Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Saturday, March 12, 2016

Finding Gentlemen

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.      They're still gentlemen.
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 fields. Seismic crews more-or-less busy laying out lines and setting the charges that would indicate hidden reserves of oil.
The difficult part was in riding past them. 
It made me 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 who personified my favourite expression, Nothing so strong as gentleness. Nothing so gentle as real strength.
You never know when you'll run into a true gentleman. Best to keep your eyes open.

4 comments:

  1. Yes, he was a gentleman, but you were a diplomat. Good for both of you.
    Now I'm off to google "cynosure".

    ReplyDelete
  2. Karen said it exactly right. You helped him retain his dignity! Good for you. And good for him for being a gentleman.

    ReplyDelete
  3. He was a gentleman and you behaved like a lady.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't know if I could have been that nice...maybe!

    ReplyDelete

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