Mad Jack Hanks: Tales from the O-NO Ranch 3-7-11
March 7, 2011
I was watching a program called “The Last American Cowboy” on the “telly” today and it made an impact on me as it always does.
It’s a program about several ranching families in Montana and the trials, tribulations and rewards, however small, that these families have come their way. I thought back to the cattleman’s banquets that I have been privileged to speak at or entertain for. I think of places like Walden, Colo., Gunnison, Colo., Laramie, Wyo., Walsenburg, Colo., and Kremmling, Colo., and many more I could mention. These mentioned above are your typical ranching communities where their ranching roots run very, very deep. I always had this warm feeling come over me as I mingled among the folks just visiting or eavesdropping on conversations that caught my attention. Like, “Howard, how’s that new colt of yours coming along?” or “Jud, are ya gonna have enough water to finish yer hay?” Gentle readers, there are conversations about grandkids, horses, hay balers, wives, dogs and neighbors and probably not in that order. I felt that bond that any rancher, cowboy feels when he is among his own kind. It doesn’t matter if your in Alberta, Amarillo or the little community of Ault, Colo.
This once a year get-together is many times the social event of the year. Some folks put on the dog and some just put on the Carharts and it just doesn’t matter. They are there to visit, eat, tell some good stories and hope to hear better ones. Many times there is a dance afterwards and when I’m there I always try to capture some cowboy’s wife, daughter or girlfriend to scoot around the dance floor with.
These folks, as I have said in past columns, “are the salt of the earth.” They are different. Their hands are not smooth and their faces are not without the obvious struggles of cattle, horses, hay bales or stacks and calving heifers in January. Good folks, with a great sense of humor, more common sense than most all other species and a longing for the land that runs deep, deep within them. Their hope is that their children will follow and carry on the honorable traditions and examples that they themselves have set forth. Their tracks don’t blow out! God bless them all!
As a sidebar, speaking of good folks and cowboys, today is my son Andy’s birthday. If you see him, say “howdy” and wish him a Happy Birthday! He’s always been a keeper.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. ya’ll, all ya’ll.