Sunday, June 27, 2010

DAUGHTERS OF THE SHADOW MEN--Memoirs--Chapter 23 "If a cowboy is lucky he finds one great horse"

My Aunt Vesta climbing Sadie's Nipples


Chapter 23

The year I was ten and in the fifth grade I enjoyed Edison Alvey from Escalante as my teacher. When he would ask us to write stories I outdid myself. The last story I wrote for him was about a girl who committed suicide! That one might have alarmed him a little as he told my mother he thought maybe I might be a genius but he did not quite know how to handle my talent. I decided I better ease up a little before I got myself in trouble.
Edison knew all the popular songs and initiated a music class where we would sing the songs he wrote on the board. I recall “Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree” and that's about it, since I was never able to carry a tune well enough to distinguish myself with music. Edison was the only music teacher I ever really had.
Edison also took us on nature hikes. The most memorable one was to the Ice Tanks down past Sadie's Nipples. We were all made so happy by this hike that Dynamite even dropped his usual truculence and walked along without saying anything derogatory to Barbara and me at the end of the long day.
Barbara promised me that she and I would go to the 9-room cave even if we could not get anyone to go with us. She assured me that this hike would not be too hard for me as I balked at climbing to some of the places she did. She would climb up the front of the school house ledge like the boys did, but I would not. I used up all the bravery I had riding horses and had none to spare on sand rock ledges. True to her word she did take me to the 9 room cave, and on the way back she pointed up to the side of the ledge where Darrow Moosman had fallen to his death while rolling rocks, which only proved to me you could not be too careful scrambling around on these things. Darrow had danced on the edge and paid a terrible price.
We were sorry to see Edison go at the end of the year, but he had gotten a job in the Escalante High School where he planned to teach the rest of his days. I had not thought where I might go to high school.
Considering my deadly fatigue during the following summer of hard work after we lost Leah, the hired girl, I didn't even know if I would live that long.

Also the spring Edison left I had another encounter with Cecil, Grandpa's resentful hired man, which did not seem too bad on the surface but I became very worried about what could come of his unwelcome interest in me.
How it came about was that Daddy and I went down in the draw during the spring roundup to bring up some cattle. Daddy got me going with them and then went on to Boulder to do other tasks. The round-up of the cattle from the winter ranges was always a stressful time for him. Cecil must have seen him come back through town because pretty soon he rode up saying he had come to 'help' me. In the first place I did not like him observing my comings and goings but everything seemed okay until just before we rounded the turn into Boulder where we were more apt to be observed by someone. Cecil turned and rode up close to me and grabbed me around the leg exactly like a rough young cowboy might do to his girlfriend, only he was thirty years old and I was still only ten. To my relief he went no further, but the very fact he would lay his hands on me again after our encounter in our pasture was infuriating and very worrisome.
From then I spent time worrying about Cecil and how I could put an end to his attentions without really having to cause a scandal to do it. My over stressed mind certainly could not handle too many new things to worry about I thought before it broke down some way.
That was the summer of my deadly fatigue which I thought was probably it, the beginning of the end.

But a big highlight for me was Daddy's new horse Sorly. Before the Baker family moved to Richfield, Daddy bargained with the oldest son Hayward for a big colt his dad had gotten out of a lively work mare he bred to a local thoroughbred stallion. Daddy said the horse was big, but he thought the sorrel colt might just make a great cow horse and when he started working with Sorly he got even more excited. He said that he had not let him buck when he was breaking him because he was so intelligent and quick to learn.

Now that Daddy had broken Sorly and was riding him all the time he could not get over his lucky find. I thought he had probably found his horse of a life time the way he talked, and that proved to be true. Daddy was soon taking first place in the yearly judging of the best trained cow horses. Soon everybody in the country thought that my dad had spotted the makings of a great cow horse when no one else did, and now he was a wonder, so quick and fast and well trained he stood out.
The only thing Daddy had trouble with was training him to stand still after he roped off him. The reason for that was because Daddy had gotten so he never dismounted when he was roping calves for branding. The hired men threw the calf and did the branding while he caught another one. That way the branding went very fast and smooth, so Sorley only had to stand still in a calf roping competition on the Fourth of July or such.
The first year he competed in public he disgraced Daddy by running off with the calf he had roped when he dismounted to go tie him. Well, Sorly had been so excited the morning of the rodeo. Somehow he knew he was going on display. When Daddy rode him down to the store for something just before the rodeo, Sorly danced all the way. A dancing horse. My goodness. We had never owned a dancing cow horse before. But Daddy said the only time Sorly danced was on the 4th of July. He didn't dance when he was in for a long day of hard work.
I asked Daddy to let me ride him but he said no, I had better wait a couple of years until he settled down. I guess he did not want him running away with me somewhere because he was too excited by a new rider. Daddy was the only one who got to ride Sorly the first couple of years.
I had reason not to tell Daddy about Cecil bothering me though. He was still very apt to make a mountain out of molehill and try to kill him. He and Cecil still had to ride the winter ranges together where Daddy and Grandpa ran their cattle on Bounds Bench and King's Bench, but they had begun to fight and argue a lot.
The yellow palamino with the black mane and tail out of Grandpa King's stock that Cecil broke used to take the prizes for being the best trained cow horse, but not any more. That probably did not help Cecil's frame of mind either.
Grandpa King's horses had been outdone by the poor Widow Baker's colt nobody thought would amount to anything. I was very proud of my dad for seeing the potential of this horse He was rewarded by finding the horse that defines a great horseman, a horse as intelligent and quick to understand as any cowboy could desire. I always knew my dad was a great trainer when he had a good horse. Sorly proved it.
Well, it was good my dad was to have a few victories because there were a lot of defeats. And more bad trouble to come with his drinking.

Header and Cowboy roping the horse by Connie. Thank you, my friend!

3 comments: said...

I didn't know that Sorly was Maggie Baker's colt first. Interesting. The part I liked was the cutting contest. Sorly could move in and cut out a calf or steer so well. Dad took first in that with both Sorly and Hank. He would rope the calf at the Boulder Rodeo and Kirk Lyman would run out, throw it down, and tie it off.
Everyone would honk and shout, but of course, they didn't win. It was usually the fastest time. But of course, the horse was there to work!

Connie said...

I love the memoirs about the horses,course you know I would,LOL

Missie said...

I'm so behind reading blogs. Have a good week!


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