Hanks: 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 Company’s 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 150 sections each 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 asked 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 grime when one of the Coldwater boys asks, “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 asked. 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 12 or 15 hours a day punchin’ cows? Why did you want to do that?” another asked.
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 of 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 itself, 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.❖