A Cowboy Bob Blog
Back this fall, I was getting ready to saddle up and get going on a fine, fall morning in the foothills of the Beartooths. The cattle had been gathered and sorted, but one more sweep of the draws and bare hills were in order to make sure we hadn’t missed any, and this morning I was waiting for Old Hank to show up.
Hank was an interesting hand, drove an old beater Chevy pickup which he bought with proceeds of one of his deals. See, he had a fairly new Ford truck, but got behind on his payments and, as the story was told, he decided to wreck this pickup and use the proceeds to catch up on his payments. Now that doesn’t make sense to most people, but Hank weren’t most people, and he went from that newer Ford to this old Chevy with few visits from the insurance people, the Ford dealer folks, and the sheriff who asked a lot of questions. Through it all, Hank just kept smiling and was as happy as a clam with his old beater.
The boss drove up about this time and said, “You better plan on riding alone, Hank ain’t coming.” As I saddled up Slowpoke, he filled in the latest Hank story, “You know old Hank,” he said, “seems like he was up in the hills over toward Solberg Coulee, doing a little meat hunting last night.”
I threw the blanket over Slowpoke, picked up the saddle, and kept my mouth shut. Hank had said he and the missus needed more venison for the winter, but I didn’t pay him a lot of mind. He jabbered often of such things. The boss continued, “It seem Hank’s old Chevy had a few problems, like all old ranch trucks. In the middle of the night, while driving the old faint trail from Whitebird to St. Olaf, next to the school section, his truck lights went out and he determined that the fuse over on the left side of the dash by the steering wheel had blown. Hank didn’t have any fuses and after hunting around the junk-filled cab, he decided to use a .22 bullet, because it fit right into that old Buss fuse holder, and the lights came right back on brighter than ever. So, driving slowly while hanging out the driver window with a spotlight, his hunt continued. Apparently, he was good at spotlighting and could shoot right between the reflected eyes with his old Remington .22 pump, little noise, no meat damaged, and the deer would drop right in its tracks.”
Then the story gets interesting. The boss said, “From what Hank told, he smelled smoke, looked down just in time to see the .22 shell glowing red and all of a sudden, it went off, a powerful jolt hit his left foot, filled the cab with smoke, and as he reached for the hot and sharp, intense pain in his foot, he kinda neglected to see where he was headed, and the truck turned sideways on the steep hill and slowly began to roll over, and down the hill she went. He woke up in the bottom of Solberg Coulee with the game warden pulling him out of the truck. From what the game warden told me, it seems like he had been waiting for this sneaky night poacher and was trailing him when he saw the bright light of an explosion in the old Chevy. He watched as the old truck veered off the road and rolled down into the coulee. It was lucky he got to Hank, it was below freezing, and Hank might not have made it with his left foot shot up and trapped in the cab like it was.”
“How’s old Hank doing?” I asked, concerned that I might have lost my best hand (well, the only help) permanently.
The boss man laughed, “Well, yeah, Hank’s ok. He’s in the hospital, although he had a bad night, it did get worse. His wife, Irma, came in and her first words, “You wrecked the truck, the wrecker company impounded the old Chevy, you owe about $1,500 for towing, the game warden took your rifle and spotlight, you have a heck of a fine and now hospital bills. And, to top it all off, I just found out, you didn’t even get a deer! That’s the last straw cowboy, adios and goodbye, your saddle is out in the parking lot with your clothes.”
Looks like I am calving alone this spring, hope it keeps up this open winter. Keep your heart warm and your anger cool. Cowboy Bob
If you Cowboy Bob’s adventures, please share. You can find all of them, as well as Miss Gail’s book on her website, gailcushman.com.