Extended family | TheFencePost.com

Extended family

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

Gentle readers, I have before mentioned that I feel as if you guys are just part of my extended family. Well, not for real, of course, but you have made me feel that way through the years with your kind comments and mostly when we have been able to visit one on one.

Years ago I went to Walden, Colo., on two different occasions to speak to FFA members and parents at their annual banquet. On both occasions I felt as if maybe I had arrived at a family reunion. I don’t mean everyone came rushing over to greet me but I seemed so much a part of all that was going on. Heck, at my family reunions not everyone was in a hurry to greet me. The citizens of Walden are resilient, friendly, tough as a dried out buffalo hide, and warm, warm to their very soul. I always came away feeling as if maybe I shouldn’t have left. I was made an honorary citizen of Walden for some reason or another years ago. These are my people. God Bless you Waldenites!

Back about 15 years or so I was asked to be the guest speaker for the graduating class of Gateway, Colo. My son and his family lived in Grand Junction at the time and it was an opportunity for me to visit with family and go someplace I had never been. Gateway is just a few miles east of the Utah border and southwest of Grand Junction.

I left a little early for the simple reason it’s easy for me to get lost. Why do you think Moses wandered in the wilderness for 40 years? It was a pretty drive to Gateway by way of Whitewater, up the canyon of pinions, scrub oak and beautiful valleys along the river. Before I got to Gateway I noticed something on the side of this narrow two lane road up ahead just around a bend. Well, “are you kidding me?” it was a cowboy who had roped and tied a steer down to doctor him and the ol’ steer was partly in the road. I slowed down, gave him a friendly wave and wanted to get out and help if I could, but I had my “banquet clothes” on. My people, my country, is the thought that bounced around in my head and for sure it was.

“The citizens of Walden are resilient, friendly, tough as a dried out buffalo hide, and warm, warm to their very soul.”

The graduating class was two girls, first cousins and what sweeties they were. The place was packed with folks. Mostly ranch families who came to this little town to celebrate this graduation of two of their own and to hear Mad Jack Hanks do his thing. What an honor! What a great time I had with my extended family just like in Walden.

I am going to guess that when pilgrims go through Walden or Gateway or any other small isolated village in Colorado they just might have a sudden heartfelt desire to want to live like those folks do. The thing is, they couldn’t. They just wouldn’t survive without their Walmart, King Soopers, five theater cinema, and five star eating establishments.

Most if not all would just not be hardy enough or have the resolve to follow through and make the sacrifices that these country folks, (my extended family) do.

This world has gone crazy and folks are looking for some place to escape to. They want to find some peace and they are looking to go to the country. They want to wear a cowboy hat, boots, let their hair grow and pretend they are part of my extended family. Sorry, nice try. I’ll just go with the original tried and true country folks be they ranchers, miners, loggers, farmers and folks that live in their little communities. I am so proud to be who I am, what I am, and where I live, and have the benefit of sharing so much of my life with my extended family.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember to say yer prayers, eat more beef and drink more chocolate milk, and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. Let me mention again, my calendars are here. Jack Hanks, PO Box 825, Wellington, Co. 80549. It’s $12 for a signed calendar and postage paid. Thanks. ❖