I know a tremendous number of veterans and I am grateful from the bottom of my heart to all of them for their dedication to keeping us all free to play in the yard, write blogs about whatever we’d like, go to college, work in the career we want, or believe in what we wish. I thank them for the time they spent in the military and for their sacrifice to all of us that they do not even know. I am thankful for my father, grandfathers, and back all the way to the my Revolutionary war grandfathers that fought for basic rights. For Memorial Day we are going over to see one of my favorite veteran’s, my grandpa. He regales me with delightful tales from his youth still and I love each one. My favorite war story of his is when he was serving up grub in the mess hall and walking through the line was his brother! He didn’t even know Uncle Allen enlisted or that he was in the same place! My grandfather worked on the Amphibian, a vehicle that goes from land to sea. But most of his tales come from his being a cowboy. My grandpa was a real cowboy, out on the range, waiting for the chuck wagon, roping cattle, riding his horse from Sterling to Estes Park to work on a dude ranch as a teenager. He was in the rodeo circuit riding bucking broncos and worked on a ranch where he made ten dollars more because he rode the rough string, or half broke horses. This is a poem he wrote that I find endearing and tells of a time not in many of our memories.
The Round Up (by Elmer Horner)
It is cold and wet and just breaking light
When the cook yells out, “Come and get it or I’ll throw it out!”
He pulls on his pants, and then his boots, buttons up his shirt to complete his attire
Crawls out of his bed roll and heads for a cup of coffee and the warmth of the fire.
When it’s early in the morning and the sleet coming down
A roundup cowboy wishes he was in town
Where his bed is dry and not everyone wears a frown.
The food from the Dutch oven is steamy and hot
With a hot cup of coffee just poured from the pot.
There’s biscuits, steak and beans, which with your pay,
They call this “found and a dollar a day”
You slip into your slicker, put on your spurs
And you do all of this without saying a word
You grab your saddle, hackamore and blanket
Pull the brim of your hat down over your eyes
And head in the direction of the Remuda horse herd.
You tell the jigger boss what horse you would like
And he ropes you an outlaw by the name of Spike
The hump in his back causes the back of the saddle to rise
And you know then that for a cold wet morning,
The horse you picked to start the day sure is no prize
You ease your mount away from the Remuda so that if he blows up
You won’t be blamed for spooking the herd
When even on a cold wet morning you would not have to feel any shame
You head for the cow herd to start the day of cutting out and sorting
The cows that will stay and holding the ones that would be loaded and shipped away
Roundup is over and you draw your pay and load your gear
So you can be on your way
You tell the boss that you enjoyed the food and thanks for the pay
The next time there’s a roundup you can be sure as you’re sittin’
This cowboy is going to be roughing it at the Hilton.