We were north of Cook’s Point working a herd of brangus cattle. There were five of us a’horseback but no dogs. The country was pretty rough, cut through the middle with a large valley which was creased by a deep ravine. On the far side of this was a hundred acre oats patch, which, it being early spring, was green and lush. That was where we found most of the cow-calf pairs. It took a couple of hours to convince them to leave, and when some of the “girls” couldn’t find their calves immediately, back they went to the oats patch to find their baby in the last place they knew they’d seen him. We also had to flush quite a few out of brush patches, thick with Mesquite, and vines and thorny locust trees. With the running back and forth and clambering through brush, the horses and men were both beat and tired and cranky by the time we got across the ravine and into the pens with three hundred pairs of coal black, cranky, pissed off Brangus cows! It truly was a “pick and shovel” kind of day. While we we’re trying to mother-up the calves and tag them with mamas tag number, one of the higher ups instructed one of my partners to get a particular cow back through a gate. We were all pretty close to the boiling point and the instruction was pretty sharp, or actually plum unrealistic. The cowboy in question hollered back “which one?” The answer, “the black one!” Our heads all jerked around. Only then did we see the grin on the caporal’s face. We all broke down laughing, and then went back to work. We’ve never forgot that day, and the effect of a little humor to lighten the load.
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