Never a day goes by that I don’t remember where I came from… The valley is a part of my soul, and fifty years living there has provided a lifetime of memories. No matter how far away I roam, those memories remain dear.
One memory from when I was a little girl, we’d gone to the ranch to help with branding, and while the little ones played in the back of the truck, I asked if I could ride with a cousin. I’d already ask him, and he said, “Check with your mom.”
At her nod, I stretched my arms up and he swung me onto the back of his saddle. I wrapped both arms around him and we took off like the wind. I know now, he probably wasn’t running the horse, perhaps a trot, but back then… wind in my hair, and the constant rhythm of the ride, I felt as if we’d never stop. We rode fence most of the afternoon, looking for breaks, or cattle that might have been missed in the round up.
Whenever he’d jump off to fix a bad spot, or check a fence fastener, or whatever he was doing, I’d pick wild flowers, or hold the reigns. If we gathered a cow or a steer along the way, we keep him with us moving him along slowly until we either got back close enough to the herd to run him in with others, or back to the corrals for branding.
Headed in from the last fence run, I wrapped my arms around him and held on tight. The ride was slower. We were both tired. The horse was worn out from the work day. I drifted off to sleep with my arms wrapped around him on the back of that horse. I was the city kid who got to go play cowgirl now and then…
The last time I saw him, he said, “Hey, Rustler. How’s it goin’.” It had been years since he’d called me that name, but I remembered… A time…
Proverbs 27: 23 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds; 24 for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.
Growing up, I learned from my family, solid work ethics, values, and principles of living. Those treasures of life last forever, they are the riches that endure, because when you know the value of principled living, you NEVER forget.
I’ll miss that cowboy when I go home next…
He was one in a million.