Tales from the O-NO Ranch: Canadians
by “Mad” Jack Hanks
Over the last 10 or 12 years, gentle readers, I have had the opportunity to meet a good many Canadians. I will tell you up front that every last one of them appears to be a happy cheerful lot with an enormous zest for life. They ran in all sizes and shapes and their job descriptions ranged from bronc riders to cartoonist. There was this one feller, however, that didn’t quite fit between the lines of the above described.
It was a hot windy August afternoon of last year when I was pullin’ out of our little burg of Wellington, headed for home. As I pulled out on the access road to the interstate, I noticed this feller standin’ there with a big smile and his thumb up in the air. I slowly passed and gave him the once over. He was about 5- feet, 5-inches tall, 140 pounds, baseball cap, tee shirt, jeans and no obvious weapons of any kind. He had a small duffel bag sitting on the ground. I quit giving rides to strangers years ago but today I thought, “What the heck, he don’t look dangerous,” so I began to slow down and pull over.
I slipped my pistol under my left leg next to the door just in case I somehow found my judgment to have been cloudy. Sometimes, ya just don’t know about folks. As I began to back up a little, he came a runnin’ towards the truck and tossed his bag in the bed as he reached for the door. I had the window half way down and the door was still locked.
“Pard, I’m just goin’ 10 miles up the road and I’ll take ya that far, but that’s all!”
“Praise God, I’ll take ya up on it!” he blurted out as I unlocked the door. “Thank ya, sweet Jesus,” he said as he jumped in the truck.
“Don’t wanna disappoint ya none; I ain’t Jesus, but I’m glad I can help ya a little,” sez I as we pulled away. He laughed a little laugh as I studied his tattooed covered arms.
“My name is Bob, and yours?” he asked as he stuck out his hand.
“I’m Jack, my friends call me ‘Mad Jack,'” I replied with a wiry grin as we shook hands. “Where ya headed, Bob?”
“Goin’ to Idaho; got me a job in a truck stop up there, eh! Where you from, Mad Jack?”
“Well, I live here and have for a good many years, but I’m originally from Texas.”
“Thought ya might be, Mad Jack. I spend my winters in Texas when I can. Good place, Texas; lots of friendly folks there. I have a little ministry for Jesus. I just travel from Texas to Canada, where I’m from, eh, and I work at truck stops along the way and do a little preaching. I love Canada, of course, but I like to git oot of the cold and warm up down in Texas, eh?”
Bob wanted to know exactly what it was I did for a living, and of course, that takes a little explainin’, so by the time I had him completely baffled for my reason for being on this earth, it was time to stop and let him out.
I had to turn west to get to the O-NO Ranch. Bob cheerfully thanked me for givin’ him a ride and offered to give me some of his literature if I would wait while he retrieved his bag and got it out.
I figured that if I accepted his offer then I might be expected to slip ole Bob five bucks or so. I told him, “Thanks, but no; I reckon I’ll pass this time around.”
“Yer a good man, Mad Jack. Most folks don’t stop unless they’re truckers and need somebody to talk to. Have a good day and God bless Ya, eh?”
“Bob, I meant to ask ya, since ya go to Texas a lot, are ya bilingual? Have you learned to say, ‘How y’all doin’ eh?'”
Bob got a big kick out of that and gave me a big and friendly wave as I pulled away.
Yep, children, Canadians are a cheerful, friendly and sometimes curious lot, but they are a likeable bunch.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and be kind to our neighbors to the North!
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