“My uncle is eighty-years old and he is still the toughest guy I know!” Donetta Anderson vivaciously said. Then, she went on to paint a vivid picture of this classic cowboy relative, still living and working on his ranch in Idaho.
“One day he was rounding up a big bull while partnering with his trusted horse, when all of a sudden the bit broke, causing an abrupt change of pressure in the horse’s mouth. This caused the horse to rear, throwing my uncle to the ground where he lost his hat and hit his head.”
His twelve-year-old grandson, who was working with his beloved grandfather, walked apprehensively toward his grandpa’s seemingly-lifeless body. Being of a young age and with limited experience he was unsure of what to do.
“Grandpa?,” he whispered hoarsely, with fear and expectation.
Seconds later, Grandpa’s eyes popped open and the old cowboy said, “Get me back on that horse.”
Donetta’s eyes brightened before she said, “They don’t make men like that anymore.”
And oh, Grandpa told his grandson to simply take him home so he could rest after they got the pull put safely in the corral.
Upon returning to his own home, the boy told his dad what had happened and how he was worried whether he had done the right thing by leaving the old cowboy alone. That’s when the boy’s father went to Grandpa’s house, the home where he grew up, to check on him.
“I’m just going to hole-up here until I heal,” Grandpa said.
His son, of course, took him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with broken ribs and a concussion. In caring fashion, the son took his aged father home so he and his family could care for him until he was well and strong again.
“Sometimes we forget how strong our familial stock was and is,” Donetta said with a smile.
We all come from such good and tough ancestry. Yet, it’s easy for us to forget about the well-earned magnificence of the tough people who birthed us, as we struggle to navigate the challenges that naturally occur while going about our lives. At times, it may feel as if we’re going through things that no others have ever struggled through. So, the real-life tale of an iconic old cowboy, a tough old bird, is just what we need to be reminded that such a person is more than a representation of the Old West; he is a living symbol of whence we came and the strength we have deep within our souls.
And, by the way, sometimes all of us, no matter how tough, can enjoy the loving, caring and compassionate grace of those dear to us, so we can “get back on that horse” after we’ve been knocked down to the ground.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.