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Posted 6/26/13 (Wed)


Last week, we were moving some cows. I don’t suppose this country has ever looked any better than it does right now. Other than the fact that I’ve had 150 acres of hay down for eight days now, waiting for it to dry. But, I’d rather wait for drying weather than wait for a rain. And over the years, you will spend more time waiting for rain.
But it was a great time to get some cows moved. We had 100 cows to move to a pasture down along the lake. And being the nice guy I am, I invited a retired cowboy to assist. A cowboy I knew would appreciate the four- or five-mile ride through knee high grass and following a bunch of cows through country that, I imagined, must be what heaven looks like.
As we rode, I kept telling Ralph, who is in avid fisherman, “this sure is better than fishing!” And really, I think he was starting to agree. Until we came to this little creek.
Now it wasn’t a big creek. Three riders and 100 cows went across. But Ralph’s horse balked at the creek. There was no way she was going to put her pretty little feet in that water. Ralph was working hard to get her across, and all of sudden, she turned and tried to climb this bank along the creek. To make a long story short, she didn’t make it, and Ralph ended up going off the horse and she kind of used him as a bridge to walk across.
Now, I’ve seen lots of wrecks and this one wasn’t too serious. So a couple of us kept on with the cows and a couple stayed to make sure Ralph was fine. An hour later, I get back to the crossing and Ralph is in bad shape. We had been out of cell service so one cowboy had ridden up on the ridge and called a guy to bring his Ranger side-by-side down. Somehow, in trying to load Ralph, they had gotten him wedged between the seat and the floorboard. He’s a little bit round. Quite a bit round. Every time we tried to get him out, he would moan and scream in pain. Not good. Took half an hour to get him unwedged. Then we sent for a pickup.
Now, you know how little boys are mean. That’s kind of the way cowboys are. We are not doctors. But we mean well. So the suggestions started. “Bite on a stick. Should we boil some water? Maybe we should quarter him and pack him out like an elk. Can I have your horse?” I guess we knew Ralph would appreciate the humor.
We seriously considered calling a helicopter. But we had an ambulance waiting on top. So we encouraged Ralph to toughen up and stand on that leg. After a lot of sweat and pain, we got him slid in the back seat of the pickup and up the rough ride to the ambulance.
They took him to Dickinson and then he was airlifted to Bismarck. Broken pelvic, which we had encouraged him to stand on, broken bones around eye, which we had complimented him on, saying it made him look tough, and numerous bruises, which we touched and asked if they hurt.
But he is a cowboy, and as we were sliding him into the ambulance, he looked up at me and said “fishing is better!”
Nothing too good for a cowboy! Get well, Ralph!