Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 8-5-13
Gentle readers, I recently came across a photo of three little cowboys at a ranch rodeo. They stood like good little soldiers with their cowboy hats across their chest as old glory was being presented.
These little boys were all of 4- to 5-years-old and the serious look on their little faces told me that they get it! They, even at that age, know the importance of their gesture. They have watched their moms and dads and have learned the lesson well. I have seen so many ranch raised kids at spring brandings dutifully do whatever is asked of them without comment or complaint. It’s just what you do on a ranch. It’s what’s expected of you.
I have watched little cowboys and cowgirls being interviewed by some “civilian” from town about what it’s really like to be a cowboy and live and work on a ranch. Their precise responses always seem to take the interviewer back a step or two. They are just not used to little folks being so forthright and well spoken though it may come in slow and measured answers.
I remember when my little ones roped and drug their first calves to the branding fire. Sunni, our daughter, was only 6 and she opted to rope a small calf on the ground and get some help draggin’ it to the fire as she didn’t think she would ever get it done on the back of her little horse. Son Andy, was 8 and riding a regular ranch horse and he did quite well. He could always out rope me when he got older. Good kids with a measure of pride that went with who they were and what was expected of them.
Little cowboys and cowgirls have listened to enough tailgate conversations by their dads and other cowboys and ranchers about life in general. It soaks into their little skins and all of it has meaning. It may be some good “bronc ridin’ stories” or what some cowboy did or said that was important enough to be repeated and passed on.
Ranch folks are just different. Different in a wonderful way. A way that encourages decency, honesty, integrity and being proud of one’s family and friends and that special horse and of course the dogs. Ranch wives are so very important because so much is required of them.
Sometimes they have to balance and explain what certain “cowboy words” mean and why the little ones need only to trust mom and dad and do “whatever” the “cowboy way”.
I love little kids and I especially love to be around ranch raised kids and just observe them. Without saying a word I know what their parents are most likely to be like and what their ranch family represents. I know there are some ranch folks that are not as, well, let me put it this way, “not as good of representatives of ranch families” as I would like for them to be. Just the same, I hold that ranch raised kids just have a “leg up” on kids that are raised as urban or city dwellers.
May God bless your family and remember to love on your little ones and let them know how special they are.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and most of all honor “old Glory” and what she stands for. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. ❖
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