’t ride a bicycle unless you rode on the rims as there would be no tires. I think you may have begun to see where I am going with this. Is “big oil” a bad deal for us in this country? It’s not a bad deal in Russia, China Yeman, Saudia Arabia and all those middle eastern countries. I think the P.C. crowd is trying to make us “rethink” our options about trying to become not so dependent on foreign oil. I am going to guess that the present administration is not going to allow much if any drilling offshore or on federal lands at all. In fact, I hear the other day that the “prairie chicken” is about to be labeled an endangered species! Wow! I didn’t know the prairie chicken was endangered or was that important to our livlihood or our enviornment. Okay, let’s exanime that for a moment children. See, private land owners (like myself) can let oil companies (big oil as some would have it) drill on my little place here without the consent of the feds. Well, I could unless I happen to have endangered prairie chickens in or around the O-NO Ranch. Then of course, we wouldn’t be able to upset the balance of nature and to heck with being able to be self sufficient in this good ole U.S. of A. No, no, no, we have to protect every feather, every scale of a fish and every hair on a rodent’s back because we are wise, gentle and understanding of nature and of course, we are politically correct! All across the plains of the Dakotas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, eastern Colorado and all the plains states that happen to have petroleum, or gas and “endangered species” anywhere close, there could be no drilling at all. How does that help our economy? Of course it doesn’t. Fracking is now the “F” word in our present vocabulary. They have been fracking wells since the 1950’s. I know, I was there, I lived it, I participated in the process as a young lad on his first job out of high school. I know of NO UNDERGROUND WATER BEING RUINED OR EARTHQUAKES FROM fracking a well…period! I heard of one in Wyoming and a couple of instances where gas got into a water system here in Colorado in the last few years. I think those issues were resolved, if not I’m sure a reader will inform me of my statement. Bottom lline, common sense is just not that common any more. God bless you and me and the good ole U.S. of A. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Charlie Brown

Gentle readers, do you or have you ever felt as if you were a lot like Charlie Brown? No? Well  I have and still do at times. For example, that little filly that I had a terrible crush on back in high school…it turns out she liked my best friend better. Yep, that was Lucy yankin’ that football away from me just as I put forth my best effort. Little Charlie Brown has such a good heart and willing attitude most of the time only to have some unexpected occurance jepordize his best laid plans. Take the time I had just started my cowboy career and it appeared that when I was in the pasture doctoring cattle all by myself, I could not, I repeat, I could not throw a bad loop. All I had to do was wind up my arm and toss my twine and my prey was caught. That worked pretty well until I had my best friend from down the country come and stay a few days with me and help me on the ranch. Of course I had bragged about all the ropin’ I would be doing and how good I seemed to be at catchin’ what I went after. I’ve told this little tale before but it bears repeating. We rode out in the pasture and prowled for at least an hour before I spotted a steer with a bad case of pinkeye. I was mounted. I was riding an extremely good ranch horse. Some 13 loops later I had this poor ol’ steer down and out, totally exhaused as I was, but I finallly got a loop on him. He almost just fell over when I got off to tie him down and doctor him. There was this other time when I took my ten year old son back to my high school that just happened to be open that particular summer. I had told him of my daring escapades on the football field. I told him how I had been selected to be on the all district team both my junior and senior years on offense as well as defense. We stopped at the trophy case where in my senior year we lost one game that would have put us in the state playoffs. All the player’s names were on the trophy. All of them except mine. I was astounded! I couldn’t believe that they left my name “Charlie Brown” off the trophy and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t noticed it when it was presented. Oh well, sometimes me and ol’ Charlie just need to shuffle along and do the best we can with what we’ve been given. Ol’ Linus just seems to hang onto that blanket and be a survivor. I know guys like that. As a sidebar, Charles Shultz, the creator of “Peanuts’-Charlie Brown has a daughter who is an mule and donkey expert and she has a ranch just west of Loveland, Colorado. I call her a friend and she is a wonderful, boni-fied, country girl. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. Y’all, all y’all.

I’m Getting Shorter 

It doesn’t seem that long ago, gentle readers, that I preferred a horse that stood sixteen hands or over and weighed in that 1300 to 1400# range. Ole paint, Howdy is about 15.3 and weighs about 4 million pounds and I have to do deep knee bends before I  ever attempt to get on him. I know that as we get older we do start to shrink a little. My kids and grandkids were all here for part of the Thanksgiving holidays and Gavin, my first born grandson is almost taller than me. I thought I was 6′ 3″ and at one time I might have been. Then again, I always wore those high heeled boots. Gavin is as tall as I am (almost) and he says he is six feet tall…hummmm. I may be shrinking. I have noticed that when I buy my usual 38″ lenght in Wranglers that they do seem to wad up more at the bottom. That must be it, I am gettin’ shorter. I could be down to 5′ 8″ by the time I’m 106 years old. Man, Charlie Brown, that really discourages me! Most of the women that I would be dancin’ with would all be lookin’ down at me. Oh well, I reckon there are just some things that are meant to be. I can’t wear the high heeled cowboy boots anymore as I have to have a fairly flat heel to get around these days. I had a bad hoss wreck when I was 42 years of age and it did a number on my right ankle and foot. The ole’ bone doc. says that I have traumatic arthritis in my ankle joint and there is just not a lot they could do to give me much relief if any at all. I keep the ankle in a brace or a wrap most of the time and seem to get by fairly well. Now I also have bone spurs on each heel and not the kind you poke a horse with and they can be a little agrivating at times. Working in the E R at the hospital on marble floors doesn’t help my situation as I am on my feet all the time, but it is something I feel compelled to do and I like it. So I reckon the next time I buy a pair of Wranglers I’ll wind up buying shorter britches as I must be gettin’ shorter! I don’t know if I’ll be buying any more horses before I retire from riding but if I do it may be have to be a Shetland! I do hope your Thanksgiving went well as ours sure did. I just got back from the cement pond working off some of that ham and turkey and I noticed when I took a shower I had to lower the shower head just a little….hummmmm, I must be gettin’ shorter! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Jack, Glenn and the Bobcat   

Gentle readers, I was watching a program called Yukon Men the other night on the “telly” and it took me back to a place in time when I was just plain “Jack”. This feller was out checking cows there in Alaska when he spotted a wolf runnin’ in his herd. He shot the wolf and decided to haul it back home on his pony. That created some problems as that ole pony didn’t want that wolf on his back.    In 1972 I was lookin’ after some grass steers in a four section pasture that joined my place there north of Amarillo, Texas, My friend , Glenn was riding with me that day and he was packin’ a sidearm. I wasn’t armed. Now Glenn was one of those “herky jerky” kind of fellers. By that I mean he was sort of a Barney Fife on steroids at times. If Glenn was anywhere around you could look for something to go wrong and usually that meant your life might be in peril of some sort. As a sidebar I flew with Glenn once after he had gotten his pilot license and only because I knew that if I didn’t he would be crushed as he would think I didn’t trust his ability to fly. I didn’t, but there I was in the plane with him sweating like a pig at a pig roast. We landed safely but a few years later he and one of his buddies didn’t. They both died in Glenn’s plane. Meanwhile, back at the ranch….Glenn and I had checked all the windmills and all the pastures and had headed back to my house when he blurts out, “hold up Jack…there’s a bobcat under that mesquite there!” I pulled up, took a close look and thought it to be a large feral cat. It wasn’t. It was indeed a young bobcat. Glenn wanted to dispatch it so I took the horse off some distance away as he shot the cat once and it was dead as a politician’s promise. Now that was one pretty cat and I wanted to take it back to the house to show my two year old son. Problem was, I was riding a green broke horse so I was a little concerned he might get somewhat excited if I loaded that bobcat on behind the saddle. I let him smell the cat and then I placed that ole cat behind the cantle of my saddle and tied his legs down on each side with the saddle strings. I walked the horse around for a minute or two and then mounted up. The ol’ bobcat slipped off to one side and the blood started to run. That wasn’t the only thing that ran, so did that pony. Let me tell ya children, he took off like a tree hugger in a forest fire. It was about two miles to the house through a mesquite covered and cactus laden pasture. I most likely could have placed in the Belmont Stakes on that given day. We did arrive back at the house in record time and without any major injuries. I had “Little Miss Martha” bring out the boy as I tied the cat legs over the hitching rail so I could skin him. “Whatcha’ doin’ Daddy? Whatcha’ doing to that kitty cat Daddy?” my son probed. “Son, this here is a wild cat, it’s called a Bobcat and I’m gonna’ skin him. I’m gonna’ take his coat off!” With big eyes and lots of anticipation my son’s voice got a little lower, “won’t he get cold Daddy, won’t he get cold?” That little incident could have been the root cause for the name, “Mad Jack.” Stay tuned, chech yer cinch on occasion, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Something New

Howdy, gentle readers and if you were here at the O-NO this morning you would be enjoying a not only delightful, but beautiful morning. This is something new as the last few days have brought dreadful winds. However, change is always good as I think we get a little stagnant when it’s the “same ol’ , same ol” thing. If things stayed the same without change, I think we would not only be bored out of our minds but be looking desperately for something to change for us. If it was 80* every day with no snow or cold weather I think most of us would be headed somewhere at Christmas looking for cooler weather with some snow. No? I would. It’s my humble opinion that most of us would like to do some things differently as we go along through life to have a change of pace if possible. I recently decided to go down to one of the large hospitals in our area and volunteer my services whatever that might be. I will start some training this coming Sunday as I will be placed in the ER (emergency room). There is a great deal of responsibility there and I have been faithfully reading all the info that has been furnished to me. So…now it’s going to be hand’s on training with an experienced volunteer. Like I have said in the past, I think sometimes we need to pay some things forward. I think we need to, if we are able, to step out and do something that is beneficial to others and not expect a reward of some kind. You see youngsters stepping out all the time to help others in time of need. The recent murder of a little girl in the Denver area and the way it was done sent chills down my spine. There were hundreds and hundreds of volunteers out looking for anything that would help find this monster that killed this sweet innocent little girl. It’s going to be Holloween in a few days after you get this. We don’t have to pretend that there are monsters out there because they are there. Please don’t send your children out alone to trick or treat. Be sure that you are close by or that there is an adult that you trust going with them. If you can find the time in your schedule to shovel the snow off of a sidewalk for the elderly or just go by and check on your neighbors once in a while if you feel they could be in need. You know….something new for you to do when time allows. Not only will you suddenly find a new spring in your step, but the kind deed will certainly not go unnoticed and if it does, does it matter? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and i’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


Gentle readers, have you ever pre judged someone or something only to discover you were way off base? I bet you have. I guarantee ya I have many, many, to many times in my life. Let me take you back to my junior year in high school. I went out for the varsity football team. As you know “Friday night lights” are everything in every small west Texas community. Football is king and it was my perception that if I didn’t play I would be considered what we would call a “nerd” by today’s standards. Plus all of that I played football in Junior high and loved it. It was my sport. I was tall and skinny and of course didn’t shave my peach fuzz as of yet. John Gerald Thomas was a senior, was very muscular and had a beard like an Oregon lumberjack. He and I were competeing for the same spot. I knew I didn’t have a chance. Heck, my face had never even felt a razor and my legs had been sued by my body for non support. They were very skinny. I was surprised when I made the starting line up and went on to be an all district player on offense as well as defense. I had a misconception about J.G. Thomas. He just wasn’t very good at football.    We rode out into that mesquite covered pasture north of Amarillo, Texas that crisp fall morning to meet some other cowboys at a windmill and then proceed to gather and ship some yearlings. I was just a button or “gunzel” when it came to “cowboyin” as I was as green as fresh guacamole but I had a vision of what a panhandle cowboy was supposed to look like. Now, I had all the trappings. I had a fairly good ranch horse, could rope a little. I could hold my own when it came to navigating the brush when a’horseback but lacked the necessary skills of being able to read a cow correctly at that time. We rode up to the windmill and I was somewhat offended when I see this ol’ farmer lookin’ guy wearin’ kakias, lace up shoes and a baseball cap. He was in his sixties and sitting a purty good lookin’ bay gelding. His saddle looked as if it had seen duty for many years. Everyone knew him but me and they all liked him. I figured I would like him also and give him a little smypathy. Children, this feller was a hand and he certainly didn’t need any of my sympathy as he quicky made me look like the “gunzel” ( a person pretending to be a cowboy and not having all the necessary skills) I was in short time when he broke off into the brush after some bunch quittin’ high tailed heifers and brought them back in what seemed to be an effortless attempt. I had had a misconception about that ol’ farmer lookin’ feller. And to think that he WASN’T EVEN WEARIN’ CHAPS IN ALL THAT BRUSH! Well, I reckon these are some of life’s little lessons that we learn as we stumble along. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t until we get another opportunity. Judge not lest ye be judged! I’m still workin’ on that one. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


There are no manuals that instruct one on how to be a grandparent. I think it just one of those deals where you learn by trial and error and by watching and listening to others. It’s different when you are the grandpa (in my case) than when Little Miss Martha and I raised our two kiddos. As I have stated in this column before I adore little kids, especially babies. I was watching a little toe headed kid in the post office with his mom just the other day and it made me somewhat joyful just to watch him tag along and pretend he knew all that was going on around him. He was maybe two or three and walked with an abundance of authority and confidence. I wanted to be his grandpa just for a few moments and just pick him up and give him a good ol’ grandpa hug.    I didn’t really get the grandparent experience when I was small. My dad’s folks had already passed before I was born. My mom’s folks were seemingly really old and lived in an old house on the outskirts of Lubbock, Texas. I never saw that grandpa out of bed as he was always sickly. I just remember him laying there with watery eyes and trembling hands and not being able to speak above a whisper. He had been sick for a nlumber of years as a result of a bout with whatever, I don’t remember plus he had been bitten by a rattlesnake on their ranch years before and mostly treated it himself with the help of family members. No anti venom was availabe back then. My grandma was a sweet little woman who always had sugar cookies baked when we came by. Always in an apron with her hair in a bun like you would expect a farm wife to be in the fifties. I have worked on being a good grandpa ever since the first one was born 16 years ago. I have six and the youngest are twins and they are 11. The others with the exception of my sweet little granddaughter who is handicapped are starting to date on a limited basis. Wow! That just means that the last 16 years have passed by seemingly so fast I’m still feeling the breeze from it all. What a bunch of great kids all of them. I am one proud grandpa and I miss grandma not being here to share in this joy that they bring to me. It used to be that they always wanted to go out to grandpa’s and spend the night. Not any more and I knew this day would arrive and I’m good with it. It just means that I get to look foreward to being a great grandpa one of these days. I can’t hardly wait! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Losing My Way 

No way I’m losing my way. No way! I get amused at times because some of you guys are getting concerned that I may be losing my way. No way. Yep, ever sinch I started to ride a motorcycle it threw some of you gentle readers off my trail. I have to confess that when I have my biker costume on and I am at the post office or grocery market and run into you I get this sad puppy dog look. I have been asked twice this week, “DO YOU EVEN HAVE ANY HORSES ANY MORE?” Yes, of course I have horses but I don’t ride them 12 miles into town to pick up the mail or buy a few groceries. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt them any but it would sure hurt me. I wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week. It’s sort of like this: Cowboyin’ is a young man’s game. Heck, everybody knows that or at least they should. Now some of you old timers out there that still get a’horseback every week in the good months and take care of your livestock I apoligize. You guys never get old. Now if I had a bigger place, a woman companion (married or hangin’ onto my shirt tail) I might consider gettin’ back in the game for a little while longer. I’m satisfied with runnin’ a few steers in the summer and checkin’ on them from the back of a horse. I get that good ole time cowboy feeling each and every time I am a’horseback checkin’ livestock. I don’t team rope, sort or pen as entertainment which it is for a lot of folks. God bless’um! Thirty years or so of that on a fairly consistant basis on the ranch will take a little starch out of your britches plus it can get expensive. I bet if I would just go and do a little of it I would get hooked. Right now I would rather go dancin’!    I was in the post office today getting my mail and I heard somebody come clompin’ in behind me and I thought it must have been a yeild grade four female in high heels. Wrong! As I stepped over to one of the tables ( in my biker costume) this loud clompin stomped right up beside me. As I glanced over I realized it was a young “buckaroo” or at best a “wanna be” puncher standing beside me with his chaps on, a huge pair of spurs, long sleeve shirt, vest and big hat. He was lettin’ this ole biker know that a “real cowboy” had arrived. He kept glancin’ over in my direction to see if I had noticed his presence. He stayed as long as I was there and I was there for a while going through my mail. I chuckled as I thought I most likely had thrown a leg over more “snotty broncs” than he had ever been on gentle ponies. Of course I don’t know, he might have been the best “buckaroo” this side of Elko. I also thought that could have been me forty years ago. Nope, I haven’t lost my way. I am still me and by golly, I’m having more fun than any old guy ought to have. The Lord’s been good to me. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. As a sidebar I do appreciate your concern!

….Ol Clancy and Me 

Yep, ol’ Clancy and me are buds. You remember Clancy. He is my big ol’ German Sheppard that I rescued from the shelter some almost 6 years ago. What a dog. We have watched each other age as the years have passed and we both are a little grumpier as we get older. When Clancy goes I won’t be getting another dog as there would really be no need. He is just not replaceable and it’s as simple as that. The first day I brought this big (100# plus) excited entergetic dog home I thought I had made a mistake. At first I had the thought that he would be unmageable but that was resolved in a matter of half an hour. We were playing in the back yard getting aquainted and I tossed a rock for him to retrieve. He did and he lay down with it between his front paws and looked at me with an interesting look. It was a cold stare. I got down on all fours and creeped up to him and reached for the rock. He uttered a low but menacing growl. I have to tell you gentle readers that I was more than a little alarmed. I found my courage, slapped him on top of the head and took the rock away. I was now the alfa male. Never again did he ever offer to be disagreeable with me. He doesn’t follow me around, he takes the lead a few steps in front and is always looking back to be sure I am still there and everything is okay. Any time we are outside regardless of what my chores or lack of are, he watches me constantly and ever so often he makes a trip around the house to be sure there are no probems or danger lurking. What a dog! He would prefer that I always am available to watch him eat. He doesn’t like to eat alone. I try to accomodate him most of the time except during the harsh winter months. Clancy is an outside dog and loves cold weather and of course I am at the point where I don’t look forward to working outside when it is frigid and blowing snow. Even as an old dog Clancy jumps around in the snow slinging his head from side to side as if to say, “come on man, let’s do something!” He seldom barks at folks pulling up in the yard. He just approaches their vehicle and waits for them to exit. Sometimes they don’t unless I am there to give them comfort as Clancy has a black face and looks like a timber wolf. He will walk right beside our guest sniffing their leg and on occasion will glance at me as ilf to say, “do we know this guy and is he okay?” I’ll call him off and he always responds to every command given to him. He groans when he lays down and groans when he gits up. So do I. I do not look forward to the day that i have to bury him and live on memories from that time on. I have been so blessed to have such a wonderful faithful, protective, loving dog. I reckon every man needs one good woman, one good horse and one good dog in his life and friends I have had all three. What a deal! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all all y’all.

Once in a great while, gentle  readers, I will meet someone who really impresses me and it can be for any  number of reasons. Recently I bumped into a couple of fellers from  Alabama at our local McBurger joint. They were  riding motorcycles and when I ask them if they had been to Sturgis, South  Dakota, the biggest bike rally of them all? Yes they had.
     However, they left Alabama, rode to Wisconsin to  see the motorcycle museum there and then to Sturgis, then to Yellowstone and now  were on their way back to Alabama. Man, that’s a lot of riding on a motorcycle but alas, they were but mere children compared to me. I was impressed to say the least. I have watched a local feller for a number of years as he trudges up and down the main street of  Wellington in a very determined manner for a man with some years behind him. I  have to tell ya that he is no bigger than a “whisper” but he is out rain, snow or shine walking to all  the businesses in town looking in their trash receptacles for anything of any  value. It’s always one foot in front of the other as he seems suspended in a forward lean but uses no  walking aids. I pulled up to the post office on my Harley the other day and was  surprised to see this old guy rolling up on a scooter.
     “Hey, looks like ya got yerself a new motorcycle,”  I popped off. In a weak but positive voice he replied, “well, I fell the other  day and I need a little help now cause I hurt myself a little.” We exchanged greetings and just the usual  stuff and finally I ask how old he was. “I’m 96 years old, well, I will be in  ten more days,” he offered. “WOW, NINETY SIX, I exclaimed, you really get around for your age and  in all kind of weather,” I praised him. “How old are you?” he ask. “I’m 72”, I  said. “Seventy two, heck, I was married longer than that!” he said with a hearty chuckle. “What’s  yer name?” I queried. “It’s Paul, what’s yours?” he shot back. “My name is Jack,  good to meet you Paul.” He studied me for a second or two and then ask, “are you that feller  that writes in that paper that I read every week?” I told him that I was. How he  would recognize me in my biker costume I’ll
never know, but he did. “He gave me a hardy  handshake and said, ” well I’m pleased to meet ya. I wondered when I might ever  run into ya, I read your column every week,” he said proudly. I was feeling ten feet tall by now  and talk about giving a guy a lift, ol’ Paul gave me a really big lift that for  a moment I wondered if I too could live to be 96 and be getting around as well as I have seen him all  these years. Yep, Paul, you are quite a feller and I’m glad I got to meet you  and I hope your birthday is the best on ever!
      HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!  Stay tuned, check yer cinch  on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. As a side bar if you, gentle reader,  are having a birthday this week, Happy Birthday to you also.


Double Your Trouble

Double your trouble,  double your fun. In this incident , gentle readers, I wasn’t able to double my  fun. Double my trouble, yes! It happened this way. Long ago and far  away when I was learning the cowboy trade mostly by trial and error I had my hands full with two high headed, goofy heifers that really tested my skills as a cowboy and why I even wanted to be one. After all, I had just quit my job  with Proctor and Gamble and gave up that nice salary, company car and other  benefits that I didn’t now have working for myself as a contracted cowboy. I was looking after  68 heifers on a four section pasture just north of our place at Amarillo, Texas.  The pasture was rough with deep ravines, steep rocky hills and lots and lots of mesquite  trees. We gathered these heifers on a real foggy morning and in the process  missed two in the gather. For three days I had ridden this pasture looking for the missed heifers  and on the fourth day I found them with the neighbor’s cows about a mile from  the shipping pens. Of course, I figured it might be a little difficult to cut the two of them away  from the mother cows, get them through a gate in the middle of the fence not at  the end and then pen them so I could load them in my trailer. Much to my surprise I was able to cut both heifers out of the herd and even get them throughthe gate without a lot of difficulty. I’m thinking now that I am a purty fair hand at this cowboy game. However,  once the heifers went through the gate they took off in a dead run and I had to  get the gate closed, remount and give chase in a timely manner. When I got within shouting  distance to them they, of all things, split up and went in different directions  and I knew I had bigproblems then. I had left my truck halfway between where I found the heifers and  the pens. I tried to drive one of the heifers to the pens and when I realized it  just wasn’t to be I roped her on the first loop which was a miracle at best. I choked her down and  yoked her to a big mesquite tree. I didn’t want her on her side on the ground as  it was getting’ really hot and I thought she might die before I was able to come back and  load her up. The other heifer had circled around and came back fairly close  looking for her “roomie”. Believe it or not I had her roped after a half mile chase through the thick  mesquite. I was able to move her to my trailer and load her up without incident.  Trust me she was ready to load. I put her up front, loaded my worn out pony and drove back to  where I left the first heifer. Then I unloaded my horse, backed the trailer up  as close to the beast as I could, but I got to close and hit that old mesquite and broke it loose  where upon the heifer took off with it as best she could. Now I had to mount my  horse, give chase and try to drive her back to the trailer. Now my steed was a little wary that  that big bush bouncin’ along with that heifer, but I did manage to get her close  to the trailer and roped her again and this time tied her down. I got the mesquite unyoked from her  and she also was ready to be loaded without being too much of a problem. What an  ordeal all of that was. I will tell you this, that was an education in itself and I learned  that I was more capable than I had first thought. I strutted for a few days  until I had to rope something the next time and it took about six or seven loops! Stay tuned, check  yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Where Are The Adults?  
Sometimes I wonder, gentle readers,  how big a void we have in this country or in this world of adults. Folks that we  put our trust in or admire for some reason or other wind up doing something totally unexpected and we are again  disappointed in the human race. Randy Travis, country and western singer and one  of my all time favorites arrested nude and drunk in his vehicle. But Randy I thought you had found your  peace in religion and that’s where you were taking us all in your music  recently. I thought that was a really neat thing for you to be doing. Not only was Randy nude and drunk he also  fought with the arresting officers. This, by the way, was his second arrest for  drunk and disorderly in recent months. Randy, son, I am so disappointed in you! Have you been tuned in  to the political ads of late for the next President of our great country? Of  course you have there is no way around it. Here we have two supposed to be adults, grown men, which one or  the other is going to be the leader OF THE COMPLETE FREE WORLD! The ads are so  disparaging, so sad, such a lack of any  human decency it makes me want to throw up. Where  are the adults in this country? Has it always been this way? I’m thinking that  it has. I remember when Jerry Lee Lewis that country
rocker married his 13 YEAR OLD COUSIN! What’s that  all about? Almost every time you turn on the “telly” we find another teacher or  adult in some position of authority has been arrested for molesting a minor child. It’s crazy.  Remember Michael Jackson? How can you make any part of that okay? I don’t care  how talented he was or what impact he had on the music world, he was disgusting from my point of  view. You may be wondering if I, Mad Jack, do childish things from time to time?  Hummmmm, let’s see. How about the time that I….no that wasn’t childish, that was being stupid. We  need leaders in this country and we need good leaders with some moral fiber and  folks that are not afraid to stand against the tide.
   I see more women at times with more guts than some  of their counterparts stand firm in what they believe and girls you make me  proud! We have gotten so soft, so weak kneed, so milk toast and so terribly afraid that someone is  going to consider us not politically correct we lose our bearing. I can’t help  but think of all those men and women who literally gave their all in time of war and conflict or here at  home protecting and serving in a civil way. Was it all for naught? We can do  better. We can be silly at times, act like little kids at times, and have our fun and nobody is the worse for wear.  When it comes to the serious stuff, we need more folks that will stand up and be  the role models that all of us need. Like the little kids that go out and raise money selling  lemonade to give to the recent fire victims. They learned that from some adult  somewhere. We need more of you. As far as the political
ads, brace yourself, it’s going to get uglier and  more childish. What a reflection on our society! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on  occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.
Handy Hints From The O-NO  
General readers, over the years  I have figured out how to help myself along when it comes to functioning on a  daily basis with the general chores around livestock.
    Well, as far as that goes with the inside chores of  keeping a house and making it a home. My place is small and will only run ten to  fifteen yearlings plus two or three horses during the course of a decent summer.  Flies are always bad and fly tags in the ears don’t always do the job so here is  a handy hint if you are running only limited livestock like me. I took one of the  Miracle Grow jars that you screw onto a garden hose and put the correct amount  of stable spray in it to mix with the water when you turn the water hose on. I put the  steers in a small pen in the corral and spray them and it works out great. They  get covered good and it also knocks down a lot of the flies around the corral. When I  am out a’horseback and come in contact with a rattlesnake I will kill it if at  all possible. In order to do that safely I carry three large chain lengths tied on the back of my  saddle with a saddle string. If I have to do combat, I take my piggin’ string  (small length of tie down rope) and tie it to
the chain length and whup me a rattlesnake. That’s  about as safe a way to dispatch one that I know of unless you carry hand  grenades and my guess is you are gonna be walkin’ home if that’s your weapon.  Speaking of rattlesnakes, I have mentioned that I had a horse bitten last  year and bitten badly. If you find you have a cow, horse or whatever snake bit and they are  having trouble breathing from being bitten on the nose, here’s what will help.  If you have one of those disposable syringe holders you can cut to bottom end off,  remove the cap and of course the syringe and shove a holder up one or both  nostrils, bottom end first. They may stay in long enough for you to get some help from  your vet. I have heard of using a length of garden hose instead of the syringe  holder. I won’t get into what little things I do around the house to make life easier as  I feel I would be preaching to the choir. You gals I bet know every trick that  there is when it comes to taking little short cuts and still get the desired results. As a  sidebar I got a call from the advertizing company that has done my calendars for  the last twenty years and they
want to send me a new contract to continue on for ?  I thought they might have had enough of me after twenty years, but I reckon not.  I will have the 2013 Hoots cowboy calendars available the first of September  for $10.00 and that will also include postage. I’ll send ya two of’um for $15.00  and of course they will be signed.
    My best, stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion  and I’ll c.y’all, all y’all.
Country Living
    What exactly is country living  one might ask? “I reckon that depends on who is going to give their personal  opinion or definition. Of course in this column you will get mine. I think there are a lot of  different avenues to country living. It has changed a lot since the 40’s and  50’s and 60’s. Back in 1950 if you lived right on the edge of Otis, Colorado or Hale Center,  Texas you would have considered yourself as living in “town”. Apply that same  principle today and you just might be of the opinion that you are “country  living”. The reason I say that gentle readers is because in some of these really  small towns there will be as many pickup trucks and farm equipment in town as  there is any other type of vehicle. That’s sort of like country living isn’t  it?. Today in the hectic, fast paced surround sound world that we live in it  appears that more folks are just wanting to get OUT! They just want to find that  little place where it’s impossible to hand a cup of sugar over to your neighbor’s  house out of the kitchen window. They need a little space. More space for the  kids to play and maybe even have some animals like a goat, chickens, rabbits or even  a horse or two. It may be on two acres or five acres but at least it’s out  of town and away from the screaming sirens and constant vehicle emissions and traffic  noise. I like having neighbors living around me but not right next to me. I  enjoy sitting on the front deck sometimes
in the morning or evening and watching my neighbors  either going off to work or coming home or just goin’ somewhere. As I told a  woman who stopped to visit with me at Jax Farm and Ranch store last Saturday  on “Day of the American Cowboy”, that we live in awkward times, We do. We live  in a fast changing world where it seems so many different groups of folks  want us to take up their banner and follow them instead of all of us being under  the same banner. It’s confusing to young folks, I believe. I think that a good many  of them are running around in circles trying to decide which group they should  assign to themselves. It’s crazy, it’s just plain crazy. Where are we headed  and why? I think a good many more folks are headed to the country where they  believe that they just might find some peace and quiet and have another  opportunity to check and see if their collective heads are indeed screwed on the  right way. That’s certainly not to say that folks that live in town and have always  lived in town don’t have the same values that what most country folks have. Many  do and they are comfortable living where they do and all of the  noise and whatever goes with living in a congested area is okay with them . God  bless’um. If everyone lived in the country, they’re wouldn’t be much country left,  now would there? I love the country. I have lived in the country most of my life  take away a few short years in town. As I get older I don’t much relish the  thoughts of a harsh winter and having to get out in it and tend to livestock or  get on an open top tractor and
move big snow drifts when it’s 20 below and the  wind is howling. Stack that up against living in town and I’ll take country  every time. How about you?
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.  y’all, all y’all.
Gentle readers, I just came in  from the front deck this Saturday morn. It is really really hot and not a  whisper of a breeze. I have had my breakfast, visited with my bro down in Texas, fed the ponies and have been  admiring this beautiful country in which I live. The grass is green and there is  still a patch or two of snow up in the high mountain valleys. What a beautiful morning. The  coffee was for some reason just a little better than usual. As I sat gazing at  the scenery my mind for some reason wandered off into my going dancing last night and  all of the characters that I have tagged with my own special names. That’s part  of my job, as I see it, as a cartoonist
is to pick out folks that stand out among the crowd  for some reason or another. I’ll give you some examples: first there is Animal,  you will see him on occasion in my cartoons. Animal is a local guy here and he is a  big big man. Full beard and light on his feet on the dance floor like you  wouldn’t expect. Now, I didn’t give Animal his nick name. He had already been tagged before I met  him. You might confuse him with a grizzly if you bumped into him in the deep  forest after dark. Then we have the“professor”. The professor is a little short bald  man who lays out on paper what type of dance steps he wants to do with his wife.  Many, to many times, you will see him on the dance floor dancin’ by himself with an  imaginary woman. I thought he looked like a nutty professor so I tagged him the  “professor”. Of course we have“catfish” and he is carrying that tag because he  reminds me of a big Texas mud cat. Mighty Mouse is one of the most noticed of  all these characters. He is noticed
because he seems to really need the attention. I  understand that he is elderly and has deep pockets. He is a little bitty guy  with more energy that guys twenty years his junior and he loves to dance with the young  girls and many of them come seek him out as they like to dance with him as well.  The only problem we have with Mighty Mouse is he doesn’t follow the usual dance  patterns for country and western dancing or any other dancing as far as that  goes. He has an unusual style of running all over the place and I have accidently  knocked him down on two different occasions as I did not see him coming up  behind me. Grasshopper, we are starting to get a little concerned about. We  haven’t seen him in a while. He is a retired rancher from New Mexico and in the  winter he goes, or so he has told me, down to South America and lives in some little  village where it is warm and beats the Colorado winters. He is fluent in Spanish  and goes to different countries down there at different times. He is long, tall, wears  glasses, always has a huge smile on his face and hops around the dance floor so  thus the name “Grasshopper.”
   I have had women come up to me and say, “so I hear  you have names for everyone here….WHAT IS MY NAME?” I’m not a dummy, I reply,  “we call you “the beautiful one!” That seems to work most of the  time. I have no idea what they call me but I suspicion it may not be to my  liking and again, “quien sabe” (who knows)?
    I am known to many of them as just Jack or Mad  Jack. Just the same it is fun to have fun with life and get a little silly on  occasion. Why not? Normal looking and normal acting folks just don’t get a nick name  because they just don’t qualify. Do you have a nick name? Stay tuned, check yer  cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all,
Day Of The Cowboy
Gentle readers, this coming July  28 will be the eight annual National Day of the American Cowboy! Yep, that would  be right. In 2004 our government did
something right. They decided that maybe it was  time to honor individuals that represent what the U.S. of A. considers it’s core  values such as honor,
honesty, moral values, hard work and “ridin’ for  the brand”. Of course I know that not every one out there that considers himself  or herself a cowboy or
cowgirl reflects the image we conger up when we  think about the American cowboy (cowgirl). There are misfits in every  occupation, however, I think that
the American cowboy and cowgirl that are in the  business of taking care of livestock on a daily basis would fill out the bill  pretty good when it comes to
those time honored traditions we attach to cowboys.  When we honor the American cowboy that would include rodeo cowboys, feedlot  cowboys, and
anyone who is a cowboy at heart regardless of their  regular occupation. The American cowboy is respected all over the world and  countries like France,
Germany and many other European countries are big  into the “cowboy culture” because it offers a lifestyle that most folks would  like to think they could be a part of. I have worked with a good many  cowboys and some cowgirls over the thirty year span of “punchin” cows and have  found the majority to absolutely love what they do and want to do it for  as long as possible. “Cowboyin”, like a lot of other jobs, is considered a young  man’s job. Yep, there are those old guys up in their eighties and nineties that still participate in one way or another. There are more eighty year old cowboys out there than you might imagine. Why? That’s been their whole life  and to them there is no reason to do anything else, especially retire and sit on  their collective butts.
I was in Wally World the other day looking at  shirts when a young woman and her two little girls about six and seven  approached me to look at some of
the shirts I was considering. I had passed them  just a few moments before and the woman gave me an unexpected smile and a big  “HI”. I responded
by telling her how cute her girls were. Now here  they were again and the woman, who was extremely pretty, began a conversation  about shirts and just small talk in general when one of the little girls  who had been watchin’ me closely blurted out, “WE LIKE COWBOYS!” The woman, a  little embarrassed, blushed and decided it was time for them to go get  their groceries. I got tickled at the little one who had figured out by now she  should have not been so vocal as she shot a glance at her mom and then  ducked her head. I had groceries to buy as well and we would all meet again from  time to time as we turned blind corners and almost bumped into one  another. Big grins all the way. Cowboys are a proud bunch and have every right  to be so pat yourself of the back if you enjoy  that  life style. As a side bar, I will be at Jax Farm and Ranch store in La Porte,  Colorado on the 28 of this month
to meet and greet you gentle readers should you  decide to stop by. They are having a big “Day of the Cowboy” celebration. We’d  love to see ya.
It’s my understanding that I will be there from 10  in the morning to 2 in the afternoon and I will have a little artwork for sale  should you be interested.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.  y’all, all y’all.
A New Song   
Gentle readers, I do feel like  singing a new song or any song for that matter on this Saturday morn. The O-NO  got another inch of good ole slow rain that
had prayed for a couple of weeks back. I had gotten  almost an inch just about ten days ago. I have to tell ya these short grass  prairies can rebound and green up faster than Joe Biden can cover his mouth after  a miscue. I was sitting on the front deck with a cup of cowboy coffee just  watching an antelope lope across the fast turning pasture. Now I wonder if the  antelope got part of his name from his loping skills? Hummmm? Back to a new  song. It was just the other day I was in me Lazy Boy with a brain that was  null and void or so it seemed. All of a sudden out of nowhere came a few words  that rhymed and there seemed to be a jingle runnin’ right along side of it. Strange  isn’t it how that happens? Actually, I think it only happens to strange people  such as myself. I rose from the  Lazy Boy, retrieved my guitar and started to put a  little song together. I call it Red’s Cabaret. Here goes:


                                                                         Red’s  Cabaret


I went to Nashville to pick and to  sing.
I knew music city held captive my  dreams.
I played for the big boys and gave it a  shot.
After a short discussion they said to me, “I reckon  not”!


Ya need to play and be able to sing,
to tell ya the truth, we ain’t heard a  thing!
Ya need a rip in yer jeans and hair like the  king.
This here is Nashville and it’s all about  BLING.


If you want a place to sing and to  play
ya need to go to Tucson to Red’s  Cabaret.
Red’s is a place where anything goes,
Willie got started there a’singin’ through his  nose.


Red’s got back up music and a live  microphone.
If the crowd don’t clap, they’re most likely  stoned.
That’s our advice, all we can say,
just pack yer guitar and head to Red’s  Cabaret.


So I packed my guitar and by thumb I did  go
plumb across Texas and New Mexico.
I landed in Tucson at two in the morn.
I said to myself, “Self, a star is  born.!”


I followed the bright lights, stepped into  Red’s.
The dance floor was empty and the place it was  dead.
Took out my guitar, started singin’ my  song.
A man soon appeared and it didn’t take  long.


Red, he comes over and gave me a  glance,
said, “son, ya need hair like Elvis and a rip in  yer pants,
to tell ya the truth, I ain’t heard a  thing,
I need a man that can play and one that can  sing!”


Red finally hired me after hearing my  plea,
fed me a taco and told me to roll up my  sleeves.
Instead of a mic, I’m holdin’ a mop and a  broom
a’singin’ my heart out cleanin’ the men’s restin’  room.


I’m singin’ at Red’s six nights a  week,
He’s feedin’ me tacos and boardin’ my  keep.
My pickin’ and singin’ gets better it  seems,
so I’m headed to Nashville to capture my  dreams!


Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll  c.y’all, all y’all.


How Hot Is It?       

You want to  know how hot it is, gentle readers? IT’S HOT ENOUGH! Doesn’t that about say  it all? Is it due to global warming? I would say yes, butthen we have to explain exactly  what global warming is. My uneducated guess is that our planet heats and  cools every so many years and it happens to be the time the planet is heating up for a  period of time. I have written before that when you see the weather girl give  the records being set it has always been colder and it has always been hotter at  different times and sometimes decades ago. So, there you are Charlie Brown.  It has been hot here in Colorado as it has and is all over the country. It’s  nothing now to hear that yes, it went over 100 again today. Then you throw in  all these dreadful fires that seem to pop up out of nowhere. Combine that with all this heat and this terrible drought in progress and it is really HOT! As I write the worst of the fires, at least in Colorado have been brought sort of under  control. The big fire that burned up so much country just west of me is now  contained, or so they say. God bless you fire fighters and all that put yourself  in harm’s way to do such a good job under terrible circumstances. What have we  learned you “tree huggers”? Have we learned by now that IT IS GOOD  BUSINESS  to clear out dead timber and use those logging roads to benefit  fire fighters in the future. Is it GOOD BUSINESS to allow livestock along with the  deer, elk, moose and antelope to graze those heavily forested and  other areas to reduce having overgrown areas that turn into tinder boxes at times  like these? I would bet that if it was indeed your house that fell victim to  these raging fires, you most likely would say, “yes”. This is such a heart  breaking situation for so many who have lost so much. Those of us that don’t  have to regroup like you, we think of you often and of course our prayers are for your  future and hopefully the good things it may bring. We really do need to use  some common sense when it comes to managing our public lands and not fall  victim to the cries of the environmentalist that feel a need to save every tree,  every blade of grass and in effect they let it all, “burn baby burn”. I was  watching the huge plumes of smoke that covered the horizon and much of the  heavens and I’m thinkin’, “how many 18 wheelers would it take on the  interstate to create that much pollution? Friend, it would take a bunch, a whole  bunch bumper to bumper for miles to do that much damage. Insurance will be  harder to get for folks living in those fire danger zones and many companies  just may not offer fire insurance at all in certain areas. It all comes  down to being of a practical mind, using common sense and not folding to  each and every bug , frog, lizard and owl saving radical. That’s all. Betcha’  things just stay the same, whatta’ ya bet? Our forest are like gardens.  They need to be thinned at times for the good of the whole. Mother Nature when she  get’s her belly full begins to vomit and we have seen the results of beetle  killed timber left to stand and forest floors full of dead pine needles and dead  grasses and brush that could have been used for grazing at some time or other.  Just my humble opinion and mine only. There will be some of you that  agree with me and some that don’t. Regardless we have witnessed some of the  worst fires our beautiful state has ever seen and may ever see. Stay tuned,  check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all  y’all. 

“That’s Funny Stuff”

Joe is one of those guys that is  not always funny when he tells a story. The other day was a little different.  First, a little background on this feller Joe. Before he retired he  was responsible for the draft horse program at the Budwiser plant in Fort Collin’s Colorado. Joe’s humor is usually from left field and a little dry. “Did ya see that bumper sticker that  said, “honk if you love Jesus, text if you want to  meet Him,?” ask Joe. “No I didn’t Joe, but that’s funny, that’s funny stuff,” I  shot back “Did I tell ya my pirate joke?” ask Joe. “I’m not sure, I responded, try me again.” “This pirate  goes into a tavern. He has a peg leg, a hook for his right arm and a patch over  his eye. Joe goes on, the bar keep says, “I’ve seen a lot of pirates, friend but you are the best  lookin’ pirate I’ve ever seen. Do you mind if I ask you how you lost yer leg?”  he mumbled. “No, not at all, says the pirate. I was on me pirate ship and had drunk a wee too much rye and me  fell overboard and a shark came up and snatched me leg and away he went. The  boys helped me back on board.” “Wow! That’s some story, tell me how did you lose that  arm?” wondered the bar keep. “Well mate, I was on me pirate ship and was  tussling with one of me ship mates. I had had a little to much rye and he got the best of me and off the  ship I went. A big shark swam by and snatched me right arm and off he went.”  “Man, you have had some really rough luck, how did you lose that eye?” “Well sir, I was on me  pirate ship and looking up at the mast to be sure the sails were in order when a  sea gull flew over and he dumped right in me eye.

IT WAS ME FIRST DAY WITH ME HOOK!” “Now that’s  funny Joe, that’s really funny,” I praised my friend Joe. You see, gentle  readers that is a good example of what goes on down at the T Bar Inn over coffee a good part of  the time. I ask you, “is that not a fun way to start the morning?” I told Joe  that I was going to use his “stuff” in my column. His only request was that I spell his name correctly.  “It’s JOE, Jack, JOE, be sure you get it right.” Well, I may have taken some  liberties with the way he gave his request, but really, who cares? On my way to the bank on me  Harley this morning after coffee I stopped at our only stop light in town. A  comical lookin’ feller pulled up beside me on an old Harley. He was really skinny, had a full beard and  was wearing one of those “Snoopy” aviator leather hats tied under his chin. We  glanced at one another  I had my juke box playing some Waylon on the speakers when he nodded  and ask, “you headed to the interstate?” “No sir, I’m headed up the street to  the bank, or I’d run with ya.” I just assumed that he wanted me to run with him for a  while. I was flattered because he was the real deal. He had his bed roll and all  he could get on that ole Harley and a “free spirit” he was. I was just a “poser” on a  Harley and that’s all I’ll ever be. Just an old cowboy playin’ “biker”. Just the  same I felt validated. I went south, he headed to
the interstate. Just one of those little moments  like hearing some “funny stuff,” that sort of makes your day start off on the  right foot. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. By the way, please  support you local rodeo and have a ‘SAFE 4th of July. DON’T START ANY FIRES BY  BEING STUPID!


Kids Say The Darndest Things 

Gentle readers, one of my  favorite people of all times was Art Linkletter and if you are over fifty you  have at least heard of him. He was a television personality long  ago and far away. He loved to interview little kids  because as we all know, “kids say the darndest things”. In one segment he was  observing a little girl about three or four years of age as she was drawing a picture. “”What are you  drawing there honey?” ask Art. “I’m drawing a picture of God!” she quietly  responded. “That’s nice, but did you know that no one has ever seen God so we don’t know what  he looks like?” he prodded. “She never looked up from her masterpiece and  responded with,” well, they do now!”

Is that not the best or what? I have friends that live up in the Red Feather Lakes area of Colorado just west of the O-NO and they are subject to this huge fire that is burning up so much of our forest and family homes. They  brought their motor home and cargo trailer loaded with personal items down here  to a safer place. We were talking about our grandkids yesterday and Rosemary told me about  the time she was driving through the Nebraska country side with one of her  little grandsons. “Hey Grandma, look at all those new cows out in the field.” “They are  pretty, but what makes you think that they are new cows?” she asked. “THEY STILL  GOT THEIR PRICE TAGS IN THEIR EARS!” he blurted out. Funny stuff, I have to tell ya  Charlie Brown, little kids are so precious in their little uncluttered minds.  Years ago at the Denver Stock Show a grandma was telling me that she and her husband were showing cattle  there and she needed to run an errand in a poor part of Denver. She had her  little grandson with her and they stopped at a red light in front of a rescue mission. On the  corner was an old dirty guy holding up a sign that read, “JESUS HEALS”. After  they had driven a block or two in silence the lad pops up with,  “Grandma, what did that  sign say that old man was holding up?” “Well, sweetheart, it said Jesus  heals.” “Grandma, if Jesus is a heeler, who heads for Him?” The boy’s dad and Grandpa must have been team  ropers? When son Andy was a mere lad of  three I took him into Amarillo with me to the feed store. On the way we passed a ravine off to the side of the road that  had a big cottonwood tree in it. Underneath the tree a couple was makin’ love in  broad day light! I ain’t makin’ this up.
Andy was standing up beside me in the seat (before  seatbelt laws) and offered, “Daddy, why is that man fightin’ with that lady? why  Daddy? Will she be okay?” “I think she will be fine,” I mumbled as I pushed the pedal  to the metal in order to escape as fast as possible. They grow up way to fast  and I relish those memories of the past with my kids and grandkids and to often wish I could  have “do-overs’ so I could relive those special times. They have to grow up and  have kids of their own so they too can enjoy what you and I have enjoyed, right? You  betcha! If you are a person of prayer, remember our firefighters and all that  are involved in these terrible days and of course
all those families that have lost all. Stay tuned,  check yer cinch on occasion and keep your ears open for cute comments from the  little ones and I’ll c.y’all, all y’all.
     Fire and All  
Gentle readers, I was in our local BK  this morning having a two dollar breakfast. Occasionally I would glance out the  window and observe all the smoke that was drifting off the mountain down into our little burg. Yep,  another huge forest fire was ripping away just west of our community. I was  thinking about all the property being lost and as far as I knew maybe some lives. There was a couple  in their late forties (I’m guessing) sitting not to far away and when they  finished their meal they got up and the guy turned and looked at me as if I was “answer man”.  “How long has that far (fire) been burnin’?” he asked. “Well, it started day  before yesterday from what I understand,” I replied. “Boy it looks like a bad’un.” he offered.”  “Yes sir, it’s going to do a lot of damage before it’s all said and done.” I  shot back. “I hear they’re doin’ some drilling up here in this country?”  “Yep, they are, in fact  they drilled a well right near my house this past year,” I mumbled. “Gas or all  (oil)?” he asked. “It’s all” (oil) I answered. “That’s even better cause gas is really cheap now,” he offered.  “Where are you guys from?” (as if I had to ask) “We’re from Texas, Buffalo,  Texas.”  “No kiddin’, I shot back. “I’m an old Texas boy myself. I know a little about where you  live. That’s just south of Abilene, right,” I asked. “No sir, it’s south of  Corsicana ’bout forty miles.” “Hummm, well I guess I don’t know as much about Texas as I thought.”  “Yer thinkin’ ’bout Buffalo Gap. Now that’s just south of Abilene.” “You’re  right, I said, I got the two mixed up.” “Where are you headed?” I asked. “We’re goin’ to Montana up to  that Glacier Park. We come up here every year and go to Montana or some place  here in Colorado or Wyoming.” We said our good byes and out the door they went. I  got to thinking it was kinda’ nice to hear and speak a little “Texan” this  morning over breakfast. I used to talk just
like that. You know that “far and all”. Over the  years I have begun to speak a little crisper and not drag out my words into the  next county. Folks are folks anywhere and everywhere they come from and I was refreshed to  hear soft spoken friendly Texans express themselves the way they had been taught  since childhood. Years ago I pondered the street language spoken from the  ghettos in our large cities around America. I just could not believe that people  couldn’t speak any better than that. It dawned on me that I was just as handicapped when I  was speakin’ “Texan” to people that were not used to that long drawn out  delivery. We speak in our native tongue and it doesn’t matter if it’s a New Jersey dialect  or it’s from Georgia. We just speak what we have been influenced by our  environment to speak. Just the same I relished
my little “far and all” experience this morning.  Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and be darn sure you don’t toss that  cigarette butt out the window and that your campfire is completely out! I’ll c. y’all, all  y’all.


A Cowboy’s Rain 

 I have had “rain on the  brain” for the last few weeks. I reckon that’s because I just can’t seem to  bargain one to arrive here at the O-NO Ranch. My neighbors off to the east and south of me have had better luck. I got to thinking about some of the rains that I have enjoyed and been somewhat dismayed by in past. To a cowboy I think, or it’s just my opinion, that  “rain” can mean different things at certain times. By that I mean some of those  rains are so special and such a “God Sent” they are never forgotten. Other times I  remember rains that caused so much destruction that one could only hope it  wouldn’t rain another drop for a long time to come. I remember moving to that little ranch at McLean, Texas. Just a little eight section ranch full of sagebrush, sand and some good solid short grasses.

The day we got mostly moved in and it came a really  hard shower. The sun seem to explode in the west just before it went down. I  walked down to the corral just to see the horses. None of which were mine but I  judged them to be good ranch horses as my boss was in the business of raising  Quarter horses. He lived some forty miles away and I was hired to operate this  little cow ranch. When I stepped outside the air was cool and the smell of rain  coming off the sagebrush was more than refreshing. It was a good smell. I was in new  territory. A new place with pastures I had yet to ride and country I had yet to  see. I was thirty four years old and “I was a cowboy”. It was just a few short years after that I was managing a large steer, cow/calf operation in a totally new and foreign country. It was foreign because I had never been in the lush clover and rye grass  and coastal Bermuda pastures of north central Texas. Great Scott, you can run a  cow on three or four acres. A new and terrifying experience for me to be handed  all the experience of raising hay, running a different type of cattle and trying  to manage a crew of men I knew
nothing about. One night in rained and it rained  and it rained some more. It rained twelve inches, children that’s a foot of  water in one night. The country was flooded.
    I didn’t know what to expect when I went over to my  office that morning and put on a pot of coffee for the crew coming in. I had the  radio on the local news and it was reported that the whole community was  surrounded by a lake of water. We lost long stretches of fences. I had over  forty cows with calves washed away down the flooded creek. Not all were washed away as we  found some impaled by branches in the Mulberry trees in the creek. I almost got  drowned in one of the flooded creeks when I discovered my pony never learned how  to swim. It was a terrible experience. One of those you just don’t ever forget  and you don’t want to see another raindrop for a long long time. There were those  winter days out in the wheat fields riding through hundreds of steers looking  for anything that showed any sign of sickness. It would be drizzling rain and you would  be so cold you absolutely could not stop shaking. The fear was you were going to  be the one that needed to go
to the sick pen, not any of your charges. “Lord, I  do need a rain. A gentle, soft day long rain to soften up the ground and quench  the thirsty roots of these old grasses.” I know, I know gentle readers, it will  rain just before it’s to late. I get a little impatient at times, it’s just one  of the chinks in my armor. Stay tuned, check your cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all  y’all.


Going Up In Smoke

Everybody,  well almost every one smoked when I was a kid growing up. My dad, my uncles and  some  of my aunts also smoked. It was a pleasurable thing to do. My bro and I would sneak a cigarette every  now and then from one of the above and slip off to become real men. At sixteen I  began to smoke full time as a lot of the kids did. I did hide it from the coaches at  school and some of the teachers. They knew, of course they did. In the sixties  the surgeon general came out with a report that flatly stated that smoking was hazardous to  one’s health. My brother in laws, my brother and my dad had already quit for the  most part. At thirty when son Andy was born I did not smoke in the house. I never was a  heavy smoker. I loved those cigarettes. A cup of coffee in the morning without a  smoke was sinful. When I decided to change my lifestyle from sales person to cowboy, of course  I had to smoke. You saw those Marlboro ads just like I did. Cowboys smoked no  two ways about it. I even got so confident that I would “roll my own” on occasion.  That’s what real cowboys do. They got that Bull Durham tag hangin’ out of their  shirt pocket. I heard about that Marlboro cowboy dying from lung cancer. I began to hear of  and see folks that I knew die and die hard from smoking and it began to scare  me. I cut back to just four or five smokes a day. Some twenty one years ago I was over at the  Flying M Ranch outside of Gunnison, Colorado for a couple of days to help friend  Wade work some of his cows. After dinner one night I left the main house and started  back up the hill to the bunk house and stopped to light a smoke. It was a cold  night and the stars were out as bright as could be. My God what a beautiful sight! I took a  couple of drags off the smoke and started up the hill. All of a sudden I  couldn’t get my breath in that thin cold night air.

It was the smokes. I knew exactly what my  problem was. I was a fifty year old man who had smoked off and on for over  thirty four years. I threw my smokes away and to this day I have not had a smoke of any kind  between my lips. Was it hard? Whoa! children it was hard but sometimes we have  to do things that are hard on us. My friend, dear friend, J.L. down in Texas sits in his  wheel chair with the hoses shoved up his nose to get oxygen so he can continue  to live. I and the rest of his family begged him all through the years to give up his  smokes. Two, sometimes three packs a day or more stained his fingers and filled  his lungs with crud. I visited with him this morning and it’s difficult to listen to him in  that condition. His brother who quit smoking years ago died from lung cancer in  his forties. My friend Jerry, who would come out to the Texas ranch on occasion and help me  rope and doctor wheat pasture cattle died a couple of years ago. His dad died in  his sixties from lung cancer. “I really need to quit these Jack,” said Jerry all  those years ago. He didn’t. I’m tellin’ ya guys and girls, if you are a smoker  heed my warning. “If smoking don’t kill ya, at some point and time you will feel so bad, you  might wish you were dead”! I know, I know, I had that uncle that died at 93 and  he smoked from the age of 14 until he died. If I were a betting man I would bet that  you can’t do what my uncle did. It’s hard to quit but with every drag of your  smoke part of your life goes up in the air with that drifting little cloud of crud. Take care  of yourself, set a good example, stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and  I’ll c y’all, all y’all.



Tell me , gentle readers, who doesn’t  like summertime? As we get older most likely it doesn’t mean as much to us as  when we were in school and thinking  about all the fun things we would get to enjoy in  those three special months we had away from our studies. Summertime for me when  I was a mere lad of nine or ten meant I would ride the old skinny paint  horse out to that windmill in the pasture and try to catch a yellow catfish.  Maybe, just maybe I would take my  22 single shot rifle and shoot a rabbit, skin it  and cook it over a little mesquite fire and force myself to eat some of it  regardless of how it taste or looked. A mountain man would surly do that wouldn’t he?  Always on the lookout for rattlesnakes as the pasture had it’s share of those  pesky and dangerous critters.

Then there was the new swimming pool there at  Sundown, Texas which was home to me and another 1492 hopeful souls. The swimming  pool came after a few short years and I was 13 or 14 years of age. At  14, my brother and I had those summertime jobs in the oil patch doing  construction work or whatever the “gang” might be doing on any particular day. Of  course we did not get involved in anything that was very dangerous where we  could get injured or worse. Like any kid that age I resisted getting up so early and  doing manual labor for eight hours but there was that old car my brother and I  desperately wanted to buy so we could have more freedom. You could get your  driver’s license at the age of 14 back in the “old days”. Only on rare occasion  did we ever date unless it was a church sponsored event. Most likely we would  drive around at night and spotlight rabbits to shoot. There was an outbreak of  some sort of “rabbit fever” or worm infestation in those rabbits where they  were being consumed by grub like worms and just flat eaten alive. If we had a  family vacation planned that year it was always exciting to know we would go  somewhere other than the drab landscape around Sundown, Texas. Hopefully it  would be the beautiful Colorado
Rockies. I miss being a kid. I mean a real kid. I’m  still a kid at heart and when I’m on ole Howdy, my fat paint hoss or on the  Harley screaming down the interstate, I’m just a big ole kid havin’ some  summertime fun. I wish sometimes I was a kid again, and could do some of the  things I did back then when I was nine or ten. It would be so much fun to be ten  again. I’d be brown as a berry from riding the prairie and playing mountain man.  I wish I was a kid again so I could do some of the things I did back when I was  nine or ten. Well, I’m not nine or ten gentle readers, but I do look forward to  having my share of fun this summer and I wish the same for you. I do want to  remind you for your children’s sake, that sometimes the most gentle of horses  can and will hurt you really bad if you lose your focus. Be cool and have fun  and I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on  occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all


The Joy of Living

 It dawned on me once again today,  gentle readers, how much I enjoy living. Living is to be filled, I  believe, with all the joy we can cram into it. By the time you read this I will have turned 72 and one of my  sisters will have her 81st birthday on the same day. There are certain times  when KAPOW! I am sucker punched by the joy I receive from living. I was out on the  Harley today after my morning swim in the cement pond and stopped off at our  local Burger King for a cup of senior coffee. That fifty two cents that I pay for coffee  is just one of the small joys in life. There was a grandpa with two of his  little grandkids in there also. I observed how much this feller was enjoying those two little  ones. Man were they a cute pair.There was one little girl of two and a boy about  five. I thought about my own grandkids and how much I enjoyed them when they were just  tykes like these two. Of course I still enjoy them. I go to their track meets  and watch them compete with kids their own age and older. I gotta’ tell ya, I got some  fast grandkids but it just makes me realize how fast they have grown up and how  fast time is passing for me.

   When I’m on my ol’ fat paint hoss,  Howdy, and riding back up to the house from the back side of the place and  realize I’m looking at these beautiful Rocky Mountains some twenty miles to the West. Snow capped peaks  under an awesome blue sky. I dreamed about such a time when I was a little boy  in the flat land of West Texas.
I wanted to see mountains when I looked off  to the West but there was nothing but low hanging clouds at times and I made  them into my mountains. I would be out riding my skinny paint hoss through the mesquite on  a hot summer’s day and my mind would wander back to some time or other when we  had gone to the mountains for our summer vacation. I wanted to be a cowboy up  in the mountains. It happened! When I was a mere lad I was always drawing  horses, cowboys,whatever slipped  out of my brain into that crayon or #2 pencil.  Could I ever draw something that someone might want to buy? I could and I have.  I was drawing cartoons this week for The Fence Post and several other papers that I’m  committed to and I was happy with the results. It brought me joy to realize I  was capable of doing something that I have always enjoyed all of my life. I have  discovered over the years that I can put my thoughts into words and place them  in such a way that you the reader (you have told me) that you look forward to reading.  That brings me great joy to know you like some of what I do.
    Of course there is a great deal  of sadness that will occur in our lives,some more dreadful than what someone  else might have to endure. I have lost my wife, one sister and many, many good friends that I miss  dearly. Some suffered greatly but I also know that all of the above had great  and consuming joy in their lives at one time or another. I have been blessed for sure. In  spite of the hurt I have endured at times, God has surly blessed me in so many  ways, More ways I bet than I could count. Gentle readers, through your trials and  tribulations, look for that joy that will at some time come your way. Grab onto  it and try your best not to let it get away. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and  I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


The Waltz 

I love to dance, gentle  readers, I really do. It’s one of my most favorite things to do. I have been  told that I am a pretty fair country and western dancer. I know, I know, I sound  a little pretentious and maybe a wee bit smug. Dizzy Dean,  that famous baseball picture, always said , ” if ya done, it ain’t braggin’ “. I  got an email today from a dancing partner from the past that is dating someone else and after dancing with  her once last night she requested that I always save her a waltz. Just one,  could I just set aside one waltz during the course of the evening. She assured me her boyfriend wouldn’t  mind. I told her I would. The waltz is my favorite dance as it is sort of a  sweeping eloquent dance. I am not a ballroom dancer I am just an old country boy that has always been an admirer  of folks that really were smooth with the waltz. My “little Miss Martha,” bless  her heart, was not a dancer. She had very little rhythm and was very uncomfortable on the dance  floor. We never went dancing and I really missed it all those years. After she  passed away I began to go out some months later and tune up my dancing skills. As a result I have  a good many dancing partners and I really enjoy taking some young cutie that  wants to get on the dance floor and learn how to two step, waltz, polka, cha cha or whatever and  get her started. I know, I know that sounds a wee bit pretentious, but Dizzy  Dean said, “…………………………..

    I was raised in a Southern Fried  Baptist family and dancing was not encouraged. My dad on occasion would come to  my brother’s and my room when our rock and roll music was playing and do a little dance step in the door way  and he had the biggest grin on his face. I had been told by my uncles that my  mom at one occasion played the piano in the local dance hall and my dad was the bouncer. I could tell  my dad missed dancing, I just some how knew it. When I was 14 and my brother 15  years of age our mom decided that being the “red necks” that we were, we should be exposed  to a little more culture. I had no idea what she was talking about. On our  summer vacation we went to ‘Orleans (New Orleans) and mom and dad has reservations in the Blue  Room at the Roosevelt Hotel. That was a big deal back in the fifties. My bro and  I had to wear our little white dinner jackets and black pants and dad was in a suite and mom in an evening  dress. When we were seated to eat, dad ordered two glasses of wine. I was  shocked, but tickled to think that maybe my parents were normal. They, of course didn’t drink it, they  were Southern Fried Baptist and their two boys were there. The band struck up a  waltz tune and our folks grinned at each other and got up and excused them selves and I never in my  life witnessed such gracefulness and “culture” as they glided around the dance  floor. I was never to forget that sight. They hadn’t  ever danced before that I ever knew of. When I was  in college I took a dance class and learned how to waltz. It’s my favorite dance  you know. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all  y’all.



 Gentle readers, I soundly  believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day especially for farm  and ranch families. Agreed? You just gotta’ have that ole tummy full and ready to face a long day sometimes of uncertainty. As a widower sometimes it’s a little hard to want to put together a big breakfast because you have to fix it and then clean up afterwards. This morning I had biscuits, gravy, sausage and coffee. Believe it or not it was easy to prepare! No longer do I use the bacon grease and flower  and milk to make my gravy. Nope, sure don’t. Listen up girls. I know you already  know this, but you may not.

They now have powdered mixes for gravy. That’s  right, just add water or milk or both and heat and stir. Get this:: I found  CANNED gravy last week. I ain’t makin’ this up. Swanson makes a sausage and gravy  already to pour out and heat. Now it has an acquired taste. At first I thought  it tasted like dog food!
  However with the recent political discussions about  traveling dogs and eating dogs, my assumption is not out of line. Breakfast was  easy this morning. Put the prepared biscuits in the oven, heat up the  canned gravy, and put a couple of already cooked Jimmy Dean sausages in the  microwave and Ka Pow! breakfast and a pretty darn good one at that. Now  there was that one time when I had the breakfast that wasn’t. Yep, it happened  this way: I was working for the historic LX Ranch north of Amarillo, Texas  back when I was starting my cowboy career. We were going to go neighbor with the  Coldwater Cattle Company as they were adjoining neighbors and need  some help gathering, sorting cows and branding calves. Both these ranches were  big outfits and covered lots of country. The cow boss had told us  not to eat as we would have breakfast with the Coldwater crew when we got there.  I got up at three a.m.,fed my hoss, drank a quick cup of coffee, loaded my  pony and headed for the headquarters where I would meet up with the rest of our  ranch crew and we would head to the Coldwater Cattle Company. We  needed to be there by 4 a.m. so we would have time for breakfast and get to the  gathering pasture by the time the sun was coming up. We were traveling  across that ole sandy ranch road when we had a blow out on the trailer. We  unloaded four horses and changed the tire and got to the Coldwaters’ just as  they were finishing breakfast. Frank was our cow boss and he didn’t want to keep  their crew from heading to the pasture on time so he declined their  offer to wait while we gulped down a quick breakfast. My heart sank as I looked  at the biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs with sausage and bacon and what  appeared to be homemade jams. I was so hungry I could have eaten the tablecloth  with what crumbs were on it. I felt even worse when the Coldwater cow  boss said, “you guys better eat something cause’ we may not get to eat lunch  until afternoon! “No, No, we’re fine, said Frank, lets go get them cows  gathered.” “Way to go Frank,” I muttered to myself as I reached and grabbed a  biscuit to put in my pocket as we headed for the door. It’s funny how you never  ever forget those little things that have happened to you when you are  desperate. Well, I’m desperate for this wind to quit blowing and I really could  use some rain, really! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.y’all,  all y’all.



Gentle readers, while listening  to the radio this morning I picked up on a little known fact. That little know  fact is that in Colorado children can be administered corporal punishment. In other words, they can be spanked  with a wooden paddle. You never hear of a child being sent to the principal’s  office for a spanking. At least, that is my impression. I know that if a parent spanks his  child at home and said child goes to school and says, “my daddy beat me, or my  mommy whipped me,”  that parent is most likely to receive a visit from the long arm of  the law! I’ve also heard it reported that a study was done on this very subject  and the conclusion was that kids that get

spanked turn out to be more difficult that those  that were not spanked. Hummmm, I have a little problem with that but I don’t  think that my brother and I turned out to badly: he was a church pastor for over thirty years  and I am a gentle, sweet, funny, quiet retired gentleman. Yes, in the  past I have had a few bar room fights, I  ride a Harley, and love to hang out with fun loving folks. I don’t  drink, try not to swear in public and I love to pester little children. I have  six grandkids and I think they all love me and respect
me as well as my own two kids and yes they were  spanked when we felt it was necessary. One of my little granddaughters was  riding behind her dad one day up in the mountains. He was wearing a pistol. When she went  to slide off the horse she bumped her little head on the butt of the gun and it  made a slight bruise. The next day at school her teacher noticed the little bruise on the  side of her temple and ask what happened. “Oh, well, my daddy hit me in the head  with his pistol,” she offered. The teacher was not alarmed as she was familiar with  both my son and his wife. However, the next time my son showed up at school, the  teacher made some comment
like, “now let’s not be hitting our children with  our pistols anymore.” They both “laffed” after he explained what actually  happened.
   I’m curious, I wonder if country kids  get more spankings than their counter parts in the city? I think that they might  just because there are more ways to get into trouble on the ranch or the farm than I believe  there is in a neighborhood environment. Many times in the neighborhood there are  to many witnesses like moms, other kids, etc. so it has to be tougher to get  into to much trouble until the teenage years. I have mentioned before that I got  a “whuppin” my first day in high school and another “whuppin” just before I graduated. I  did not resent the paddling as I knew I brought them on myself. I surely don’t  believe in beating your child in any form or fashion, but I am not opposed to a child getting  a swat on the buttock when it’s necessary to prevent them from harming  themselves or refusing to behave.
   Again, I strongly believe that kiddos  raised in a country environment are blessed to have responsibilities for chores  and what ever that keep them occupied and helps them to think for themselves and it also  gives them opportunities to solve little problems on their own. I’m gonna’ have  to give myself a spankin’ if I don’t get outside and get some work done. Have a great week,  love your little ones, stay tuned, and check yer cinch on occasion. I’ll c.  y’all, all y’all.
The Art of Aging

 I do believe, gentle readers, that  most of us, if not all of us want to age well. By that I mean we would like to  look as good as possible for as long as we can until we reach the point of just not giving a hoot one way or the  other. In a few short days I will have number 72! I don’t feel like I am  supposed to be 72 but that’s what my birth certificate and the calendar indicate. I doubt if there is going to be anyone that mistakes me for being 52. I’m just grateful to have lived as long as I have without a lot of serious illness.

  When “little Miss Martha” was alive we both enjoyed  hangin’ with folks that were younger than ourselves. We always had a youthful  spirit and believe me she could hang with folks ten years her junior and no one would no  the difference. She always looked young and beautiful until the cancer took  over. She was still beautiful to me at the most dreadful of times. I will have to be honest here  and tell you that if she hadn’t passed away I most likely would not be in the  good shape that I am in now. I would not be going
swimming every week or dancing twice a week nor  would I be as careful about what I eat and how much I eat. I have always felt  more comfortable around people that were a few years younger than myself and still do. My  girlfriend is addicted to exercise and her dedication has worked well for her. I  saw on the news the other night where an award was given to this lady in Denver that had been and  still was teaching an exercise class I believe for over forty years. She is  NINETY FIVE years old and wears out most of her
younger students during their classes. I couldn’t  believe all of the different exercises she was demonstrating for the television  camera. Whoa! what a gal.
   Speaking of television, you wont see  an anchor man that doesn’t have hair like an evangelist and a square jaw like  that California Gov….what was his name? Swatzanarger?
  The female anchors have to be pretty, well dressed  and well spoken and mostly not showing to many wrinkles. Smart and beautiful,  that’s what it’s come down to in this country. Well, I take that back you can be  smart and not so beautiful and I offer up Bill Gates and James  Carval as examples. Just kidding of course. We had a news weather reporter once in Amarillo by the name of  Bill ———-. Bill could pass for Howdy Doodie as a look a like. He was  alerting the Amarillo area of a severe weather system that was fast approaching. “Expect extreme  lightning and heavy PEA and rain sized hail!’ said Bill. Bill was always smiling  regardless of what disaster might be behind the curtains. Bill was let go not to long after that.  No, he wasn’t pretty and he wasn’t always well spoken, but by golly, Bill was  always smiling.
   I think if you care about your looks  as you get older you can get a LIFESTYLE LIFT that pulls most of the wrinkles  out of your face. However if your body has fallen apart I wouldn’t worry so much about getting’ that done.  Exercise, exercise and more exercise will help you to look younger and feel  younger and it won’t hurt to eat an orange every day and a salad a couple of times a week.  There again if you are comfortable being overweight and out of shape and  listless and just don’t give a darn…I’d say expect your spouse to upgrade your life insurance policies  and don’t be offended when they do. Old age is what ya make of it gentle  readers, and I’m gonna’ make mine last as long as I’m comfortable on this old earth. Stay  tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all  y’all.
   I have written in past columns about  this wonderful dog I call Clancy. I call him Clancy because that was his name  when I got him out of jail. Actually, I rescued him from the local animal shelter. That has been almost  four years to the day. He hadn’t been on puppy chow in a long long time. He was  five years old then and now he’s nine. I had some reservations about ol’ Clancy  right after I got him home. He is a German Sheppard and a rather large one at  that. I decided we would play catch with a rock. I picked it up, his ears went up and when I  threw it he ran and got it post haste. He then lay down with the rock between  his front paws and dared me to come get it. I crawled on all fours up to him and we are now  eye to eye. When I reached for the rock he growled low and meaningful. I slapped  him across the top of his head with the palm of my hand and our pecking order was  established right then and there. I have to tell you gentle readers that this  dog of mine is the most trustful, honest,  watchful and obedient dog I have ever owned. He  also is my buddy and he watches me closely when we are together. He usually  walks about three feet in front of me always looking back to be sure that he is on course and  I’m okay. When I am outside he will circle the house about every fifteen to  twenty minutes to be sure all is well. What
a great dog. He is mindful of my guest and  approaches them slowly and sniffs them out. No one and I mean no one has reached  down to pet him until they are sure he is sure they are acceptable. If you were to get out  and grab me to hug me (most likely you wouldn’t) and he didn’t know you, we  might have a serious problem.
   I was sitting on the back deck  yesterday eating my daily orange. He came over and sat down in front of me and  with ears erect and that personal stare that German Sheppard’s have, he ask for a bite of my orange.  Knowing that dogs don’t eat oranges, I told him that he wouldn’t like it. He  assured me that he would like to taste it simple because I was eating it. I gave in and broke  off a small piece and extended my hand and he took it gently from me. He looked  at me as if I had in mind to punish him and he spit it out. He gazed at it momentarily  then picked it back up and chewed slightly and then spit it out again. Again he  picked it up chewed it and down it went into his tummy. He politely ask for another  piece of my orange. I gave him another and another and another until he had  devoured almost half of what I came out on the deck to eat for myself. I just came in from  the back deck where ol’ Clancy and I shared another orange. Some dog this dog of  mine. Like me he is getting a little long in the tooth and time is not on his  side at least for being as full of energy as he once was. There go I. He groans  when he lays down, but so do I. We have
a lot in common, that Clancy and me. He is not a  house dog, he doesn’t like it in the house nor do I want him in here with his  hair and dog odors. He wouldn’t want me in his dog house either, I betcha’. I know most  of you have pets. Could be your pet is a jackass, a rabbit, a snake, a horse, a  dog, a cat or a mongoose.   Whatever they might be I trust they bring you pleasure and  visa versa. That’s why we have them I reckon. I know that it’s popular now to  take dogs into nursing homes, into prisons and anywhere they are needed to help folks  regardless of their condition or conviction, if it will help to rehabilitate or  make strong their resolve. There are dogs on the police force, in the armed services and  on search and rescue teams. No cats, nope you won’t find a cat on the police  force, they are more cut out to be burglars, you know, cat burglars.  Well, this  column has gone on to long. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, pet your  pet, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


     Gentle readers, you know  exactly how far it is to the next windmill if you are a cowboy prowlin’ the  pastures on a large ranch in the panhandle of Texas. We are talkin’ summertime  now and not the dead of winter. It gets hot down in Texas and that windmill may be the only available source for drinking water. There seems to always be a breeze in that part of the country and you can expect that windmill fan to be at least  slowly turning and making that familiar creaking sound. There is always that tin  cup made from a can of beans or whatever with a bailing wire handle twisted around it for comfort and to give it  a place to be hung from the tower usually on a cedar post that is bracing one  leg of the windmill. When it’s really really hot and youarrive at that sweet oasis the first thing you do  is allow your ol’ pony to drop his head in the large metal tank that the water  first drains into before running out the discharge pipe into an
earthen tank or pond as some would call it. That  ol’ tin cup may be “rattlin” just a little in the breeze….just makes it all  the better. Most windmills in that country have good sweet water.
However, some have water that has so much gyp and  alkali that it’s hardly worth the trip. Water is water and if you are dried out  enough and thirsty enough that ol’ alkali water is good enough for the moment. In the summer you have to  check all the windmills because that’s where the cattle usually are shaded up  under the mesquites chewin’ their cuds and slappin’ at flies with their tails at certain times of the  day. That’s most likely where any sick cattle are going to be, close to water.  Little Miss Martha always had a “thing” for windmills as she
loved to hear that “creaking” sound late on a  summer’s eve just before the sun went down. There are paintings of windmills in  my house as I write. As a lad of ten or twelve I remember one distinct Sunday morning in the little First  Baptist Church in Sundown, Texas on a hot summer morning. The pastor ask one of  the local cowboys to give the closing prayer. I was into anything that had to do with horses or cowboys  as we lived on the historic Mallett Ranch just west of town. I paid close  attention to what this ol’ cowboy had to say. I didn’t close
my eyes and watched him closely. I remember him in  Levis and a khaki shirt. Boy did he ever have a red neck? His words were simple  as you might expect and this is the way I remember most of the prayer,” Dear Lord, thank you  for the blessings of this day and all it has brought forth. Make us mindful of  your presence daily. If it’s in yer will, we could sure use a little rain, it would be as welcome as (this  is the part that I remember well) as a cool drink of windmill water from a tin  cup.” And with that he closed his prayer. I never forgot
the part about the windmill water. There is just  something about the way a cowboy lets simple words of wisdom slip eloquently  from his lips. Stay tuned my friends, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.y’all, all  y’all.


Survivor’s Guilt
Gentle readers, most all  of you, if not all, have heard the term “survivor’s guilt”. It’s a real thing.  You hear horror stories from soldiers that have come back from the war zone and if they survived an terrible incident  where most of their comrades were killed, they always with remorse talk about  how guilty they feel for being alive when their best friends were taken. I felt that way when Little Miss Martha passed away. I had cancer too, why did I get well and she didn’t? I ask myself that a million times.
Now that I have put a tag on this column I am going  to switch horses and talk about a softer survivor’s guilt. Today the wind is  blowing as is the norm for March. The weather girl said last night that this month of  March was going into the record books as the driest March in the recorded  weather history in Colorado. It’s dry. It’s very very dry and the wind has blown it seems like  forever. I do live in windy country up here close to the Wyoming border so I  expect more wind than my neighbors to the south of me. My neighbors to the south have had  just about as much wind as I have had this winter and spring. The winter was  milder than normal and certainly drier than normal.
   Last year during the summer when I  would visit with my family and friends down in the old country of Texas, they  would bemoan how wretched dry and hot it was. They prayed until many times they felt  they had prayed themselves out. It didn’t rain. It still hasn’t rained in a  large portion of West Texas and some other regions as well. Each and every time I would visit  with them I could tell without asking they they were struggling to find an  escape from the daily grind of hot and dry and tomorrow will be hotter and drier.
    I would feel  survivor’s guilt because I was having a nice summer with abundant grass for the  livestock and no ration on my water usage. I finally reached the point of trying to  make an end run around the weather issue because I would feel so badly for them  after our conversations were over.
   They felt bad and I felt bad for feeling good about our  weather situation. Survivor’s guilt. I told my brother down at Andrews, Texas,  “bro, you guys will get beyond this and I would almost bet ya that come next spring we here  in Colorado will be entering into a drought and you guys will be getting much  needed rain.” Me thinks that I may have made a probable prediction.
    We had a grass  fire a couple of weeks ago just west of my place that burned up close to 700  acres of grass. Thank goodness no buildings or houses were lost. It did burn right up  to and around a number of homes and some folks were instructed to get out. It  really doesn’t look good for our future weather. We have no systems moving in that  have the capacity to produce any moisture. Some parts of West Texas have had  some rain and central Texas has received a good amount of rain up to the north. 
    I am glad that I did suffer some survivor’s guilt over the Texas drought last  summer and now I can really whine and moan if we should suffer the same fate here in  Colorado this summer. I don’t think anyone wants to hear me whine, right? All it  will take is a couple of really good rains. It is what it is, take it or leave  it. We can talk about the weather and we usually do every day, we just  can’t do anything about it. It’s as simple as that.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.  y’all, all y’all.
Ranch Kids
      After reading Gwen  Petersen’s recent column in The Fence Post about the Department of Labor trying  to put the big WHOA on what chores farm and ranch kids may or may not do  around the farm and ranch I paused to reflect and luminate  on the matter. I think it’s sad enough that our young boys are, in my opinion,  being turned into sissies so much of the time due to political correctness that we need to say something about it.  I also find it interesting that young girls in some places are joining fight  clubs and try to pull each other’s hair out and maybe some teeth to go along with it to prove how tough they are. Girls  and women have always been tough competitors when the need has arisen. I believe  we need to teach our kids to be prepared to take care of themselves. I do not like the idea of fight clubs  for girls or boys. I do like the idea of self defense classes for young and old.
   One of my artist buddies from Texas sent me an old copy of a cartoon book called Out Our Way. It is full of cowboy cartoons and stories from the 1920’s and illustrated by one J. R. Williams. J. R. was the cowboy cartoonist of his day back in the  early part of the last century. In one cartoon he draws a lad of about eight  years of age on his pony in a pen full of half wild cows with big  horns. The boy has his rope tied to his saddle horn and is  swinging his loop. Dad is in the corral sorting cows and mom is on the fence and  she screams at her husband, “WHAT IF HE CATCHES ONE WITH THAT ROPE TIED TO HIS SADDLE?” Dad calmly  replies, “Well, he’s got to learn to take care of himself sometime!” That most  likely was the way most ranch kids were raised back then.
   I’m sure that is still the norm for a lot of farm and ranch kids today. It’s obviously not the first time this lad has been on a horse around a bunch of cows or his first time to swing a rope. He has some idea even at his age what he might be in for.  My mind wanders back to our ranching days in Texas running several thousand head  of yearlings on wheat pasture. Our kids grew up in the saddle and they cherished every moment as best I  can tell. I would not have made them ride horses and work cattle if I knew that  they weren’t having a great time and getting a foundation under them that would serve them well for the remainder  of their lives. There were many times when we would be trying to gather four or  five hundred head of unruly eight hundred pound steers that felt
the need to pull a run a way and scatter from heck  to breakfast before we got them penned. My kids were around seven and nine years  of age and I, for the most part, just had to leave them to their own devises and hope their horse didn’t  stumble as the cowboy crew, myself and the kids were splitting a purty fair  sized hole in the wind. We were running wide open. I could glance  around
to see my little ones holding their own. They knew  where and where not to be and I have to tell you gentle readers, a dad could not  be more proud. When a cowboy sees his child rope and drag their first calf to the branding fire he or she  just about bust open with pride. Farm and ranch kids have always been given many  opportunities to get injured around the farm or ranch. Many have.
   Some have been maimed and even killed. I had a  neighbor share with me when he and his wife came home to find their eleven year  old son lying in the corral dead. He apparently tried to jump off the corral fence on to the back of one of the  ranch horses and been kicked or stomped. Kids have been killed in the city while  riding their bikes down the street. They have been killed while playing an innocent game like baseball. Yes, even  some killed by an irate parent for little or no reason at all. Life is tough. I  been there and done that and many of you have also in a more abundant way than myself. We need to raise decent  kids that can think for themselves. We need our kids to have confidence not  cocaine or meth. We need them to learn respect if they desire to be respected. I don’t know of a better way to do  that than on a farm or a ranch. Do you? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion  and I’ll c.y’ll, all y’all!



 Yep, gentle readers, in a few more  weeks it will be time for us here in the country to be watchful for those pesky  rattlers. They will be coming out of their winter hibernation and wanting to warm up and find a good meal. As most of you  know I am not a fan of rattle snakes. I kill them where ever I find them.

  I had  a horse bitten last year and that can be a costly recovery if things don’t go well. He was bitten on the nose and suffered greatly. I have had rattlers in the garage, flower bed, my yard and any and every where. I almost stepped on one in the back yard and again out at my mailbox. I was watching The  Discovery channel last night and it was about folks that try to entertain crowds  by playing with dangerous vipers. In this case, rattlesnakes.

We have to go to Texas for this little story. Oh  boy, Texas again. Well, it appears this old redneck who considered himself an up  and coming snake charmer was going to set a new record for climbing in a sleeping bag full of  diamondback  rattlers. He would need to have at least twenty one snakes in the  bag with him before he could set a new record.
  Come on now Charlie Brown, how stupid can you be? Is it bravado, lack  of common sense or just being one of those, “hey y’all, watch this” kind of  guys?   The day before his stunt he convinced a young woman to participate by crawling in there with him.
   Boy would that ever be something to be talked about for years to come. In their practice run with both of them in the sleeping bag head to toe with seventeen rattlers, one snake gets angry and bites  him on the back of the head. He remains calm if you can call it that but the  girl is wanting to get the H……..out of Dodge! They remove  all the snakes, the girl gets out and the old  feller is examined and it is discovered that the bite apparently did not  break the skin.
  Now, folks, I’m going to take a wild guess here and suppose that maybe, just maybe these guys are smart enough  to milk the venom out of these snakes before they do these stunts. Wouldn’t you? 
  Anyhooo, the next day when it’s show time and the crowd has gathered, the girl has flat out  refused to participate. So our old snake charmer gets in the bag, they put  twenty three diamond back rattlers in there with him. Then they zip the bag up with just him and the snakes.
  Man  that is one smart feller in there with them snakes don’t you guys think? Not! I  digress, They unzip the bottom of the bag where his feet are and grab him by his ankles and just drag him  out. Right about now he is feeling like King Kong. He is the man of the hour.  After all, he just spent about ten minutes in a sleeping bag with a bunch of rattlesnakes.
  Just looking at the  crowd around him I saw this look on their faces, “man is that the dumbest thing  you ever seen in your life?” That’s exactly the way I felt. Oh well, to each his own. Please don’t try this at  home. It is only done by brain dead, lonely people that need lots of attention.  To bad it had to be in the old country, Texas. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all  y’all.


            The Cowboy Brain 

Gentle readers,  there has at times been much discussion around the campfire, the bunk house and  the local café or bar about the “smarts” that a cowboy or cowgirl might have in between their ears.  Personally, I think most cowboys, we’re talkin’ working ranch cowboys, feed lot  cowboys or cowboys that have fallen on hard times and had to wrangle  “dudes” to get by for a while are usually pretty savvy. Now I don’t consider  most bull riders to be cowboys. I do realize they carry that tag because they dress  up like cowboys when they perform in the arena. There are exceptions, of course,  as there are working ranch cowboys that come to town to ride bulls or  rough stock during the local rodeo. To me, a “cowboy” is someone who works on a  ranch and looks after someone else’s cattle. It’s just that plain and  simple. With that out of the way let me get to the subject matter once again.  Most cowboys are comfortable pokin’ fun at themselves and any one else that is  handy they feel needs to be stirred up a little. Now my poem…The Cowboy Brain.  (as a sidebar, I do admire anyone that rides rough stock, real cowboy or  not)

The cowboy brain is hard to explain,
is it part of their soul or just up there pluggin a  hole?
Jest give me a sec to lay it all out
and you’ll be amazed, there ain’t no  doubt.
The year is now 2045 and scientist have  found
more ways to keep us alive.
Yessir, their latest discovery or slant is a
way to give us a brain transplant.
Her husband was ill with a cancer in his  head,
without this new procedure he soon would be  dead.
She went to the clinic where the brains were  stored.
They were stacked in jars from the ceiling to the  floor.


“Who’s brains am I viewing, what type of  brains
are available to me?”
“Well, ma’am, we have cowboy brains and  brains
from nuclear scientist with an I.Q. of  163.”


“We have brains from doctors, lawyers,  strippers,
housewives, bikers and such.
We’ll have what ya need and some just  don’t
cost all that much.”


“What are your prices?” she ask with
baited breath.
“You can get a cowboy’s brain for half a  million
or a doctor’s brain for three hundred thousand  less.”


“A cowboy’s brain, why so much? I am really  confused.”
The doc replied, “it’s simple really, the cowboy’s  brain
is so expensive because IT’S NEVER BEEN  USED!”
Stay tuned, dear children, check yer cinch on  occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


To Cry or not To Cry                                                              

      I don’t remember crying  much as a little boy and as far as that goes, my man hood was supposed to  prevent me from crying except on special occasions. I did cry when Duffy got run over in front of me and on purpose by one of my neighbors because the dog chased his cat. I was fourteen years old and I cried
like a baby. I was mad, mad and set out to get  revenge but it didn’t work out as      planned.  Another story for another day. I have been saddened by the
loss of special pets or a special horse. I have had  my eyes fill with tears on some of those occasions, but never cried. It would  have been okay to cry but I was raised up believing that maybe I should be  stronger than that. My folks did not necessarily instill that in me, I just  observed my dad and other men that I was exposed to. I didn’t cry when I lost my dad  or my mom. I was sad for my loss but they had lived long lives for the most part  and their passing was a blessing in a way because of health issues. I  certainly cried when I lost “Little Miss Martha”. That’s been nine years ago and  I still can get emotional when I relive some of those tragic days and times. I  have been present at some horrific accidents and have had images imprinted in my  brain that will never go away. I didn’t cry then because I didn’t know who  those mangled bodies were. I was very very sad especially when children were  involved. I believe that it’s good for us to cry when we feel the need. I think  it’s healthy to do so. We are going to have thousand and thousands of soldiers  coming home from the war zone that once they get home need to cry and cry a  lot. They will have been witness to things we can only imagine, terrible things  that will never leave their memory. Sometimes I do get amused when I hear a big  strapping football player being placed into the “ring of fame” in his home  stadium or maybe being inducted into the Football Hall Of Fame when he  tears up and can’t talk because of the honor that has been placed on him. I’m  thinking, “what’s he got to be crying about?” I think what makes him cry is the  very fact that his career if over and has been over for years and this is his  last “hurrah”. Maybe, maybe not. I really shouldn’t be the judge of that I  suppose. But given the type of men that they are and the type of game they have  played during their career, Ihave a hard time with the blubbering that goes with  the awards and recognition that has been heaped upon them. They didn’t cry when  they hurt an opposing player so badly he had to be removed from the game  and maybe for the rest of the season. They got a pat on the back. One more  thing…I have always believed that the reason that man or woman that  just passed me on a snow packed road at eighty miles an hour when they should be  doing sixty or less is because they have never been witness to those types  of terrible wrecks that I have seen. I believe like the bumper sticker says,  “drive like hell and you’ll get there sooner than expected”. Stay tuned, check  yer cinch on occasion, slow down and you may save my life and I’ll c. y’all, all  y’all!



    I think most of you gentle  readers know that I was born and raised in Texas and lived the first forty five  years of my life in the Lone Star State. I am proud to be a native  Texan in the same manner that folks from Colorado  are proud to be natives in this beautiful adoptive state of mine. Any one  should be proud of their birth place and I think that most  folks are. Of course I catch a ration of “you  Texans bla bla bla” from time to time and I expect it. Texas did lots of  braggin’ when they were the largest state in the union until Alaska entered the union. There are some  things that I never knew about the old country until recently and I’m about  to share them with you now. Did you know…… El Paso, Texas is closer to California than to  Dallas? Texas claims the first rodeo was held in Pecos,  Texas on July 4,  1883. I know that Deer Trail, Colorado claims to have held the first rodeo. The Flagship Hotel in  Galveston is the only hotel in America built over water. The Heisman trophy was  named after John William Heisman who was the
first full time coach at Rice University in  Houston. The first word spoken from the moon was “Houston”. King Ranch in south  Texas is larger than the state of Rhode Island.
   Texas is the only state to enter The U.S. by treaty (known as the Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas). This allows the Texas flag to fly the same height as our American flag.
   A live  oak tree in Fulton, Texas is estimated  to be over 1500 years old! Did you know that Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco,  Texas in 1885? The name Texas comes from the Hasini  Indian word “tejas” meaning friend. Tejas is NOT  Spanish for Texas. ( I always thought that it was). The first domed stadium in  America was the Astrodome in Houston.
  This is a little weird…the state animal is the  Armadillo. They ALWAYS HAVE FOUR BABIES AND THEY ARE ALWAYS MALE OR FEMALE! I  had no idea. So there ya have it. I lived in Texas for 45 years and never  knew any of the above. Yes we Texans do brag on occasion, but Texas has a lot of  history and it is different in so many ways than some of it’s neighbors. There are things that  I miss about Texas and the thing I miss the most are the friendly people. When  you cross into Texas from any bordering state and most likely the first person you meet  coming down the road (if they are from Texas) will give you a big wave. Texas  has some beautiful country and trust me, it has some ULGY country. That country around Sundown,  Texas where I grew up is like lookin’ at Miss Jane Hathaway, Beverly  Hillbillies, compared to looking at a Marie Osmond of the Texas hill country. Of course, beauty  is in the eye of the beholder and most folks around Sundown wouldn’t live  anywhere else. They are comfortable there
and if they moved to Colorado, most likely no one  would wave at them coming home from church. God bless Texas and I hope He finds  favor with you and yours.
  Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.  y’all, all y’all!


………..Charlie Brown

Gentle readers, I first heard of  Charlie Brown and his misfortunes in 1959. I was just a pup a year out of high  school and did I ever have a lot to learn. One thing that I did learn was that ol’ Charlie and I  had a lot in common. Sometimes as hard as we may try, we just could never make  four out of two plus two.I have often written about this circle of life that  we sometimes find ourselves in the spin cycle. It’s interesting to say the  least. Back then in Odessa, Texas working in the oil patch I never thought that I would in  fact become a cartoonist or live in the beautiful state of Colorado or become a  cowboy, all of which were my fantasies. Of course, the very idea of being  friends with the daughter of Charles Shultz, the creator of Peanuts would have  had to have come from outer space.

Meredith Hodges, famous trainer of mules and  donkeys has a ranch at Loveland, Colorado and I appeared on some of her training  videos years ago and what a nice down to earth woman she is. We have remained  friends and on occasion I make it to her Christmas parties. Ain’t it something  the way life works sometimes? As far as myself being a cartoonist, it  just seemed to come about. I have always loved to draw and being involved for so  many years on the  ranch (and still am in a very small way), I drew  what I knew the best , cowboys. Poor ol’ Otis. He is a lot like me and ol’  Charlie Brown. Seems he just never is able to make a bronc ride, say the right thing  at the right time, or always be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Otis is a  combination of several folks.
   He is part me and parts of other cowboys that I  have known. My comic panel, Hoots from the O-NO Ranch is featured in this fine  paper and several other papers and magazines. I never could have imagined  that would come to be all those years back in Odessa, Texas covered in grime and  grease. You cannot
but be amazed at the wonderful mind of Charles  Shultz when he was alive and doing those daily strips, Sunday comics and  specials for television. I think  for over fifty years he came up with those thought  provoking strips. How many times would little ol’ Charlie Brown make a run at  that stupid football that  Lucy was holding for him to kick? How many times  will ol’ Otis throw a leg over that ol’ bronc Puke thinking that maybe today  will be the day he doesn’t have a wreck? I love to draw and I love to create my  cartoons. I often have wondered how Mr. Shultz could come up with so many  different cartoons without  repeating himself. Think about it. Three hundred  and fifty two cartoons a year for over fifty years. Amazing. Myself, I have been  doing the Hoots cartoons for well over twenty years, however I only do one  cartoon per week. Still that’s 52 weeks times twenty years. Do the math. That’s  well over one thousand cartoons that are all different. It’s a challenge  sometimes, but it keeps the wheels turning inside this old noggin.  
  Dear friends,  life is full of surprises, some wonderful, some tragic, but all in all it makes us  who we are. Remember that it’s not what we have said or done so much in our  lives that folks will remember us by but it how we made them feel. When I receive  a compliment from a reader about my column or my cartoons, it really does  encourage me to always put my best foot forward in trying to be more  creative and bring a smile to your face or a serious thought to pass through  your brain. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all  y’all.


Black Gold      

I got just enough of a whiff of  gas the other morning to know that it had to be coming from the newly drilled  oil well across the road. Presently the well is flowing with the oil and frac water being  separated into the appropriate storage tanks. That little smell of gas and just  the site of the newly installed  tank battery gathering system took me back to my  roots in West Texas. Yep, most of you readers know that I grew up on the Mallett  Ranch west of Sundown, Texas. We lived in an oil field camp on  the ranch. It consisted of three houses. One for my dad, one for the geologist,  and one for the construction foreman. My dad was the production foreman for the  oil production on that vast ranch. Just outside my back door were cowboys,  cattle, oilfield hands and pump jacks and tank battery systems in just about  every direction you looked. My first summer job at age fourteen was to work with  the construction crew building pads for the pump jacks and tank  gathering systems. In fact, gentle readers, every job I had until I was twenty  three had something to do with the oil patch. If you have every watched that new  television program called Black Gold, you will have seen the country I grew up  in. The show is filmed in the Permian Basin area around Midland an Odessa,  Texas. I know every character on the show. I don’t know them personally of  course, but when I was a young man I worked with individuals that were  exactly like the folks featured on the show. I never worked on a drilling rig  but spent a good amount of time on the work over rigs. The smaller rigs that pull  the pipe out of the hole to change a pump or to replace old pipe with new pipe.  As an eighteen year old kid I was forced to see the world through the eyes of  these types of men. Most were good guys just out to make a living for their  families. There were a few “roudies”, rough guys, some ex convicts and some  real “dummies”. In the series Black Gold there is always conflict on the rig  floor and it appears as if there is always going to be “fist-a-cuffs” sooner  than later. Most of that is just drama I’m sure put on them by the producers to  make the show more appealing. From my past experiences working with men like that  and managing ranch crews, most of that is just that, “drama”. Fellers that are  always trying to stir the pot or looking for trouble don’t last past dinner  on most crews. The show does give you the big picture of what it’s like to work  on the floor of a drilling rig. It’s loud, it requires a great deal of muscle and to say  it’s dangerous is an understatement! Back to the rig that was across the road. I  looked out one cold December morning when the wind was blowing wave and wave of  snow and there was the derrick man up in the crow’s nest stackin’ pipe that was  being pulled from the hole. “Man, I’m glad that’s him and not me,” I  mumbled to myself almost out loud. This patch of oil my neighbors and myself are  sitting on will pay some dividends sometime in the future we hope. If not, I  get a little taste of West Texas right out my front door. Stay tuned, check yer  cinch on occasion and don’t forget your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. I’ll  c. y’all, all y’all!                                       



 “Purt Near”

Ol’ pard, ya purt near convinced me that you  wouldn’t tell a lie. I wuz purt near believin’ that that ol’ hoss of  yours could fly. Ya bragged ’bout his breedin’, Fast Freddie by  Ain’t Got A Clue, and I had purt near decided there weren’t  nothin’  he couldn’t do.

   I wuz purt near spellbound when you made a run at  that big ol’ log. You wuz whippin’ and a’spurrin’, gonna’ jump it  like an ol’ coon dog! And ya purt near made it pard, jest four legs got  in the way!
   I ain’t never seen a prettier somersault than the  one I seen that day.
  Yer ol’ pony wuz purt near flyin’, to bad he wuz  upside down, and you wuz still in the saddle when you boys  plowed up the ground!
 That wuz purt near the most awful wreck I reckon  I’ve ever seen. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and my  face went purple green!
   Pard, I believe that you’d made a purty fair hand  if fate had give you a little more time.
   You might have purt near figured out the cow and  jest maybe learned how to handle yer twine!
  Yer spectacular wreck got all the boys to  talkin’. You sure caused quite a rattle.

  The bad news is yer deader than dead, and the good news is I purt near loaned you my new  saddle!  Well, gentle readers, with that said, I’m purt near  fed up with all this politicin’ goin’ on and and am dang sure fed up with what’s  coming out of Washington these days. Like I told my neighbor Phil  this morning, “If the sons of biscuit eaters want to fight, then BRING IT, LET’S  FIGHT!  It’s to cold to ride the ol’ Harley so I’m off to  the barn to ride my ol’ fat paint hoss, Howdy! It’ll cool me down some.

Stay  tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.y’all, all  y’all.

THE BORDER                          

     Gentle readers there has been  much discussion in the past few years  concerning our border with Mexico and what  should be done about it. Some say build a fence from Texas to California. Nope, not in my  opinion. To costly and the terrain in many places would make it all but  impossible. Not only that, our neighbors from the south would find a way to get across. We  tried the virtual border with cameras and what not in places in Arizona and some  of that helped to a certain  degree. Now these folks runnin’ for President of  the U.S. all say they would CLOSE THAT BORDER! Yessirree, that’s what they say.  We all know that that is just a croc. George Bush when he was the not only the gov. of Texas but our President didn’t make any attempt to close it down. Neither has Rick Perry. Why? I’m not real sure but I would bet ya that it’s because of the  large Hispanic population of Texas. Not only that, but most of those folks work  cheaper than the average worker in our country. I can understand why the Mexicans want  to leave their own country and come here. Life is better here. We treat them  better here than they get treated at home. I have been on the Mexican border and have  worked down there with Mexican cowboys and I have to tell ya that their lives  are pretty tough. I can’t blame them for trying to get across any way they can. I can  blame them for being “drug mules”. I can blame our government for giving them  welfare, free health care and free schooling for their kids. What about the Mexicans  that followed the requirements for gaining citizenship and did it the right and  legal way? How are they supposed to feel if those that are here illegally get a free  ride and get some sort of amnesty? It’s a tough and difficult situation. It puts  you and me in a bind when we are taxed to support those that are living for the most part  off our hard work. It brings me to this: they are here and I don’t think they  are going anywhere. We are going to have to deal with it the best way we can. Speaking Spanish is difficult for me. Difficult heck! I don’t speak much at all. I have a book to offer you. It’s called Farm and Ranch Spanish by two brothers George and Rex Kelly who  live on the Texas Mexico border. I came across this book years ago, lost my copy  and found a copy at the Denver Stock Show a number of years back. This book is the  easiest way to understand border Spanish. It’s Tex Mex  Spanish. If you  live on a farm or a ranch or have dealings
‘with folks from across the border that don’t speak  much English, you can order this book from Kelly Brothers Book Co. HCO-1 Box 174  Vanderpool, Texas 78885.
  I have a listing for their telephone # as  210-966-3430. I hope that it is still available as I believe that if you have as  much trouble with Spanish as I’ve had over the years, this book will be a tremendous help to you. This  column reflects my opinion and mine only. Take some time and go to the National  Western Stock Show that’s going on in Denver at present and remember to stay tuned,  check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all  y’all!


       It’s that time  again. Yessirree, we find ourselves in a brand spankin’ new year. Today is the  second day of 2012 and it’s going to be a really nice day by all appearances. Every year at this time my  mind wanders back not only the past year but previous years. I think about my  grandkids, my kids, little Miss Martha and of course, myself and  the future. Going through my emails recently I came across an email from the  Evan’s and it was a picture titled “REAL COWBOYS HAVE NO FEAR”.   In the foreground of the photo is a little boy about two years old, standing  feet apart with his back to you and he is wearing nothing but his  little cowboy boots and his cowboy hat. He stands without fear while staring at  a huge “bremmer” bull that is staring back at him just a few feet away.  Talk about cute, it was the cutest thing that I have seen in ages. It reminded  me of my first grandson, Gavin. Martha took a picture of him standing in our  kitchen naked except for his cowboy hat when he was three. Well, gentle readers  that was thirteen years ago. Time gets by us so fast or so it seems.  Let me tell you children, the older you get the faster time seems to slip away.  Gavin just the other day got his FIRST ELK! Yep, that boy is country  wise and country wide in his appreciation of where he lives and how he has been  raised. I feel soblessed to have this time in my life when I can  harvest such great memories of what is happening in my children’s and  grandchildren’s lives. Our time on this earth is to be enjoyed and I believe that  there are certain things expected of us while we are here. I believe that we are  expected to appreciatewhere we live and the opportunities that are  abundant in this great land of ours. I think we are expected to follow certain  rules, treat others as we would expect to be treated and lend a hand when we  can help to lift someone up, but not have them expect us to stand and hold them  up all day every day if they are capable of standing on their  own. I believe we are supposed to invest ourselves in our jobs, our families and  our friends. I cantell you that the unexpected can happen and then  it’s to late to say, “I love you”. It’s over, someone you cherish is gone  forever. The ancient Indians
of South America predicted long long ago on their  calendar that this is the year our world would end. Well, this past year an old  preacher predicted that our world was going to end not only once but  twice did he get it wrong. The world will end this year for those who pass on  and I’m hopin’ that you and me are still writing and reading this  column. Time! Enjoy this time we have and make the very best of it at every  opportunity. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c y’all, all  y’all!


WHO AM I ?        

           Well gentle  readers, I know who I am and you know who you are I bet. It apears to me that  there can be some folks out there from time to time that are someone totally different than they have led us  to believe or they are living vicariously through someone else or some figment  of their imagination. I have
gotten hooked on watching Dateline NBC and Paula  Zahn older segments of solving murder mysteries. I want to tell you about one  that I was fascinated with.
Some of you may have seen this and I hope to get  most of my less valuable facts straight. Here we have a 47 year old ex marine  who is married with two children. He has gone on the computer and gets  involved in a chat room with others. His tag is “marinesniper”. Here comes a  message one day from “tallhotblonde”. She has taken an interest in this “marinesniper”  and she has sent him a picture of herself. She indeed is a tall hot blonde and  not only that, she is only 17 years of age and still in high school. Right away our marine  knows he is going to have to be someone else than who he really is. He sends her  a photo of himself when he in fact was an 18 year old marine. Their messages  grow stronger and stronger and she has fallen in love with this young marine and  he has flipped totally for  this hot young blonde. His wife has discovered what  he has been doing on the computer and sends “tallhotblone” a family photo of her  47 year old, balding, potbellied heart throb and his wife and kids. Blondie  responds with a terrible belittling of her marine for misleading her. He is  devastated. Our marine works at a manufacturing plant where one of his young male  coworkers has also been in the chat room and calls himself “muscleman”. He is a  handsome husky 19 year old male. The marine discovers the next time he  goes online that his young friend from work is flirting with “tallhotblone” and  she IS FLIRTING BACK. This upsetshim greatly but there is just not much he can do  about it. To his surprise blondie begins to flirt with him again telling him she  can forgive him for misleading her but she still thinks of him as an 18 year old  marine sniper about to be shipped off to the middle east and she wants to remain  friends. He’s back in the saddle again and it appears that she is still romantically  interested in him but still flirts with “muscleman”. He is so outraged with his  younger competition that he ambushes him one night after work and shoots and  kills the young man at the work site on the parking lot. After some  investigation the cops have figured out who the killer is and go to arrest him. His wife  doesn’t know where he is, he just left and has been gone for a while. Their  concern now is for “tallhotblone” as she may be the next victim of this maniac so they  notify the state police in the adjoining state where this young girl lives to be  on the lookout for him and they are headed in that direction themselves. The state  police go to the young girl’s home and are greeted at the door by her mother.  The girl is at school and they tell her mom  what has been going on with  the computer and there is a mad man maybe on his way here to kill her daughter.  They are astounded as I was when she tells them that SHE has been living  vicariously through her daughter and SHE is “tallhotblone” and her daughter has  no clue what her mother has been doing. “Tallhotblone” is an overweight,  sagging forty seven year old woman with bleached hair. Our marine is caught and  convicted of murder and sent to the pen for the rest of his life. A young  life snuffed out over two adults living in a fantasy world. Just call me  “tallbaldoldcowboy” and I bet I don’t get in any trouble. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on  occasion and have a wonderful new year. I’ll c. y’all, all  y’all.



In the cowboy’s world, gentle readers, the phrase “hang and rattle” usually refers to trying to stay on an ol’ pony that sometimes can be a hard bucker. I’ve confessed before many times that I never was and will never be a bronc rider. There were those limited times when I was able to grab the night latch and “hang and rattle” and boy was I ever proud of myself. Any cowboy worth his salt has had horses that intimidated him. To many times he was required to ride those ponies on a regular basis as that was just part of his job. And….I have seen some young bucks that could just sit up there on a hurricane deck and knock the hair off of some dysfunctional horse.

That was just not one of my talents. There was that warm July morning in 1985 when the cowboy crew, my teenage kids and I set out to gather a small pasture of fairly wild steers that had been sold and the trucks were on the way to load them up. Ol’ Jiggs was my favorite horse in my string but let me tell you children when he got upset and decided to buck, you’d better get hold of every thing you could if you were going to “hang and rattle”. The details of what caused this wreck are not important, it’s just that stuff happens sometimes when you are workin’ cattle. Jiggs caught me off guard, blew up and I found myself way outta’ the saddle in a whisper. I kept reachin’for the night latch but I just couldn’t seem to grab on. I was airborne about nine to ten feet in the air and I was on my back lookin’ up at that beautiful blue sky.

JIggs was a big horse. He was five years old, stood over 16 hands and weighed almost 1500 # with the saddle on. I bought him as a two year old and broke him and I was partial to him most of the time. Not today. I must have looked like a “Jack In The Box” that was out of the box and floppin’ around just before I made contact with the terra firma.

I landed on the back of my head and neck and yes, it hurt a lot. I was layin’ there watchin’ flashes of light. Through the light I saw my kids lookin’ down at me and of course, they were worried. Their mom was out of town as her dad had died a few days before and she was with her mother making funeral arrangements. Ol’ Jiggs ran off still buckin’ like a world class bronc. The boys caught him up, helped me get up and remounted and we penned the cattle. I took myself to the hospital as soon as the steers were in the pen and they put me to bed and put weight on my head and let it hang off the bed. Heck, that hurt worse than you can imagine. After about twenty minutes, I took that contraption off my head, checked myself out against doctor’s orders and went home to be with my kids. It took a little over two years before I could put a pillow under my head at night. I wish that I had been able to “hang and rattle” that morning, but then, my story wouldn’t be as good. Right now I am “hanging and rattling with a bad chest cold. I think in a couple of more days I’ll be okay.

At this writing, the date is 9-11. I remember with sadness the events of that day. There were folks that “hung and rattled” as long as they could. God bless’um! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c.y’all, all y’all.

Oct. 1 , 2011

THE SAFETY MAN                                                                                                  

       Freddie was our safety man. He represented not only the oil company that owned the ranch at I managed, but every piece and partial that had a connection to the oil company. Freddie would travel around to not only the ranches, the farms, oil refineries and everything that had to dowith oil production or even their real estate interest. When Freddie showed up I would have my ranch and farm crew in my office so Freddie coulddo his thing. It might be a class on C.P.R., safe driving habits or just about any subject that might help us to be more aware of hazards on the job.Of course, if anyone got bucked off and hurt or run over by a crazy cow, just anything that would require a doctor visit would have to be reported to O.S.H.A.  Boy I gotta’ tell ya, I had a good many reports to send to O.S.H.A.  in the ten years that I was there. I encouraged my crew to be as
cowboy tough as they could be and not run to the doc. every time they got a bloody nose. These guys were pretty tough and I only had one “weenie” on the crew and he didn’t last but a few months. The forms that I would have to fill out would go something like this: what could the injured person havedone differently to have avoided his injuries. Answer….”he could have rode his buckin’ horse and avoided hitting the side of the concrete water trough.”That was about the only way I knew to answer a question like that, but let me tell ya pilgrims, it made those folks as O.S.H.A. really upset at times.Freddie would try and school me on how to think outside the box and give them an answer that probably would make no sense at all to a cowboy, but would satisfy the folks requiring the report. Then came the day that Freddie and I were riding around the ranch in my truck one late fall afternoon. I spied a bloated steer that was about to go down. I called one of the cowboy crews up that would more than likely be closest to us and told them to come over
and doctor this steer. “”Well, boss, we just got done puttin’ our horses up. We’ll run over and doctor him out of the back of the pickup.” ” Can they dothat safely?” asked Freddie. “Ugh, well, yeah, it can be done if it’s done right. The ole steer can’t run hardly at all, it shouldn’t be a problem.” Jake and Jessie showed up. Jake being sixty two, red headed, hard headed and wantin’ to be at the house instead of workin’ late on this particular evening. Jake crawled up in the back of the truck and stood leaning over the headache rack and pounding on the top of the cab for Jessie to chase the steer.“Ugh, Jake, why don’t you tie that rope off to the bumper and kneel near the tail gate when you rope?” I offered for Freddie’s sake. “I’ll be fine…LETS GO JESSIE, LETS GO.”  Jessie took off after the steer who made a 90 degree turn, so Jessie made the same turn and Jake flew out of the back of  the truck and landed on his head and shoulders. Freddie was almost beside himself when we reached Jake. Jake was out cold with his eyes rolled back in his head. “It killed’em, Jack, IT KILLED HIM!” Jake began to move and moan somewhat. Turns out he fractured a shoulder blade, broke a few ribs, punctured a lung and a few other maladies. “What could the injured party done that would have prevented this accident?” the question ask. “He could have listened to his boss!” Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, a’ll yall.

Sept 12, 2011

One of my uncles told of the depression era and how my dad would sometimes help out on my grandfather’s farm by driving a tractor. “Your dad would carry a wrench on the tractor and if he saw a jackrabbit, he would stop the tractor, jump off and throw the wrench at the rabbit,” my uncle said with fondness towards my dad. He went on, “ya know he could throw a baseball really well and he brought home lots of rabbits for the skillet.” Times were tough during the depression, gentle readers, and I know some of you were there doing the best you could. I havehad my own depressions as I’m sure that most of you have had also. I have written before that when LIttle Miss Martha and I were first married there were times I couldn’t scrape up a quarter for a cup of coffee with the guys. That in it’self is depressing. Of course things got better. I got better jobs and was able to better provide for my family. I worked for Sears and later for Procter and Gamble before I decided that “cowboyin’ ” would be the best place for me and my family when the dust settled. It took a couple of years of “hard times” before the dust settled and I was manageing a large ranch. Times were good then. Ranch and farm work is always going to be harder than your run of the mill sales job or most other jobs. I know that some of you are on hard times now. Times are tougher than they have been in a long long time but there is always hope that this rough ole road will get smoother as we travel down it. Right now farming and ranching in most of Texas, Oklahoma and some parts of Colorado and Kansas is tougher than an ole boot that has been on the fence post for a decade. The drought has devastated many farms and ranches in those states. My thoughts and prayers are with those folks who have worked so hard to build up their places and now many will be lost. Hard times build character. At least that is what I have always been told. We are tough people and we will get through these hard times, but I betcha’ that they are not soon forgotten. Ths country is going to change and I believe for the better. Check yer saddle pad for burrs, check yer cinch, be sure the pasture gates are closed and tight. It’s gonna’ get better sooner or later. Stay tuned and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.