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A leg up

Mad Jack Hanks
Tales from the ONO Ranch, Wellington, Colo.

Listening to talk radio this morning while driving home from coffee with mi amigos, the subject was what effect not being able to go to school was having on Colorado’s children? Gentle readers, we’ve been on another planet for almost a year and a half and it’s having a profound effect on all of us. When it comes to the kiddos, I worry l lot about their future and how they are going to approach it when all of this “crap” is behind us. Most of them will not have had any face to face with a teacher in a classroom.

Nope, they will have been struggling with taking their classes on the computer. Some will do better than others and some may have already thrown in the towel when it comes to trying to absorb what they should have learned in the classroom. I get mad thinking about it because it seems so unnecessary and places such a burden on the parents as well as the kids.

I think about how, in my mind anyway, kids involved in any agriculture program or live on a farm and ranch will have a “leg up” when it comes to adapting to their forced new learning methods. I say that because I know that most country kids have already gotten a fairly good education. They have learned that if you don’t work and hold up your end of chores, you got problems. Where a city kid might go out and ride their bike or shoot hoops at the park, the country kid is mucking stalls, feeding bum lambs or baby calves with a bottle or helping dad or mom do “whatever” is needed. That’s their life. They grew up with it and it’s normal. They don’t feel abused or neglected in any way, they feel needed and WANTED. I always thought I was a sheltered kid, but thinking back on it, I know better. At 10 years of age, we moved into an oil field camp west of Sundown, Texas. It was on the vast Mallett Ranch and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. That first time I heard coyotes howling off in the distance, it scared me. But then I yearned to hear them at every opportunity. I would take a homemade bow and arrow and take off through a mesquite filled pasture with rattlesnakes and horned toads and yes, rabbits. I was out to kill a rabbit, take it to the nearest pond, skin it and cook part of it to eat all the while pretending I was a mountain man in the wild.



We had an old paint horse and he was a bronc. No buck, just rear up and many times ran away with me through the mesquite. I loved it. I was either a cowboy trying to outrun the Indians or I was an Indian trying to catch a settler or The Pony Express rider. That ol’ pony would always run away back to the barn and try and scrape my leg off on the cross tie that held the old wooden gate up. Man, I could pick up that leg and he never ever got me. Sheltered? Are you kiddin’ me Buckwheat? No way. I grew up a tough little kid into a teen and not afraid of much except my parents, of course. I loved football because of the contact. I got into fights, not in middle school, but high school

That’s purty much how I learned to fight. I was no Mike Tyson, but I could hold my own. I had a leg up and just didn’t know it at the time, however, most of my classmates did as well. Today kids have so much more to contend with and there is so much peer pressure for them to look this way or that way, to drive this vehicle or that one and to hang out with this bunch or those kids over there. There is always some of that in any generation, but country kids, I don’t believe let that sort of pressure bother them. They know who they are and depend on past experiences to keep their head above water. There are exceptions, of course. What will it be like a year from now?



Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember, you can’t reclaim today tomorrow, I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.


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Mad Jack Hanks

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