Sunday, November 04, 2012

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Moonlight cowboying 

 by Julie Carter

You’ll appreciate this story even if you don’t own yearling cattle that might escape out onto the highway after you have gone to bed on any given night.

Like most ranch folk, you’ll appreciate the humor and necessity of being thankful for even the little things.

The rancher’s wife had been trying to fight off a Boone and Crockett sized head cold for days so she wasn’t in the best of humor. A lack of sleep several nights in a row didn’t help the situation.

About 9 p.m. on this particular night, she took some cold medicine hoping it would help both the cold and the sleep problems. She tossed and turned, got up at 1 a.m. and took more medication and went back to bed an hour later.

At 2:30 a.m. the phone rang. That is never a good thing no matter where you live. It was their neighbor who relayed the unwanted message. They had lots of cattle on the highway and they were on the move -- headed north up the canyon. 

The wife slapped her still-sleeping husband upside the head, mostly to wake him up but more so out of simple frustration. After 30-plus years of marriage, she was fairly certain he didn’t know the difference.

Pulling on their cowboy clothes, they jumped in the pickup and drove up to the highway.  Their neighbor had managed to get in front of most of the cattle and had them headed back down the highway towards home. 

The local sheriff was on the scene in his fancy car and was managing to hit the ranch wife in the eyes with his high powered spotlight whenever possible. When the sheriff wasn’t blinding her, her husband was with his own mega bright Q-Beam. She noted that one million candle power in your face at 3 a.m. is not in any way soothing.

She was leading the cattle with the pickup while the neighbor was bringing up the rear of the herd. Her husband was riding in the back of her pickup, ready to jump in front of any critter trying for a fast get away.

The bride was slightly amused that at this point he trusted her driving. However, she realized he still hadn’t figured out that she hit him earlier. 

They get the cattle to the gate of the pasture where they belonged and as cattle will do, especially in the dark, they came untrained and headed back north up the canyon again.  

The wife wheeled out to go help the neighbor as they were both trying to out run the cattle up the highway. Her husband was hanging out the back of the truck telling her something that sounded like “stop” so she hit the brakes.  He had said “stop” but didn’t intend for a slam-the-brakes kind of stop. He rolled over the side of the truck and recovered on his feet enough to block a side road off the highway. 

The cattle finally went through the gate on the second try while the sheriff was still waving his spotlight around and trying to figure out who was on first.

They got home about 4:30 a.m., and tossed and turned until 6:30 when the wife got up and fixed sandwiches for the crew that would be arriving soon to drive those same cattle to the mesa top.

Her “thank God” was for good neighbors, gentle cattle and a full moon.

How did her neighbor know the cattle were on the highway you ask?  He got up sometime after 2 a.m. to go to the bathroom and saw car headlights slowing down and weaving to miss the cattle.

She then thanked God for old men with weak bladders.

Julie can be reached for comment at

No comments: