Silence is not always golden |

Silence is not always golden

Tales from the O-No Ranch
Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

There for sure are times when silence can be golden. At a funeral, in church, at any function when silence contributes to the betterment of whatever. Then again there are those times when you are in a situation where you wish SOMEBODY WOULD SAY SOMETHING! Yep. I was in that situation just a few days ago. I was sitting in a very small waiting room at the eye repair shop. I was put in a very small room with four women and another feller that appeared to be in the cattle business. You know how it is when you are trapped in a small space with folks you don’t know, so what do you do? You put your hands in your lap and stare at the floor.

Thank goodness we were all old folks except for the rancher’s daughter and no phones. The silence was so loud it was buggin’ me. As an attempt to start a conversation I put my hand up to the side of my mouth and ask, “do ya think they even know we are here?” I said that because a half-dozen nurses kept walkin’ by us on a regular basis with a clipboard in their hand. We were in a pre-op room. All of us were scheduled for surgery in a few days and had to get our marching orders on what to wear or not and when to be where!

After I spoke my rancher bro started the conversation. He asked where I was from and I told him I lived north of Wellington. “Well, then you didn’t have to drive too far. I had to come from Elk Mountain, Wyo. That’s a little over two hours one way. You say you live north of Wellington?” he offered. “I do, I live 10 miles north of Wellington.” “Would you happen to know that Mad Jack Hanks feller that lives up there somewhere?” “Sure do, that’s me,” I shot back. Well, that got the conversation started. “Shorty is my name and I have read your column for years but I never thought I’d get to meet ya” “Shorty” Richardson turns out to be a loyal “gentle reader”

and what a feller to pass the time of day with. In short order “Shorty” and I had those folk’s full attention along with some of the nurses as we spun our stories of ranch life and all the fun and pitfalls we could cram into our short time together. Soon after I was taken into a nearby office to get my instructions and “Shorty” still had their full attention as we could hear laughter and lots of trading of conversation! It made me feel good to know that it is possible for folks from all walks of life to engage in meaningful dialogue without fear of isolation or intimidation.

“Pull quote.”

I go in the morning to have the eye repair doc punch a hole in my eye, drain all of the fluids out including a blood clot and then fill my eye back up with saline solution or a gas of some sort. What could possibly go wrong? I don’t want to know. It’s something I feel needs to be done as there are times that I have little or no vision in my right eye because of the blood clot.

Today I got a really neat card from “Shorty” and his wife Betty and he also included a recent photo of his barn and corral covered with a big blanket of snow. Thank ya Richardsons, I always appreciate getting to know folks that read my “stuff” and then tell me how much they enjoy it!

I’ve had a little much-needed snow here at the ONO but that 17 below the night before for March was a little out of the box for this old cowboy. Sure glad I didn’t have to saddle up and ride off into the daylight!

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, hope you get a warm wind and healthy calves, until next time, I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

FYI: Mr. Shorty was about 6-foot-2. ❖

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