To supplement farm income, some get their wives jobs in town.
Others expand their hobbies, i.e. making saddles, braiding horsehair or running for county commissioner. Some, in desperation, get a real estate license!
I chose the conservative, low-risk venture of making a home video. After considering several subjects, “Documentary of the Brucellosis Eradication Program 1936-92.” “The Hatch Act; a Review” and “Fasciola Hepatica; Peril or Fluke?” I decided to use some of my poems and invent Cowboy Poetry MTV. I would invite my cowboy friends and we would act out each poem.
Included in the video was “THE CULL,” a poem in which a young vet and an experienced cowman argue the merits of keeping or culling a cow. The cow described in the poem was definitely beyond “one more year.” I sent a copy to Hank at the sale barn in Willcox and asked him to find me this cow. I called three days before I had the big shooting scheduled. He said he had the cow.
I reminded him that I’d encouraged him to buy two or three so I could cast just the right cow for the starring role. He said, “Don’t worry, I’ve got the cow.”
He was right … she cost 60 bucks.
I got her home and ran her in the chute to examine her. I was lucky to have my old pardner, Jake, who had a supporting role, to help me. She was in fair condition and had only the lower corner incisors left. There was a healed lump at the angle of her jaw, her left horn curled back into the side of her head and the right horn swooped out gracefully to the northeast. She looked like she was directing traffic.
But the reason she was at the sale barn, headed to the rendering plant, was her right eye. Cancer had enucleated it and the orbital area was the size of a small cantaloupe,
Jake and I cleaned, packed and dressed the eye. No Shut-Eye Patch would cover it. I thought a big cartoon X made of black duct tape might make the defect more presentable. Then Jake said, “I know what’ll work … a bra.”
The next thing I knew we were in the lingerie section of Tractor Supply. “What size, you reckon?” I asked. He said, “Well, you’ve been washing it for two days. Hold out yer hand.”
We chose a 38D and took it home. My wife cut off and discarded the unneeded cup. Our purchase fit perfectly. The shoulder strap went over the longhorn and the back strap coursed above the good eye like a pirate patch underneath the jaw.
She played her part beyond expectations. I took her back to the sale barn, the Maidenform still stuck firmly in place. She went through the auction ring with a note thanking Hank for his cattle buying skill, recounting her new status as a star and charging the new owner to treat her with kindness. She goes by the name Lorraine.
She brought $25. So much for my cowsmetology.
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