By Steve Moreland, August 9, 2018
My little four-year-old grandson George and I left the house this afternoon at 4 o’clock riding double on a Polaris Ranger. We put 23.2 miles on the speedometer before arriving back home at 7:40 p.m. In those three hours and forty minutes, we drove about three miles to get to a three section (1920 acre) pasture. We hit all five windmills in this pasture, and found all seven bulls that were in with 155 cows and their steer calves. We trailed the bulls through the length of the pasture, and maneuvered them out through a gate into another fresh pasture. Then we trailed them another mile and a half to put them in with the rest of the bulls we have recently gathered. George helped me by driving through a couple gates that I opened. He was a good kid, behaved perfectly, stayed quiet, and hung on tight when necessary. I was proud to have him along, and we were both proud that we accomplished our task without any extra help.
As we made our journey being quite comfortable in the Polaris Ranger “side-by-side,” I told George about some of my experiences being about his age and riding horseback. Getting tired and saddle-sore seemed to be part of the game back then.
I was probably in first grade. My favorite television show back then was called “Brave Eagle.” It was about a band of Indians, and Brave Eagle, the young Cheyenne chief, was my hero. This half hour show came on at 4:00 p.m. on Fridays. I got out of school at 3:30, and if Mom promptly picked me up when school was out, and if she had already picked up the mail and purchased any necessary groceries, we could arrive home just in time to watch the show. One Friday evening everything was going like clockwork, and after the car stopping by the yard gate, I rushed in the house to turn on the TV. Back in those days, it didn’t respond immediately, and several moments had to pass before the tubes warmed up enough to produce a picture. The Brave Eagle credits were coming on, when dear old Dad stepped in the door.
I looked out the dining room window, and could see that his sorrel gelding Penny and my paint mare Spot were tied by the bridle reins to each other’s saddle horn. Spot couldn’t be tied to a fence because she would hang back and break the reins. She seemed to respect being tied to the saddle horn on another horse. Dad announced that he had a riding job that he needed my help with. “But, Dad,” I protested, “Brave Eagle is just ready to come on.” “I can’t help it,” he said. “We need to get going because it will soon be dark.” I was none too happy, and he was grasping at straws to diplomatically gain my services. Inspiration must have struck, because he got my attention when he said, “There’s a good chance we’ll see Brave Eagle and his band of Indians as we ride through the hills.” Somehow I fell for the trap, and we were soon mounted on our steeds to go move cattle.
As we rode a couple miles away from home to gather a good-sized pasture, occasionally Dad would point in the distance and say, “Is that the feathers of an Indian headdress just on the other side of that hill?” My eyes would search excitedly, but would find only waving grass or the blossoms of soapweed sticking up over a hill. Pretty soon I knew I’d been had, but we did have an otherwise enjoyable ride that ended long after the moon had come up.
A few nights later, at the supper table Dad announced that he had just hired a new man to come to work the following week. My little sister Sandra (three years younger than me) excitedly exclaimed, “Oh good! Now maybe Stevie won’t have to work so hard.”