H. Neal Glanville: A memory in my shirt pocket


H. Neal Glanville

H. Neal Glanville's column appears in the Craig Daily Press on Mondays.

We sat there atop the knob we'd nicknamed Barbra's Bottom, watching the elk as they fed into the meadow.

How many seasons had I been keeping track of the resident herds, anticipating the coming fall's hunters?

Those kids we worked as wranglers and packers were behind me laughing about some light-haired girl as they tried to roll cigarettes.

I smiled as I remembered grandpa's voice coming out of my mouth when I caught them smoking store boughts.

"If you're going to smoke around here, you're going to learn how to roll your own" his voiced said as I tossed a box of Bugler in amongst them.

The lead cow barked, turning the herd back to the middle of the meadow. I waved the boys up, pointing at the herd.

"Keep your eyes on 'em," I said reaching for tobacco and papers. As I rolled the smoke, I remembered Uncle Blaine's story of grandpa trying to rope an elk.

"Heck, he just rode into 'em, made a loop and :"

That secret feeling started rushing across me. I looked back at my old roan horse.

"Bring my horse down here," I said, handing one of the boys the smoke I'd rolled. "Where you going?" the new kid from Rock Springs asked as I rocked side to side in the saddle. "Well, my Uncle Blaine told a tale about grandpa tryin' to ..."

Eyes started rolling, and one boy whispered "here we go, another old story."

"Come-on horse," I said, "let's ride into 'em."

To be honest, I didn't think the old horse had it in him anymore. Sure, he could turn on a nickel and give you change back. He could out walk any of the "wagon burners" the boys rode.

He just wasn't quite as fast as he once was.

"Think we can do it, boy?" I whispered undoing my rope.

I'm sure that old horse shuddered a bit as he straightened up, pawing at the ground with his lead hoof.

Suddenly, we were there inside the herd, that old horse heading straight for the lead cow like white to rice. I shook the loop out as the horse stumbled sideways. I looked to the ground hoping for a soft spot.

Just as my face should have been plowin' dirt, we were back up and on that cow. The boys on the hill said they heard me yell at grandpa and start laughing. I remember the loop floating out toward the elk as the voice came into my head.

"What are you going to do when that loop drops and you're dallied off to that truck headed for the timber?"

"There's a thought" common sense yelled at me as I pulled the horse up. I was still laughing as I swung off that horse to gather my rope and what remained of my wits. "Uncle Blaine never said grandpa actually roped an elk," I said giggling to the horse. He just said "he rode into them."

That dang ol' horse shuddered again, blew some stuff out of his nose and started to graze.

"You're one crazy old man," one of the boys said as they rode up.

"We thought you were going to wreck for sure!" another called out.

I started to tie the rope back on my saddle.

"Mr. Glanville," the new kid said. "Why would you do that, ride into all those wild animals?"

I shrugged my shoulders. "Bein' dumb I guess," I said. As I write these words, it surely wasn't the brightest thing I ever did, but far from the dumbest.

Someone once told me "take a good memory and put it in your shirt pocket. It will always be there, and if you decide to share it, just open your pocket."

Until next time :

Yup there I was, surrounded on the far right, when I said to myself "Self," I said, 'cuz that's what I call myself when I'm talking to myself. "If you are you, and you met you, would you like you?"

Thank you for your time.


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