Tales from the O-NO Ranch | TheFencePost.com

Tales from the O-NO Ranch

Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

Storytellin’ is indeed an art form. I have a hard time enjoying what I believe to be a good joke or a good story when it is told by someone that doesn’t know the art of presentation. The good joke or story is lost many times by the storyteller because they just don’t have the right delivery.

I believe that rural folks and especially folks from the southern states make the best storytellers. Rural folks, I believe, have more real-life experiences because of their surroundings and environment and most of them just have the knack for presenting that story in such a way that you are drawn into it and relish each and every sentence and especially the climax.

I have a friend that I know from the dance hall where I go dancing and I won’t tell you his name but his initials are Ron! Ron loves to tell jokes but he absolutely butchers them to the point that you waller in the blood just trying to escape before the punch line comes.

When I was but a child, I used to love to listen to my dad and his brothers and my mom’s brothers tell stories about their youth as rural kids. One of my favorite stories has to do with my dad and his seven brothers when they lived on the family farm outside of Fort Worth, Texas. My dad’s dad was a candy maker. He also made wine and beer on the little farm and every few weeks he would load up the wagon and take one or two of the kids and they would travel the country, selling candies like taffy and peanut brittle and the spirits he had brewed.

The eight boys used to love to go out at night with their dog, Sheriff, and hunt coons or anything that might cross their path in the woods at night. One night ole Sheriff broke away and took off through the woods just slobbering and barking as fast as he could go. Pete, my dad’s oldest step-brother was in the lead because he was the fastest of the bunch, and most likely the most fearless. With Pete in the lead, the bunch pulled up at a hollow log where Sheriff was raisin’ cane with his head in the log. Pete got down on his knees and jerked old Sheriff out of the way.

“Get outta the way, Sheriff, let me see what ya got caught!” Pete stuck his head in the log as far as he could and started running with ole Sheriff and the seven brothers tryin’ to catch him and find out what was wrong. Pete was runnin’ so fast in the dark through the woods that they couldn’t catch him, plus the fact that he was almost as blind as Ray Charles in a coal mine. He didn’t see that ole “bob wire” fence in front of him.

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“TWANG” went the fence as it stretched and then tossed ole Pete back into the arms of his brothers. They took him home and cleaned him up and patched him up the best they could and of course he survived, only to lose his left eye later in life by simply striking a match with his thumb and having it go into his eye.

I also relish being around a bunch of cowboys and listening to their stories and the way they deliver them. Come to think of it, I don’t believe that I ever heard a boring story from a sure ’nuff puncher. They just all have that talent for delivering a joke or a story. I think it must be learned from their peers when they were children.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, and I’ll c. ya.