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Joe College

During this one particular summer Donny was going through a lot of hired hands. Not that he was that hard to work for but ranch work is tough and requires a little savvy. The Job Service had just sent out this college kid and when Donny asked him what kind of a cowboy he was he said he was one of the best. That day we had to move the herd from one permit area to another. Donny pointed out to Joe College which horse was his and told him to saddle him up and get ready. It was obvious right from the gitgo that he didn’t have a clue about horses. The only horse he ever rode was probably a stick horse when he was a kid. After a few hours all he could do was complain about how his butt hurt and he was tired and hungry. We finally moved him and his horse right in with the herd. That way we could keep an eye on him. Donny yelled over to me and asked if I knew the definition of short-timer and I said no. He pointed to this person slumped over on his horse and with head bobbing with every step like it was about to fall off and said, “him”. He couldn’t wait to get to the ranch so he could get his checkbook out and send him on his way. When Donny asked him originally if he was a cowboy all he had to do was tell the truth and say no but I would sure like to learn.

Another time Donny got his checkbook out it was meant for either me or one of the twins who were his cousins. This was another time we had to move the herd a few miles to another grazing allotment. This was instructed by the Forest Service ranger and when he said to move them it meant now. Donny couldn’t go and asked if I would cover for him. The forecast for that day was to get pretty hot so we started right at day break. It’s a lot easier to move cattle when it’s cool. At about ten thirty that morning we were already done. We got off our horses along this little stream and commenced to enjoy our lunch. There was no need to tie up the horses as they were grazing peacefully in front of us. We were patting each other on the back on a job well done and before the heat of the day. The setting was serene and quiet, but this was all about to change. One of us went to throw a half eaten apple away and it hit the tree right above the horses and came rattling down the branches. Those horses must have thought it was a mountain lion coming down that tree because they just exploded. There they went through the brush and timber with reins dragging and tearing and were sure that mountain lion was right behind them. We finally gathered them up and got them settled down about a mile away. There was torn rigging all over the place. When we got back to the ranch and Donny learned of the story he immediately got his checkbook out and asked who the guilty party was. What he didn’t know is that the three of us had made a solemn oath never to reveal the guilty one. After some intensive interragation and short of using torture tactics he gave up. To this day he doesn’t know who did it and to quote Forest Gump, “that’s all I have to say about that”.


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