Hanks: The optimistic cowboy
Being optimistic, gentle readers, has always been a healthy virtue in my scope of things. Now ol’ Jake, who is riding pastures in the great beyond, was one of the most optimistic fellers I reckon I ever met.
Jake was in his late 50s when I took over as ranch manager. His job was mostly riding wheat pastures with his buddy Jessie and doctoring any bovine that might need a little assistance.
The problem I found with Jake early on was he was so optimistic that if he came across an ol’ steer off in the fence corner with a runny nose and coughing all bent over, he just might not doctor him.
Why? You ask. Well, there is a slight chance that the steer will recover on his own and Jake and Jessie wouldn’t have to unload their horses on that cold, frosty December morning. Who knows, heck Jake might come down with a cold all his own by exposing himself to the elements?
Now don’t get me wrong, Jake was a good feller. He was always at work on time and always friendly and ready for a good “laff” if the occasion arose. He was just too optimistic in a wrong sort of way too much of the time.
If the above mentioned steer was really, deathly sick and shouldn’t be to hard to catch and doctor, Jake would see that it got done. Chasing a fast, dodging and darting steer in a slick wheat pasture can at times be hazardous to a cowboy’s well being. I know that for a fact, trust me!
I can’t attest to what Jake was like before I took over. I know he had been there for many years and that in itself says a lot about him. He may have been a “ball of fire” in his younger years, but he was like me in the sense that neither he or I were the best ropers that ever jockied wheat pasture cattle.
If you can’t catch a yearling in the first hundred yards, especially if he is only somewhat sick, it can and most likely will turn into a memory you won’t soon forget.
Jake was a medium-sized feller at about 180 pounds and I don’t think he had an ounce of fat on him and I attribute that to his occupation. He may have just gotten a tad lazy or maybe just too optimistic as he was bumping up against age 60. He retired at 62 and did a little day tractor work for neighbors.
Heck, the last time I got bucked off was at age 62. It was handy the I landed in the soft mud of Coal Creek. No harm done. I was pretty optimistic that I could rope that steer and drag him across the creek he refused to cross on his own. I should have “checked my cinch on occasion.”
As Forest Gump would say, “and that’s all I have to say about that!”
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember to keep law enforcement and fire fighters in your prayers! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. ❖
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