Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, January 30, 2014

The True Gentleman


Me and Golly Gee.
And yes, that is a band aid on my nose.
Sexy!
I learned two things that summer.
1.      Barbed wire gates are tricky.
2.      Some young gentlemen, though they look strong, aren't.
Oh, and . . .
3.      Poor guys.
I was herdsman for my Dad. Had been for two years.
It was a simple job, now that calving season was pretty much over.
My duties consisted of making sure that all four-footed red and white creatures were safe and happy.
Much like a mother hen.
On horseback.
The perfect job.
The only difficulty lay in the fact that all summer, there had been gangs of young men between the ranch buildings and the field.
Okay, groups of young men weren't a normal - or necessarily unwelcome - sight in our part of the country.
And these were seismic crews  in groups of ten or so who were more-or-less busy laying out lines and setting the charges that would indicate hidden reserves of oil.
So, riding past them wasn't a difficulty, really.
But I did feel rather . . . conspicuous.
Particularly if they weren't busy at the moment and had nothing, other than me, to watch.
On this particular day, in full view of about ten pairs of eyes, I slid off my horse and effortlessly opened the gate.
Feeling distinctly uncomfortable.
Sigh.
I smiled, then hurriedly pulled my horse through and closed the gate.
I wasted no time in heading to the far side of the field, hoping that, when I was done, they would have moved a little further down the road.
It didn't happen.
By the time I finished my sweep, they had finished their work and were standing around, just outside the gate, waiting for their data to be collected.
And with nothing to do but watch me.
Perfect.
I dismounted and opened the gate.
Again, the cynosure (real word) of all eyes.
I led my horse through.
“Can I help you with that, Miss?”
I turned.
One of the young men, obviously a gentleman, had stepped forward.
I looked at the gate post in my hand, then back at him. “Umm . . . sure. Thank you.”
I handed him the post and stepped back.
He stuck the post into the bottom loop, then pushed it upright.
It didn't come anywhere near the all-important top loop.
I should point out here that a barbed wire gate is held shut by two loops of wire - one top and one bottom - on the lead post. If the bottom loop isn't high enough on said post, the gate is increasingly harder to fasten.
The young man had obviously seen me open the gate.
With the swat of one hand.
His manhood was now on the line.
He pushed, while trying not to appear that he was pushing.
Still no progress.
He began to get red-faced.
He put his shoulder to the post and pushed some more.
Still a gap of two or three inches.
A mile in 'gate' terms.
I suggested that he push the bottom loop a little higher on the post.
He did so.
And was still an inch out.
Oh, man.
He had offered to help me.
And he couldn't.
I couldn't bear to stand there and witness his embarrassment.
I told him, “I have to get to the ranch. I'll just leave you with that. Thank you so much!”
And gave him my biggest smile.
Then I jumped on my horse and made a quick exit.
A short time later, when the crew had moved on, I went back and checked the gate.
It was fastened.
I don't know if the poor man did it himself, or if half the crew had to help him.
At least I wasn't around to witness it.
But I will always be grateful.
He was a true gentlemen.
And even a cowgirl appreciates that.

19 comments:

  1. It's funny, the things that we do regularly -- and have the muscle memory to a tee -- that others find difficult.

    And you handled that like a true lady.

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never thought of myself as a lady. I guess I am! :)

      Delete
  2. That was very nice of you to not snigger and to move on so as not to witness his distress.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great set of legs in that photo!

    Yours are nice too.

    Anonymous Husby-Figure Leg Admirer

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ah, poor guy, but big points for trying! I bet the whole bunch of them were even more in awe after realizing how hard it was to do that simple-looking act.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As our Korean friend was fond of saying, "In my country, you worth a lot!"

      Delete
    2. HAHAHA! That is awesome and hilarious!!

      Delete
  5. So much fun to read about a life that is so drastically different than my own. How marvelous to read your words! I thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Cathy! Call it armchair exploring!

      Delete
  6. Definitely a gentleman, but I can feel his embarrassment all the way here in Australia.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just another really fun story that I can create the pictures in my mind. I love reading your real life stories.
    Blessings again for another wonderful smiling moment.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow. That was very kind of you.

    When my husband and I were first dating, I said I wouldn't mind working with him on the Forest Service crew. He laughed and said he had an image of me with a string of pearls, not wanting to dirty my hands.

    He remembers that statement and so do I, 24 years later. It's so funny by virtue of being completely opposite of the truth, although he didn't know it then. We're lucky I didn't get insulted and walk away at the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, those near misses! Yeah, my husband definitely knew what he was getting into. I had him help me milk my cow the first time he showed up!

      Delete

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