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 Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Vibrating 'critter' frightens rattlesnake-wary cowboy

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew

Ace Reed the cowboy cartoonist and Baxter Black the modern cowboy columnist have made a living showing and telling of the hapless cowboy and his exploits during his daily labors.

When such cartoons and stories are viewed by ranch people, almost all can conjure up a character they have known or worked with who could be placed into the story.

Only someone familiar with the cowboy life could portray the characters like old Jake, his fellow cowboy employees, the mean old banker "Toughernhell," the pot-bellied feed store man, the sympathetic bartender, the lying horse-trader and, bless her heart, his long-suffering wife, Ma. Here is a story with modern-day implications. It could be true but more likely is only Trew.

Old Jake wasn't completely over the hill yet but he was a little long in the tooth. He still rode horseback daily by himself as he and his wife Sally lived way out in the hills working for a big ranch. The kids were gone and the house was empty, but Sally knew Jake would never be satisfied working at any other occupation. She worried about him working alone and purchased a cell phone for him to carry as he rode in case he was ever injured or left afoot out on the range.

Now Jake did not understand modern technology nor did he trust anything technical. He called the cell phone "the critter" and refused to take it with him, stating the loud ring would booger his horse and get him bucked off. After 50 years of marriage to Jake, Sally finally worked it out.

To ease his mind she put the phone on vibrate instead of ring, but Jake did not understand fully with the explanation going over his head like the prairie breeze. Finally, after long arguments he agreed to carry the critter but "technically" never promised to use it. It looked expensive so in order to prevent loss he pushed it down deep in his front Wranglers pocket.

As usual Jake mounted up before sun-up and began his daily ride. The day progressed as he and his mount attended the ranch work. Along about mid-afternoon they kicked up a mad rattlesnake in heavy sagebrush. Jake made a quality rodeo ride before he could dismount. By the time he had dispatched the serpent with rocks his heart was racing in overdrive, about like that of his mount.

He finally was able to mount his spooky bronc, both still seeing a snake under every sage bush and weed. It was at this moment dearest Sally called on the cell phone to check on his location.

When the forgotten critter, lying deep in his front pocket, right next to his tenderest most delicate body parts, began to vibrate, feeling somewhat like a rattlesnake sounded rattling, Jake just couldn't help it. He peed in his Wranglers.



May 11, 2010 Column Delbert Trew
More "It's All Trew"
Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail at trewblue@centramedia.net. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears weekly.

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