Hanks: Back tracking through time
Gentle readers, while fighting off cabin fever I decided to drag out the photo albums and take a little trip in time with my kids.
Thank God that Little Miss Martha was big on taking photos and putting together albums of the “happenings and adventures” of our life together with the kids. I think I have 13 albums of photos from 1964 through 2002.
Then there are those memories that just stay stuck and will forever. For example, I remember that day in Amarillo when son Andy was just a couple of months old, I was holding him while a’horseback on Honcho, a big bay gelding that I was riding at the time.
I remember as if it were yesterday walking through the cactus and mesquite with that ol’ Stevens double barrel 12-gauge shotgun hoping to jump some blue quail. Right along beside me was Andy with his little wooden rifle at 3 years of age wearing his big cowboy hat, boots and jeans. When I shot I could hear him going “bam, bam, bam” as if his gun was discharging as well.
Or that summer day he was sitting in his little wading pool while his pal, a big female German Shepherd, lay in the water with him.
Of course he had his swim suit on and his cowboy hat. It wasn’t long after that when Sunni, our daughter, was pictured on Molly, the kid’s little Shetland pony. For a Shetland, Molly wasn’t a bad first horse for them. I would always try to get all of us a’horseback those times when I felt we could prowl the cattle and not have any emergencies come up that would require any real “whuppin’ and spurrin’” to have to take place. Those were such fun times and being young, one just doesn’t realize how precious those moments really are.
A few years have passed and I see the photos of Andy and I in the bronc pen with a hobbled colt trying to get a saddle on him. I gotta’ tell ya, sometimes it got a little western and those are the times a cowboy is “alive and well” in his soul if he knows what he is doing and what to maybe expect next. Andy was right there with me in any capacity I needed him and I knew he was tough enough to handle his end at 15.
Sunni had a big chestnut gelding that she could do about anything on. She would get a fishing pole and a bucket and somehow climb up on this 16-hand horse and go fishing for crawdads at 9 years of age. Country kids, that’s what they were and the education they were receiving then was paramount in who they are today.
The kids at age 9 and 7 always wanted to know when the cowboy crew was due to gather either the cows or yearlings.
The reason for that is that it was always a “run a way,” punch a hole in the wind kind of a deal as the cattle could get wilder than ol’ “Cootie Brown!” The kids were experienced enough that I could just put them within eyesight and let ’em go. They loved that part of ranching and hanging with the cowboy crew more than anything else. Thank God we didn’t have smart phones back then.
Andy is a successful business man with a beautiful family and nice little ranch up in the mountains above Grand Junction, Colo.
Sunni has a wonderful family and has her degree in interior design from Colorado State University. Her and her family live close by and I have kept horses here for her and her daughter for many years and we have ridden together and had so many meaningful conversations and “laffter” over the years.
The kids will be 50 years old in a couple of years or so and their kids are my pride and joy, all six of them. I ask myself sometimes, “what did I ever do to deserve such a wonderful family.?” I wish that all kids today would have the opportunity to spend just a little time living the “country life” and having the responsibilities that it brings. Lord grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the friends to post my bail when I finally snap!!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, hold your children close and I’ll c. y’all all y’all.❖