Have you ever had one of those moments when the smell of something or the taste of something just immediately takes you to another place and time…and if you are lucky it is not only a good… but a great place and time…that happened to me today on my tractor.
As soon as I took the first bite of my ham sandwich I was transported back to some of the best days of my childhood as a student at Dover Elementary School. I remember opening that H. R. Puffenstuff metal lunchbox with the matching thermos that had a little cup with a handle on the lid. That thermos was always filled with the absolute best sweet tea ever made.
That ham sandwich was always perfect…just the right amount of mayonnaise (ALWAYS Kraft) and mustard. Sunbeam white bread with the crust (I was NOT one of those kids…although I would end up having one of my own). A piece of lettuce for that little crunch and doesn’t lettuce and ham just go together anyway. My sandwich was always cut in half…sometimes I got triangles…sometimes I got rectangles…but it was always cut in half. It was snuggled into one of those little plastic baggies that you kind of tucked in…not zippers or the whole yellow and blue make green kind... it was old school :) My Mama knew some kind of magic trick that made it stay tight so my sandwich stayed fresh and my chips, Nacho Cheese Doritos, always stayed in place…no crumbs in the lunch box.
There were no carrot sticks in my lunchbox…no apples or bananas. But there was a round, tin-foiled, piece of vanilla crème-filled, chocolate covered goodness made by Hostess called a Ring Ding. :) :) May I have a moment of silence for the Ring Ding……………and I always got a folded paper towel tucked under my sandwich.
When I started packing my own daughters lunch for Kindergarten….I always wrote messages on her napkins and left her notes and cards in her lunch box. I always wanted her to know that I was thinking about her even when she was away from me and that I loved her ALL THE TIME. I never got messages on my paper towel, or hand written notes, or cards. I never needed them…as soon as I opened that lunchbox, I was immediately and lovingly hit in the face…ever so gently… with all the love that my Mama had so tenderly put into each and every detail of that everyday meal. I had an amazing childhood filled with many wonderful memories. I did not know it then…but I know it now…that was one of my favorite parts of my school day because of all the love my Mama put in my lunchbox.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
We had a very interesting day of cow work. It started off fairly normal…early….and as I have said before…I will rise but I refuse to shine. I have never been a morning person and to function that early is one thing but to function on a horse is a whole nuther story. We were taking the bulls off the cows so it was supposed to be an easy task for the most part…supposed to are the key words here…
The beginning was good. We were working the “Home Herd” which is where my babies now reside. Pug had seen them the night before while shutting up cows and they were all together. But by morning 3 of them were on the wrong side of the fence…they had been dragging and got left behind by the big herd. That was Ellie Mae, Davie, and Rufus.
J.J. was with the big herd. Everyone thought J.J. was not quite right in the head…I say nay nay – he knew to stay with the big herd when they started moving. He is my favorite and when he saw me there was a short, sweet connection, I think he remembered me and the bottle, head-butting me as I locked the gate, and having his ears rubbed and nose kissed…we had a moment… but then it was gone…I am sure he did not want to draw attention to himself with his new herd. I sure didn’t want to mess up what he now had going for himself. My babies may be puny and will never grow as much as the other calves but they are thriving and have so much more personality. They are like their own little calf gang…not the “Bloods” or “Crypts” but the “Dinks”. That is what we call calves that will never grow to their full potential. I say small in stature…whooooge in heart!! Home is where your Mama is…I think the Home Herd is a very fitting place for my babies.
First excitement of the morning was when Pug’s horse got hit right in the chest by an angry cow…not mad…we NEVER say mad cow. She did not want to go but he was persistent and she proceeded to resist. As soon as she hit him the horse started bucking. That answered a question I have had for a few weeks now – Pug was riding the new horse of mine from a while back…Mr. Ron the Roan.
A few weeks ago Mr. Ron decided to buck with me for no apparent reason. I was going out around a tree to get after some cows and he just went at it. First buck…I was unsettled from my seat…second buck… falling off but my boot was caught in the stirrup…third buck… boot came off and I landed flat on my face. I was very lucky…my face is connected to my head which just so happens to be the hardest part of my anatomy…its a Smith thing!!! There were a few obscenities on the way down but I feel they were fairly justified. When I realized I was okay, well then I was really mad. I wondered not only WHY he bucked me but WHEN he would do it again. This cowgirl was not going to find out. And for all you thinking…when you get bucked off…you get right back on…well you can all kiss my grits!!!!!!! I am not getting paid big bucks to ride and this is not my career. My sweet honey traded horses with me that day…yes I did finish the day injured….horse and then tractor, its just how I roll…and until now the horse never bucked with Pug. So at least now I know that when he gets spooked…he bucks. He must have been spooked by a tree limb with me. Except for a still aching hand I’m all good…lucky and glad God was with me. My Mama always said God watched over drunks and children…now I can add crazy old farmer ladies to that list.
As for Pug…he faired much better than me, no big surprise there….as soon as the cow hit the horse…Pug knew what was next…he clamped down on that horse with his massive thighs and hung on. He had the reins in one hand and a radio in the other. After a few bucks the horse calmed down and Pug was still seated. Only thing he lost was his hat and if he wasn’t holding the radio he would not have lost that. Besides the hat is much easier to replace. His rodeo flashback was over. If truth be told…it was kind of sexy…I could have gotten all hot and bothered, you know that whole sexy bronc riding cowboy thang, but after all… I was in the job…so I quickly got a hold of myself and it was back to business. We let the angry cow fall back and left her, and penned the cows.…half the herd penned and onto the wet prairie to pen the other half. God is good all the time.
As we pushed the cows across the prairie I noticed two bulls climb the dike so I called Van to see if I needed to follow them. He said yes so away I went. As I went after them I could see Pug, Adam, and my grandog, Remi were after a bull that had got right in the middle of a deep pond. They ended up leaving him for later. To get up on the dike I had to cross a water filled ditch and climb the dike to follow the bulls. This was a first for me and my '”new-to-me-Pugs-old-horse” Cinnamon…I called him Cinny. He made it pretty clear to me he did not like walking in water but had no problem whatsoever stopping every chance he got to eat the grass growing in the water. So I wasn’t sure how we would want to proceed. After a little coaxing…he just jumped over…I have learned to just hang on and let the horse make that decision.
After the jump we started making our way up the side of the dike. It is steep….not mountain top steep by no means but by Kellee steep…it was STEEP. Our best chance at getting up the dike was at an angle so that is how we went…it ended up taking us right under a tree and I was almost unsaddled but managed to hang on and we were on the trail of the bulls. I noticed up ahead that the bulls decided to climb back down the dike…so of course we had to follow…again not mountain top steep but definitely Kellee-on-a-horse steep. Cinny started down the side of the dike and I put a death grip on the saddle horn and leaned back…yes back…and for a few brief yet fantastic moments I WAS the man from snowy river!!!!! It was very cool even though very short lived. My horse and I made it down the side of the mountain…okay it was down the side of the dike…but there is no reason to be a dream killer. I was still seated in the saddle and Cinny had all 4 feet on the ground. God is good all the time.
As we pushed the second half of the cows closer to the cow pen I noticed that the already gray sky was getting darker and the few droplets of rain turned into buckets of rain. The bottom completely fell out and it was a full on frog strangler. We were all soaked…cow people, horses and saddles, and cows. All I could think of was that I was so glad I was not wearing a white t-shirt and that I always wear a sports bra when I ride. It is the little things that mean the most. Yes we were drenched…but we always need rain…and in His time not ours. I kind of had my own “I will praise you in this storm” moment….thankful for the fact that God is good all the time and is always with us.
After getting the cows penned we ran to the trucks and headed for shelter. We did get to change clothes and my good friend and co-crew member, Mickey, said to me…”you want me to tell you how good our God is…I found a pair of dry, clean underwear in my truck…forgot they were even in there”. I replied….again…God is good all the time. There is nothing like dry “draws”. I prefer to pronounce drawers “draws” for dramatic effect, it just sounds better…don’t you agree????
After the rain we went after our friend “Jacques Cousteau” the bull headed bull. He just did not want to come out of the water. We followed him out of the pond where he proceeded to enter the water filled ditch and he just walked up and down it like he was on a Sunday stroll/swim. We even encountered a small gator…I was not afraid he would bite us or the horses but I did not want him to get my grandog, Remi or spook my horse…one wardrobe change was enough for this cowgirl. And getting bucked into that yucky water was not very appealing, not to mention what it meant for my clean and dry “draws”. After way too long of this nonsense I had agreed with Adam…either this bull was coming out or he was drowning and the latter was sounding better all the time. Adam and Pug had already been up to their butts in the water and I don’t mean the horses butts either. Enough was enough. And the fact that my grandog had a hurt and bleeding foot did not help matters because I was quite sure it was the bulls fault. It was time to get serious.
It was time for Pug to have a “come to Jesus meeting” with the bull. Pug’s weapon of choice was a gun but only used birdshot so he didn’t hurt the bull…too bad. He stayed back far enough so that the bull indeed felt it but was not wounded seriously…and he aimed for his big ol butt…I was hoping for between his eyes but that was just the tired cowgirl in me thinking such inhumane thoughts. The bull unknowingly sauntered around in the pond taking his leisurely swim, having no idea of his upcoming “meeting”. Pug took aim…one shot…perfectly placed…the bull jumped and headed very quickly out of the pond. It looked like the Holy ghost had got ahold of him and I do believe he may have actually walked on water for a couple of steps. Nothing like a good old “come to Jesus meeting” to get a soul going in the right direction. God is good all the time. Needless to say the bull steadily walked…without stopping or any lolly-gagging of any kind, straight to the cow pen and gladly loaded up on the trailer to take a ride to the bull field. He did have a small boo boo on his tail but nothing serious…I am thinking it was probably a baby gator bite :). Whatever it was I hope it hurt worse than my grandogs hurt and bleeding foot!!! I bet old Jacques will think twice before taking a swim again anytime soon.
An interesting, wet, annoying, and yet very successful cow work day…never a dull moment with this crew. We got it done and will be ready to do it again real soon. God is good all the time.
Whether its dry draws, well placed bird shot, being kept safe while we do our jobs, being able to praise Him from a rain soaked saddle, or just admiring His beautiful creations and live and work among them….there are so many things to be thankful for…so many ways He has and continues to bless us…God is good all the time…can I get a AMEN!!!!
at 9:09 PM