It’s always been a contention in our family who the better trader was, Grandpa or Uncle Blaine.
Granted, some of Blaine’s trades were well across the border of legality, but they always seemed to even out.
Grandpa, on the other hand, was in it for the trade. He didn’t care one way or the other what he traded or what he was trading for, he loved the art of the trade, and expected to come out ahead, which he always did, except when it came to horses.
He and another old cowboy had a contentious “trading affair” that lasted well over 25 years. It started when “Boyd” sold and traded him seven horses, three of which were either blind or couldn’t see out of one eye.
Now, Boyd swore he’d bought the stock from a ranch just south or maybe a touch north of Douglas, Wyo., in good faith, and that’s how he passed them on to Grandpa. He apologized for their blindness and swore an oath to his Baptist preacher if a mistake had been made, it was surely an honest one and he’d make it even somehow.
Well ladies and gentleman, boys, girls and Mrs. Brown’s cat, Grandpa was not to be out-traded. He sent Uncle Blaine on a horse-finding mission — sounds kind of Democratic doesn’t it? Blaine was off to the races, literally.
He took Grandpa’s money, swung by the bar in Kamas, Utah, borrowed $17 more — Grandma didn’t allow gambling — headed for the race track in Ogden, Utah.
As life will have it, Uncle Blaine returned with “four of the prettiest horses in the Heber Valley,” Grandma said, and she knew, “Cause I swung atop two of them in the corral and they rode out, just fine.”
Well Grandpa got hold of Boyd and the trading was on. Boyd of course was leery of Grandpa’s new trade and wanted his head man and horse doctor to look at each horse and ride them out. Grandpa delayed a bit in agreeing, but the trap was set.
“That danged ole Boyd showed up with nothing fit for a man to neither drink nor smoke,” Blaine complained as Grandpa got to the small talk of trading.
As the afternoon wore on and each horse was passed by Boyd’s head man and horse doctor, the price rose “like the voice of Boyd’s Baptist preacher getting ready to pass the bucket, and rightfully so. Any man that can’t bring something to drink to a horse trade deserves to pay more,” Blaine said.
When they started to get closer to a mutual dollar amount, Boyd admitted, “I thought you might be trying to get even over our last trade, so I didn’t bring enough money to make this one right.”
“You’d been right thinking that,” Grandpa said, passing Blaine a store-bought cigarette he’d borrowed from Boyd’s head man, “but, I’ve got honest paper on these horses, and I need a honest price in return.”
“Well,” Boyd said, showing Grandpa a number he’d written on the palm of his glove, “that’s what I’ve got without going home.”
Grandpa worried on it a bit, looked back to the horses then at the house, “You keep $100 of your money, I’ll take what’s left and that old pickup your head man’s driving.”
“Done,” Boyd said, holding out his hand. “Done,” Grandpa replied.
When Grandma found out Uncle Blaine had more than doubled Grandpa’s money at the horse track, she had them give it to the church as tithing.
When Boyd found out the retired racehorses only knew run fast and turn left, the “trading affair” began.
Hey, you be careful out there.