Mad Jack Hanks: Tales From The O-No Ranch 10-22-12
Gentle readers, have you ever prejudged someone or something only to discover you were way off base? I bet you have. I guarantee ya I have many, many, too many times in my life.
Let me take you back to my junior year in high school. I went out for the varsity football team. As you know “Friday night lights” are everything in every small west Texas community. Football is king and it was my perception that if I didn’t play I would be considered what we would call a “nerd” by today’s standards. Plus all of that, I played football in Junior high and loved it. It was my sport. I was tall and skinny and of course didn’t shave my peach fuzz as of yet.
John Gerald Thomas was a senior, he was very muscular and had a beard like an Oregon lumberjack. He and I were competing for the same spot. I knew I didn’t have a chance. Heck, my face had never even felt a razor and my legs had been sued by my body for non support. They were very skinny. I was surprised when I made the starting line up and went on to be an all district player on offense as well as defense. I had a misconception about J.G. Thomas. He just wasn’t very good at football.
We rode out into that mesquite covered pasture north of Amarillo, Texas, that crisp fall morning to meet some other cowboys at a windmill and then proceed to gather and ship some yearlings. I was just a button or “gunzel” when it came to “cowboyin” as I was as green as fresh guacamole but I had a vision of what a panhandle cowboy was supposed to look like. Now, I had all the trappings. I had a fairly good ranch horse and could rope a little. I could hold my own when it came to navigating the brush when a’horseback but lacked the necessary skills of being able to read a cow correctly at that time. We rode up to the windmill and I was somewhat offended when I see this ol’ farmer lookin’ guy wearin’ kakias, lace up shoes and a baseball cap. He was in his 60s and sitting a purty good lookin’ bay gelding. His saddle looked as if it had seen duty for many years.
Everyone knew him but me and they all liked him. I figured I would like him also and give him a little sympathy. Children, this feller was a hand and he certainly didn’t need any of my sympathy as he quickly made me look like the “gunzel” (a person pretending to be a cowboy and not having all the necessary skills) I was in short time when he broke off into the brush after some bunch quittin’ high tailed heifers and brought them back in what seemed to be an effortless attempt. I had a misconception about that ol’ farmer lookin’ feller. And to think that he wasn’t even wearin’ chaps in all that brush!
Well, I reckon these are some of life’s little lessons that we learn as we stumble along. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t until we get another opportunity. Judge not lest ye be judged! I’m still workin’ on that one.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c y’all, all y’all. ❖
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