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Harding County takes care of their own....

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Liberty Belle

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There's a cowboy living here in the outback of Harding County who calls himself Oly Hermitt. Every year he sends me the most interesting Christmas card and he usually includes some story he's written. This year he sent a copy of a story of his that was printed in Cowboy Magazine a couple years ago. I've retyped it to share with you and I left all the spelling and punctuation the way he wrote it. There was also an illustration of Doc Prolapse by "Mad" Jack Hanks, but since it was copyrighted I won't try to reproduce it.

We Don’t Need 9-1-1
By The Old Hermit
Illustration by ‘Mad’ Jack Hanks


This is the Old Hermit. I live in the Short Pines in a cow camp. Don’t get to town very often, just me and a coupla good horses and my dog. Keepin’ an eye on a bunch of cows and calves and makin’ sure the fences are tight and the right bulls are on the right side. Kinda hopin that things stay that way, too, but that is maybe too much to ask.

I hear that we are going to have to have, like it or not, Nine-one-one (9-1-1). We are in the northwest corner of South Dakota, near the Montana border. Now this is cow country – big ranches, and big country. Not many people, not many roads. Thirty-five to fifty miles to the nearest town, three to ten mile driveways. And now they are going to have 9-1-1.

If you called 0-1-1, help would be about 70 to 90 miles away, and you would probably be dead before they got to you anyway. This is where you live the free life, where you have to feel if your closest friend is still on yore hip and wonder where you’re gonna get yore next water and if your old hose will make it in. And they want to put those cute little street signs up at everybody’s mailbox, like “Pleasant Meadow Drive”, and have everybody on satellites, a direct invasion of privacy. They want to change all the names of the roads which have been the same for the last 100 years.

Hell, “Pleasant Meadow Drive”! Imagine a tourist after driving 30 miles on a narrow gravel road off the highway, looking for a address and sees “Pleasant Meadow Drive”. It’s 110 degrees, and the sand is blowing, nothing but sagebrush and cactus an cattle as far as you can see, and a little dirt trail heading across the flat.

Out here, we can take care of our own. Self preservation, I calls it. I remember the time that Broken Nose McCarthy got bit by a rattlesnake. Hell, he just shot the head off the snake and used him for a tourniquet, climbed back on his horse and rode in. After a few shots of red eye, they took him in and he was just fine.

Another time, we had a fella get bucked off a bronc and broke his back. Hell, they just took the tail gate off a pickup and slid it under him and tied him on with some baling wire to hold him in place and hauled him into the hospital in Spearfish. They would have had to drive 10 miles to a phone to call 9-1-1, and he would have laid there for two hours if they ever could have found the place.

I have a story to tell about how quick thinking and raw courage helped save a tourist’s life. God pity the blighter for whom this vivid, honest story has no interest! It all happened on a bright, sunny, Saturday morning when a tourist was frying some eggs and bacon on a gas stove on the tailgate of his pickup. When he leaned over the stove to get a beer from his ice chest, his shirt-tail caught fire, and it exploded a butane lighter in his pants pocket.

KAPOW!

Oh my! It threw him back, and he hit his head on a rock. It was just lucky that Foundered Frank Johnson (he got the name from wearing boots that were handed down from his older brother when he was a kid and they were too big for him) just happened to ride by moving some cows. He heard some high-pitched whining and thought maybe a pup had lost his mother.

Well, you might think we are way out on the outback, but we can handle about anything from snake bite to broken backs. Foundered Frank immediately called 9-1-1 on the cell phone he had on his saddle. Well, it wasn’t exactly 9-1-1, it was the bar in Buffalo. The number was 375-4911. The tourist was lucky. There was no doctor around for 80 miles, but Doc Prolapse, the veterinarian, was there, in the bar. He was three sheets in the wind and his eyes looked like a pair of calf nuts floating in a bag of blood, but that was nothing unusual for Doc. He has two conditions – either getting over being drunk or getting drunk.

Doc said he would risk a DWI to take the guy to the hospital in Spearfish. Old Doc has more try than a steer and often gets better results. So he chugged about four cups of coffee and put about half a can of chew in his mouth. Old Doc painfully lifted himself off his chair – he looked as gant as a gutted snow bird – and walks over to the door like a spavined mule and crawls behind the wheel of his pickup.

Off he went to the unfortunate fella in the park, who was mumbling in a high-pitched tone, sounding like a fertilizer salesman with a mouth full of free samples. He looked like he’d been eaten by wild dogs and crapped over a cliff. But so did Doc.

Quick thinking saved the day. Doc checked him over and rubbed a whole can of Bag Balm on the sensitive area that was burnt or blown up, and, using duct tape and a discarded Kentucky Fried Chicken sack, fixed him up just fine till more professional procedures could be administered. And, after moving the steel posts and bucket of staples, and, I think, a calf puller to one side, they put him in the back of Doc’s pickup with Foundered Frank riding in the box with him.

While this was going on, Foundered Frank had wrapped him in his wet saddle blanket and tied it on with some baling wire he had found laying by the fence. There were some bot-flys circling the poor fellow’s mouth and flying in his nose, but it should keep him from going into shock.

Quick thinking, and just in time, too, as he was beginning to shake violently. Doc gunned the engine and let his foot slip off the clutch, jamming the injured tourist up against the tailgate with the bucket of staples and calf puller and Foundered Frank hanging on for dear life.

Doc Prolapse let out with a yell that could be heard for miles, “YAHOOOO. LET ER BUCK,” and they headed for the hospital in Spearfish, tires squealing and gravel flying.

Foundered Frank was riding in the back with the tourist, giving him a shot of oxygen with the tip of a acetylene torch jammed up one nostril. Yes sir. Quick thinking saved the day. Better’n waiting for an ambulance coming 80 miles to get him. When the guy would start shaking like he was going into convulsions, Frank would dump a little hundred-proof down his quivering lips and take a pull himself to steady his nerves as they wove around the cattle trucks on 85, sometimes passing on the right side thru the ditch because a car was coming from the other way. With the horn blowing and the 4-way flashers going. Yessir, you don’t need an ambulance service when you have quick thinking people like that to get an injured person to the hospital NOW.
 

theHiredMansWife

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This spring at a neighbor's branding a guy came off his horse--who came back down on him. Broke i don't know how many bones and punctured a lung.
He couldn't be transported in the back of a pickup like you would with an ordinary break like collarbone or leg or something, instead a helicopter was sent out for him. The gal that helped stabilize him (I guess that's what you'd call it) before the chopper showed was a recent vet school grad. 8)
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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L.B., that story was priceless! Ready for more of those anytime. I had to wonder what would have happened if Foundered Frank woulda opened the acetylene by accident. S'pose that would give a fella gas?
 

nr

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Lib,
That geezer can write! Thanks for the laughs. :D Especially the descriptions of the docs red eye.
 

Liberty Belle

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I won't use it in my column, but I will send it to the local Harding County paper because he's a home town cowboy. It's kind of funny, I've been getting cards and stories from him for years now and I'm still not sure I have figured out who he is for sure!!! But we're great friends.

The real jake - if you are on here yet, read this over and tell me if it sounds like Coon Dog to you or is it more someone else? Like you maybe?
 

Jinglebob

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Liberty Belle said:
I won't use it in my column, but I will send it to the local Harding County paper because he's a home town cowboy. It's kind of funny, I've been getting cards and stories from him for years now and I'm still not sure I have figured out who he is for sure!!! But we're great friends.

The real jake - if you are on here yet, read this over and tell me if it sounds like Coon Dog to you or is it more someone else? Like you maybe?

I got to meet Ole a couple of times, but I can't remember his name! :oops:

If I see him again, I have express orders from Darrel Arnold to get his name for him as Ole won't tell him. He writes some good stories and when you live where he and I do, it's probably better if no one knows who you are, as you sure get a lot of crap! Dang sure keeps a guy humble. :wink:
 

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