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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tight, Scary and Uncomfortable

Right after college I worked a few months for a place called Tequila Flats.  It was a quarter horse place and the guy that owned it also boarded some horse for the kids from local college, where incidentally he went just a year ahead of me.  Nice guy, probably more money than sense, but still an alright guy.  Why he hired me, I don’t know.  But I got to work with another guy (Doug) who worked there and I respected him as a trainer.  So it was a win-win for me. 

When I started, it was right around Thanksgiving.  So several of the college boarders were going to be out of town, we had a full book as far as boarders were concerned.  But the owner, ever the guy looking to make money just couldn’t turn down one more boarder.  In fact, he told her that we (Doug and I) would be over to pick the horse up where she was currently boarding.  Ever the faithful employees, we headed over to pick this gal’s horse up.

When we drove in, I noticed a little narrow, short one horse trailer. 

I also noticed this big ol’ black thoroughbred gelding running in the pasture.  I should have been clued in right there, but ya know….clueless.  The girl was red faced and out of breath, again…should have been a clue.  We jumped out like the professional trainers that we were and immediately deduced that she could not catch her horse.  Being the ever prepared professional trainers, Doug had the foresight to bring a lariat.  So he immediately turned around and grabbed the rope.  Incidentally, on the ride over we had been talking about how to fore foot a horse.   Fortuitously we had happened upon a chance to put talk into action.  Doug stepped into the pen and was about to show all of his roping skills.  Somewhat anticlimactically the horse immediately stopped running when he started swinging the rope and Doug was able to walk right up to him.  We were disappointed, to say the least.

As we lead the horse up to the large two horse trailer, we chatted up the girl.  She told us that she and her parents had brought the horse all the way from California in that little one horse trailer, and didn’t even have to stop once!  Now I was pretty good at math and I quickly added up the miles between California and Lamar, Colorado; the answer was a whole bunch of miles.  I started feeling a little sorry for that big ol’ black thoroughbred.  Her trailer was tiny and I couldn’t even imagine Blackie being stuffed in there for what was probably about an 18 hour trip.  I bet he looked like a sausage that had its skin split, just bursting out everywhere.  But, lucky for him we professional trainers were there to rescue him from that gal’s ignorance.

As soon as we walked up to the trailer, Blackie balked.  I can’t say as I blame him.  We knew it was going to take some time at that point.  So for an hour we coaxed and cajoled, trying to get Big Boy into the trailer.  We used grain in a bucket, grain on the floor of the trailer and even tried waiving that rope around his behind (without actually hitting him, of course).  When the first hour was finally up, our tempers were also up.  Now we had not spoken a cross word to that horse, yet.  After all, the owner was still there watching us.  But, Blackie (Big Boy and several other names I was calling him in my head) was having no part of that trailer.  The next hour was spent being just a little more aggressive trying to get him into the trailer.  We actually gave him several soft love taps on the hind end, we linked our hands behind him and tried to push him in (that’s kind of funny now…I weighed about 150 pounds and Doug was about 175, the horse was about 1250…we thought we could push him in?).  After all of these gyrations, we were still no further along that when we started.  After the second hour, we were no longer calling him the other names in our heads.  The words were coming out of our mouths, probably to the shock of the young lady.  Tempers were flaring.  At one point, I quickly stepped back with the thought of kicking Blackie in the belly as hard as I could. 

This is a time tested method that generally all cowboys have tried at one time or another, with the same amount of success.  The process actually starts earlier and is set up by the inability of a cowboy to get an animal to act in the manner in which the cowboy wants.  It is normally about a two hour process and toward the end includes vocabulary that speaks to the heritage of the animal.  Once the vocabulary stage is reached it is not much further until the cowboy steps back quickly, you don’t want to think about the process – action is required, and lashes out with his boot and attempts to crush several ribs of the animal in question.  Now with all of the power a half starved cowboy can produce you would think there would be instant results.  There usually is, typically all you succeed in doing is breaking your toe and scaring the animal in question.

I would like to say that it was our superior horsemanship skills that loaded that horse, but probably when I stepped back so fast, it startled Blackie.  He lunged forward into the large two horse trailer and Doug quickly slammed the door shut and latched it.  We headed home discussing the heritage of the horse, the gal and any drivers on the road that drove to slow…or too fast…or just were on the road.

Needless to say, we knew when she came to pick up her horse it was going to be just as much trouble to catch and load him as it was before, but that’s another story for another time.

Now you would not think there could be a biblical lesson in this, but I believe there is.  Think about that horse not wanting to get in that trailer because he remembers that last time he was in there.  It was tight and scary and he was there for a long time.  All of these are bad experiences for a claustrophobic animal.  He wanted no part of going back in there, even though we did not mean him any harm (at first).  We only wanted what was best for him (at first).

I remember the first time the preacher asked me to cover for him on Sunday.  My first thought was that he had lost his mind, what in the world made him ask me?  But, I wanted to be obedient so I finally gave in to the call God put on me.  That Sunday I was pretty nervous.  My shirt was too tight around the collar, the songs were too short and several other things that I was uncomfortable about.  Just like that black gelding; It was tight, scary and uncomfortable for me.  Long story short, I gave what is probably in the top 10 as shortest sermons ever and was relieved that it was over.  I thought, “I’m never doing that again!’

You better watch what you say; God has a way of saying “I’ve got better plans for you than that”.  So the next time God called me to talk, I was still as nervous as before.  I stressed during the preparation before I realized that God didn’t want to hurt me; he only wanted what was best for me.  The day of the talk, there I was nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  Remembering all of the stress I had before.  God finally grabbed ahold of me and said, “Trust Me on this”.  He told me that I had prepared and that I needed to trust that the Holy Spirit would do all of the work.  It’s funny, I spoke for about 45 minutes.  At one point I looked down and saw how far along I was; for a second or so, I panicked a little…I thought maybe I had skipped some parts.  But, the Holy Spirit grabbed me again and said, “I got this”.  I was a vessel for God; he was just using me to pour out his words.  See I was really nervous, because I remembered how nervous I was on the previous sermon, so I thought I couldn’t do this one.  I was right, I COULDN”T DO IT!  God did it.

How easy is it to trust what God says, even if it’s tight, scary and uncomfortable?

Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.  You will eat the fruit of you labor; bblessings and prosperity will be yours.

Psalms 128:1-2

Monday, September 30, 2013

Vinculum Masculini Cat

I read Save the Cowboy's blog post about the difference between being “religious” and being “Christ-like”, and I don’t know about everyone else…but it got me to thinkin’.  It sure is easy to jump up and attack someone who presents the Gospel different than what is considered the norm.  For a few days I just tried to wrap my head around all of the drama surrounding it.  Hard to believe people can take and read into a picture exactly what they want to attack.  I thought about this clear into Thursday.

Thursday I dropped off a friend at a men’s retreat and during the time before I left we were talking, sharing stories…just shooting the breeze.  He is pretty funny and some of the stories will most likely show up here, maybe with a little artistic license.

This is the almost true story of the funem masculini cati.  When I get through with the story, you can count yourself as educated in the Latin language…just a little.

Billy was only five or six at the time and he was given a little rope, maybe a quarter inch in diameter.  He worked really hard at his skills and was a pretty fair hand with that little rope.  He could rope fence posts, a nail sticking out of the wall and dogs.  He was a regular Will James, pitching his rope onto everything and anything.

His Dad worked at a dairy and Billy went with him a lot.  One day he was sitting there practicing with his little rope and the barn tom cat was just sitting there…licking himself.  Billy thought, “I wonder if I can rope that cat?”  Up to this point he had never had the opportunity to try it.  He had always wanted to, but providence had never smiled on him.  Well it seems that the stars and moon has aligned, because this cat was within roping range!

Well, quick as a whistle his rope shot out and settled rather neatly around ol’ Tom’s neck.  Billy thought, “Will you look at that, I roped him.”  Of course when you rope a critter, the first thing a good hand will do is jerk the slack out of that rope.  When the rope tightened around the cat’s neck, Billy said the cat jumped straight up in the air, at least 12 or 15 feet.  And as any good hand would do, Billy pulled him back down.  As soon as the cat hit the ground, it jumped in the air again, almost to the same height.  This little act went on for four or five times.  The cat would jump up and pull away, and Billy would pull him back down to earth.  You would have thought that this part of the story was the part where things were western.  You would be wrong.

On about the fifth time ol’ Tom was jerked back to the ground, I guess he had enough.  On that fateful fifth time, he ran up the rope like a mad bull.  He latched onto Billy’s leg with all four claws and all 2,993 teeth.  Billy heard some awful screeching and squalling (I would suspect some of it was his own) and he went to flailing with the tail of his little rope on that demon that was not attached to his leg.  He whupped and wailed but could not remove not one claw or tooth from his leg.

His Dad finally came up to help, but the cat was so incensed that he could not be removed with normal measures.  Billy’s dad finally took a scoop shovel and pried ol’ Tom from Billy’s leg.  Of course part of the problem was now the rope had to be removed from the cat.  But Mr. Tom was still reverted back to his prehistoric form as a saber tooth tiger.  Billy’s dad finally put the cat on the ground under the shovel and stood on it to get the rope off.  Mr. Tom was not a happy camper, to say the least.  They removed the rope and Tom shot away from them like he was fired out of a gun.  The cat didn’t show back up for about a week.

Billy did not learn his lesson on roping cats and there is another story that I will save for later.  BUT I believe this is more than just a funny story.  I think there is a point to be made here.


Sometimes when people are convicted of their sins by Christ, they come back up the rope and attack the ones that are sharing the Gospel.  We are a little like that cat, Christ convicts us and when we feel a little pressure…we jump in the air, squall and carry on.  Doing our best to try and get away.  When that doesn’t work, we go on the offensive and start pointing out all of the things that are wrong with the people trying to help.  Heck, sometimes I’m like that cat, even now.  Christ will grab ahold of me for some reason, and I commence to fighting against him.  All I have to is submit to the pull, why’s that so hard?

It’s because I don’t like to be wrong, nor does anybody really.  Being right means we are in control, masters of our universe.  Being wrong means we have to admit that we have no control, that God was/is right and we are like Sargent Schultz…we know nnnoothinggg!

The thing to remember is that when that Pharisee…er…I mean…cat comes running back up that rope…they are under conviction.  They’re kicking and fighting with Christ…pray for them where they’re at, love on ‘em…but continue to point out the truth.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “you shall not commint adultery”, “you shall not murder”, “you shall not steal”, “you shall not cover”, and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command:  “love you neigjhor as yourself”

Romans 13:7-9


Stay faithful, my friends.


PS.  Almost forgot about the title.  Loosely translated into:  To rope the male cat.  How’s that for and educational story!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

When I Wanted to be a Cowboy...or a Fire Truck

I last wrote about my Uncle George when I learned all thosenew words.  It probably wasn’t very long after that when I got to put some of those words in practice.  to give just a little background, my Dad and Grandpa had a dairy together when I was about five or six.  When it was springtime I was always pretty excited, after all here was a bunch of cows that were little boy sized.  I wanted to be cowboy like my dad…or a farmer, like my grandpa….or a fire truck…….sometimes I wanted to be Superman.

But I digress, this particular day I was wearing my cowboy hat.  Uncle George was heading out to doctor some Holstein calves and he was carrying a rope.  Now George was not a cowboy by any means, he wasn’t going to ride a horse and we drove to the pasture.  BUT, he was carrying a rope.  So I jumped all over the chance to go rope some calves.  Imagine my disappointment when he said I couldn’t bring my rope.  Was he not taking this aspiring young cowboy (that day anyway) seriously?  Did he not know that I had plans to be the next Phil Lyne?  Apparently he had no idea that Phil Lyne was the All-Around cowboy in the finals that year.  I wondered what he had been watching that year, the Hesston commercials?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Weight Loss and Peter

About a month ago I had my annual checkup with Dr. Doogie.  The most exciting thing that occurred was traveling to a different part of Houston to go to his office.  My GPS’ll Dee-vise that led me down there had me doing so many twists and turns, that I could not tell which direction was north.  (Too many buildings and too much concrete)  But, it did get me down there and back home.  So I can’t complain too much about the insidious GPS’ll dee-vice.

While there we (Doogie and I) covered most of the basics…blood work, blood pressure and such.  We talked about how my family was doing and how his family was doing.  All this time I was thinking about some visits in previous years and how I had not received the dreaded finger test in a few of years.  I was thinking surely he wanted to go down that road.  Thankfully, no…he was pretty much done!

The only thing he asked me to do was watch my diet and lose some weight.  He said he would like me to lose 15 pounds in the next year.  I said, “no problem, I oughta be able to do that in a few months”

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Learning to Drive and New Words

My daughter, Alicia, is starting to want to drive.  As soon as we are headed out of town toward home, she starts asking.  “Can I drive?”  She is pretty relentless and other than the fact that it’s a little stressful, I cannot think of a reason not let her drive!  She is actually a pretty good driver, beings how she is our little dare devil.  Faith is not so quick to want to learn, but its coming.  It is a rite of passage with all kids, despite their parents’ wishes!

All this got me to thinking about when I started learning to drive.  When we lived in Loveland Colorado, my grandpa had a farm.  It was a pretty good definition of a family farm, my uncles worked on the farm right along with him (when they finished with any outside job they might have.).  When haying time came, a trailer was pulled out to the field and everyone either threw bales on the trailer or stacked.  My brother and I’s job was to drive the tractor while the adults stacked/threw hay.  We couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 years old, so we were scrawny little things.  My uncle George used to put the tractor in low and put one of us on, and away we would go.  Seems simple, doesn’t it?

Add to this story the fact if we wanted to stop, we didn’t have enough weight in our behinds to push the clutch down….or that the first few times we were scared to turn the steering wheel!  Oh the fear, that first time!  I remember I was excited and scared all at the same time!  My goal at the time was to be just like my Grandpa.  I was going to be a farmer when I grew up!  So every time I had a chance to get on a tractor, I jumped at it.  Of course at that age…opportunities were few and far between!  One of my favorite times was always haying time…..

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What I Learned From Running Horses

When I was a kid, my Dad was a feedlot cowboy.  There are a lot of things about being a feedlot cowboy that, as a kid, I enjoyed.  Getting to cut school to go ride with Dad was pretty high on the list.  The downside, not so much for my Dad, but for others was the short employee life.  There is a joke about feedlot cowboys and Saint Peter:

One day Peter was at the golden gate, checking names in the book.  Making sure that everyone waiting in the line, was marked there.  Finally it was this old man’s turn, as he stepped up to that big ol’ desk…this cowboy came loping by.  He waived at Peter and just rode on through the gate.  Peter waived back and then turned back to the book, back to checking names.

Waiting in lines has an effect on people that generally isn’t too pleasant.  The ol’ man snapped, just a little.  He said, “Why does that cowboy get to just ride on by and all the rest of us have to wait in line?”

Peter looked up, surprised.  “Him, oh, he’s a feed lot cowboy”, then he looked down at the book again. 

The ol’ man was still a little miffed, “what has that got to do with anything?” 

Peter said, “Why stop him, he’s only going to be here 30 days anyway!”


Kind of a lame joke, but it’s a lot funnier if you’re a feedlot cowboy or a feedlot brat.


All that is a prelude to a story that has nothing to do with any of that! Just a chance for me to tell a lame joke!  Read on!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

He-Wolf of a Hand

Sometimes a story you tell on yourself will embarrass you, you have to ask yourself “was I really this dumb”.  Of course the answer is, yes…I was really that dumb…or was I ten feet tall and bulletproof?

Many years ago, I worked on the LS Ranch.  This was right after I was out of college and I was a legend in my own mind.  Probably the greatest hand with a horse the world had ever seen.  There wasn’t one that could buck hard enough or run fast enough to get away from me!  I was a regular holy terror!  A wolf of the world (to borrow a line from a Chris Ledoux song)!  There wasn’t anything anybody could tell me that I didn’t already know about horses!  Looking back now…I was a train wreck waiting to happen!

At the time I worked on the LS, it was “only” about 12,000 acres.  Considerably smaller than it was back in its heyday, when it covered a large portion Texas Panhandle.  But it was plenty big enough to put some miles on a colt.  And I took full advantage of that.  When I wasn’t caught up in the everyday cowboy requirements, I rode colts all over that place.  I could not believe they were paying me to do this kind of work, a whoppin’ $700 a month too!  A small fortune for me back then!  I really only had one time that I regretted my career choice….

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pride Goes Before Getting Pitched in the Dirt

I have always had buddies that were involved in rodeo and for a while I was too.  There are always stories about rodeo and probably anybody that has participated in it, has several…some they can share….some they’d better not!

Several years ago…about 25, to be exact, I got the chance to ride a bareback horse.  I thought this would be fairly easy, after all…I was a pretty fair hand at colt startin’.  I always liked ‘em best, back then, if those colts would buck…a lot.  So I thought ridin’ a bareback bronc couldn’t be a whole lot different.  I mean, after all, it just a buckin’ horse and instead of a saddle….you got that little suitcase handle to hold onto.  How hard could it be?  Heck, I was ridin’ a bull or two back then too….surely they were a whole lot harder to ride than a bareback horse.  I felt confident and almost over qualified to ride a bareback horse, so I thought I would give it a whirl!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Crucify Him!

Malachi couldn’t enjoy the sunrise in Jerusalem, that morning.  His thoughts continued down that pensive and desperate track.  “How could things have gone so bad so fast?” he asked himself.  Here he had just come to know Jesus, and now that was all for naught!  It wasn’t fair, how could the Pharisees not see who Jesus really was?  Why did they have to do the awful things they had done?  He recalled his walk to the temple the morning after Jesus forgave him.

When he arrived, all the talk was of how Jesus was now a prisoner and had even been betrayed by one of his own disciples.  When he heard that is was Judas Iscariot, and that Judas had done it for 30 pieces of silver, his heart jumped!  He wondered if it was the same family as his neighbors.  Those same neighbors that were living very well off of the Romans and all the money that came from those transactions.  He thought to himself, “This is what happens when you love money more than God.  No good can come of that path.”  He immediately resolved to go talk to Silas, to see if he could change his heart about how he was making money.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Entry

The sun was setting on a glorious Jerusalem day, but all Malichi could feel was a sense of despair.  As he stared over the top of the city from his home, he thought back to that fateful day when the centurion had come into he and Silas’ shop.  Silas had jumped at the chance to do business with the Romans, and they had done well.  It turns out the crucifixion business was a very steady business.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Education of a Rancher

I'll be honest, I stole this.  This was too good not to share.  It makes me laugh everytime!  Sometimes a story has a good bible lesson, sometimes it's just dadgum funny!  What cowboy/cowgirl hasn't been educated and used some portion of his/her body to arrest the momentum in a clever way!  I myself have had several times where I used my body to cushion the fall of a horse and then slowed him down by making him drag me several feet!


I had this idea ...that I could rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it home.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wrestlin’ a Super Ninja Tick

My parents were dorm parents at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, just outside of Amarillo (only in Texas is 40 miles, “just outside of somewhere) and that’s where I graduated.  I wasn’t anything spectacular, just average.  In a class of 26, I think I was about 11th or so.  I played football for a while, but I wasn’t much more than a scrub.  I was a six foot, 145 pound lineman…and a bad one at that. 

Boys’ Ranch, when I was there, did not do well in team sports.  Mostly due to the fact that most of the boys that were there spent a lot of their lives thinking of themselves….now don’t get me wrong.  For most of them, if they weren’t thinking of themselves….no one else was.  It was a form of defense.  All of this made team sports difficult, BUT wrestling!  That is where Boys Ranch tore it up!  They always had a good wrestling team.

I say all of this to tell a little story of my experience with a Super Ninja Tick.  There was a guy in my Dad’s dorm named Jammer (he was always getting into jams and you know how nicknames are…).  Now Jammer was probably 110 pounds soaking wet, but as I remember it he was a pretty decent wrestler.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bringing the Word

I have been a little lazy on collecting stories from my family, so I have had nothing to write about for a bit.  But I did bring the message in our little church a couple of Sunday’s this month.  There’s a long story as to why and it involves our Pastor and his wife going to Africa for three weeks and her getting sick….and them being stuck for an extra week.  But that’s another story…

Our Pastor is solid as a rock and responsible for his flock, so when they made plans to leave…he asked if any of us wanted to bring the message for any of the three Sunday’s he would be gone.  You could have heard paint dry is was so quiet.  Being the good Christians we were; we spoke not a word!  We were just sure God was not calling us to preach!  I say us, but I mainly speak of myself!  At the time I felt a little tug that I should at least take one of the Sunday’s, but I beat that little tug down.  I just knew the Lord was not talking to me.  I was pretty sure I couldn’t hear him with my fingers in my ears, saying “Nanananana I can’t hear you!”

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Who's Got Your Back...

When I was kid, we had a mare named Fancy.  I don’t recall a lot about her, really not a whole lot more than her demise.  She had taken sick and was laid up by our barn in Higbee, Colorado.  Dad had asked my brother, Cully, and I to feed before it got dark.  Cully and I were a couple of irresponsible yahoos, so true to form…we did not do what we were told.  Needless to say, when Dad got home; he sent us down after dark to take care of the chores.  Chores like making sure this sick mare had a bucket of water close to her, milking the cow and feeding everything else.  Things that would have been a whole lot easier in the daylight.

In the Nine Mile Canyon, it didn’t just get dark.  It got daaaarrrrk, I’m talking not being able to see your hand in front of your face dark.  Darker than the inside of a cow, dark!  So when we got down to the barn, the dog started growling and made a couple of young boys, already nervous, just a little more nervous.  We tried to suck it up and go on down to the barn.  But the closer we got to the barn, the louder and stiffer legged the dog got.  Finally we could stand it no more, we made tracks back up to the house, running like the very hounds of hell were chasing us!