Mama Cows and Pride
I recently walked away from a job as ranch manager of a fairly big outfit. It was just under 3,300 acres with 27 miles of road on it, a fairly good sized outfit for a rum dumb washed up bronc rider that’s never made good money at anything besides shoeing horses full time. To put it mildly, the ranch wasn’t a cowboy outfit and it was never gonna be. I was pretty much offered the job over 2 years ago, but declined without even looking at the place because I knew it probably wouldn’t be a good fit for me. However, several circumstances forced my wife and I to reconsider when I was offered the job again. Although I didn’t have a good feeling about takin’ the job and it wasn’t one of the high points of my life, I did get quite a few good stories to share with folks like you that are willin’ to listen.
There were several wrecks and/or near wrecks on this outfit and I’m obliged to share what I consider to be one of the worst with y’all right now.
We had been gathering and working cattle for quite a few days and the bulk of everything had been worked and turned out to the appropriate pasture. However, there were (as there often is) a few pairs that just wouldn’t cooperate when it came to gatherin’. Let me stop right here….the owner of this ranch didn’t allow his cattle to be worked horseback…everything is done with trucks, 4 wheelers and on foot…(not that there’s anything wrong with that, just lettin’ y’all know).
So I was lookin’ for remnants one morning from the pickup when I spotted 3 pairs hangin’ out on the edge of some woods. I called my ranch hand Jose (who is of Mexican decent and spoke very little English) and told him to meet me so we could try and drive these mavericks to the pens. Jose never showed up where I told him to so after 30 minutes or so I went lookin’ for him and long story short, he had found the pairs and was pushing them through the woods.
I drove my pickup to a clearing on the edge of a thick stand of brush, where I saw movement in the brush. I got out of the pickup and walked about 50 yards towards the brush where I saw the movement. About that time, a momma cow weighin’ at least 1,000 pounds came walkin’ out of the brush right at me. I hollered the usual, “Hey cow! Git up!”. She was unfazed and instead of moving, kept walking toward me. Again I hollered, “Hey cow!” to which she responded by walkin’ a little faster toward me.
I picked a up a rock and again told her, “Hey cow! Git up!” while throwin’ the rock, which landed squarely between her eyes. Bad idea.
As soon as that rock hit her, she broke into a full run, makin’ a beeline straight for me. Having been around my fair share of cattle and being way too full of cowboy pride, I picked up a good sized stick and stood my ground.
In what seemed like ½ a second and five minutes in slow motion all at once, she was a few inches away, running full speed. I figured I’d just jump to the side and whack her with the stick.
I was wrong. I whacked her with the stick, but somehow she was buttin’ me with her head while I backed up and yelled, “Hey, hey!”. That didn’t last too long before I lost my footing and was layin’ on my back, beatin’ a crazy momma cow in the face while she did her best to crush every bone and organ I had in an attempt to get payback for every cow that had ever been done wrong.
She was no quitter and was camped on me long enough that I finally got the chance to get aholt of her nose, stickin’ my thumb in one nostril and a finger in the other. I squeezed with everything I had and cranked on her head while she rammed me in the ground. Finally, between me crankin’ on her nose and her still rammin’ me with her head, she fell down….on top of one of my legs.
I was pretty well give out by this time, but there I was…one hand in the nose of a 1,000 pound angry momma cow, one leg trapped underneath her, layin’ in a pasture by myself. I’m still crankin’ on her head to keep her from gettin’ up and she’s still tryin’ to get up, but still layin’ on my leg.
About that time, Jose showed up. He went to hoopin’ and hollerin’….he was worried my leg was broke and didn’t know what to do. I told him if I let her up, she’d just go back to tryin’ to kill me, so he needed to get the rope out of the back of the truck and we’d tie her feet up. Unfortunately, Jose didn’t understand very much of what I said. After about 3 minutes of him freakin’ out, the cow gettin’ her wind back, and me explainin’ to him what to do, I finally yelled, “Jose! Reata! El pickup-o!”
He figured out I wanted the rope out of the truck and took off runnin’ for it. Before he got back, momma had got her wind back and I couldn’t hold her down anymore.
She got up and as soon as she did, she went to tryin’ to kill me again…only by this time we’d managed to make our way into a good sized patch of prickly pear cactus.
She kept hookin’ me ‘till Jose showed up and got her to look at him. I got up and hobbled away as he hid behind a tree. Long story short, I had cactus from the top of my head to my feet….from in my eyelids to between my toes….besides the cactus and a bunch of scratches and bruises, I wasn’t hurt. My pride however, was severely injured and is still havin’ a hard time recovering.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about all this and I’ve come to a few conclusions…..
1) I shoulda stayed in the truck
2) If I’d of been on a horse, the way God intended guys like me ‘ta be, things woulda worked out different
3) It happened for a reason and if it wasn’t for foolish cowboy pride, I might of took off runnin’ and might not still be pickin’ cactus outta my hide
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2