|How did this . . .|
|. . . become this?|
Sunday at the Ranch was a day of rest.
We slept in!
Instead of getting up at the uncivilized hour of 5:30 AM, we got up at the uncivilized hour of 6:30 AM.
The Wrangler assigned for the day saddled up Slow Poke and rode out to bring in the horses.
The other cowboys swept out the barn, fed the animals in the feed lots and milked the cow.
The man who drew the short straw got cow-milking duty.
Not a favourite chore.
Especially on Sunday.
And a cause for real irritation to whoever got stuck with it.
'Horse Play' usually erupted around or near.
Let me explain . . .
Hans, an animal lover came down the stairs from the hay loft, Cyclone (the aptly-named barn cat) purring in his arms.
Seeing Joe seated beside the milk cow, grouchily taking his irritation out on poor Jenny, Hans got an idea.
Okay, not a great one, as it turns out, but an idea none the less.
He set the cat on Jenny's back and pulled his tail.
The cat's, I mean.
Whose claws instantly contracted into the innocent old cow's hide.
Bellowing in pain, Jenny lunged forward, kicking wildly to free herself.
The milk bucket flew into the air, spilling its contents all over Joe as he scrambled for the door, desperate to get away from the flying hooves.
Cyclone flew through the air like a rocket.
Five feet off the ground.
He shot through the door with legs spinning, all of his nine lives in jeopardy.
With Jenny, intent only on finding the nearest far-away place, right behind him.
Just as the Wrangler arrived on Slow Poke.
Horse, cow, cat and cowboys met.
Completely out of character, Slow Poke erupted.
With great heaves and grunts, he flung himself into the air.
Pounding the ground.
The Wrangler catapulted into the sky in a beautiful arc.
Over the corral gate.
Everyone stood mesmerized.
In a total state of shock.
The dust settled.
Then the casualties began to moan and move.
This shook everyone out of their trance.
Mark grabbed his vet bag and began to check for cuts, broken bones and heart beats, prodding gently at each limp form.
He swabbed and bandaged and dispensed pain killers.
Then Joe sat up, rubbed his eyes and lay back down. "Wake me in the morning," he said, "I just had a nightmare!" He opened one eye. "I should have gone to church!"
The boys carried Joe to the bunkhouse.
All of the other casualties limped or dragged themselves away to the nearest safe place.
Where they collapsed into a heap.
But it was some time before Jenny, Joe, Slow Poke, Cyclone, or any others involved in the spin off would approach the barn without apprehension.
Sundays. Truly a day of rest.