Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-NO Ranch 9-16-13

Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

Gentle readers let me take us back to then and them.

Them being the hardy folks that decided to pull up stakes, load up a wagon with all that they felt like they could haul to their new destination out west and arrive with most of it intact. Now, we rent a U-Haul truck or a moving company that is insured to deliver all of our worldly possessions to our new home in very good shape. At least that’s what we expect.

Back then men and women might be required to walk seven to 10 miles a day over rough terrain in a cloud of dust that a team of oxen and a burdened wagon stirred up as the wagon train struggled along. Somewhere along the way to the “new land” a family might have to stop long enough to bury one of their own, maybe even an infant or small child. That person would most likely be laid to rest in rocky soil next to the trail with a crude marker or pile of stones as their epitaph. Can you imagine having to leave a child or anyone out in the wilderness, a place where you would never ever be able to come back to and relive memories? That, my friend, is tough. Now if anyone gets the least bit ill traveling, somewhere along the route will be a medical clinic, an ambulance available or a large hospital to care for the sick.

Back then a house made of sod from the prairie or rough cut timber from the forest would have to be acceptable if you want to survive. Some folks lived in tents until they could have some sort of structure built that was more stable. Now we take our tents, sleeping bags, Coleman stoves and prepared meals to the camp site for a few days of relaxation.

Many times back then water would have to be hauled from the creek or river up to the dwelling for cooking, washing clothes and bodies and maybe even for livestock in some cases. Now, we just turn on the faucet, hot or cold, depending on what our needs are and we can go outside and fill the livestock tubs just by raising a handle.

Back then many times school was held in someone’s home as well as church.

Dances were rare occasions and cowboys might ride 30 miles one way to have an opportunity to hold a pretty woman on the dance floor and then ride 30 miles back to the ranch. Today, I just jump on the Harley, or get in my Buick or the Dodge truck and I’m ready to dance 25 minutes later.

Then there were more men of great courage with a mind set of determination and honor. Always ready to help anyone in need and expect nothing in return.

Sometimes my mind ponders what was really good back then and some of the things that are not so good today even with all that we have been blessed with. Me thinks that too many of us are spoiled rotten, to expectant, and just too plain lazy to give back much to what we have been given. Look up occasional from that iPhone, iPad or whatever and be aware of what’s going on around you. You just might find a way to help someone that really could use your help. Partner, it will make ya feel so good about yourself! After all we are just a “touch” away from having our house warm or cool, and lights that just come on instantly and a screen to watch movies, sports or dramas (soap operas), or our children can be entertained for hours with cute but educational programs. What a deal we have today. Have we been blessed or what? Sometimes in the ER I see folks that don’t appear to be very blessed … there again, I don’t know their backgrounds or their full intentions on how to live their lives.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, wave old Glory and take time to thank God for all that we have and can have! I’ll c y’all, all y’all. ❖