It was just one of those feelings. I couldn’t explain it, but this time I listened and drove home.
Nearing my driveway, I noticed a cowboy walking alongside the road. Strange, I whispered to myself. I don’t think I’ve seen him around here before.
I turned into my home. Something was off. It just wasn’t right. I slowed toward my garage, looking. All was quiet. Then, off to my right I saw it. The middle gate was open, flapping a message to me.
In my pasture I only saw grass dancing in the breeze.
I got out of my car and looked all around. I spotted two black steers in the corral across the street. I walked toward them, looking for the cowboy that my instincts told me to find.
After crossing the street, I walked down a private lane and there he was. Talking. Accessible.
“Looks as if you were kind enough to corral my steers,” I said walking up to him.
“Yes,” he said. He then carefully asked questions to make sure they belonged to me.
“They’re better off here than on the road,” he said. “I gathered them up because I didn’t want them to get hit by a car. I had one of mine hit by a car last year. These are fine looking animals.”
“Will you please help me herd them home?” I asked.
“Sure. I just need to get some lunch first,” he said. What’s your number and I’ll call you when I’m ready.”
He called in a few minutes, so I took the short walk across the street. He greeted me sitting high in his saddle.
“I’m too lazy to walk,” he said and chuckled.
I knew that wasn’t true because I had seen him walk. He was simply a cowboy. A cowboy is always more comfortable wrangling cows on the back of his horse.
“If you’ll open the gate, I’ll go in the corral and push them out,” he said. “We’ll keep them on this side so they don’t run where they shouldn’t.”
He looked over his shoulder at me. “They seem pretty gentle.”
“They are.” I said. “I hand feed them. They know where they live.”
The steers came out of the corral toward me. I asked them to go on home and we walked together in that direction. I talked to the steers. They know my voice. They trust it. I asked the cowboy to come along and shore up our right side as part of our procession.
“Not much of a rodeo!” he said when I snapped the chain around the gate. “Don’t know why they’d ever want to leave here! I’m glad they’re safe at home.”
I asked him to wait so I could give him a gift. It was a small gift compared to the gift of compassion he had given my steers and me. It was just a feeling. I couldn’t explain it. A cowboy I didn’t know offered a gift of compassionate service that will never be forgotten.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.