Posted 10/27/15 (Tue)
I know many of you were aware that, for a day or so, I lost my dog. I wrote about it. He blew out the back of the pickup (I don’t have an endgate because of pilot error) and went under a trailer load of cattle. I wrote to you about it. But it got me thinking about other dogs I have known. Some men sing about the ladies they’ve known, I think about dogs. I had Brooklyn, one of those wrinkly dogs. I had the previous Tyke, a red heeler and a genius. I had Lonesome and Lucky and Four. I had Shep and Ardly and I used to play Red Rover, Red Rover, Anti I Over. Or something like that.
Last evening we got to visiting about some of the things Grandpa Jack used to do and say. About the meanest thing he ever said about anyone was to call them a “lightweight.” He would refer to various legislators that way. He was a conservative old cowboy. But he never turned his back on someone in need. Whether they were a hitchhiker needing a ride, an Indian guy needing a little gas or a job, or a constituent with a problem. Hell, he couldn’t even turn his back on a hungry dog!
One time we were rounding up on upper Squaw Creek. We were holding herd west of the rock crossing below the Smith Camp. I suppose there were 25 riders. I had a German Shepherd cow dog by the name of King who was helping. He was one of the smartest dogs I ever saw. And he loved to tag along with Grandpa Jack.
Grandpa Jack always rode at a trot. When we were still saddling up and adjusting cinches and getting chapped up, Jack would crawl up on Joey and go trotting off on the longest circle of the day. And King would leave me and follow Grandpa all day.
Anyway, back to the roundup. We had unloaded at the Smith Camp and Grandpa sent riders out in different directions. We were gathering from the Spotted Horn down the creek to where it bends south. I imagine we had 600 cattle threw into the herd by noon, when we started sorting pairs.
It got to be early afternoon and the cook showed up. I won’t say her name, but she was an old witch. She was the wife of one of the ranch owners who had cattle in the middle pasture. King and I were just ahead of Grandpa Jack in the chow line. As I filled my plate, I snuck a piece of fat off the roast beef and handed it to King. Man, that old lady ripped me apart. She said she hadn’t cooked all morning to feed the dogs on the reservation. I felt kind of sheepish and walked along.
Grandpa Jack didn’t say a word. He just heaped his plate up with potatoes and gravy and roast beef. It looked to me like he took more than his share. Then he just sat that plate on the ground for King, got on his horse and trotted back to the herd! Not taking one bite for himself. We all just shook our heads, sat our plates on the ground for the other dogs and went back to sorting cattle. That old lady never brought us dinner again!
She reminds me of a story that a friend just told me. Now this guy is an old team roper. He breakaway ropes and team ropes pretty often. And his wife is often home alone. The bar maid at the Dollar told him if she was married to him, she’d “feed him poison.” Marvin just looked at her and said if “I was married to you, I’d be glad to drink it!”