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Rope Burns » “Mad” Jack Hanks-current

“Mad” Jack Hanks-current

 

 

 

(Note:  Because of the number of Mad Jack columns, we will be breaking them down in time frames, so you can go back and enjoy some of the older ones, give us a little time to get this organized, thank you ED)

10-19-2017

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Looking out the kitchen window this morning I noticed a flock of sparrows all trying to crowd into a skillet I placed by one of the water faucets in the back yard. I try to keep water out year around for whatever critters might need a drink. Of course it freezes up in the winter and I just dump the ice and refill it. It was some fun watchin’ these little birds all try to out smart the others for position either in the shallow water or on the lip of the skillet.

We are all like that aren’t we gentle readers? Family members will sometimes do the same thing if it will improve our well being. Don’t you remember as a child you would try to position yourself closer to the birthday cake in hopes you might get your piece of cake sooner?

Families, at least in my opinion, are the foundation of our society. I see more and more families fragmented these days that I care to witness. I have friends, some married, some not that have children that want nothing to do with them. I’m like, “how can that be?” As a child growing up everyone, well almost every one, had a mother and father and they all seemed to have close and loving families. Not so much anymore. I think we get to busy trying to stay on top of our game and some of the players are left on the bench when they should be on the field. Not much of a metaphor I know, but all I could come up with at the time.

Did you ever see a mother cow baby sitting a dozen or so calves so her sisters could go to water or just have a break without having to watch their babies. That always warmed my heart and made me more aware most animals have family situations just as we humans. Why else would we see dozens if not hundreds of geese flying in formation to their destinations? Same with ducks and many other species of our feathered friends. Bison, elk, deer, livestock and other of their types live and move with the family.

Cowboys are a family. You can go to any large ranch or rodeo where you find a bunch of cowpokes and you will notice how they help one another. They might not like some things about Curley or Ray, but they will pitch in and help when it’s needed. Why do we see so many gangs and “gang bangers” in the inner cities of America. They are family. That’s where they find companionship and a way to be needed and have some purpose. It’s a sorry way to present yourself to society, but it is what it is.

You can go to a county fair and watch the kids help one another even when they are competing against each other, but they are birds of a feather. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in that utopia where all was perfect and there was no animosity, no jealousy, just happy day after happy day with no issues to distract us? Now, as for me, that would be a little boring. We need competition, we need to learn how to deal with not only the joy of living but the sadness that seems to present it’self when least expected. We need to be birds of a feather and stick together for the common good of us all. We need to fly in formation towards our destination, but of course, that ain’t gonna’ happen as we are so diverse some of us will be Eagles and some will be Meadow Larks and I reckon both are necessary as to satisfy the workings of our particular place on the skillet by the water faucet. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember if yer a bronc rider, try and keep yer back pockets lower than yer eyebrows and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

 

A REASON TO APPRECIATE MUSIC

Gentle readers, there is not a day that goes by that you don’t hear some type or several types of music. Music has always been with us. Of course I wasn’t there but I can see that old cave man beating a rib bone of some type of dinosaur against the wall of the cave or whackin’ two bones together to make music of some kind. I don’t know of any culture ever that music wasn’t a major part of their “living”. As for me, man, I gotta’ tell ya, Charlie Brown, I love all types of music. Well, maybe I was a little ambitious there, I don’t like rap music at all and I see it creeping into country music more and more.

I have always liked to sing. There has been one little problem with that. It is a fact I can carry a tune, I just can’t seem to unload it in the right way. I joined the choir in college number one because it was an easy credit, I wanted to sing better and there, were of course, some “cuties” available. Later I would find myself in the church choir because I felt obligated and I wanted to support the music ministry. I have played a guitar since I was fifteen and have a photo of me and “Little Carl (forget his last name)” performing on stage at the local high school and I was trying to sing Brown Eyed Handsome Man while Carl backed me up with his guitar. My dad used to come to the door of my brother’s and my room while Elvis, or Carl Perkins, or Buddy Holly was on the radio and he would get the biggest grin on his face. I can see him now, my handsome daddy with his head tilted to one side and his eyes almost closed doing a little flat footed dance step. Mom could play the piano a little bit but we didn’t have one. If we had had one I would almost bet you that I would be a piano player as well.

I like to get on you tube and watch videos of good guitar players and learn more and more from that experience.

Just yesterday I was watching “fiddle lessons for beginners,” the fiddle being my favorite instrument, but I have never played one but am considering putting that on my bucket list. I was playing a little backup music on my guitar when all of a sudden a spider appeared right in front of me. He had dropped down from the ceiling and he ask me if I could play “Wild Wood Flower” for him. I told him I would, I laid my guitar down and began to clap for the spider.

Unfortunately he got caught in between my claps and got smashed. Go figure!

Music is universal in every country in every culture and I believe music is what makes the world go round. I love Irish folk music, even jingles you hear on the “telly” advertising some product or service will make me start humming or whistling that tune at a later time. That’s the whole point. Music is used to “jump start” you into doing something or buying something that maybe you hadn’t thought of buying or doing.

I really never liked having to go to musicals in the movies but I always enjoyed the music. It can be jazz, rock, country and western, folk, or whatever and I’ll like all of it or parts of it, but not rap, to me that’s crap!

I like to watch the young folks on dance night and concentrate on the ones that have music in their bones. It’s usually the girls and that works for me! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember PETA, the old steer said he would rather be ropin’ than be in a can of chili! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

 

OLD DOGS AND OLD FOLKS

Back in the eighties, nineteen eighties that is, we had an old dog of undetermined origin wander onto our ranch headquarters. He looked to be a cross of some sort of spaniel and setter. He was honey colored with a white muzzle and big brown sad, drooping eyes. We, of course fed him and made him a place of comfort in the barn. While trying to come up with a name for our new companion, one of the boys said, “let’s call him Moses”. Ah haaaa , the perfect name, Moses. Moses seemed to enjoy all of the attention he was getting and we wondered where in the world he came from. We decided that someone must have just dropped him off out in the country because maybe they just couldn’t deal with him being in the last stages of his life. He didn’t live long after that, maybe two to three weeks the way I remember it. We gave him a nice funeral and buried him in the horse pasture as he was always around the horses and they just sort of took him in.

I know when I was younger I would let some old folks get under my skin. “What’s the matter with that old geezer,?”

I would ask myself. “Am I gonna’ be like that when I get old? I don’t think so,” was how I would settle the question.

“Nope, not me, I ain’t gonna be short tempered, grumpy and bossy like I just don’t give a darn.” Now that the time in question is upon me I have to sit back and take inventory. I might be a little short tempered, but not grumpy or bossy, or at least I don’t think I am. I will admit to misplacing my “give a hoot” from time to time but that just happens to be a fact of life when you get older. I do love life and being around folks that I enjoy. As I’ve said before my ponies and I, old Howdy and Nugget are pretty good buds. I need to get out there and get both of them rode before we get too far into winter. I have been pretty darn  busy here at the ONO this summer and fall and then again I will admit to misplacing my “give a hoot” on occasion.

Getting old is an honor and a blessing if we take in the situation in Vegas recently. So many young folks slaughtered and wounded physically and mentally for many, many years to come. Those that were killed will never get to be old folks like me. Their mom’s and dad’s while growing older will most likely live a life of heartbreak, sadness and always trying to fill that terrible void. I think of “Little Miss Martha” and how she told me once years ago that she thought living to the age of seventy seven would be enough time on this earth for her. She missed it by nineteen years.

It’s hard to imagine at times when I look around at the way the world of ours is shaping up that I would want to be a part of it in another twenty to thirty years. I have to remember that the younger folks don’t really have any comparison to different times so it’s just “normal” living to them. Here’s one thing I would hope would not happen: I would hope nobody drops me off in the country to find a new home when that time comes. Then again, it might not be that bad and after all, I would be in the country…right? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember we weren’t put here just to take up space, so do SOMETHING, SOMETHING GOOD, and I’ll c. ya’all, all y’all.

10-8-2017

What’s The Good News?

What’s the good news, you ask? The good news here at the ONO Ranch, gentle readers is that I have had an abundance of rain. It took a while to get here but when it arrived it was a God sent. I have a couple of projects in the near future that I am excited about and again I want to give y’all a big THANK YOU  for the calendars you purchased. They are in short supply at present but I will accommodate you until l run out.

There are some of you out there that will be harvesting your crops and a payday is in your future. There are calf crops to sell and the price for calves just off their momma  is still pretty darn good. Most of you got out of bed this morning with a few aches and pains if you are over fifty, but blessed to be able to do so. Life for darn sure is worth more than just going through the motions.

One of our local television stations out of Denver did a recent survey to see how they could improve their viewership. “What would you like for us to do or change that would make us better”? they ask. Over ninety percent of the folks that bothered to answer said, “GIVE US SOME

GOOD NEWS instead of a steady diet of bad news. They listened and low and behold I began to hear less and less of what a disgusting President we had. I began to hear more stories about how folks were just helping other folks regardless of age, income or their particular position in life. It sure made me feel better.

Two mornings ago a young man ran out into traffic on the interstate at five in the morning here at Wellington to commit suicide. Word is he was first hit by a car and then managed to find his way into the path of a semi. On a cold and rainy morning that guy was in a situation that made him want to end it all. Was it drugs, mental illness or just overbearing depression or all of the above?

I think that it is time for more good news and the type of news that warms the heart of all of us and aren’t you just put out with all of the negativity every hour of every day?

I was waiting in line in our little post office this morning when a young woman came in with a six month old little boy in his “basket”.

She set him on the floor behind me and we made eye contact right away. That little “toot” shot me the biggest grin I have seen in a long while and man I melted. I made faces at him and he would look at me like, “so, what’s your problem”? then he would give me another grin. I just wanted to pick him up and love on him ’cause it’s been a long time since I have held a small child in my arms to love on.

There is a lot of good news out there if we look for it. It could be down in the corral, in the grocery store, in your church pew or right there in your home with those you love. I know it’s difficult to not want to jump into all of the bull crap that we come into contact with almost all day every day. I held the door open for a sophisticated lookin’ feller the other day at the post office and he was surprised that I had done that but was very complimentary. I noticed when I backed my truck out of the parking lot he had a “feel the burn”, Bernie Sanders bumper sticker on his big suv! Just for a moment I was mad at myself for being such a gentleman but that quickly passed and I realized he was just like me but came from a different place with different views and I could probably have a cup of coffee with him and get along okay. I said A CUP OF COFFEE! Enough said I reckon. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, and realize that old age comes at a really bad time and if God wanted me to touch my toes, He would have put them on my knees. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

INSPIRED BY THAT PINK BUNNY

 

I always seem to get up tired. I can faintly remember times in the past, way back, in fact when I could rise and feel rested and ready to go. Nope, not any more. Not at seventy seven years of age and I would bet ya that most folks my age or even close to it don’t feel all that rested when they get up in the morning. I couldn’t sleep late if I wanted. Even on dance night when I might get to bed between eleven thirty and twelve or even later, I always am awake around six or so and up shortly after that. Too many mornings on the ranch I reckon. You know, chores to be done. However, I woke up the other morning and after making my bed, feeding my ponies, having a cup of coffee and a quick breakfast, I put on a load of laundry and went out to water my trees (20) and flowers. Shazammm!! All of a sudden I got this incredible burst of energy. It made me think of that cute little pink rabbit with the sun glasses on who is always beating on a drum. He never ever slows down or quits. Nope he just keeps steppin’ out with that cute little tale bouncin’ along behind him while he beats that drum. As I watered more and more trees I decided maybe it was time to get under the house in the crawl space as I do this time every year and check for water leaks. Oh yeah, while I’m under there I can put out some of those insecticide bombs to kill all the spiders and whatever else is living down there. The crawl space is thirty six inches in higth in some places and lower in others and the house is seventy feet long. It’s a manufactured home and the crawl space is a little under nineteen hundred square feet. Soooo, I turn off the water, change into some old clothes, get my flashlight, put on my knee pads, mask, and safety glasses, bombs and head under the house after I plug in the lights rigged up under neath the house to help with the lighting. I crawl like a crab to the far end, set off one bomb, hustle (as fast as a 77 year old crab) can hustle to the center of the house and set off another bomb all the while checking for water leaks. No leaks, thank goodness. I crawled back to the opening where I went under and set off the last canister and got out from under the house as fast as a seventy seven year old cowboy (crab) can. Gentle readers, I gotta’ tell ya, I’m pert near proud of me by the time I got back to fresh air and closed up the hatch to keep the poison down where it belongs. I’m outta’ breath by now so I get another cup of coffee, settle down on the back deck to regroup. Now it’s back to watering the trees and flowers. I so proud of me, it’s almost disgusting. As I am watering this one tree I notice what appears to be the ear piece off of a pair of glasses. I reach down and pick it up.

We don’t need any trash laying around now do we? WHAT’S THIS? Low and behold it turns out to be a pair of eyeglasses that I lost over three years ago. I gave almost four hundred dollars for that eye exam, glasses and sun glasses. I assumed that I had misplaced them or left them somewhere and couldn’t remember where. Man, I was proud of me by now as they didn’t seem to have suffered any real damage and I am wearing them as I write now. That pink bunny really got me going and going and going and look at all that I accomplished.

I don’t know how many more years I will find the energy or courage to go under the house to just take a look, make any repairs or put out insecticide but I did so just the other day. by the way, that spider spray sure “nuff” does the job. There were no webs under the house but one small one as I put out canisters this time last year and my house was full of webs underneath.

After finding my eye glasses I remembered those nice prescription glasses I bought at the same time. Where are they? I don’t remember where I put them or what I did with them. I spent an hour just looking for them. Maybe I’ll have to start looking under the trees hummmm?

Speaking of prescriptions. Did you hear about the lady that ask the druggist for some poison? “What are you going to do with it?” he asked.

“I’m going to kill my husband,” she replied. “Well, I can’t let you have it if that’s what you plan to do with it.” She reaches in her purse, pulls out a photo of her husband in bed with the druggist wife and hands it to him. “Oh, he replies, I didn’t know you had a prescription”!!

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, expect the unexpected and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

MY FRIEND HOWDY

I think most of you who read this column once in a while or all the time already know who Howdy is. By the way, a big thanks for taking your time to indulge me. I digress. Howdy is one of my horses. I have two. I bought Howdy some fourteen years ago and we have been “buds” ever since. The other horse I have is Nugget and Nugget is not as old as  Howdy, a lot bigger and not as user friendly as Howdy is when it comes to being caught or just being handled. Nugget is however, really good when you work on his feet and when you are mounting.

It was time to take Howdy to the dentist this morning. He had reached the point where it was really difficult for him to keep his oats or sweet feed in his mouth as his teeth needed to be floated. Howdy had not been in the trailer in years but he stepped right in and off we went. When we got to the vet. clinic and got unloaded he did seem a little unsettled. He didn’t act up but he did compose himself much in the same way I do when I go to the dentist. My eyes get big and a certain amount of uncertainty creeps in at all the sights and sounds. In his case there were a lot

of barking dogs and unfamiliar surroundings. The vet. gave him a shot to relax him and then his assistant put Howdy in the “horse stock”. That being a chute of sorts made of sturdy pipe with a concrete floor with rubber mat of course. I stood where Howdy had a good view of me. I wanted him to know that ol’ Dad was right there with him all the way. He did really well under the circumstances and even though he was a little “drunk” from the “stabilizer” shot he received, he was ready to stagger back into the trailer. By the way, if you have never seen a horse get their teeth floated it can be a pretty noisy and an almost barbaric procedure to watch. It doesn’t hurt and doesn’t take very long and they are so much better health wise when it’s over.

Howdy, as gentle as he is, will not let a “dude” or “dudette” ride him unless ol’ Dad and Nugget are going along for the ride. He always knows how much experience a person has the minute they get on him. He may go for a while with me and Nugget along and then he will just decide to test his rider and slowly turn back toward the barn. If they don’t correct him right away and let him know that they are going to be the “boss” for this ride, he will continue to test them. It’s seems to be fun for him. I can put as many little kids on his back that will fit and if I or someone else leads him around he is as happy as he can be. He likes to be around people and will let anyone approach him out in the pasture and pet him. No way Hosea for Nugget. That ain’t gonna’ happen unless it’s a girl or woman. He’ll let a woman come up to him anytime but never a man.

When I got back from the vet. with Howdy and got him back in the corral, Nugget sniffed him all over much like a dog would. “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN MAN? WHAT DID THEY DO TO YOU?”  I had to “laff” just a little. Horses are so much like humans if you really watch and learn from their behavior. I just don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my “boys” to lean on and to talk to every morning. When I reach the corral I’m already having a conversation with them and their distinctive “replies”” make my heart glad. It’s that “cowboy thing” I reckon Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, love on yer spouse, and kids, and pets and especially those horses that are special to you.

I’ll c. Y’all, all y’all.

COLONEL

I’m not sure if we named him or if Colonel was his name when we brought him home. To me, he was just what it was going to take to make a cowboy out of me at eleven years of age. Yep, mom picked him out because she was ranch raised and knew good “hoss flesh” when she saw it. It didn’t matter that when we were giving him a pre ride down the farmer’s driveway, he ran off with my brother. “Aw, he’s just a little fresh, he ain’t been rode in a while,” SAID THE FARMER. Mom figured we at ages eleven and twelve should be able to handle this skinny, raw boned, big footed, pig eyed black and white paint without losing life or limb. Well, there was that one limb the tree lost when Colonel ran under it with my brother on board and took him out of the saddle knocked out!! To me, he was just as pretty, well almost, as Trigger and dang sure as fast. That old skinny bronc could punch a hole in the wind and I loved it when he ran away out in the pasture. I would just hunker down over his neck, do my best to avoid the Mesquite trees rushing by and pretend Indians were after me. When he got the run out of him he wasn’t that bad to control. Now there were those times, gentle readers, that he would try and take your leg off on the cross tie that held the corral gate when he ran in. He always ran in.

Someone had taught him to rear up just like Trigger, but not high enough to fall over or did he ever try. One of my cousins came to visit and wanted to show off a little. After Colonel was unsaddled, they boy’s dad told him to jump back on him and make him rear for the camera.

Colonel was not big at all. Maybe fourteen two and eight hundred and fifty pounds, but for a kid eleven years of age, he was a big horse and being a runaway bronc with an iron jaw and unpredictable disposition, he was as big as I needed at the time. My cuz made ol’ Colonel rear up but when he did, the boy slid down his back, kept a tight hold on the reins and pulled the horse over backwards. Thank God Colonel didn’t land on him. It sure made some good watchin’!

My bro had decided by now havin’ a horse to ride was not in his best interest and he just didn’t ride much any more. I had that ol’ skinny bronc all to myself and I rode him everywhere. I would ride a couple miles up the road and visit one of my classmates. Other than that I did a lot of prowlin’ on the Mallett Ranch where our oil field camp was situated. I would ride to the windmills, sometimes tie Colonel up and climb the windmill or take a swim in that less than clean over flow pond where the cattle drank.

I had a bro in law who was a real horses’ rear. He was not only the best looking man in America, but also the toughest and smartest. Man, how can you compete with that? My sis couldn’t so she divorced him. I digress. One Sunday Capt. American decided he would break ol’ Colonel from running off and especially from running back in the corral. We all gathered for the show as he mounted the kid’s saddle. His knees were almost under his chin or so it seems. He took off in a cloud of dust and hadn’t gotten too far when Colonel made a quick reverse and headed to the corral with Capt. America hangin’ off to the side. Running wide open, Colonel approached the gate to the corral then he slammed on the brakes and Capt. America took flight as the Colonel made a hard right turn into the corral. Capt. America was not only embarrassed, he was skinned up a little and his always immaculate clothes somewhat stained with dirt and grass. He never again offered to solve any more of our problems with good ol’ Colonel. I reckon all’s well that ends well. My sister dumped the Capt., I outgrew ol’ Colonel and sold him to a man in his forties as a good broke hoss. Shame on me. He did ride him and decided he would be okay. I guess I rode the “ruff” off of him. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion. Always remember Sept. 11 and how it shook us awake like nothing had done before. The idea of a “red neck remount and reload reactors” keeps coming to my mind….hummmm. This  bunch of black hooded bullies with clubs is disturbin’ my rest. Lay in the tall grass and keep a sharp eye and I’ll c. y’all,

THERE’S ALWAYS A BETTER WAY

       Gentle readers, there’s always a better way to do something or other, or so it seems in hind sight. After chores and breakfast this morning I was sitting on the front deck with a cup of “get up and go” (coffee). Down the road a quarter mile or so I noticed some activity as my neighbors seemingly were trying to load a propane tank into the back of a fully covered stock trailer. The propane tank was chained up to a bucket on a tractor and they were trying to force it into the trailer. Well, it just wasn’t working too well. I finally, ashamedly, got the binocks out and was interested to see if they ever finished this task. I was thinking “why don’t you just lift the tank up high enough to get it in the back of the trailer and then brace it with the bucket and BACK THE TRAILER UP WITH THE PICKUP until you have it loaded?” It took the better part of an hour but they finally got it loaded by “a little here and a little there” with the bucket
and a lot of hand waving by others around.
     I have always trimmed my own horses hooves until I started to have some lower back issues. I have been through three farriers in the last year and a half because I expect them to arrive (within reason) when they say they will. I grow tired of excuses and drop one and pick up another. The last one was to call me on a certain date and make an appointment to come out and trim. Never heard from her, sooooo, I got on line and ordered a hoof jack and a new set of nippers. A hoof jack, if you don’t know, is a telescoping post that has a large round base and a V shaped, padded top to hold a hoof while you clean it and trim it. It always bothered my back to grab a rear wheel of a horse and try to hold it and clean and trim it. My old knees would start to burn as their foot rested in my lap and if they resisted at all, it was just more than I wanted to deal with at times. Let alone if their feet had been dry and hard for a long period, it seemed as if you were trying to cut steel. Seemed to me that this was a better way of doing it by buying a hoof jack and new nippers. I dropped a little over three hundred to make my life hopefully a little less stressful and easier on the pocket book in the long run. A couple of days ago with a sore back I started in and trimmed the front feet on both horses. The next day with a back that was more stressed than the day before I started on the back feet. I got along fairly well but it was hot, the flies were bad and my gas tank seemed to be almost empty. I got one horse done and started on the other. All was well with the hoof jack on one rear wheel but when I got the other, things just sort of fell apart. The old pony kept jerking his foot off of the jack while I was was trying to trim it. Out of exasperation and out of patience, I untied him and swatted him a few times with the lead rope. That didn’t work so I wound up holding his foot in my lap and with burning knees got it trimmed. I have to tell ya, I was one old worn out cowboy when I got through with that chore. Their feet were dry and very hard and it was hot and I was OLD and that’s never a good combination. “THERE’S GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY”! Children, I do hope you find “that better way” to do the things that you need to do.
I know there are those times after we have completed a chore, we have already thought of a better way to do it next time.
I want to thank you folks who have purchased your calendars. I see so many of the same names year after year. I still have a good supply on hand. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, and look for that “better way”. Me thinks that there certainly must be
a better way for Americans to come to grips with our problems than the way we are going about it now. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

 

8-21-2017

UPDATES

Gentle readers, if you are anything like me, you don’t always want your computer UPDATED! I just received a notice that a certain part of my email was going to be updated. Did I want to go ahead or wait a while? I chose to wait a while, a long while if possible. Seems like every time they update some part or a whole part of one of my programs that I can get lost real quick. I get used to doing certain things a certain way that I am familiar with and all of a sudden my familiar parts just ain’t there any more. Frustrating to say the least.

Do you get those calls from Charles over in the far east somewhere and he wants to FIX WINDOWS for you? Here’s the deal. Maybe it’s just old guys like myself that they pick on. They figure we can’t remember what we had for breakfast so we are a perfect mark. Do you remember what you had for breakfast? I can’t always tell ya what I had for lunch if I just put away the lunch meat and mayo. I don’t let Charles know that. No sir, not for a minute. I usually just reply, “THERE AIN’T NOTHING WRONG WITH MY COMPUTER SO YOU CAN’T HELP ME! HAVE A NICE DAY”. See, I’m always polite. I must be as Charles always remembers to call every now and then. How about those updates that all of our newer vehicles are getting? Wow! Is that why there is a new recall almost every month for this pickup or this car. Ya know, if someone was to call and say, “Jack, we can update yer face and yer wallet in short order and it’s free. Would you like to update now or wait awhile?” I would go for the NOW part of that.

I remember that movie where Dustin Hoffman (the Graduate) was being advised by his soon to be father in law to invest in plastics. That was a long, long time ago and I remember thinking that “man, if I had any money at all, I would put it in plastic futures”! My new tractor is made out of plastic. So is your pickup and your car. I had at one time a 1956 Buick Roadmaster. Man, what a tank. Of course gasoline was only around .34 a gallon but every thing is relevant right? That car in prime condition today would cost you a fortune. They were stylish, dependable, comfortable cars with lots of leg room front and back. Today if you want to put someone in the back seat of your car they had not better be over four feet three inches or their knees will be up under their chin. That was a real super update some engineer came up with right? Of course how can we not be pleased to have our smart phones and i pads that most of YOU depend on? Aspirin sales are on the rise I hear as more folks complain of headaches and stiff necks and warts on their thumbs. I know, I know I am being a little cynical here but I ain’t kiddin’, I think we are headed for a place in the future that we are just not that comfortable with. Like, it’s needing that ol’ Buick Roadmaster back in the garage. I reckon it’s all what ya get used to. The way a man (woman) thinks so will they travel. That’s in the Bible or maybe the old Chinese wise man, Confuse-us, laid that on us. I just don’t remember. If you will remember, I can’t remember what I had for lunch as I’m putting away the lunch meat and mayo. By the way, how about those Chinese that we have been so willing to give all our money to and buy all their crap for all these years? Just sayin… I, for one am ready for an UPDATE on America and how it’s place in the world needs to have more respect and not be giving it’s blood and treasure for every cause that we receive NOTHING in return for. I am going to try and update myself on a lot of things I need to be aware of and contribute to before too much more of my time runs out. You guys have always helped me with your encouraging words and kind comments and I salute you! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and don’t give in to every update that comes your way and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

8-5-2017

                    THAT DOWN HOME EASY FEELING

 

Gentle readers, how would you describe that “down home easy feeling”? I reckon that some of us might describe it somewhat different than others but it most likely has something to do with how we have lived our lives. A person that lives close to the ocean might refer to sitting on the beach when the sun is almost down and listen to the waves lap at the shore. If you live in the mountains you might give credit to a full moon above the trees and just a whisper of breeze drifting through the pines. To a cowboy it’s the finish to a really hard day, buta satisfying feeling that all was accomplished and part of it done on the back of a really good and willing horse. I think most of us could just go back in our childhood and think of moments when we really weren’t aware of what life was really going to be like for us.

We had no idea the challenges, hardships, joy and heartache that lay spread out before us in the years of adulthood to come. I have a photo of my older brother and I sitting on the dresser in my bedroom. It was taken when we were ten and nine years of age or very close to that. We had such a peaceful, satisfied glint of joy and hope in our eyes and our big smiles reflected so. Had we known what all we would encounter in our lives over the next sixty or so years, you might have seen a different expression on our youthful faces. Life has been good to us and we have been blessed but we both have had difficult, trying and very sad times in our lives. I also have a photo of “Little Miss Martha” and I sitting on a split rail fence at cow camp high up in the Rockies above Ridgway, Colorado with that “down home easy feeling” expressed on our faces even though we were new to such an environment as that. I would bet ya that you could get that feeling just having your kids or maybe your dog just crawl up in your lap for comfort and love?

I have to touch on our world today. This world of fast, faster and fastest. A world of a bountiful, exciting, sometimes concerning new technologies that could either make us more comfortable or destroy us altogether at some time in the future. There is just so much of it I don’t understand. What I do understand is that when we don’t take the time to look one another in the eye and connect as one human being to another and prefer to look into the magic box and use our thumbs to create words we should be speaking, we are cheating not only ourselves but those we care about. You see that type of behavior constantly everywhere you go. There are ways to find “that down home peaceful feeling”. It might require us to give ourselves the opportunity to really relax and reflect on who we are, where we have been and where we expect to be. Somewhere in there I know that “feeling” will be present.

The mornings are cool and I know fall is just around the corner here in the Rocky Mountain west and I will be ready for that first snowfall when it comes. The bikers are all headed to Sturgis. There is still hay to be put away and a new season will begin. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember to be nice to your enemies, it drives them crazy. Also remember a friend is someone who could tell you all of his troubles, but he doesn’t. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

 IT’S BEST TO “LAFF”

Gentle readers, we all know it’s always best if you can find humor in situations that are sometimes awkward.

Let me give you a couple of recent examples. Here I am sitting in the waiting room (large) at the eye clinic. There was at best six to seven other folks scattered around. I noticed a feller some distance away kept looking in my direction as if he knew me. A few minutes later, I think it must have been his mother, a little whisper of a woman all bent over her walker appeared out of the back and she was wearing those dark wrap around glasses. They began talking and looking again in my direction and sure enough, you guessed it, here they come. I kept reading a magazine as if I wasn’t aware of what they were doing. I ain’t makin’ this up. This little old lady stopped her walker about a foot from my knee and leaned in to within six inches of my face and quipped, “nope, it ain’t him’! The feller said, “I told ya I didn’t think it was him.” He gave me an apologetic look and said, “sorry”. I smiled and replied, “that’s okay folks, I am always being mistaken for Brad Pitt.” She said as she turned away, “nope, you ain’t him either.” I had to chuckle a bit. Soooo, I see a nurse and she does some computer stuff and checks on my vision and places me in a small waiting room until the doc is ready. There is this couple about my age sitting there. I was wearing a nice Harley Davidson short sleeve shirt and above one pocket was the HARLEY DAVIDSON name. This feller looks up at me and says, “WELL, HELLO MR. HARLEY DAVIDSON”.  I gave him a glance and softly said, “good morning.” “WHERE DO YOU LIVE”? I am getting a little irritated by his brashness by now. I told him where I lived and picked up a magazine.

“WHO IS YOUR DOCTOR”? he asked. “Dr. Cheney,” I replied. “DID YOU SEE HER REACTION WHEN HER DAD LAUNCHED THAT NEW SHIP”? he asked. Confused I just looked at him as if he just had a couple of screws fall out of his head.

His wife said, “He’s talking about Dick Chenney.” “Oh, I don’t think this lady is kin to Mr. Chenney,” and that was the end of the conversation as a nurse appeared to take him to see his doc. That’s almost too funny in my books.

Of course I am a cartoonist and I may observe situations like that differently than you would.

I heard a lady comic say, “these kids today need to get their heads out of their apps and look around every now and then. How clever is that? Here’s a couple of cute bumper stickers: HONK IF YOU LOVE PEACE AND QUITE! Pardon my driving I am loading my pistol! You can’t have everything..where would you put it? And the last: a flashlight is a container to hold dead batteries!

I would like to give a shout out to a couple of Fence Post advertisers. I just bought a tractor from Legacy Tractors in Fort Collins and what nice folks they are. Also, I have agreed to having a large building built from Vap Construction  from Atwood, Kansas. They have super good pricing on their buildings. While I’m at it, I’ll toss in a plug for Mad Jack’s “Hoots” cowboy cartoon calendars for 2018. They are here and ready to ship.

Send a check or money order to Jack Hanks, P.o. Box 825, Wellington, Co. 80549. $10.00 for a signed, postage paid to your mailbox and $9.00 for additional calendars. Thanks to you who have already purchased yours.

Stay tuned, pull your head out of your app once in a while and look around and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

7-20-2017

WHEN IT ALL COMES TOGETHER

Don’t it feel good, gentle readers, when it all comes together for you and you just couldn’t see it happening? Well, it was sorta’ like that for me this past week. It hasn’t quite all come together as of yet because I’m still waiting for that good summer rain and thunderstorm. However, here are a couple of things that did come together. My ol’ Allis Chalmers tractor just sort of quit me while mowing weeds down in the pasture. Yep, she just sort of decided it was just too hot.

No doubt about it, it has been hot and still is at this writing. I determined that it had to be the battery as it didn’t seem to want to take a charge. Sooooo, I get the new battery, install it and nada, nothing, zero. Being quite out of sorts at this point as it’s hotter than hades, the weeds are gettin’ taller and I’m gettin’ older, I called my friend, “Animal”. He is a darn good shade tree mechanic so he stops by the next afternoon. He’s havin’ a problem because he can’t figure out why the old girl just won’t make a sound. Suddenly he starts “laffin” and says to me, “Jack, go get me a half inch wrench.” “Why, what’s wrong, I know that I installed that battery the correct way?” “Just go get me the wrench,” he demanded. When I came back he showed me when I installed the battery I neglected to remove the rubber cover off the negative post on the battery. “Wow, man I can’t believe that I did that,” I offered. I could believe that I did that as I seem to either be unfocused or “old timers” is trying to set in as I have made a few errors in the past weeks. Scary!

I was sitting on the back deck wondering why the Hummingbirds did not show this year.  I had the feeder out for a couple of weeks and no birds. Wouldn’t ya know it? Right at that moment one Hummingbird flew in and took a drink and I thought, “son of a gun,”they are going to come this year.” Yep, it’s coming together.

My dentist has been having some trouble making a “bridge” fit properly that I just paid two grand for. I’ve been a little cranky as it was making a sore spot on my gum and I wasn’t able to eat with it in. Finally, finally he made the right adjustments to where I believe that it’s going to be okay. Yep, it seems to just be coming together when I wasn’t sure that it would.

By the way, the Allis Chalmers is going to be for sale as I have decided to try and find a tractor I can afford that has a cab on it for this next winter. Old “Alice” is a good tractor. It’s a D17 (54HP) with a farmhand loader and everything works except the lights. If you have a tractor for sale (35-70 hp) with a cab and loader let me know.

If I could get that good rain we have been promised this weekend, and I can get old “Alice sold and find a good replacement, IT WILL HAVE ALL COME TOGETHER!

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, send me a rain and a tractor, may God bless this wonderful country we live in and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

7-16-2017

SUMMERTIME BLUES

I can distinctly remember just what was a few months ago that I was whining about the cold miserable weather. Man how I wished we could just have some of those good ol’ hot summer days. Well, gentle readers, ya know where this is going.

Here I am whining and I am so ashamed of myself. Really I am. Now, if we had seen any measurable rain in the past few  weeks I wouldn’t mind the hot days so much. No rain, dry grass, lots of weeds makes Jack a dull boy. Not only dull, but  much the whiner. Of course it doesn’t do any good to whine as one old Texas cowman said, “I’ll rain when the droughts over.” I ain’t havin’ a drought but without some rain soon it will appear as if we’re havin’ one.

Now Cheyenne Frontier Days is just around the corner. In fact by the time you get this it will have already started and it almost ALWAYS RAINS ON THE ONO when Frontier Days is in full swing. I have that to look forward to.

Today is a Sunday and I don’t attend church any more. I do like to take time to catch a couple of services on the “telly” that I enjoy watching. There have been times I have watched as many as five and that’s a lot of T.V. church going. Mostly that happens in the winter when I am not motivated to do much outside but take care of the ponies, split and haul firewood and do the household chores. I had a good bit of work lined up for me this morning when I got up so I got busy doing those things I needed to do. I had to deliver some calendars to a lady, buy some groceries, pull the battery out of my tractor in order to replace it tomorrow with a new one. I needed to write this column as I have a pretty full day tomorrow. Yep, back to the dentist, check on some business down in “the old country” (Texas). It’s almost a full day just to keep the water tubs filled for the heifers and my horses. Man, they are drinking a lot of water. I always have to fill the tubs twice and sometimes three times. Early in the summer when we had some RAIN, the creek took on lots of water and I didn’t see the cattle up here at the house other than maybe to hit the salt lick once in awhile.

Actually, I don’t have the blues at all, I just needed a snappy title for this column. I have had a busy summer grubbin’ cactus, keeping fences repaired, keeping my yard, house and buildings organized and finding time to ride a little on the Harley and horses as well.

I got a nice surprise today as I was pulling the battery out of my old tractor I noticed a feller mowing the ditch not only out in front of my neighbor’s but my place as well. New feller moved in down the road and set about makin’ friends.

I gave him a big wave and a big THANK YOU for his efforts. Now that’s the kind of stuff that makes you appreciate kindness at it’s fullest. I am always encouraged to want to “pay it forward” myself when someone does something nice for me that wasn’t ask for. Hey, we are all in this together. We are. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how much you have or don’t have or what your political leanings are, we are all wanting the same things out of life. I know it’s hard to want to get along with some who are so diabolically opposed to so many things we hold up high, but there may come that time when that person needs you or visa versa. I sure hope you are having an agreeable summer. I know some of you are on hard times or have difficult situations you are dealing with. Hard times don’t last forever!

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion. Find a reason to “laff” and to do a little more compromising if necessary and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. Just a reminder my calendars for 2018 are here.

7-10-2017

BUDDY, HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?

 

It was early June and it was a hot, hot morning when we had the cows and calves and bulls penned. The calves had been sorted off, the branding fire was roarin’ and the dirt was fixin’ to fly. This was on the Coldwater Cattle Companies ranch up in the Texas panhandle. I was working for the LX and the two ranches had family relations so our crew from the LX went to “neighbor” and help with the gather and branding. Both ranches were pretty large at one hundred and fifty sections apiece as I remember. This was a new gig for me and my first branding as a “green broke” cowboy trying to learn all I could and make a hand. Mostly not to create any issues for anyone and to do what was ask of me in a positive way. My job this morning was to wrestle calves to be branded. I didn’t know a soul from the Coldwaters outfit but was about to get familiar with some of them. It was obvious to all that I was green but willing. I struggled a bit with the first calf that came my way but managed to hold my own and do a respectable job. I had the rear end of the calves and that’s in my opinion, the tougher end to either get kicked or crapped on or both. The sweat was running out from under our hat brims and our faces covered with grim when one of the Coldwater boys ask, “where did you come from?” Meaning, what have you been doing or where have you been working? I explained to him and others close by as we were waiting  for another calf that I had had a job with Proctor and Gamble as a sales rep but decided to quit and start “cowboyin”.

“Did ya make purty good money?” one feller ask. I told what my salary was and that I had a company car, expense account, paid vacation, and the weekends off. “WHAT? HAVE YOU LOST YER MIND BUDDY? You gave that up to come out here and work yer butt off twelve or fifteen hours a day punchin’ cows? Why did you want to do that?” another ask.

I wanted to be doing just what you guys are doing. The job I had was not a man’s job (that’s what I thought of it at the time) and I just wanted to be a’horseback workin’ cows and whatever else. Gentle readers, those guys looked at each other as if they had just met the village idiot. That was the end of our conversation for the most part the rest of the morning. I really did feel like an outsider right then realizing that there probably wasn’t a man there that would have been hired by P&G because their texture would have been a little bit rough for a suit and tie. Of course, I had just made my point to myself as to why I was there. I wanted to be just like them for starters and hopefully move up into being a cow boss or even a manager. And i did in a much shorter period of time than I was expecting. Within a year of that day I was managing the large Texas ranch east of Dallas. I believe two of the main reasons I was hired were that I had a stable, very acceptable family life and I had WORKED FOR PROCTOR AND GAMBLE!

As I have mentioned in the past, my dad had a coniption fit when I told him I was leaving P&G to cowboy. He must have thought that he had raised the village idiot. Hey, it all worked out and life as a cowboy, cowman and whatever else brought more satisfaction not only to me but to my wife and kids as well as we got to get together many times working cattle and havin’ fun in the process. I wouldn’t trade a day of it. Well, maybe that day my hoss fell on me and broke my leg or maybe the day that ol’ pony almost drowned me, but that’s in the past, right? I sure hope your position in life offers you the opportunity to do what you really want to do and to be the person you always aspired to become.

If not and the opportunity presents it’self, I say “GO FOR IT!”

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, take time to appreciate every day ’cause one day you will be an old geezer or geezerette like me so stop and get a whiff of the saddle room and the breath of a new calf, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Don’t forget about the calendars.

7-1-2017

ENDANGERED SPECIES

Are there still remaining endangered species, yo might ask? So glad ya did ’cause I can think of a few off of the top

of my head. Hummmm, let’s see, well, there are those conservative folks that at times would like to voice their opinion

on certain political issues at some liberal arts colleges. In many cases they are not allowed or shouted down as their

speech is call “hate speech”. Then we have a few politicians that want to “cut the crap” and get down to business

and make our country great again but they are usually pushed aside by the alligators in the swamp. Did you know that

Washington D. C. was actually built on a swamp? Check it out. We may all be endangered one of these days when the

robots take over every aspect of our lives. No kiddin’! Gentle readers, many years ago when the Spotted Owl was

the headline in the news I threw together a little poem I called “endangered species”. I’m sure I have published it here

before in the Fence Post but would like to do it again with your permission. Here goes….

To the judges question, the cowboy replied,

“yer honor, if I hadn’t et that old spotted owl,

I surely would have died!”

Ya see, my ol’ pony got spooked and acted the fool,

he proceeded to buck me off and then runs off with my mule.

For three days I wandered in the woods deep and dark.

the first day I ate grass, the second ants and the third tree bark.

I looked up to pray as my stomach did growl,

then I seen it, that ol’ Spotted Owl.

God does answer prayers as I snatched that ol’ bird real quick.

I et every thing but the feathers then my fingers did I lick!

I was purt near proud of this thing I had done

until up stepped a warden with his big ol’ gun.

“Ah ha, I see you’ve et an endangered species,

I can tell from yer mess.

That ought to be worth ’bout twenty years in the big house,

would be my guess.”

“so yer honor, have mercy on a poor ol’ cowboy’s hide,

if I hadn’t et that ol’ bird I’da surely died!”

The judge wiped a tear from the side of his face,

“Yer free to go cowboy, I’m dismissing yer case!”

The cowboy reached for his hat to leave in great haste

when the judge suddenly ask, “how does a Spotted Owl taste?”

“Well, yer honor, they is just sorta’ plain,

they ain’t quit as good as a bald eagle but they ‘re a little

better than a whoopin’ crane!!!”

Oh I can hear the grinding of teeth through clinched jaws from the P.E.T.A. folks, but hey, it’s funny right?

Relax, live a little, have some frog legs and possum stew, it’s really good if you have a go at it!

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, “laff” at every opportunity you’ll live longer. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

As a side bar the 2018 “Hoot” calendars have arrived early. $10.00 for the first one, every one after that is

$9.00. That’s signed, postage paid and send check or money order, sorry no plastic, to Jack Hanks, P.O box

825 Wellington, Co. 80549. You can also email me onoranch@msn.com or call 970-568-3974. THANKS!!

 

WHEN MONDAY CAME ON A SUNDAY

 

Gentle readers we often refer to Monday as being that one day when something goes wrong or things just don’t work out as we had anticipated. It was on a Monday that ol’ Jiggs, my fourteen hundred pound ranch horse was jerked off his feet by a four hundred and something pound steer in the mud and landed on my right leg. The result of that I still feel every day since and will until I die I reckon. However, a Monday may come on a Wednesday or Friday or any day of the week simply because we just blame Mondays for being that one time when Murphy’s Law prevails, or so it seems. I was drifting through the channels last night and came across this televised preacher in the process of having a “healing service”. I have to tell ya he was about as good as I’ve ever seen when it comes to working and controlling the crowd. He appeared to be akin to Porter Wagoner in his appearance with his lavish coat and hair like the “Donald”. I watched simply because it was very entertaining and I was taken with the skills and total control this man had over his audience. Let me be clear. I do believe in divine intervention or miracles in the healing process.

I am not too fond of folks that strut like a barnyard rooster and are so into themselves it takes away from what should be a special occasion for someone who really is in need of a miracles. Well, this ol’ boy had his Monday come running up to him and caught him by surprise. It was a slightly overweight woman who’s personal appearance would lead you to believe she was a poor woman but one who was a strong believer. “And why are you here and what do you need?” the rooster crowed. With a broad grin she showed maybe three teeth in her entire mouth and testified that she wanted HER TEETH BACK!! The rooster came up blank. He looked confused as if he were saying to himself, “Houston, we have a problem here!” He did an about face and started singing (and not very well) some praise song that almost every one knew and then immediately focused his attention on someone else. It happens and I was so glad it happened to him on national television. I reckon that we have all had our Mondays when we least expected them.

You know the good thing about us? We live in America and it’s the fourth of July holiday. We live in a country where you can make a fool of yourself if you so desire and they won’t put you in prison. We can say anything that we desire any time we desire within reason. We can choose to believe or not believe in God. We can have any job we desire if we qualify and make as much or as little money as we feel we need. We can own property and if we follow the rules, take care of our obligations, and obey our laws, our prospects are without limit. I always wanted to be a cowboy. I always wanted to be able to create cartoons and have some success with it. I always wanted that good woman and those wonderful kids and grand kids. It all came true. Why? It came true because that’s where

I set my goals and it seemed as if the harder I worked, the luckier I got! Right? You betcha’ Charlie Brown.

Please be mindful this fourth of July how lucky we are to be Americans and have all that we have or all that is available to us if we plan our work and work our plan. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, support the rodeosin your area and be safe with fireworks and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

 

DADDY

 

My dad, “Daddy” was one of the better Hanks’ boys if not the very best of that crop. With seven brothers to compete with in a time when Tom Horn (famous Wyoming enforcer for rich ranchers) had only been hung a few years before my daddy was a young boy. These Hanks boys were farm boys like most every kid was in 1915 or so. They made their own fun playing in the woods, hunting and God only knows what else. They were tough kids that depended on each other and I’m sure there was constant competition in almost every thing they did. Their daddy was a candy maker, wine maker, and I’m told did a little bootleggin’ with his homemade brews. He would load his wagon up with his “goodies” and travel the country side selling to anyone who would buy along the way. I reckon he did okay as they all grew up big and strong and from what I understand, you didn’t want to provoke a fight with any on them, especially my daddy and my uncles Marvin and Pete.  Don’t know if this is the “gospel” but I was told that my mom played the piano not only in the movies before sound was a part of them, but in the saloon on occasion as well. I was also told my daddy filled in as the “bouncer” on occasion in Uncle Pete’s pool hall and joint. Pete was arrested along with my daddy and his daddy for bootleggin’ on one occasion. Tough guys living under difficult circumstances in difficult times. Then it all changed when mom and daddy fell in love and decided to have a family. Church was a major part of their lives and remained until they both passed. My daddy was a deacon in a Baptist church wherever we lived and we always had a Bible reading and recited the “Lord’s prayer” before going to bed.

My older brother went into the ministry after college and was a sought after pastor until he retired. His last church where he tended the flock, he was there well over twenty years, twenty six I believe. We still converse weekly and I always seek his advice on a lot of issues. They just don’t come much better. Like father like son.

Now me, on the other hand,I turned out to be a little “reckless”. Gentle readers, I’m not sure how we came up with the word “reckless”. That should be a label for someone who didn’t get into situations one might call a “wreck”. Right?

I digress. After taking a sever beating on my sixteenth birthday from someone much older and much bigger, “daddy” gave me a few pointers on how and when to do this or that when it came to fighting. That little bit of advice came in handy more times that I would want to boast about. I loved my “daddy” and he certainly loved his family and was a good provider and protector. I disappointed him in so many ways on so many different occasions I still am ashamed.

Daddy passed over thirty years ago and his and mom’s picture smiles at me each morning when I roll out of bed.

Back in the day, dads didn’t hug their sons as it was considered to be a little “soft”. I gotta’ tell ya, I grab and hug my kids, their spouses and grand kids at every opportunity. There just ain’t nothing “soft” about that.

Stay tuned my friends, I hope all you dads had a wonderful day with your families and remember, we just don’t get “do-overs”! Check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

 

RAGGEDY ANN AND RALPH LAUREN

 

Raggedy Ann was the project of a feller back in 1880 until 1938. I didn’t know the little darlin’ was quite that old.

I always figured she was a product of the “depression years” so little kids wouldn’t feel so bad about not having

decent clothes to wear. Well Raggedy Ann had to have a playmate of course, so we got Raggedy Andy

so she wouldn’t feel so alone. I don’t know that for a fact gentle readers, I’m just makin’ assumptions here.

Right about now we need to throw Alan Jackson, country singer, in the mix to better make my point. I think the

ripped up blue jeans started with him. Remember how he would come out in that buckskin jacket with fringe and be

wearing those jeans all ripped up? He started a trend, in my opinion, of folks of means appearing to be willing to

present themselves with a “Raggedy Ann, Raggedy Andy” look. It was just sort of in your face, “I can wear whatever

I darn well please in public when I darn well please and am not too proud to look “raggedy”.

First let me preface this by saying, I like Mr. Lauren. I met him on a few occasions when we lived in Ridgway, Colorado

and liked him as a person. He has a beautiful ranch there and it is well appointed to say the least. I have known his ranch

manager and family for over thirty years and I can tell you they are stellar folks!

I recently viewed a You Tube video of a visit Oprah Winfrey made to Ralph’s ranch on her way to Telluride, Colorado.

As she arrives with her camera crew we find Ralph in the corral riding one of his horses around and around. I know Mr.

Lauren is not a real cowboy but by golly if he wants to pretend to be one when on the ranch I say “go for it.”

Ralph rides up to the fence where Oprah is and dismounts to greet her. He looks, I swear, as if he had just been drug through

the branding fire. His tattered, crumpled hat was no match for his dirty wrinkled shirt and jeans. One would think he was

just one of the cowboy crew that had had a bad experience with “mad cow disease”! Mr. Lauren can dress and act however

he chooses on his ranch. I am of the opinion that folks that have acquired a lot in their respective careers are entitled to

dress any way they choose. A lot of them, it appears to me, especially those in the entertainment field, feel the need to

look homeless. They need to get down and dirty and wrestle with poverty even if it’s just “play like”! You hardly ever see

a celebrity in People Magazine (at the doctor’s office) that aren’t wearing ripped up clothes that is if they are wearing any

clothes at all.

It’s gotten to the point now where you can actually purchase jeans that appear to be caked in dirt for, get this, are you

ready? FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS! I ain’t makin’ that up. Lately, there are those sneakers that have

been cut and ripped and look like something the puppy got hold of for only FOURTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS! Boy, Charlie

Brown, where’s little Pig Pen when you need him to promote this new type of apparel? Crazy huh?

I suspect there is a little guilt trip with some of these folks that have so much. Realizing that they are way up on the food

chain, they just want to let us know that really down deep they are just like us and don’t have to look spectacular all the

time. Who knows? Just sayin’…..Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and for goodness sake wear some decent clothes

when you present yourself to the rest of us! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

WEST TEXAS WINDMILLS AND THEIR VALUE

As a young lad in a Baptist church a prayer was offered up by an old rancher/cowboy. I remember him as looking very old and tired. He ended his prayer something like this, “Lord, knowing you is as refreshing as a cool drink of windmill water from an old tomato can on a hot summer day.” I always remembered that prayer as we lived out in a Mesquite and cactus covered pasture and it was a hot place in the summer. There was a windmill a little over a half mile south of our house in an oil field camp. I spent most of my free time when I could at that windmill. It was the only water around in such an arid environment and that’s where all the critters came to drink including the livestock on the ranch. The wind seem to always be blowing enough to spin the fan however slowly that might be. There was this little stream of water coming out of the well pipe into a large metal tub and the overflow went into an earthen pond. That pond could get pretty nasty and scummy with alga and toss in some cow patties etc. Just the same there were those times I would secure my horse to the windmill tower, peel off my clothes and take a dip although I made a promise to my mom I never would do that. I always loved the sound of that fan when it creaked and groaned as if it were painful for it to produce the smallest amounts of water.

Little Miss Martha always loved windmills. She kept pictures of them throughout the house and I still have some hanging today. There was something so peaceful about that machine that defied all odds or so it seemed to just keep pumping and pumping and bringing life to a hot, dusty world around it. There were ranches where I helped out or was employed that would build a fence around a windmill taking in several acres. It was called a water trap where cattle could be trapped and worked if necessary as there were always a good set of corrals in the trap. That trap was the only place cattle could water in that particular pasture. I have fond memories of riding up to those windmills in the heat of the day to check on cattle. They would gather up under the shade of the Mesquite trees around the mill, chew their cuds and fight flies and get to the salt licks.

After riding in and out of the brush looking for problems, I would ride over to the mill, dismount, tie up my pony and retrieve that tomato can with a bailing wire handle hanging on the mill and fill it to the brim with that cool windmill water. Sometimes if necessary I would dump a can of water over my head, after removing my hat of course.

Those windmills were an oasis in a harsh environment and brought such pleasant and enduring relief on a really hot day. Those were peaceful and relaxing moments in a cowboys daily routine during the “dog days of summer”.

I especially remember that summer on the LX Ranch north of Amarillo when old Lester (83 years young) and I were prowling a five section pasture checking on the welfare of critters in our care. It was a hot July or August mid afternoon when we rode up to the windmill to water our horses and get a drink and relax for a short spell. As our ponies were drinking and we were still mounted, a yellow steer appeared from out of the brush with head tilted back while looking us over. He decided it was safe to come in for a drink from that big old circular cement tub. We were on the opposite side when he eased up and dropped his head for a drink. I noticed Lester take his rope string down and start to build a loop. I had learned never to interrupt old Lester when he was busy so I remained quite although I could see nothing wrong with the steer. In a flash that old cowboy who was no bigger than a whisper, threw a hoolihan across the tub right around the neck of that surprised steer. The steer pulled back and Lester let out a war whoop, “HEEL’EM JACK, HEEL’EM” as he pulled the steer away from the tank. “What’s wrong with’em Lester?” I bellered as I built a heel loop. “AIN’T NOTHIN’ WRONG WITH’EM, I WAS BORED!”

Typical cowboy behavior regardless of age being a consideration. All of the above has settled in my mind over the many years and each and every time I see a windmill, it all sorta’ starts bouncin’ around in my brain.

5-12-2017

THOSE ANNOYING UNTIMELY ROBO CALLS

I know you get them also gentle readers, those calls that make you just want to start screaming obscenities on occasion when you realize you’ve been had. Like today, I had just reclined for a short nap after lunch as I usually do when I can. I usually find a way to “can”. Right as I was beginning my trip into la la land, that place you go that makes you feel worse at times when you find your way outta’ there, the phone rings. My first thought was that it was my daughter as I was expecting a call sometime during the day. It wasn’t. It was Don from the Awareness Center. Don was a robot. Don says right before I hung up, “Hi, this is Don from the Awareness Center and your wellness package is ready to be shipped…” Click. Other times it’s Peg and Peg I’m not sure if she’s a real person or not, says, “you recently stayed at one of our resorts and to show our appreciation…” I shout, “NO I DIDN’T PEG, I’VE NEVER STAYED AT YOUR STUPID RESORT”…Peg has never lost her composure and is still giving her canned speech as I slam down the receiver. Poor Peg, robot or not, no one should be addressed in that manner for such a simple infraction….should they? Oh there are many more but I’ll not take the time to list them all, it’s just that these folks are looking for old folks t prey on. Now see, that’s what galls my gallbladder! Shame on them. Just you wait until they are “old folks” and I bet there’s a robot that shows up on their doorstep with a contract in hand that if you don’t know how to program it to leave, it won’t leave until you’ve signed their contract. Hummmm~!

I have a cute joke for you. Cooter, Bubba and Leon all work together climbing these outrageously tall towers to paint, repair or what ever. As they reach the very top of this giant tower Cooter slips and fall two hundred feet to the ground. By the time Bubba and Leon get down, of course their buddie has passed from massive injuries. Bubby says, “we gotta’ go tell his wife about what happened!” Leon say, “I’ll go. Bubba you just don’t know how to talk to folks. You’ll go over there and just blurt out, “COOTER’S DEAD AS A DOORNAIL AND I’M SORRY!” ” I am more learned than that, replies Leon. I’m a smoother talker and I know how to deal with a situation like this. I’ll go tell her while you call an ambulance.” Leon leaves and returns in about an hour with a case of Bud under his arm. Bubba was surprised and a wee bit alarmed and ask, “Leon, are you tellin’ me that you went and told Cooter’s wife he was dead and she gave you a case of Bub”? “Aw heck no, says Leon, I approached the house and rang the doorbell. When she opened the door I ask, “you must be Cooter’s widow?” She says, “I’m not his widow I’m his wife!” I says, “I’LL BET YA A CASE OF BUD!”

Okay, okay that may not be funny to some of you. I reckon it’s sort of a guy joke but I thought it was funny when I heard it. The thing about having coffee with my “buds” down at the T Bar Inn is that at our age we can tell the same joke any number of times and most of us won’t remember we have heard it several times before. As a matter of fact when Larry tells a joke, Alan and I will look at one another and ask…”was that number eighteen or forty six?” depending on how old we think the joke has been around. Well, this ain’t no joke. I spent five thousand dollars at the dentist yesterday and we ain’t done yet.

Holy Moly, what is this world coming to? Stay tuned gentle readers, check yer cinch on occasion, don’t fall for all that FAKE NEWS out there and I’ll c. y’all all y’all. Oh, as a sidebar, on the chance I have told the above joke once or more before, you will have to excuse me as I just passed another birthday on my way to a future dirt nap.

GOOD MORNING AMERICA

Well, gentle readers, it is a beautiful morning this Saturday as I sit down to converse with you, my friends, again. I have been sitting out on the front deck with a hot cup of coffee in the cool of the morning. I haven’t fixed breakfast as of yet mainly ’cause I wanted to be outside drinking coffee. I had already fed the ponies, made my bed and said, America, here I come!

While engaged in my morning thoughts I caught myself listening to a Meadow Lark perched on a fence post just across the road. He, she, was high lighted by a beautiful blue Colorado sky and the snow capped peaks of the Rockies some twenty miles distant Man! What a beautiful way to start the morning.

For the past few years I have tried to imitate the calls and whistles of Meadow Larks. I called out to this bird and got an immediate response. Right about now I’m thinking what a “cool” old man I am. Speaking of getting old, when you receive this I hope to turn the double sevens the following day. Yep, I do. There are those times I wonder to myself….”where did the years go? how did I get here so fast? Well, there’s a lot of you out there thinking the very same thing. The good thing about it all is that we are AMERICANS!

Yep, citizens of the most desired and sought after country on this planet. If you listen to some folks they would have you believe that America is this terrible country that abuses many of it’s citizens and those that slipped into the country that want to live out their lives here. What I haven’t been able to settle in my mind is why those complaining folks that disparage this wonderful country haven’t just packed up and left. I mean, after all, if it’s really that bad they are free to leave and there are a whole lot of them I wish would just shut up or get the heck outta’ here.

I took a short walk out into the pasture this morning just to check and see how the grass is responding to the warm day we had yesterday. It’s been so cold the grasses have just retreated back into the ground or so it appeared. I was encouraged by my short walk as the buffalo grass is poppin’ out and looking for the sun.

My daughter, Sunni and her daughter Kailee, came out yesterday to bring their new pup and Kailee came to help “Grandpa” do some mowing and cleaning up around the yard. What a sweetie they both are and I am so blessed whenever they come out.

Sunni and I wound up down at the creek as she wanted to look for colorful rocks for her flowerbeds. We got in a good visit a little later and they left so Grandpa could clean up and get ready to go dancin’. I did.

It’s  always interesting to me how our internal clock seems to always be on time. It was a little after midnight when I got to bed and at five this morning that internal clock sounded the alarm as it has after being on the ranch for so many years.

I will confess I did lay there a bit before I rolled out and put on the coffee. Yes, GOOD MORNING AMERICA!

I think that when it gets a little warmer I will jump on the Harley and run into town and check the mail. That ol’ Harley needs a little soot blown out of it. I keep thinking each year that this will be the year I ride. Either I sell that bike or give it to one of my kids or grandkids. We’ll see. I have ridden a couple of times in weeks past and it appears that I THINK I’m still young enough to wrestle that thing here and about. We’ll see. The last thing I want to happen is to wind up on the six o’clock news.

No thank you. I am looking forward to happy days and some summer time fun. Winter always seems to drag away some of my excitement for living when it refuses to give up and leave until it’s appropriate time. That time is now, hot dawg! Here’s wishing y’all a happy, safe, fun summer. Stay tuned, wear those life jackets while on the water, wear your sun screen, watch out for rattlesnakes, remember to check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

 

RED LIPPED BRONC STOMPER

Gentle readers, if you receive this on the 8th day of May then this was the day that I married “Little Miss Martha” some fifty two years ago. Martha was an extremely sweet, quite, patient and loving woman. What a doll she was. Down deep inside of me I reckon I wanted her to be a little more on the edge but I saw what a true value she would be in my life.

She was all that I expected her to be and more. On the other hand I always liked a woman who could wear a pair of spurs, handle a rope and know her way around a horse. That wasn’t Martha. She would ride with me and the kids at times but never out of a trot. Well, except for that one day she was determined to go against my SOLID advice and ride a hard headed, big stout colt that was still a bronc. At least that was my opinion of him for what time I had spent on his back. He ran off with her and launched her some fifteen feet into the terra firma dislocating her thumb and filling her mouth with dirt and grass.

That scared me to death and her as well and any time after that she was more than willing to listen to my sage advice when it came to what horse she should ride if she rode at all. She didn’t ride much at all after that incident but it did clue her in to some of what a cowboy’s life can accommodate at times.

I have been watching You Tube videos of a young lady who calls herself Adrian Buckaroogirl. Now this is one attractive, entertaining (plays and sings with a guitar) and a very few years back was a “red lipped bronc stomper”. For sure this gal was like the girls that rode broncs back in the twenties and thirties. She has videos of her working the branding pen draggin’ calves to the fire and building fence and so on. This is one tough and beautiful young woman who has nothing to prove.

She, according to her, loves horses, doing ranch work, looking like a lady always in makeup and riding broncs. Man, I think if I was forty years old again and single I’d hit a trail to Nevada and look this cowgirl up!

It always made me happy, for some reason, to see a gal throw her leg over her own Harley and ride off as if she were shopping at Macys. You see women in all sorts of occupations these days that used to be “men only” jobs. I love to see a woman in working clothes with a tool belt on or a pistol on her hip. My lady doctor here is in the Marine reserves and has been put out of a aircraft into the ocean and left for hours before she was picked up again. She is truly a pleasure to have as my “doc”. She also plays or has played drums in a country and western band. How can ya top that? Well,

I reckon you could be a beautiful blond with ruby red lips coming out of the buckin’ chute at some rodeo on a big stout bronc while the cowboys are all standing around feeling a little out of place. Truth is, my “Little Miss Martha” may have been more woman than any lady bronc rider around only in a different way. Had she been an accomplished bronc rider that would have made me feel some what lacking in that area, I might not have wanted to marry her at all. Just sayin….. ! I ordered a new straw hat from Big Bend Saddlery in Alpine, Texas and it should arrive today. I’ll shape it, look in the mirror as I walk out the door to go dancin’, and do the best an old man can do on the dance floor. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and just to let ya know, you can find peace in the sagebrush and dirt! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

4-7-2017

Cute Stories Concerning Marriage

How is your marriage or relationship going Buckwheat? Just askin’. If you have every been present when I was entertaining you may have heard this story once before. A couple goes in for counseling at the wife’s request concerning their present relationship.

The Doc. take the woman aside in another room and visits with her for twenty minutes. He repeats the same process with the husband. Then they all sit down on a couch with the Doc between the couple. He addresses the husband with this. “Sir, it appears to me that after twenty three years of marriage you don’t even have a clue about your wife. You don’t know what her hopes and dreams are and have always been. You seem to be centered on what you want and need without giving one single thought to your precious wife here. She has tried to reach out to you but to no avail.” With that he turns to the woman, grabs her up and puts a wet sloppy lip lock on her. She is surprised and shocked but seemed to have enjoyed the experience. “That sir, is exactly what your wife needs at least three times a week!” the Doc blurted out. “Is that your expert opinion?” muses the husband.

“Yes it is. I have been a counselor for over forty years and that’s my EXPERT OPINION”! “Well, sir, that being the case I’ll bring her by on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Man I hope your marriage is doin’ better than that!

Here’s another: A husband and wife are out driving through the country on a Sunday afternoon. He suddenly feels an urgent need to let his wife of many, many years that he has always considered her to be  hard headed, stubborn, unwilling to compromise and that she might even be a wee bit SLOW! Just at that moment when he has dumped on her they are passing by a pasture full of mules. Ole hubby, gentle readers, glances at the mules, turns to his wife and ask, “relatives of yours”? She stares straight ahead without any emotion and replies, “YEP, INLAWS!!” So there you have it, so the back and forth, the unmasked emotion that suddenly presents itself unexpectedly. One lady said, “if you want your husband in a committed relationship, put him in an institution. Sorry guys, I am picking on us fellers a little too much in this column but sometimes we need it. I Know of married couples that have been married FOREVER  and yet they still seem to be much in love and enjoy their spouses as much as ever.

Little Miss Martha and I had a good marriage the way I remember it, however now that she is gone I also remember things I did and said that I shouldn’t have said or done. As Easter has just passed I would encourage you to consider new beginnings if you need them in your relationships. You just don’t really know sometimes the value of what you have until you don’t have it any more. I do hope you are well, live with someone who truly loves you and visa versa and are excited about your future.

If not, you may have to put more effort into the things that will make your relationship worth having.

Man, I just had the thought I may be the very last person to be giving anyone advice on relationships. Heck, I don’t even have a girlfriend. Not really lookin’ girls, just sayin’. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, put a sloppy lip lock on your sweetheart and if he’s not there, put one on your husband! Just kiddin’, I’ll c. y’all, all y’all

3-31-2017

THE JOY OR LACK OF FIXIN’ FENCE

In a book that I wrote and had published some twenty years ago, I realized after I put them out for sale the publisher had mistakenly quoted me as saying that I had worked on or personally built or repaired over two hundred miles of fence. Now, gentle readers, that was a miscue from the word go. It should have stated twenty miles of fence not two hundred. With that being said, I have fixed a lot more fence since that publication twenty years ago but it sure hasn’t added up to two hundred miles!

Most of the time I don’t mind fence fixin’ if the weather is half way agreeable and I’m not having lower back issues like I sometimes do. When we ranched up in the mountains I dreaded having to go and try to put some of those high mountain fences back in shape before the cows came up for the summer. There were many times when the snow would get eight to twelve feet deep up there and when it melts it will bring a “bob wire” fence DOWN! Fixin’ a high mountain fence just requires patience, some experience and being able to enjoy the quiet of the high country while you are there.

A good many years ago I leased a pasture up the road of some one hundred and sixty acres to expand my little operation some. The feller that owned it lived out of state but was of the “cowboy” type and had inherited it from family. He was a nice guy and our arrangement worked out pretty good until he decided to raise his lease price. I just leased it from May to October each year when I had cattle on it. I decided not to lease it again after the price went up and the following year in January we had a blizzard and the snow drifts were substantial. I drove by the place as I did every day going to town and noticed that after the snow melted it had brought his fence down for about forty yards up on a hill by the road. A few weeks later he had come up to see family and drove out to the place. He immediately called me and wanted to know why I left his fence in such disrepair. I explained to him I had no ownership in that as I wasn’t leasing the place at that time and had left ALL of his fence in good repair. I told him about all the snow drifts we had up here and that portion of his fence was a victim. “ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME THAT SNOW BROUGHT THAT FENCE DOWN?” he bellered into the phone. I was somewhat taken back but replied that that was exactly what I was telling him. He insisted that snow could not do that to a fence. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from him. I let him know in no uncertain terms was I was NOT going to go and fix that portion of fence let alone pay for the damages. That was the last I heard from him. That is a nice place and I would like to have it leased today but someone else has leased it for the past few years. Trust me friends when I tell you a snow drift can wreck a fence when it begins to melt. It sounds ridiculous to imagine if you don’t live in snow country but it’s the gospel!

As a sidebar we here in northern Colorado are receiving much needed moisture as we have been desperately dry and having fires all around this area where I live. So far I have only received a little over a half inch of slow, slow rain and that’s the best kind. We are supposed to get more rain and some snow late this afternoon and again next week. I am really encouraged. Spring is here, the Robins along with Meadow Larks, Woodpeckers and a few other happy birds are moving in. I like it when that happens. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, grab yer gal up and give’er a big ol’ smooch, hug yer kids and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

WHAT’ IN YOUR WALLET?

“What’s in your wallet”? Gentle readers we have all seen that television commercial where the black man with the glasses steps up and wants to know what’s in our wallet. Of course he is a pitch man for some investment company. By the way, they want to get in your wallet! There ain’t much in my wallet and it sure as heck ain’t none of their business. There is just enough to keep old Mad Jack happy as a set of jumper cables in a used car lot in Minot, North Dakota in February. (jumpin’) I came across a story recently and it dealt with how often middle age white men without a college degree were dying faster than their college educated counterparts. It didn’t mention if middle aged white women without college degrees were dying off faster than their college educated counterparts. Hummmm, I wonder why? I thought that women wanted to be as successful in life in every phase as their male counterparts. Maybe just not this particular phase of life! Anyhoo, I found the article, in my mind, to be some more of that “fake news”. I’ll tell ya why I think that. How long has it been since on the telly on a daily basis did we hear about how some person with a doctorate degree was flipping burgers or driving a taxi or stacking lumber in a lumber yard? Yep, the talk was how important it was to have some skill set that would provide one a living in an environment where some amount of hard labor was required? You know like being a welder, carpenter, truck driver, lumberjack or heck, maybe even a cowboy. Now that cowboy job can be a tough order to fill and I doubt if some feller with a degree in economics could pull it off. Some might, but not very many.

This article goes on to say that white men, not white women, are more likely to go into depression quicker and their health fail them earlier in life than say men of color or Hispanics. By the way, I’ve always considered all of us are folks of color. I just happened to be colored white! I had to ruminate on that for a moment and then it struck me that most likely these white men of this age group were in that “white privilege” bunch of folks we keep hearing about. They were never made to carry out the trash, make their own bed, always had a decent allowance in their pocket and were ALWAYS presented with a participation trophy win lose or draw. Yep, they never learned how to lose. They never learned how to handle a situation like that when there was not someone to bail them out.

I think I can almost guarantee you that a man that puts in a full day of labor goes home feeling better and better about himself than a man that sits in a cubicle all day competing with the person in the cubicles on either side of him. Why do you think when you look at a Kohl’s ad or an ad from an large department store that the men dressed in suits and ties are all wearing scrubby beards as if they were lumberjacks, cowboys or what not? That’s about the only way they can establish their manhood by not shaving and trying to look rugged in a business suit.

I do wish that I had gotten my college degree as both our children have, but then again I would just be an educated cowboy. Just sayin’…..

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and please don’t believe everything you see on the news or read on this contraption called a “confuser” (computer)! Work hard, set good examples wherever you go and whatever you do and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

THERE NEEDS TO BE SOME LAUGHTER INVOLVED  

Now gentle readers, you all know that “laffin” is good medicine. It’s good medicine all the time to help you recover from some malady that has you all confined to having the blues or being depressed. Of course there are times that laughter is not appropriate and would be considered insensitive and rude. There are things that happen to us that are so hurtful and distressing one would never think of laughter. However, on the lighter side, life can really be amusing and even funny if we allow ourselves to just cut loose and have a good “belly laff”! Remember the last time you saw an infant get tickled and just bust out “laffin” all over? There is no way that you can keep from joining in and laughing with the little tyke, is there?

I never have been able to keep from it and when it was all over, man I felt so good inside.

There is a cowboy code that is more or less unspoken that when a good, rip tearing, horrible wreck takes place involving one or more of the crew, if no one is maimed or actually killed, it’s considered a good slap on the back if you make fun of those involved. Yes, you are required to “laff” and it’s considered rude if you don’t. Should you not “laff” those victims might just feel like they are not a part of the crew. There was that one time when I was draggin’ a calf to the branding fire on a big green broke colt that I let the rope get under the colt’s tail and he came unglued! He bucked up against the fence and as long as I held my dallies (rope around the saddle horn) I could stay with him. On the other hand he was jarring my eye teeth out and pounding my butt into peanut butter. I decided I had to turn my rope loose and maybe then the calf would drag the rope out from under the colt’s tail and this incident would be over with. Sooooo, I turned my dallies loose only to be tossed over said fence and on the way down parts of me landed on the cross tie and two by twelve fencing. The “ride’em boss, ride’em”, had ended and all I could hear was an uproar in hearty “laffin”! I must have looked like that drawing of “Kilroy was here” when I began to emerge up and over the fence and all fell silent as I must have had a really disgusted look on my face. I realized that I hadn’t been killed and it was probably my fault the rope wound up under the horses’ tail and not the cowboys fault.

A big grin crossed my mug and I too began to “laff” a little. Not much, but a little. All was well, I felt I had kept the code as well as my crew and there would be as good story to tell at some later time. I just told it. As a result of not only that little wreck but a few others when I was ejected from a horse and landed firmly into the terra firma, I came up with what I thought was a cute cartoon. This cowboy is being bucked head first over his horse and his buddy sez, ” Otis, when ridin’ a bronc, it’s always best to keep yer back pockets lower than yer eyebrows”! Yes, in my cowboy career I have been the brunt of many knee slappin’ “laffs” and I have done my fair share of “laffin” at those when they were at the other end of the stick.

The truth really is my friends, if you can find a good “laff” inside of you for any reason at all you will find it to be purty darn good medicine. And something else, a good cry is good for you when nothing else seems to be appropriate. While watching the news on the RFD channel last evening I watched an old rancher being interviewed after he lost his home and livestock in one of those horrible Kansas fires. This poor feller all scruffed up, dirty and tired, tried to talk but nothing came but him just breaking down and shedding tears like I’ve never seen a cowboy shed. It broke my heart to see him so badly devastated. It seems some times that we need to do one or the other, just “laff” if you can and cry if you can’t.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, please count your blessings every day and have a good “laff” when it’s called for and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

FIRE SEASON 

Gentle readers, I don’t even remember the first time I heard the phrase “fire season”. I don’t. We moved to Colorado in the summer of 1985 over thirty one years ago. There was only one time I remember having to go up a mountain side with a chain saw and shovel to put out a lightning strike in the pinions. I don’t remember a fire EVER when we lived on the expansive Mallett Ranch in an oil field camp. Pump jacks, tank batteries everywhere you looked and everyone smoked and yet never a grass fire in the nine years we lived there when I was a lad growing up.

There were those huge fires at Colorado Springs and up in the mountains just west of the ONO a few years back. Folks would stop on the interstate to take photos of those huge billowing clouds of smoke as if an atomic bomb had gone off. Scary stuff.

I reckon fire season is any season when it is windy and dry and it doesn’t matter if it’s in the mountains or on the plains.

We have had four, count them four, fires within two miles of my place within the last two years. That one right out my front door scared the bejeebees out of me. I opened the front door to be confronted with a huge grass fire across the road and had ash and embers landing in my yard and on my house. I didn’t know what to do first, I didn’t! Thank God the wind shifted a little and took the fire on up the road. We had a fire last week that burned two thousand acres just north of here because of someone welding in this high dry wind. No loss of structures.

Recently,   north of McLean, Texas in an area where Martha and I operated a ranch in the seventies they had a fire that consumed over one hundred thousand acres. That’s not all it consumed. A young cowboy age twenty and his girlfriend who was a nurse in her twenties and another young man in his thirties were all killed trying to save the livestock on a ranch there. The man in his thirties was a father of two with another on the way and the ranch belonged to his father in law where he worked. I brought up the Amarillo paper on the internet and saw photos of these young folks. Beautiful young people doing what they thought they needed to do to save some horses and cows. They died in the process, so very, very sad!

In Eastern Colorado a thirty thousand acre fire consumed five structures, houses I think, and some two hundred head of cattle. That children is a monumental loss financially! Up at Perryton, Texas in the panhandle a three hundred thousand acre fire consumed the ranch home of John Erickson, cowboy, author and creator of Hank The Cow Dog series of books and tapes back in the seventies and eighties. I read where John sold his books and tapes, all nine million all around the world.

Not bad for an old cowboy but sad he lost his beautiful home.

I go walking down the county road on occasion and I see the cigarette butts tossed out a car window into the tall grass in the ditch. How STUPID AND LAZY AND THOUGHTLESS can one be? Fires don’t just start. People have to start them unless it’s lightning or a power line goes down. Mostly it’s just folks burning trash or not putting out a camp fire correctly or what ever.

Just the same it can be so very deadly and so destructive! I will admit I have burned tumbleweeds here in my back yard but always when the wind was down and I had a water hose running nearby. It looks like the fire season is going to last well into late spring and maybe all summer. Please be careful because you may cause some young man or woman to try and do what can’t be done and they lose their life in the process. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and don’t be that thoughtful, lazy person that may burn me out of house and home some time in the future! I’ll c’ y’all, all y’all.

EARLY SIGNS OF SPRING 

I’m trying to convince myself gentle readers, that we may have an early spring. When you receive this column the first day of spring will be only a week away. I have seen several Robins starting to hang around and a few sparrows are starting to build nest in their usual places. That’s a sign of spring, right? My ponies are losing their winter hair and there are a few sprigs of green grass beginning to peek out and look around.

March and April are usually our snowiest months here in Colorado so I expect more snow. We have had a ton of snow up in the mountains but not so much here on the prairies. Those later snows are usually very wet and heavy with lots and lots of moisture so “let’er rip,” works for me. My place is very dry. I did drag out a couple of water hoses two weeks back and water my trees. I hate to lose a tree at any time and mine have reached a point where they are indeed TREES!

I would much rather see it come a good rain and see water flowing down Coal Creek again. That always seems to lift my spirits when winter starts to wind down and the coat you put on in the morning is not your heaviest.

I see a few baby calves bouncing around in various pastures when I am out and about. There is nothing better to watch on a spring day when the sun is out and those babies have had their breakfast and then they break into a full out run around and through the herd. It makes me just want to jump the fence and take off running with them. Well, it’s a little too far down the trail for me to even think about jumping over anything but maybe a blade of grass and then I might get tripped up. I got out of bed the other night to go to the bath room, lost my balance and went head first into the dresser. Fortunately my head missed the dresser but the top part of my shoulder made full contact and skinned me up pretty good. I lay there for a moment to take inventory and see if I was indeed hurt badly enough to be concerned. For some reason those T.V. commercials of those old women (most younger than me) laying in the floor holloring “help, help…I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”! I got tickled, caught myself giggling a little bit so I got up and went to the bathroom to check myself out.

Point is, I’m not the spring chicken that I used to be and that was the first time I have ever fallen unexpectedly EVER!

The winters do seem to be a little more difficult for me than in the past or at least I have fallen prey to that thought process. Selling out and moving to town is not an option. I would be so bored and restless in town I just would not do well at all without my ponies and chores to do here.

So here I am looking forward to warmer days with some showers, flowers, and not to many flies and lots of green grass. Did you hear about the woman who found her husband wandering around the kitchen with a fly swatter?

She ask, “what are you doing?” “I’m hunting flies,” he replied. “Have you killed any?” she wondered. “Yep, I’ve killed two males and three females!” “Now how would you know what sex they were?” she wanted to know. “The two males were on a beer can and the three females were on the phone!” That’s kinda’ cute don’t ya think?

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, be happy, be frisky, and most of all be helpful and I’ll c

3-6-2017

 CLIMATE CHANGE, REAL OR NOT?

We hear a lot about climate change these days. Actually, I am growing a little weary of it all. The gloom and doom folks are in a panic these days. Our last president declared climate change (global warming) to be the biggest threat that we as a civilization would have to face in the years to come. Personally, I believe that climate change occurs but are we responsible for the changes that happen? Gentle readers, I would say that China and India put a lot of crap in the air and that sure could make a small difference in the heating of our planet. There is one group of folks like Owl Gore that will tell you that 97% of climate scientist will agree that global warming is man made. I ain’t buying that at all. The earth has always cooled and heated long before man got so industrious in his endeavors at whatever! Even the panic stricken folks project that the earth may warm by .05* in another ten years. WHOA!

Stand back Charlie Brown, that is an earth shattering piece of knowledge. Right? In fact, the earth may warm by a little over 7* in the next hundred years. I really could use that seven degrees this coming week and help us break out of this cold spell we have had recently. The global warming folks will tell you when it’s 28* below zero and snow banks are ten to fifteen feet high in Buffalo,

New York that global warming caused it. Global warming causes everything to change. You did know that, right?

There is another group of scientist that will tell you (according to Rush Limbaugh) that the idea that man made global warming is much to do about nothing. Do you remember carbon credits? Yeah well, you could buy these carbon credits for your manufacturing company and it would be okay to go ahead and put a little carbon in the air as long as you have paid someone you don’t know that gave you permission.

Here is the deal the way I have diced it up: If you are sure that this man made global warming is caused by man, just park your car. Yep, that’s what I said. PARK YOUR CAR and go to work on a bicycle or a skateboard and quit putting those carbon deposits in our atmosphere!

Don’t fire up that grill or that lawn mower this summer and for God’s sake don’t hook up that camper and go to the mountains for recreation or a much needed vacation. I mean in my mind that’s the only way you can wisely participate in saving the planet. DO YOUR PART! Now I know and you know that you ain’t gonna’ do that. You can’t and survive. You would like for the farmers to not fire up those diesel trucks and tractors to produce the food you consume. We can’t have the railways and eighteen wheelers hauling goods and services across America until you realize you can’t find what you want to purchase when and where you want to purchase it

. Everything is relevant. Common sense fails too many of us at times as we’d just rather panic and believe every gloom and doom report on the six o’clock news. If you want to make a difference go to China and protest and raise heck about what they are doing. Of course you may choke to death on the foul air or you may spend some time in prison. I reckon that I’m just too old to worry about it. I’ll let you do that if you choose.

I recommend that if you are in the camp of the gloom and doom crowd just try getting a grip, use a little common sense and see what happens in years to come. Or you could park that car, get the kid’s skateboard out or the bicycle and really  “walk the walk” if you are gonna’ talk the talk. Remember most scientist will tell you whatever they have been sponsored or “paid by a grant” to tell you. That’s what we’ve come to in this country. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, lay behind the log and keep yer powder dry and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

THE MYSTERY OF THE COMMON COLD

The common cold is truly a mystery, at least in my opinion. Now one would think that if we could put an hombre on the moon in 1969, maybe somebody that is smart enough to do that could find either a cure for the common cold or a way to avoid it at all cost. I was purty proud of myself this past weekend as I had not even  a sniffle all winter. I had been out in zero degree weather on an old tractor with no cab moving snow and I had greeted so many folks at different times and danced with so many different ladies and here I was. Snot free and a happy Jack.

Well, guess what? Yep, when I got up Sunday morning after a night of dancing I had a sore throat, runny nose and that nagging cough. You know exactly what I’m talking about ’cause if you don’t have one now, you are over it or about to get the bug. Thing of it is, we don’t know how or when or why we were so unlucky that we got caught with our pants down.

That’s what makes it a mystery, we just can’t get it figured out. Oh, I have the remedies handy and have just taken some Alka Seltzer Plus. I don’t know what the plus stuff is but I’m guessing someone smarter than me put the “plus” stuff in the mixture to give me a better shot at getting well quicker.

Gentle readers, I didn’t sleep all that well last night with having to blow my nose and spit up junk about every minute or so. Did you know that your sinuses can produce eight gallons of junk every hour? I’m just guessin’ now, but that’s how I had it figured last night. I went through almost two hundred tissues during the ordeal.

I just heard on the “fake “news that this cold and flu season is one of the worst and I have to believe it. Seems like now that I’m blessed witha portion of it, I notice folks everywhere blowing their noses and coughing.

You might think that an old cowboy with aching bones, bad knees, post nasal drip. and some really bad gas from time to time could catch a break and not have to be bothered with such an annoying anomaly as the common cold. I will tell you that I AM SO BLESSED to be in the condition I am at my age I promise I WILL STOP THIS WHINING!

I think the common cold was designed to keep us humble and let us know that there are things much, much worse so what a few restless night and looking like Herman Munster for a week or so? Works for me. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, try to keep the snot out of yer mustache when approaching a woman and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Oh did I mention I also have ingrown toenails and the heartbreak of hemorrhoids?

JUST THE FACTS MA’AM!

Gentle readers, when I was but children, actually just starting my teen age years, we had just the radio, no television. On summer evenings my mom, dad, brother and I would many times get into my dad’s company car and drive around the oil patch that surrounded the oil field camp in which we lived. Dad liked to just get out in the cool of the evening and check on this particular well or that collection of tank batteries (large tanks that stored recently produced oil). Our delight of the evening was to tune in a radio program called Dragnet. It later went on to be our favorite television show. On the radio Joe Friday, the detective, while interviewing a female suspect or witness would always say, “just the facts ma’am. I just want the facts”. WOW! What a jolt that kind of statement was for us country folks. “Just the facts, ma’am”! That may have been where the title “Joe Cool” came from. I sure thought Joe Friday was a cool customer.

Do we know what the facts are in the world in which we live today? I think not. At least not all of the time. We can clone animals and you can’t tell the difference between the original and the clone if you put them side by side. The things you can do with computers these days defies description. Watch any action packed television show or movie and you see cars, buildings, folks and all sorts of things being blown up and flying through the air and IT LOOKS SO REAL! You can take most any subject and rearrange it’s content some way or another and make it (whatever it is) into something totally different and you don’t know if you are witnessing the true and accurate version or a make believe version. I wonder if that’s why some young folks want to get involved in things that could get them put in prison forever or get them killed just for the excitement of trying to clone some adventure they have heard about or seen on the “telly”. Recently a young high school girl spent almost a year in jail before her trial and then was sentenced to another three years (I think) plus five years probation for making plans, real or imagined, to kill fellow students and teachers at her school. She claimed it was all make believe but her elaborate plans with a fellow student to carry out an attack on her innocent classmates was just a little much for the jury to swallow. For the most part she just threw away a good part of her life and for absolutely nothing other than the fantasy of becoming famous like Kleburg and Harris (the Columbine killers) who made their incredible mark on this world for doing something that we could never imagine a young person even wanting to do let alone following through with it.

There seems to be so much going on in our big ol’ world and even our private little worlds that sometimes we just can’t determine if what we have seen or heard is actually real. It appears that in the near future we will be depending on robots carefully programed to do our daily chores for us. Our cars will drive themselves, robots will buy our groceries, plant our fields, break our horses and maybe even help us get dressed if we are undecided as to what we should be wearing. I hope I don’t live long enough to see us shrink up into frail little bodies so spoiled we can’t do anything for ourselves anymore.

Me thinks that may happen in some of our metropolitan areas but not in FLY OVER COUNTRY! Country folks need the country and need to feel useful and we need to use our hands and get dirt on us and breathe the country air and gaze at the stars at night and most of all, we JUST WANT THE FACTS MA’AM!  Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, don’t believe everything you hear or see and love on your kids at every opportunity! I’ll c. y’all,

 

THE THRILL OF BEING A COWBOY

We heard the car pull up in the drive on that May morning about ten o’clock. Martha and I were apprehensive about out guest coming to spend a week with us. They were from Oslo, Norway and Odvir Neilson was a news correspondent and with him was his young wife and two little pre school girls. Only Odvir spoke some broken English. Yet, here they were. We warmly received them into our home as if they were our kin. Odvir’s mission was to record the lives of Texas cowboys with his camera and notebook.

This was 1982 and long before cell phones, I pads, etc The ranch I managed before we moved to Colorado some thirty two years ago was owned by a large independent oil company.

They, along with some majors like Mobil, Conoco, Sinclair and Texaco had encouraged any and all foreign diplomats, news media, and economist to come to the U.S. and see first hand how a capitalistic society worked. They wanted the rest of the world to see how a free country operated and how it benefited it’s citizens. They also wanted to encourage their guest to return home with the hopes their countries might want to invest more in America. It was required of me on occasion to host these tour groups when they wound up in Dallas and wanted to see real cowboys on a real Texas ranch. There might be groups from three to three dozen arrive at the ranch for half a day or so. “Where are your guns and where do the Indians live?” was a common question. Obviously they had seen to many westerns on television or in the movies.

With tongue in cheek I would always try to have a few horses saddled up so our guest could have their photo taken on a horse with a cowboy hat on their heads. The guys from India had a problem the hat as you might imagine. I think we entertained folks from almost every country on the continent.

Martha with a little sign language and head nodding managed to communicate quite well with Odvir’s wife and the kids (ours were eight and six, theirs were four and three) went to playing and having fun like kids just naturally do. No problem. Odvir would have to act as a go between the two women on occasion if their was any misunderstanding of intent.

Most days I would send Odvir off with the cowboy crew. They had him mounted on one of the more gentle horses the ranch had as to keep him as safe as possible. I had warned them about pranks and such. They treated Odvir royally and did that feller have the time of his life. He would come in for lunch babbling about his morning adventure with real cowboys and again at dinner (supper in Texas). There seem to be no end to his excitement about being on the ranch and all of the experiences he was having. The cowboys on a normal day would be riding the pastures looking for any sickness or signs of trouble in the steers or cows that would be calving still.

Martha and I extended their stay for an extra day as we had become quite fond of these folks from Oslo, Norway and they had bonded with not only us but the cowboy crew as well. When it came time for them to say their last good byes, Odvir with tears in his eyes said, “I veel vear dis cowboy hat (the cowboy crew gave him a hat and spurs to wear with his new boots)and my boots and spurs vhen I get back to Norway. Dey may laff at me but I don’t care for I AM A COWBOY”

For several years after they left they always sent us beautiful books from their homeland and cards at Christmas and always thanking us over and over for their experience on a Texas ranch. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and hug a cowboy (cowgirl) at every opportunity and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

1-19-2017

THE HORSE ALWAYS COMES BACK

Gentle readers, in a recent column I mentioned talents that some folks have, like for example, horse whispers. I am going to retell

a couple of wrecks that I was involved in years ago, many years ago. I had a new horse and a new rope. I knew nothing about

either. I had been told in order to stretch my new rope I would need to tie onto something heavy and drag it with my new rope.

They didn’t bother to mention that maybe I shouldn’t tie my rope to the saddle horn if I was on a bronc. I was on a bronc when I

came across that cross tie buried in the sand. I tied one end of my new rope to the railroad tie and the other end to my saddle horn.

I proceeded to try and pull that big ol’ timber out of the sand. The horse struggled so I bumped him with my spurs. Oh, did I mention

that a cowboy I WAS NOT! I knew nothing. The horse jumped and the tie jumped out of the ground and all of a sudden a “bugger”

was after my horse. He bucked me off the back end, the cross tie barely missed my head as it sailed by. The horse pulled a run away

and circled the twenty acre pasture in a panic. The tie eventually went around a steel fence post and it cut the rope. My poor horse

ran back to me begging for help and “what in the heck are you doing to me.” I lost a new rope, almost lost my life but learned when a

horse needs help he will most likely come back to his rider or so it seems.

The second wreck happened when I brought a two year old colt to Colorado from Texas that I had only a few rides on. I was

mounted on a big buckskin horse when I started up the mountain that June morning. I had this colt saddled up and the plan was

to take him to the top of the mountain, ride him a while checking cattle then switch horses and come back down off the mountain.

I forgot to mention that while going up the mountain I found a brand new Handy Man Jack laying in the trail where some hunter must

have lost it off of an ATV. I hung my wild rag (silk scarf) on a pinion tree by the jack so when I came down I could pack the jack on the

colt until I got back to the ranch. Here we are loading the jack on the horse. I put the foot of the jack in the off stirrup, stood the jack

straight up and took my piggin’ string (used to tie cattle down if necessary) and tied the top of the jack to the saddle horn. I remounted

and off we went. All of a sudden the colt realized he had a “bugger” hangin’ off his side and clear up over the saddle. He took off

buckin’ through the timber all the while a’squallin’. I could hear rocks scattering and limbs breaking and caught a glimpse of him as

he bolted through the trees. I could see that the jack handle had come untied and with every jump the jack would jack itself up

another notch, or so it seemed. Finally he came tearing back through the pinions and ran up to me out of gas and eyes as big as

hub caps on a fifty six Oldsmobile. He was shaking and asking, “WHAT HAPPENED AND WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?” I got off

my pony and removed the jack from that poor colt and left it in the trail to retrieve at a later date. Both of those young horses

found themselves in a jam and came back to the source of it hopefully for relief. I could never get that colt to even look in the back

of my pickup again because there was a Handy Man Jack layin’ there. So, a horse whisperer I was not but both horses gave me a little

insight as to how they react in a situation like that. Live and learn I reckon. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, put yer best

foot forward in all you attempt to do and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

 

A REASON TO BE FIRED

Gentle readers, have you ever had to go through the humiliation of being FIRED? I have and in this particular case it

was like a heavy load had been lifted off of my weak shoulders. It was only eight months ago that I had moved my family

a thousand miles from the flat lands of Texas to this beautiful mountain ranch. How did it come to this you may ask?

Truth being know it was simply oil and water when it came to life styles, common sense and morals. As a young lad I

always wanted to be a cowboy up in the mountains and here I had a chance to manage a thirty thousand acre mountain

ranch with a good many benefits. As it turned out the owners who were there only on occasion were folks like I had

never encountered and it was difficult for me to accommodate them as it was for them to relate to me. “We understand

that you and your family go to church on Sunday,” the lady inquired. “Yes ma’am, I countered, is there a problem with

that?” “No, not really, we are just not used to our employees leaving the ranch on Sunday morning to go to church!” was

her reply. Does that give you any indication as to what we were dealing with as a family? It got worse, a lot worse. I

could write a book concerning the struggles and conflicts I had during those eight months. “We are private people and

we do NOT WANT  you going over to Ralph Lauren’s ranch to visit his manager and family!” She meant it too. Our son

and the manager of Lauren’s ranch’s son played basketball together and they were our friends. We could not have them as

friends, it was just that simple. “We understand that you have been having company from Texas since you got here! I

have told you that we are private people and we don’t appreciate people coming and going on this ranch that we don’t

know?” Yes, we had several folks come by the first couple of months we were there. None of them stayed over two days

if that and they certainly didn’t interrupt my responsibilities on the ranch. What it all came down to is a simple matter

of me not ever going to be able to fit into the type of lifestyle they would prefer that I live. I needed to be more like them

to make this deal work and I was strictly business with no B.S. on my plate.

I was expecting to get that phone call. It came on an early Sunday morning. How appropriate! “Jack, we are going to

replace you as manager. I want you off the ranch as soon as possible. I will have our finance officer contact you and

work out a settlement. I know that we may not have given you a fair shot all of the time, but it’s obvious that we don’t

like you and you don’t like us! I will tell you this, you ARE AN HONORABLE MAN!” End of conversation. I’m thinking,

man ya sure don’t want anyone with any morals or honor working on this outfit! I did receive a settlement and

actually had secured another job as a “cowboy” on one of the other ranches. My son had one more year of high school

left and I was not going to make my family relocate until he finished up his high school obligation. As a result of my

being FIRED, my secretary quit along with one of my cowboys and the finance manager who settled with me also

left after twenty some odd years with these folks. He told me he understood what I had been going through and

thought I was really getting a raw deal. It took several years for us to get back on our feet and some really good

things came from all of the struggle we had to go through. That could have been a dream job. Out of eighty five

applicants (I was told) I got the job! It was just working for the wrong type of folks that I just couldn’t communicate

with in a meaningful way. I was hired by their general office staff because I was conservation and dedicated to duty

and it was hoped I could make the ranch cash flow. I almost did! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and

expect a few curve balls tossed your way during this game we play called “life”. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

 

WORKING IN THE COLD

 

Gentle readers, to say it was “cold last night” would not be understated. When I went down to feed early this morning it was

twenty one below. BURRRRR, that’s cold, I don’t care where you live. However, I’m sure it was colder somewhere else. One of

my coffee pards said the chill factor in Laramie, Wyoming was fifty four below. I bet somewhere in Minnesota it was colder

than that. There are some of us that just have to be out in it ’cause we have things that have to be done. It wasn’t always that

way with me when I was a rep. for Proctor and Gamble or when I worked for Sears. I have mentioned before about driving through

the Texas panhandle in my P&G company car and in my suite and tie when I focused on a cowboy who had some steers pushed up

in a fence corner to check them over. It was cold and rainy and a for sure miserable day. His mustache had icicles in in and his

face raw and red but he had a job to do. I wanted to trade places with him and be that cowboy on a horse regardless of the weather

checking cattle. I’m pretty sure at that moment he would have been glad to trade. Time marches on and I became that cowboy and

never regretted one moment of it.

We got a good snow here at the ONO yesterday and I needed to shove it this way and that way on my tractor so I could get around

my place and get things done. It was one above when I went out yesterday morning to fire up ol’ Alice, my tractor, the one without

the cab, that one. The only one I have. It took about twenty minutes to get it going and keep running. I had so many clothes on it

was all I could do to get on the cotton pickin’ thing. An hour later the three point comes undone on one side and my blade on the

back dropped to the ground on one side when I had it raised. No big deal other than it was going to require a Handy Man Jack and

some muscle. I had the jack but not the muscle. An hour later I gave up and called my friend “Animal”. Animal has muscle. Just

before he arrived I did get it put back together and told him not to come on over. Another hour passed and I purt near had all

I could take of moving snow for one day. I got enough done to be able to get around. One on my grandsons works for a snow

removal company and he spent seven, count them seven, hours moving snow with a shovel. I thought I had it tough.

It’s my honest opinion that folks that have to be out doing physical labor on days like that can do just about anything that

requires hard work and a strong constitution. Having a strong back doesn’t hurt either and mine just ain’t that strong anymore.

I feel for those linesmen who have to be up on utility poles in a raging storm so you and I can have lights and heat. Good on you

guys and gals! There are, as I write, some folks hauling hay on a sled with a team of horses up in the high country feeding their cows.

Tough folks they are. They do it that way sometimes out of necessity and sometimes just because they prefer to feed that way.

They are far tougher than I ever was or will be. I did spend one winter feeding small squares in the mountains and it took about

four hours to load, feed, reload and feed again. Many times it would be ten to fifteen below. The back of that old truck was COLD!

Today I will stay in by the fire other than to feed again and check the water for the ponies. The weather girl says FIFTY degrees in

about three days. I love that girl! Stay tuned, stay warm, throw an extra dog on the bed if necessary and love on your kids at

every opportunity and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

As a sidebar, The National Western Stock Show is in progress and it’s a great place to spend a cold winter’s day!

 

WHAT IS YOUR TALENT?

 

Gentle readers, I was sitting in front of the wood stove getting warmed up as a little chill had come over the room. I noticed

on the coffee table a nicely engraved leather book with my ONO brand and my name on it. It came from Lee Pitts. Lee is a very

talented leather craftsman and my notebook on the coffee table is one of my prized possessions. Mr. Pitts has many other talents

such as being a clever wordsmith and others I know nothing about. As far as myself I have always had a crayon or pen or pencil

in my hand since childhood. As a matter of fact when I was five or six years of age my dad gave me a spankin’ for drawing a horse

a little too correctly. That was another time in a totally different world than we live in today. That little misstep didn’t discourage

me from drawing and wanting to be around horses and maybe some day replacing Roy Rogers as King of the Cowboys!

Chris Cox has a talent for working with young horses. He and another who knows how many folks are bringing the art of breaking

and training young horses to a new level. Will Rogers had a talent for speaking for the common man in a very simple but knowing

way that drew folks to him for his latest quote. My mother had a talent for imitating any and every woman she came in contact

with. You would think that you were talking with that particular person when mom took over for them. Dad had a talent for just

being a quite, sensible man with more patience than I will ever be blessed with. Billy Graham had a talent for speaking to the multitudes

what he believed God was revealing to him and they continued to come year after year to hear that simple message. George

Straight just put on his cowboy clothes, a big smile and sang for his fans year after year and was so successful, I believe, because

he was just plain George. No splash, no dancing around the stage and busting guitars for effect.

What is your talent? You have some you know about and maybe some you don’t. You may use them often or maybe not often

enough. I don’t consider being coarse, caustic, pushy or overbearing a talent. I just consider that to be rude behavior. I can

claim some of those in times past in my life. I hope none are present now. If you can sing, get in the choir, share your talent

with others. We want to hear you. There is a feller at the dance hall named Dale and he surprised us all last year when he

took the mike and sang Ghost Riders in the Sky. Holy smoke Batman, what a voice that young man has. Now he is a regular

for a brief period on Saturday nights. Can you write? Send something to this publication for consideration. Some folks have a

gift for being warriors. We need brave men and women to come to our rescue on occasion. I always wish I had a talent for

building and getting something square and straight and looking like it was built by a professional. I never had the patience to

learn. I went back over some art work I did years ago. Some were Christmas cards, some were just cartoons that I had drawn

or maybe a book I had illustrated for some one and I was taken back. DID I DO THAT? I didn’t know I had that kind of talent

back then but I did. I love to create with words or my pen and that’s my talent. I am really putting a lot of effort into be a better

grandpa. Gentle readers let me encourage you to seek out your talents, especially you younger readers. Use your talents in a

way to make life better not only for yourself but for others. Refine and improve your talents and you will be rewarded, I guarantee

you that! There is so much talent out there that is being wasted we need to put it all to good use. AMEN! Amen. Stay tuned,

check yer cinch on occasion, be a better person tomorrow than you were today and you’ll sleep better tomorrow night! I’ll

c. y’all, all y’all.

 

THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS

 

Gentle readers, there is a “School of Hard Knocks”. I know that for a fact as I graduated from it years ago with a

Master’s degree in “Hard Knocks Unlimited”! I have mentioned in the past that I at one time was employed by Proctor

and Gamble. Now that was just good luck on my part. I had the personality and some sales experience to be a part of

that organization. Most employees were college educated and I was one of very few that did not have a degree other

than the above mentioned. Martha and I and the kids lived on a seventy five acre parcel of land north of Amarillo where

we kept horses and eventually leased some additional land and ran a few head of cattle.

It was a cold rainy Saturday and I was off the job from P&G and bored to death. As I peered out the window I saw

what appeared to be two young cowboys trying to rope and doctor some really sick steers on the adjoining ranch. The

man that owned the steers was there with them trying to help from his pickup and shout out instructions. The boys,

college age, where a’horseback and seemed to be struggling to get these steers roped and doctored. I was fighting a

really bad cold but I wanted a piece of the action. I caught up one of my horses, put on a rain poncho and rode the

half mile to the fence line where all of this was taking place. As luck would have it there was a gate nearby and when

I rode up to where they were, the owner of the cattle was somewhat taken back. Where did I come from? What was

I doing there and why was I there? I explained that I lived just across the way and thought if I could lend a hand I would.

Although I was somewhat welcomed by the young cowboys, the owner of the cattle was glad I was there. The truth

was, I didn’t know “squat” about roping and doctoring cattle. I had hoped to learn something while I was here. I was

mostly trying to stay out of the way without giving away the fact I was “green as grass”. The end result was I was wet,

cold, tired, but I had made some new friends and sometimes that will turn in your favor later own. I was so tired of

P&G and all the corporate B.S. that went with the job I just wanted to be a cowboy and be a good one at that.

I was still young enough at thirty one to roll up my sleeves, get enrolled in the “School of Hard Knocks” and maybe,

just maybe, someday make a hand and be able to make a living for my family as a cowboy. By the end of the next

year I had quit P&G. I also had landed a ranch job on a big outfit, leased out my place and went to my first class.

It’s true what they say: if you enjoy what you are doing at work, it’s not work at all. Well, it’s almost true. There were

those days I wondered if I had made the right decision. My dad thought I was a fool to give up the company car,

insurance, expense account and paid vacation to bust my butt on a ranch somewhere. He came through the depression

so I understood why he felt like he did. I was determined to succeed and within another year and a half I had landed

a really good manager’s job with all the benefits I had left behind and we were off and running from that point on.

I’ve never, ever regretted leaving P&G. I have never regretted riding over on that cold and rainy day just to get a

little more experience about what “cowboying” was all about. Had I not done all of that I could not draw the cartoons

or write this column without the background and memories to fall back on. Thanks for listening, I feel better now.

Actually I just came in from splitting and stacking firewood and getting ready for the cold, cold weather they say

is due in tonight. The ” School of Hard Knocks” taught me that as well! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion

and I do so hope the new year unfolds in such a way for you that you have many, many wonderful memories!

I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

 

YA CAN’T WIN’EM ALL

 

Gentle readers, I have to tell you about a letter I found in my mailbox recently. Here is this envelope with a fake name and fake

return address. I know because I went there and well, it’s just not there. Any way, this letter had a stamp on it and he (she), the

writer had tried to draw a fake little circle like a post mark and then drew little wavy lines across the circle. It was a rather nasty

letter dressing me down because of a recent column I had written about being excited over the presidential election. The first

sentence of the letter (and I quote) “Dear Mad Jack, if the Fence Post had letters to the Editor, I would have written this to them, but

they don’t. So I am writing directly to you.” Actually folks, I think this publication does have a “Letters to the Editor” section but they

require that you have the courage to sign your name unless your name is Anonymous. That’s how this letter was signed.

I will not go into detail of what was said other than it suggested that he (she) would like to engage me and “my folks” in a

meaningful discussion, however that would require me and “my folks” to LISTEN. In other words, just sit quietly and listen and

do not have an opinion of any kind that does not agree with their opinion! That’s all I’m going to tell you other than this person

suggested that I might be a little smug and somewhat of a whiner. Wow, how’s that for encouraging me and “my folks” to want

to have a discussion about world affairs with this writer? Oh, one other thing- they also suggested that maybe I shouldn’t listen

to Rush Limbaugh any more. Fat chance of that! Here is the good part of this incident. I have been kind to this neighbor by putting

some of their words and thoughts into my column when they just couldn’t get their ideas published. Good on me. The other

good thing is that they obviously read my column and hummm- now I’m wondering is this the first clue as to who has been

tearing up my mailbox? Sure makes one wonder don’t ya think?

As a sidebar I was so happy to see where the president elect put a feller by the name of “Mad Dog” Mattis in charge of

the Dept. of Defense! It sort of has a “catchy” little ring to it from my prospective. Oh, one other thing is the writer of my

nasty letter was in great fear that me and “my folks” would someday blow up the entire globe.

My last subject matter is MAN IS IT EVER COLD! Old Man Winter has finally arrived. It’s about five degrees outside with a

couple inches of snow and the weather girl says it most likely will get down to twelve to fifteen below tonight. I am so

glad I left that heater plugged into the water tub in the corral last night so I didn’t have to bust ice this morning. Guess

what? I’m going to leave it plugged in for as long as it takes. Stay tuned, stay warm, and let me again wish you “folks”

and the author of my nasty letter a VERY, VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR! I’ll, c. y’all,

all y’all.

Cowboy Up

Gentle readers I would betcha’ that most all of you are familiar with the term, “cowboy up”! If you are not it simply put another way means to “step up to the plate”, “get’er done”. You get my meaning I’m sure. Some fifteen years ago myself, my wife and her mother  all had diagnosis of cancer. My wife had rectal-colon cancer, her mother had liver cancer and I had prostate cancer. “GREAT SCOTT BATMAN”! How do we deal with all of this tossed in our lap in one fell swoop?

To say there was not an onset of panic in some degree would be an understatement. Children, we were all overwhelmed to say the least. My mother in law, at eighty years of age more or less took the news and went to bed in a nursing home to live out the eight month sentence she had been given. Martha and I began the fight to survive. My cancer had been detected early and there was but a small tumor and I had ever intention to live for a long time if possible. Martha’s was very serious and her chances were slim at best to live more than a year or so.

You may not know it my friend but I believe that we all have the ability to “cowboy up” and do whatever we have to do in times like these. I didn’t think so at the time as I was basically our care giver. Her mother was in a nursing home but still needed a lot of attention from Martha and I and there were those days that we were so tired and listless from all the radiation that we had been taking we just wanted to lie down and stay there. Martha was a real trooper. She put her faith in God as we all do in times like these. It was a steep up hill climb for her and it was difficult to watch her began to lose the fight. On top of all of this was insurance, doctor bills, hospital bills and all the regular stuff you are obligated to each month.

We could feel the pressure mounting but you discover you do whatever it is you have to do to survive and keep your head above water. In the last few weeks of “Little Miss Martha’s life,” I was devastated to see her lose all hope and at fifty eight years young, always healthy and beautiful, began to look so weak, thin, hairless and very, very sad and very angry at times for what lay ahead of her. Her mom had passed and we had her flown down to Texas to be buried beside her husband. Martha was too ill to go down for the funeral. I know for a fact that some of you have been through tougher times than I am describing but for my family, this was going trough hell and thinking maybe there was just no way out. There was no way out for Martha that cold January morning when she passed. I covered her up, called the coroner, made a pot of coffee and sat down and cried and some were tears of relief as I knew she could suffer no more. Yes, it takes time, lots of time to find that new normal. I have found it. I am cheerful, happy, enjoying my life and always looking forward to see what tomorrow might bring. Like my house, there will be an empty chair at some of your tables. We remember the good times, the fun times, but life goes on and we just “cowboy up” and do whatever is required of us to do at the time. It was a lesson I learned and I was so really proud of myself when it was all over. I felt as if I had been through a war and had won the battle. This Christmas I hope you and your loved ones can share all the joy and happiness that the season brings and if it’s going to be a really tough time for you, take heart gentle reader, you will be well again.

Stay tuned, love on one another every chance you get and don’t let the little things get you down or you might not be able to deal when the big things come along. Check yer cinch on occasion, God bless you in the coming year and I’ll c. y’all, all y”all.

My How Time Flies  

Well, well, well, here we are in December of 2016 when you get this column. Songs about Christmas started the day after Thanksgiving and I would bet ya that I will be weary of them long before Christmas. I say that with a wee bit of sadness as I love the season, the reason for the season and the music and all the decorations that are part of it. Christmas, to me anyway, is a little more special when you live in the country away from all of the hustle and bustle of the city. All of that is good and a major part of the season when you go shopping.

I had a old cowboy buddy and his wife from Arizona come by right after Thanksgiving and spend the night with me. We had a big meal, went dancin’ and did a WHOLE LOT of reminiscing of days gone past. Steve and I would look at one another with that, “how in the world” did we ever get this old? We talked about our days at Amarillo and the Texas panhandle, the broncs we rode and the cowboys we knew and worked with from time to time. Gentle readers, that was long ago and far away or so it seemed as we got deep into our memories. We both had forgotten some things that the other one remembered. It was a redemption of our spirits to connect again after some thirty odd years. We talk on the phone from time to time but just haven’t had the opportunity to get together. It was one of Steve’s colts that I tied that dead bobcat on behind my saddle some two miles from home late one October evening. Me and that colt set a new speed record for covering that mesquite covered pasture to the hitching rail in front of my saddle room. I’m so lucky he didn’t just blow up and stick my head in the dirt instead of running away with me. We had so many stories like that to give rebirth to and did we ever “laff”. Oh my, the tears of joy were flowing like rain water off a tin roof. It sure made my day to have them stop by for a visit on their way back from Nebraska.

It’s hard for me to accept that there are only five, count them five, regular pro football games left in this season excluding the playoff games. Great Scott, it seems that the season just got started a few weeks ago. I think a lot of this is the weather has been so mild and it just doesn’t seem like winter has arrived. Next week I will change my mind as we won’t be out of the thirties for daytime highs.

My babies have babies that could be havin’ babies in the next few years. I have to look back at all that has happened in my life and realize what a eventful and exciting life that is now behind me. It’s like the old man was asked by a newcomer to his community, “say old feller, have you lived here all of your life”? The old man through watery eyes, looked up, paused and replied, “no son, not yet anyway”!

I had another old cowboy buddy call and ask me to save him a couple of calendars. I had to inform him that I have sold out already. This gives me an opportunity to say “THANK YOU” to all of you faithful readers that buy these calendars each and every year. I have already sent a good bit of money back to you folks that were a little late, and I do apologize that I couldn’t get more calendars to satisfy all of your desires. Maybe next year. By the way, the 2018 calendar that will be out late next year may be the last one as my contract after twenty three years will expire unless the advertising company that produces my calendars extends my contract. I have ask for a three year extension but have not heard back as of yet. I am looking forward to a wonderful Christmas season for me and you as well! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember, “it is so much more rewarding to give than to receive”. Tell that to yer  kids right before Christmas eve and see what happens! Just kidding, just kidding, I’m pullin’ yer leg. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Nov. 21, 2016

Happy Jack Gets Taller

Gentle readers, some of you and this publication may not agree with what I am about to write. I think that’s super good as we are all Americans and want what we believe to be the very best for our country and our family and friends. Agreed?

My folks won this last election and I do believe that I walk a little straighter, stand a little taller, am very excited and danged if I don’t believe I got better looking as a result. There is some sadness with all of the protest that are going on in some parts of the country and with some very young folks that have no idea about economics, world affairs, trade agreements, and the horrid dangers that still threaten this country. Some protesters are rabid about their position and have no desire to work with anyone for any reason. It’s their way or the highway. For the life of me I don’t remember a single protest either time Mr. Obama won the presidency. Do you? What is the difference between us and them? I think folks like me are considered by some on the other side to be uneducated, not sophisticated, and available to have all of those familiar slurs like racist and so on hurled at me. Actually, I am not as educated as I would like to be. I don’t think I’m stupid or a racist or a homophobe or any of those handy tags some would like to put on you and me.

I see where one of the major universities had a “cry in” day for the students and faculty. Are you kiddin’ me Charlie Brown?

I think it’s time for a lot of folks in this country to put on their “big boy and big girl” panties, dump their incredible sense of entitlement, roll up their sleeves and act like they are indeed proud to be Americans. Actually, I’m waiting on all of those super movie stars and entertainers that promised to leave this country if they didn’t win, to GET GONE! They won’t. They are as shallow as a dry creek bed and as arrogant as many of the politicians I know on both sides of the aisle.     I was pleased to see Mr. Obama and Hillary give such warm and consolatory speeches after their loss. It does make me wonder, as I always look for a snake under every rock, if the President was so kind to Mr. Trump because he didn’t want his legacy to blow away in the wind like so much campfire smoke. The same with Hillary. Was she trying to avoid any further investigations into her and Bill’s charity that they have gotten so filthy rich from?

I am a Happy Jack today. I have such great expectations for the future for all of us. You on the other side may be surprised to find your lives and your livelihood in much better shape than you ever thought you would in the days to come. I sure hope so.

For all of us, I want the very best America has to offer. I want all of us to feel as if we have something to contribute without sucking our thumb and having “cry ins”. Mr. Trump, I’ve stuck my neck out for you so please don’t disappoint the folks that had your back even when we held our nose a time or two. As Larry the Cable Guy would say, “GITTER DONE”!

I want to mention a beautiful Christmas CD called Sing Christmas by Joni Topper and Scott Crofts. Joni is one of the daughters to my late best friend. Such talent on this CD. It’s available on I tunes, Spotify and Amazon. Check it out, stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, roll up yer sleeves and do something or say something to promote MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

Let me wish all of you out there a very special and happy, happy Thanksgiving. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Nov. 14, 2016

WHEAT PASTURE COWBOYS

Gentle readers, at this writing there are hundreds if not thousands of cowboys prowling across wheat pastures in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and any state where wheat is growing this time of the year. Cattle are usually yearlings, and they are most likely turned out on wheat in late September or October for grazing. They will be pulled off by the middle of March unless the wheat is going to be grazed out and not harvested.

It takes a pretty good “waddie” (cowboy) with some grit and mounted on some good ponies to make it through the winter and come out on the other end with healthy cattle and hopefully a death loss not over two percent of what he or she started with.

Of course, all of this depends on how severe the winter is and in what condition the cattle are in when they arrive. I remember one feller who’s daddy had some deep, deep pockets and this ol’ kid bought, if I remember correctly, twenty five hundred head of steers from the deep south and they were really light weight yearlings with some “bramer” blood in them. He kicked them right out on wheat without any antibiotics, right off the truck west of Amarillo in October. They had been hauled all the way from Louisiana. That very night children, a “blue norther” hit with several inches of snow and cold, severe temperatures. There was a photo in the Amarillo paper two days later showing this young man walking on top of the carcasses of over seven hundred of those little steers that had frozen to death. He learned a hard lesson. I worked for him on occasion as a contract cowboy as years passed and he was very careful how he wanted his cattle handled. I learned my cowboy skills in those early days by working with these wheat pasture cowboys.

They were hardy, tough, patient individuals that were skilled with a rope and they could recognize an animal getting sick before it went to far and they knew their medications and how to administer them. In nearly all the cases, the animal would be roped, tied down and doctored and marked with chalk giving the date he was doctored. The next time that yearling was seen if he or she wasn’t greatly improved they would be doctored again. If they didn’t respond they would be loaded up, hauled to a corral with a shed somewhere (called the sick pen) and treated until they got well or died.

It can be a real chore to ride into a pasture of five hundred steers on eight hundred acres and try and find all the ones that have a bad eye, or a bad foot or some other more serious issue and cut them away from the herd, rope them before they run back into the herd and create chaos, and get them doctored. You then have to get reorganized, start looking again and hope you haven’t missed something. One thing about really sick cattle is they are usually off by themselves and will not be hard to catch and doctor. Bad eyes and “foot rot” are altogether different. Those bovines will run like the wind and try to get in the middle of the herd. When we had a lot of “fresh” cattle recently received from  sale barns or whatever, sometimes we had to split up the crew maybe one or two of us were working by ourselves. I have doctored lots of cattle that way and I have had my good days and my BAD days while working alone. When fall rolls around each year my mind wanders back to those days of looking after cattle on wheat. I wasn’t a horseback every day like my cowboy crew was as I had other responsibilities, but I did my share of doctoring and knew full well what those boys were going through on a daily basis. I guarantee you, if you didn’t consider yourself to be much of a cowboy, you had your education when spring rolled around and if you wanted to strut a little taller you were entitled to. Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, the election is over by now (thank God), and we’ll take whatever we get….right?

God bless America again! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Nov. 7, 2016

 

The Great Divide   

Gentle readers, I caught part of a discussion on “talk radio” this morning as I was coming back from coffee. I reckon the bottom line was “it’s not red states against blue states” but urban against rural. Hummm, I had to ruminate on that as I began to condense the conversation some what and it began to make a little sense to me. Some folks believe that the average urban, big city dweller that has lived always under the influences of that environment may look down on country folks. They may believe that country folks are, well, stupid, ill informed and prone to always be suspicious of all things they are not familiar with. Country folks for the most part, in my humble opinion, are indeed a little suspicious of those city dwellers on occasion. I think it best that I just cite you an example of what I have just laid out. All of my grandchildren are beautiful especially the girls. I have a granddaughter that lives close by and I have always had a horse here for her to ride and move cattle and just be a little country cowgirl. She’s now seventeen, more beautiful than ever. A petite “baby doll” she is, but tougher than nails. She has been my right hand man this summer when I needed extra help from grubbing cactus, repairing corrals, staining my decks, fixing fences and mowing weeds. I recently showed her how to grease the wheel bearings in my stock trailer and she got as greasy as you can get but always goes beyond what one would expect from such a young lady. She has a great attitude about work, the harder the better and she can handle the “Alice Chambers” (my Allis Chalmers D17 with large bucket). Her mom told me about an incident at the big urban high school where she is a junior, and some of the “popular urban girls” got into a conversation with her about smart phones. I think they wanted to scope her out to see if she “could be one of them” at some point and time. One of them ask if she had “snap chat” on her phone and she wasn’t familiar with “snap chat”. Well, that was enough to make them not want to include her in their little group of “popular girls”. She, I think had her feelings hurt because they made her feel not acceptable. She wasn’t quite as good as they were and she wasn’t interested in becoming “one of them”. She just didn’t like the feeling of being put down. I told her mom, “I wonder how many of them could saddle a horse, drive a big tractor, fix a “bob” wire fence and grease the wheel bearings on any vehicle?” Enough said I suppose. I do firmly believe that city dwellers don’t really understand rural living.

I don’t think they realize that a rancher and farmer has to be a mechanic, welder, operate heavy equipment, economist, veterinarian, and work in all types of undesirable weather. Plus all that there is the family to nurture, keep up with all their needs like band practice, sports after schools etc. I also think there are lots of folks in the city that would like to try and move to the country and be able to do SOMETHING that brings confidence, peace and some monetary gain. I would bet ya that they are just fearful of failing. You know the old saying, “fear is the lack of knowledge” and I am a firm believer in that quote. The bottom line in this radio discussion is most of the city folks will vote one way and country folks another  City against country? Who knows for sure? Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and ask yourself “where do I want my country to be in the years to come? Please get out and vote!! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

As a side bar, I still have calendars available. Ten bucks for one, add eight bucks for extras. They will be signed and shipped for that price. Jack Hanks, P.O. Box 825 Wellington, Co. 80549

Oct-2016

The Value of a Bonded Family

I’m sure beyond a reasonable doubt, gentle readers, that all of you had a mother and a father. Some of those family relationships are memorable, some are valued and treasured and some are not. I remember driving by an ex employee’s house one summer day only to see him carried on a stretcher with face covered headed to the funeral home. His daughter had finally confessed to his sexual abuse after so many years and he shot himself instead of face his peers. Those situations, thank God, are not common place, but they do happen more than we would want. Today there are so many blended families, it’s sometimes hard for all involved to adjust to one another and feel like maybe the family that they wanted is not what they have. On the other hand, there are those blended families that fit like a glove and work well for everyone.

At this writing, the second presidential debate will take place tonight. I look at these two folks and sometimes wonder what their family lives must be like. I wouldn’t want to be in either one regardless of the financial benefits. Would you?

One family stuck together as a unit but mom and dad have such despicable reputations for selfishness, ruthlessness, and complete lack of a moral fiber it pauses one to wonder how and why they are still holding each other up. On the other hand, we have a man who uses phrases so reckless and abuses the art of compromise and is a “me first, I am number one”!

He has been married more than once, has a blended family and his and her children on the surface seem to admire their dad and sing his praises. I am so sad, my friends, that our, my country, has offered these two up as candidates for the highest office in the land and leader of the free world.

I observe the families of all the critters that I have come in contact with in my seventy six years and it’s comforting to see how they work together and how protective they are of one another. A good mother cow will eat you alive if she even suspects you may bring harm to her baby. That is the norm for most if not all animals that I have been around. Male lions in Africa and boar grizzlies in our country sometimes kill and eat their young. They want no future competition. There always seems to be that story on the news about the “boyfriend” baby sitting his girlfriend’s baby and winds up abusing the child and the result is death. Many times the mother will come to the defense of her worthless male counter part. Those stories literally break my heart. I have witnessed in public either mom or dad jerking their child around and screaming at them and those little ones just seem to have no place for a soft landing or a place to hide to avoid more abuse. You hear about some child chained, fed dog food, sleeping in his or her own body waste and being beaten almost daily. There must be a special place in hell for those who abuse their gifts from God. For me, the love that I have for my children and grand children is without bounds or borders.

“Little Miss Martha” was the same way. Did we have issues in our marriage, of course we did. Almost everyone does, but when you love your family and all it’s members, you find the solution around your problems and hold on dearly to what you have and the responsibilities we have to keep it all together. Families are so important in today’s world when all are looking into that little device sending a message to someone and not taking the time for a one on one, face to face conversation.

Just take a moment and consider where we are headed and what the end result might be. Walk over to the fence and watch that ol’ momma cow or your household pet and be humble enough to take a little advice from them. Love you guys! Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and be the very best person you can possibly be every day and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Sept 2016

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.

Sept 2016

HAVE WE OUTSMARTED OURSELVES?

Gentle readers, have we, in fact outsmarted ourselves? That’s a reasonable question don’t ya think? Here’s how I see it. We have smart phones, smart cars, and smart alecks. I’ll take the smart alecks any day of the week. Here’s why- I’m apparently not as smart as a fifth grader and all of these objects that are not in my wheel house leave me lacking.

It appears that we can be watched or listened to at any given time in most instances. That’s a little scary if you have no privacy in your own home let alone some place you ain’t supposed to be. You see the Russians are intercepting our emails anytime they want. That’s what I have been told. Not my emails or yours, just Hillary’s or Colin’s or I reckon anyone in our government. That may be true or not. I just don’t know what to believe any more because it appears it’s just okay to lie and to be lied to. Hummmm…how do you feel about that? Even our local county officials can sit there at the computer, pull up your address and see everything on your place. I don’t like that. I have nothing, absolutely nothing to hide, I just don’t like folks lookin’ over my shoulder. If you have the right connection on a smart phone you ask Abagail or whoever’s voice you have to ask questions or make demands to and she or they will just jump right up and see that all of their resources are at your disposal. Do you remember Dick Tracy or Maxwell Smart? Dick had a smart watch that he could communicate through.

Guess what? We do also if you want to spend the big bucks. Maxwell Smart had a smart shoe. Well, we ain’t got there yet.  I  don’t know of too many folks that want to take their shoe off to talk through, do you?

I have thought about getting a smart phone for a little while. They seem so interesting. In fact, they are so interesting that folks that have them are always involved in one way or another with them or so it seems. I don’t want to be one of those. I do have the old type flip phone and never turn it on unless I am expecting a call. I use it only for emergences. My land line is getting so expensive that I am at least thinking about getting rid of it once and for all. I think if the truth be known, I’m an old guy and all of this new high tech stuff has ambushed me and I’m embarrassed because I am not paddling my canoe along with everyone else. I reckon I just am more comfortable living simply and not being burdened with challenges I just don’t want to deal with at present. I know, I know, purt near everyone has a smart phone and is addicted to it and it appears to be one of their appendages at times, and I find that a little sad. How in the world could you dig a post hole while trying to text on your phone? I see folks driving and texting all the time and so do you. Are you one of those? I sure hope not.

I can see a future maybe after I’m gone, maybe not where we have personal robots to go fetch whatever, put dishes in the dishwasher, jump in the smart car and go to the store and retrieve whatever we need. We, my friend, will be weak, whiny, hollow eyed and lazy and wonder what went wrong. Here’s what I say-“cowboy up”, don’t reach the point where you no longer are in control and have lost all ambition!! Stay tuned, check yer cinch and your email or text on occasion, and count your blessings every day. Remember, there is some child out there that doesn’t even have a smart phone!!

I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.