Some sayings are worth repeating. My brother-in-law, who is a dentist once asked his patient to turn his head a little to the right. The patient turned his head to the left. Dr. says “no, your other right!”
Sometimes a person will be a little fumble fingered and drop a fork, which gets comments like “first day with your new hands? “Then the victim “I just washed my hands and I can’t do a thing with them.” That a reference to an old 50’s TV ad about shampoo “I just washed my hair, and I can’t do a thing with it. “Then there’s the time hey guy caught a calf with his rope and bragged about it and his pard responded, “yeah, that’s once in a row. ”
Or my Doctor Who when asked “do I have to exercise every day? “Responded “no, only on days when you eat. ”
My neighbor who raised Hereford cattle would often say during hay season “coastal Bermudagrass, is as good as they say it is, and as bad as they say it is.” One time at a dance he told a woman “On a scale of 1 to 10, you’re a 13! ” Then describing a careless youngster “he wouldn’t know if the sun came up in the west!” But my favorite of his was, “if it was raining soup, I’d be outside with a fork! ”
Another friend who was also a World War II veteran had only one leg. The other was lost when he was shot down in Europe in a fighter plane. He hunted birds in South Texas with his prosthetic leg unadorned by “snake chaps”. Once, a casual acquaintance, unfamiliar with his condition, pointed out that he’d forgotten to cover that leg, and he replied, “I like to give them snakes a 50/50 chance! “
“I didn’t claw my way to the top of the food chain just to eat weeds!”
The food on a traditional chuckwagon was often pretty basic, And it was mainly based on meat, taters, beans and bread. As it turns out, the balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates and fiber was pretty close to what a 20-year-old, still growing, hard-working cowboy needed. Well, maybe a little short on fiber. And this guy could burn the carbs! Now, with a few more winters under our belts, we might hanker for the old days, with smoke in our faces, and a little crunch of sand or charred wood in our stew, but what our bodies need is more fiber and fewer carbs. We’ve actually found that natural fats are less of the problem than sugar, so we once again have a green light for butter and maybe even a little lard! (Margarine, like I grew up on, has been found to have too much trans-fat) last week we had to cook for over 50 folks so we “whomped up” a beef stew for 75. I outright stole the recipe from Sue Cunningham and Jean Cates, the C Bar C wagon chefs. Their dad, Dick shepherd was the chuckwagon cook for the great XIT ranch in the panhandle.Stew for 75 or more
- 20 pounds stew meat
- 10 pounds of potatoes
- Eight onions, chopped
- 3 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
- Three bunches of celery, diced
- 1 gallon corn
- 1 gallon tomatoes
- 1 gallon tomato sauce
- 1 gallon mixed vegetables
Salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste
Cook meat about an hour. Add onions, carrots, celery, and cook until tender. Add other ingredients, except potatoes, then add them the last hour.
Their book “More Chuckwagon Recipes and Others” is available online
Remember this the next time YOU have to cook for 75!
At the heart of the cowboy’s creative process is the fact that he is frequently unencumbered by rational thought! Often a wreck of biblical proportions is preceded by a comment like “I wonder what would happen if… ” Or, maybe more famous still, “y’all hold my beer and watch this.” I once sewed up a local cowboy’s scalp in the ER late in the evening (or early in the morning.) I asked how he had acquired this laceration. He told me it caught in the ceiling fan. Him not being a real tall man I commented that that sounded strange. His “pard” responded, “Oh, Doc he was jumping off the bar when he came in contact with the ceiling fan.”
I once decided that I needed to find out if a mule I’d been given (a bad prognostic sign) could be ridden. Without a great deal of preamble I just saddled him and got on. All went well as we walked around the breaking pen. Then I sort of poked him in the ribs to ask for a lope. He busted in half, like a cork popping out of a champagne bottle. I found myself on the ground, still in the saddle, stirrups and all, as he went bucking and farting around the pen.Then there’s the cowboy who put a chain around a bogged cow’s neck and attached it to a pickup bumper to pull her out and couldn’t figure out how she got paralyzed. “Beats anything I ever saw!” He says.
I guess the classic was one dark winter evening when in sloppy rain soaked field I “needed” to catch a heifer to A.I. her, and was going to rope her on foot and dally to the truck’s trailer hitch. My wife was driving. She saw me neck rope the heifer, who took off before I got my dallies. I wouldn’t let go. She said that what she saw in the truck headlights was me making forty foot long splashing strides to keep up. Beats anything she ever saw!
“You’re never too old to learn.”
I can’t tell you how many times my grandmother told me that. But, I found it true once again this past week. You see, in the path to learning classical equitation there are many stages and each of these are places where the basic biomechanics of horse and of rider must reach an equilibrium. My own nemesis has been the very first stage – the shoulders-in exercise. Intellectually I have understood for some time that it is designed to put the horse in position to increase the ability of the inside hind leg to take weight, as a tool to developing “collection.” I even understood that a certain angle of 30° and a slight bend and a slow cadenced walk are the keys to this development. The problem was that every time I tried to sit on my right seat bone and turn my shoulders, my saddle went to the left. It’s downright creepy, sometimes, how our bodies sabotage us! So Manuel gets on my horse to show me what it looks like. He emphasizes that the rider’s outside foot can push against the stirrup, causing the rider’s weight to come to the inside. Then I tried it. It was better. He even said I needed to not be afraid to let my seat slide a little sideways over the saddle to get the right position. Better. Then on Monday, Donna says almost the same thing, but adds that she’d been instructed to put the outside seat bone in the middle of the saddle. Now, armed with these bits of information I’m finally “getting” right shoulder-in. I still don’t feel like my right side bone contacts the saddle like the left. Maybe I’m not symmetrical. But the horses are now actually doing shoulder-in right, right…sometimes. In the world of teaching and learning there is this mystery of how we learn. Often after hearing the same thing many times, someone new comes along and says the same thing a different way and…boom, the knowledge that has been sitting just outside our brain plops into our circuitry!