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We lived not far from the county fair grounds, about two blocks. Our house was on the corner of one main street into town, and the street leading down to the fair grounds. During the summer time, every Sunday, the local ranchers would gather at the rodeo arena to practice roping. My brother and I would run down to the arena as soon as we saw the pick up trucks pulling horse trailers make the turn to the fair grounds.
They always let us sit up on the cattle chute, and release the steers so they could chase them down and rope them. In our minds, we were taking part in a rodeo, and thought ourselves something of a cowboy. We would sit on the steers in the narrow fenced chute lead in, thinking we were really something. We had more fun watching those old ranchers play at their chosen sport than just about any other thing I can remember. Of course we had our cowboy hats and boots, and always wore blue jeans and pearl snap shirts. We were the picture of young cowboys.
In those days it was not uncommon for the local ranchers to welcome us to their ranch. We often helped during the hay season, bucking bales, and playing in the fields. I don’t think we really helped much, for most of those bales weighed far more than I did. It was fun for us to believe we helped, but I know it was mostly my father who helped, and we were always with him, just about anywhere he went.
I can remember quite well riding out with dad in Shasta, an old 1970 yellow Chevy pick up truck, to get hay for our horses. He had a method to loading the truck that allowed him to get the most on it in one trip. I used to think it funny to see the hay stacked up above the cab and hanging off the sides. He would take the hay to our little barn, in the horse pasture, and stack it neatly. We of course would go play in the haystack, and eventually have it knocked down and scattered all around.
All of us kids, Kel, Tinaliegh, Toad, and myself would have little fights in the summer. Since there was no snow we used what was available to us, hence was born the horse shit fight. I think possibly Kel was the instigator of this, but we all joined in. There was never a lack of ammunition, and it really was not all that messy. Although I don’t remember Mother ever having a fit about it, I’m sure she was not pleased either. We spent much of our free time in the summer down in the horse pasture, it was our fantasy land. We had to be there anyway to take care of the horses and feed them, so we thought we might as well make it fun.
It’s nice to remember back, and realize that which makes you, you. I don’t think its a bad thing at all, but should be kept in its proper place. So when I get in these moods, I will allow some reminiscing, and then force myself to move on to what’s important. The here and now, no mater how disheartening, is what needs to be focused on. Sometimes one has to extradite themselves out of the past, in order to save the present. That is what I’m trying to do, so bear with me, I’ll find my way back.