I woke up to rain this morning and not the dreaded snow I figured might be here (no branding for us today either). I can't celebrate yet though as I've heard there is snow all around us so I'm sure we will see some before the day is done. Let's just say that there will be lots of green grass around here soon and I am very thankful for that!
Today is Mother's Day so I am going to pay tribute to my mom. I wrote an article about her a few weeks ago and I'm sharing it with you. Here goes:
Easter is now over and Mother’s Day is quickly approaching. I’ve always enjoyed this holiday of sorts as it was the perfect time to let my mom know just how much I love and admire her. Now that I’m a mother, I love the day even more. When we lived in Montana, Mother’s Day was usually spent at the horse races in Miles City. Those were such fun Sunday afternoons and I sure do miss them.
The last five years or so our branding has been held on Mother’s Day. I’m not really sure how this happened, but it did and it has stuck. On one hand a gal may be upset to have to work so hard on “her” day, but we ranch gals look at it differently. Aside from shipping our calves, branding is one of the most important days of the year on the ranch. It’s a day to appreciate the fruits of our labors over the long cold winter months. It is truly heartwarming to see all the cows and calves bunched up together. That sight is a true testament to all the winter feeding, chopping ice, checking during calving, and all the prayers we say when Mother Nature throws a fit during the spring months (calving season). It’s a time to gather with friends and neighbors, work hard to get the task completed, share a great meal, and then shoot the heck out of things. That last statement is a fun one. After our branding, we have a skeet shooting marathon. It’s a blast….literally!
My mom and I work together to accomplish many things on the ranch (branding dinner is a big one). I’ve been planning our upcoming day for the past week by ordering vaccine, taking inventory on our branding supplies, and planning our menu. As I was thinking about my mom and what role she will play this year, I remembered something that brought a smile to my face. I owe her my life on more than one occasion. No joke!
It was June 1999. I was home helping my mom and dad back on the ranch in Montana on Cherry Creek. We had gone to the Harms place to do a bunch of riding and check on the cattle. Foot rot was prevalent that year so we brought doctoring supplies in case we needed them. During our riding we came upon a cow and calf. The cow was pretty crippled up with foot rot, but we managed to trail them to a set of corrals we had there. The plan was to rope the cow, tail her down, and then give her a big dose of LA 300. It’s funny how plans sound so direct, so doable, and so easy. I can honestly say that most of the plans around here never go….as planned!
know that she was a top barrel racer in her day. She won the circuit in Montana and competed at the NFR in Oklahoma City in 1976. She trained many barrel horses, which is why I did so good in the barrels and poles in youth and high school rodeo. Well, my mom rode a barrel saddle. Dad often told her that she should ride a roping saddle, but that just wasn’t for her. She wasn’t a roper! So, imagine my dad climbing on her horse…..into her barrel saddle, which had no rubber on the horn. I’m not sure why we proceeded at this point, but we did. The cow was quite feverish so we knew we had to get this job done as quickly as possible….or suffer the consequences. Luckily, my dad is one heck of a roper. The first loop he threw he caught the cow by a leg. Not being faint of heart, I jumped in and began to tail the cow down. I can’t remember if I got her down or not, but I do remember that my dad started yelling to get the heck out of there. With no rubber on the saddle horn, the rope started to slip as the cow fought. He did what we could, but he couldn’t keep his dally. The cow got up and she was MAD!!! Of course, the pen we were in was a big one. I took off for the fence, but as luck would have it I had worn my slick Roper boots that day. There was a bunch of milk weed growing in the pen. As I scuffled backwards trying to get turned around to run for the fence I slipped and fell flat on my butt. I looked up just in time to see the cow charging towards me. I swear she hesitated, leaped in the air, and pounced right on me (she may have even snickered a bit). She landed hard right on my left shin and my right inner thigh. She rolled me good. I remember thinking it was the end. I was yelling and hollering and choking for air at the same time. When I came to my senses I realized I was only about 20 feet from the fence. I clamored to get up and get to safety, but just as I did here she came for round 2. Holy cow….she was within three feet of me when this bright color went flashing in front of her face. She veered off and ran to the opposite side of the pen where her calf was. I limped over to the fence and tried to catch my breath. Dad rode over to make sure I wasn’t missing a limb or bleeding internally….he said, “Yell a little and the pain will go away.” We half-laughed about what he had said. It’s something we always say when someone is hurt, but not hurt really bad at our place. My Grandpa Art was famous for saying that in all kinds of situations. It has provided comic relief at just the right moment for many years around here. As we talked about what had happened it dawned on me that the bright color I had seen wasn’t my life flashing before my eyes….it was my mom’s coat! She had bravely run up there and waved it in front of that crazy cow’s face. Imagine my surprise that my mom was secretly an amazing bull fighter! I don’t know how she got the gumption to get that close to the cow, but to this day I am ever so thankful that she did. I could have suffered some serious damage if she hadn’t intervened.
Eventually, we got the cow doctored and I managed to work the rest of the day. The next morning I woke up to a purple egg on my shin and an even uglier sight on my inner thigh. To this day, I can’t feel part of my shin. I guess that old cow got the last laugh on me in a way. Over the years, I have acquired quite a few scars and pains that I feel frequently, but each one of them has a story. Maybe that’s why we have them….so we won’t forget. I definitely will never forget that day in June and what I learned. I learned just what a mom will do for her offspring (human or otherwise). I will never forget my close call or the fact that my mom is my hero….then and today. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and to all of the other moms out there! I hope you enjoy this special day that celebrates just how amazing we all are!
Here we are together back in 2007:
My mom loves her horses and it shows!
My mom has accomplished some awesome things in her life!
She is a great mom and a wonderful grandmother too. Yep, she's my hero....what more can I say! Love you, Mom! Happy Mother's Day! ~Cheyenne