|Big Daddy - where everything started|
The grass is green.
The birds are singing.
The earth smells sweet.
And the irrigation canal is empty.
It was time to bring the heifers, and their attendant ‘boyfriend’, home.
This was a relatively painless job considering that the youngest of the breeding stock were always wintered in the fields closest to the ranch buildings.
One simply had to walk out, circle the small field once, and start the herd moving.
They would find the corrals, and feed, without being directed. A fool-proof plan.
Unfortunately, we weren’t fools.
Between their pasture and our destination was . . . THE IRRIGATION CANAL.
A vast expanse which snaked across the countryside and our ranch.
It was some forty feet wide and twenty feet deep and, below the corrals, spanned by a sturdy little bridge.
A sturdy little . . . sideless bridge.
At high summer, the canal was full - sparkling clear water nearly reaching to the supports of the bridge. At this time of year, the floodgates had not yet been opened and it wasn't.
Full, that is.
Except for the large rocks at the bottom.
That was a problem. But I am getting ahead of myself . . .
To head from the pasture to the corral, one had to make a slight right turn immediately after crossing the bridge.
A left turn took one to the house and its attendant outbuildings and, eventually, the main road.
Right was what we wanted.
Left was what we got.
In an effort to turn our mis-directed herd, I started threading myself between large, warm hairy bodies, working my way slowly towards the front.
By this time, we were on the bridge.
I had worked my way almost to the front of the herd.
I noticed a vacant spot at the extreme left of the bridge. I made for it.
At the same time as the 2000 pound bull.
Suddenly, I was teetering at the extreme edge of the bridge, staring down at the large . . . hungry . . . rocks. They beckoned to me.
And they had a willing partner – gravity.
Oh, this is going to hurt! I told myself.
Then, the author of my misfortune stalked past me.
2000 pounds of perfect, red-blooded, oblivious muscle.
With a tail.
Before he could take the fatal step that moved him forever out of my reach, my hand shot out and nabbed that . . . appendage. That glorious, wonderful, life-preserving . . . really smelly tail.
Then I turned to stare down at those rocks.
Which slowly lost their hypnotic grip as each step my rescuer took pulled me further . . . and further.
I clung to that tail until I was safely across the bridge.
By this time, the cattle had organized themselves and were heading in the correct direction.
Success was within our sight.
There was only one other problem to be solved.
Someone had to peel Dad off the ground.
He had laughed himself unconscious.