The young doctor stepped back to take a deep breath,
And he spoke to the man he’d patched up. How old are
you, sir, and how did this happen? Seventy-three,
came the answer; a little bad luck.
The main herd
was five days gone from these pastures, Scattered
’cross the rich winter meadows of home. But a yellow
ton-plus bull had waged war on the men And horses,
so they’d dropped him to sulk all alone.
came the hand and his partner to find him. Sometimes
bulls cool off and come in on their own. But this one
had sulled up and staked him a homestead. He
was hungry and dry and bull-mad to the bone.
hardly budged from the spot where he’d bellered
And hooked and thrown dust and took on the world. It
looked like he’d stay till the buzzards dined on him.
Just a lump of tough meat -- his battle flag
cased and furled.
So the hand sent his dogs to rouse
him back upright, Once moving, the bull might
move down to the tanks. If he watered, later somehow,
they’d get him into a trailer, And save his damn
life, not expecting his thanks.
Two cow dogs launched
full-tilt straight at that old devil, Who came
up on the run with blood in his eye. The hand jerked
his hat down and took off for the pickup. And
as he went he was wishing he’d learned how to fly.
A few steps and he knew well that he wouldn’t make it,
The ground shook behind him, it was judgment day. The
man assayed his chances and then gave up on the pickup,
Parked 50 yards and 50 years way too far away.
hand faced the bull, thinking that he just might dodge it,
But the first hit broke his sternum and took all breath
away, Still the bull came hunting as the human fell to
hard ground, As if the hammered body still owed
a debt to pay.
And the lifeline could have ended
way out there in the sagebrush, Not the first
and not the last to have left cowboying that way, But
there came a savage scream and a figure from the pickup;
As the partner of the hand charged headlong into the fray.
And although the bull did bruise her, she roused the
dogs to battle, The bull could not match courage
with the forces that he faced. So he fled the screaming
woman and the raging of the cow dogs, And a desperate
call brought help at a life-saving pace.
jarring trip to Elko, the hand peered at his partner,
And he said, why do you stay with me, year after year?
This sure is not the first time this life has almost killed
you. She gazed into his eyes and smiled,
yes, but we’re still here.
Have you ever cuddled
up to a Texas-style gate with the barbed wire ticklin’
your chin? I bet you gave blood and a purty good shirt
and said all those cowboy words again!
that you were there all by your lonesome, you don’t want
company on that kinda’ day. Cuz’ if you resort to wire-cutters
to close ‘er up you can get famous in all the wrong ways.
It’s the law of the range to leave gates as they were
and once you get on the other side, It’s your solemn
and unwavering duty, for sure, to close the gate again
before you can ride.
There’s a glorious assortment
of diresome disasters that can parade through an unclosed
gate. From repulsive new crossbreeds of cattle to
lengthy rides into neighboring states.
But some genius
misdressed in a cowboy hat one day figured up a trick
deal. And to my mind that guy should rank alongside
the gent who invented the wheel.
Just take down your
rope and noose those posts right under the top loop of
wire. Dally short and back your horse till it’s tight
-- then you’ve got the slack you require.
admit that some gates have been tougher than me, but
I got that wire looped. If you fall short with brute
force and ignorance, use yer’ rope and just add some
you all that might want to really try this trick, here are
a couple of pointers! You can unthread your rope for
a tall post. And one rider can stand his horse right beside
the gate if necessary. That is, however, a little risky
if your horse ain't rock-solid. In fact, you should
only do this at your own risk and with a horse well-broke
to pulling a rope in unusual circumstances.
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