H. Neal Glanville
H. Neal Glanville's column appears in the Craig Daily Press
I'm pretty sure I was 15, maybe 16, the fall grandpa asked me for help bringing in the bulls and any momma cows that had been missed during the earlier roundup.
Grandma spun like a cheap top from the Woolworths store.
"Mode Rupert, you're too old and busted up to swing atop a horse, let alone ride all day," she said.
Each word from grandma's mouth came out clearly and distinctly firm but was more of a reminder of her love and concern than an honest attempt to stop his riding.
"I'll be fine" he chuckled, "H. Neal's going just to keep an eye on me so I don't forget where I'm at, isn't that right, son?"
I could feel the kiss I had planned on borrowing from Jolene Johnson fall off my lips and head straight to the kitchen floor.
"Yes, sir," I said through disappointed lips.
"Well," grandma muttered walking away, "don't let him ride that green broke wagon burner Blaine found along the back road to Provo."
Grandpa winked at me, smiling at grandma's worrisome nature.
"He'll be fine mother, just fine."
Grandpa couldn't walk but a few feet on his own, but the assistance of forearm crutches sure made his travel easier and gave him an extended arm for gently "tapping" a worthless cousin or my jackrabbit brother, Scott, on the head when needed.
It took more grit than any man has the right to own for him to swing atop a horse, but once up, there was no better.
For that day's trip, Doug saddled the Buckskin for grandpa. Secretly, we all wondered which one was the oldest. Uncle Blaine had gone ahead and saddled the Provo wagon burner for me.
"Didn't grandma :" I started to say.
"Your grandpa said you'd be fine," uncle Blaine said. "I didn't hear one word about you not riding this new horse, and besides, how are we going to know which way he bucks out if you don't ride him?"
Uncle Blaine was laughing so loud and hard that grandma came to the mudroom window. She was just shaking her head as we rode off.
Grandpa and I found a fair bunch of momma cows and the bull called "No I'm not."
Don't laugh - imagine being turned out to chase girls whenever you wanted and then being told it was time to come home.
Pushing cattle is not at all like the tube or movies portray. It's stinky, nasty boring work, and since I was the short man on the stick, I got to bring up drag, which is the dirty end of the cows and the stick.
Uncle Blaine's "find" had been behaving himself and seemed pretty honest, so I decided to roll a smoke.
In true Randolph Scott form I dropped the reins in front of the saddle horn and started to put the smoke together.
As I dug into the pocket of my pants for a match, I swung my right leg over the saddle horn and fired the match up. I remember the horse's head cocking just enough down and to the left to see exactly how stupid I was being.
At that point, honesty went back to Provo and my adventure into space began.
When I woke up, my senses were still finding their own orbit, my lungs had decided it wasn't worth the effort to suck air and blood was everywhere.
I was going to die and there was grandpa riding away. I rolled over trying to get up and there was my smoke happily burning away, and blood was coming out of my nose by the gallon.
I'd be dead in seconds.
It was grandpa's voice. I was going to live. It was a miracle. My lungs started sucking air. My senses were coming back from Pluto.
"Blaine's horse is just there, if you can ride, son."
It was grandpa again, the same love and concern grandma's voice had sounded earlier.
If I could ride, I was going to ride that piece of wagon burning junk straight into the ground.
As I grabbed the reins and a handful of mane, that dang horse turned into me. I was ready for buck fest two, and he was making it easier to swing up. How could I be mad at him now? I looked over at grandpa and his slight smile.
"That's it, son, whatever it takes to get the job done."
Good words and an even better way to live life. That, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is why I shall remain in the time tunnel, where a handshake and a man's word are all that matter.
Until next time :
Yup, there I was surrounded by a sack full of silliness when I said to myself "Self," I said cause that's what I call myself when I'm talking to myself. "Why all the nonsense about horses living on Colorado street?" Sounds like yet another waste of city council time."
Thank you for time.