Gentle readers, I was watching a program called “Yukon Men” the other night on the “telly” and it took me back to a place in time when I was just plain “Jack.”
This feller was out checking cows there in Alaska when he spotted a wolf runnin’ in his herd. He shot the wolf and decided to haul it back home on his pony. That created some problems as that ole pony didn’t want that wolf on his back.
In 1972 I was lookin’ after some grass steers in a four section pasture that joined my place there north of Amarillo, Texas. My friend, Glenn was riding with me that day and he was packin’ a sidearm. I wasn’t armed. Now Glenn was one of those “herky jerky” kind of fellers. By that I mean he was sort of a Barney Fife on steroids at times. If Glenn was anywhere around you could look for something to go wrong and usually that meant your life might be in peril of some sort. As a sidebar I flew with Glenn once after he had gotten his pilot license and only because I knew that if I didn’t he would be crushed as he would think I didn’t trust his ability to fly. I didn’t, but there I was in the plane with him sweating like a pig at a pig roast. We landed safely but a few years later he and one of his buddies didn’t. They both died in Glenn’s plane.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch ... Glenn and I had checked all the windmills and all the pastures and had headed back to my house when he blurts out, “Hold up Jack ... there’s a bobcat under that mesquite there!” I pulled up, took a close look and thought it to be a large feral cat. It wasn’t.
It was indeed a young bobcat. Glenn wanted to dispatch it so I took the horse off some distance away as he shot the cat once and it was dead as a politician’s promise. Now that was one pretty cat and I wanted to take it back to the house to show my 2-year-old son. Problem was, I was riding a green broke horse so I was a little concerned he might get somewhat excited if I loaded that bobcat on behind the saddle. I let him smell the cat and then I placed that ole cat behind the cantle of my saddle and tied his legs down on each side with the saddle strings. I walked the horse around for a minute or two and then mounted up. The ol’ bobcat slipped off to one side and the blood started to run. That wasn’t the only thing that ran, so did that pony. Let me tell ya children, he took off like a tree hugger in a forest fire. It was about two miles to the house through a mesquite covered and cactus laden pasture.
I most likely could have placed in the Belmont Stakes on that given day. We did arrive back at the house in record time and without any major injuries. I had “Little Miss Martha” bring out the boy as I tied the cat legs over the hitching rail so I could skin him. “Whatcha’ doin’ Daddy? Whatcha’ doing to that kitty cat Daddy?” my son probed.
“Son, this here is a wild cat, it’s called a Bobcat and I’m gonna’ skin him. I’m gonna’ take his coat off!”
With big eyes and lots of anticipation my son’s voice got a little lower, “Won’t he get cold Daddy, won’t he get cold?”
That little incident could have been the root cause for the name, “Mad Jack.”
Stay tuned, chech yer cinch on occasion, and I’ll c y’all, all y’all. ❖
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