Jackson Hole—again I was afforded the treat of being picked up around 5 a.m. by Dail Knori in her truck hauling the two tacked-up horses. This time we were riding for another rancher and I listened as she explained where we were going and how we were to accomplish this. Again, I could not make head or tail of it! But back in the saddle again (more comfortable this time) on a glorious day in the Tetons, how could I not be a happy camper?
The owners of this ranch and these cattle were among the last vestiges of an old-time family in the Jackson Hole area. Dail held a lot of affection for them as she did for so many and was always included in their drives. They were a brother and sister and neither had ever been married. To this city-born woman, their conversations were always reminiscent of Ma and Pa Kettle (from movies I had seen as a kid).
At one juncture I found myself alone with the two of them as he opened a gate for the cattle to go through. I sat astride “Fat Albert” just “a-lookin” and “a-listenin” which I found to be a lot better than opening my mouth and proving myself an “idiot.” There were quite a lot of cattle and they were being really nice and going pretty much where they were supposed to go. Suddenly, one cow decided to get out of line and go off to the right of the owners. Nothing happened. It was so quiet, and I was wonderin’ (I was learning the language) what was going to happen. After all, that cow was on their side! I sat still and kept still. Finally after what seemed an eternity, the man said to his sister, “HEAD ‘ER OFF GLADACE.” It took such a heck of a long time for these words to come out of his mouth, I was aghast. Cripes, I thought, surely I was in one of those Ma and Pa Kettle movies myself right there and then.
Some time later in this hilariously funny spot in which I found myself, Dail and Gladace were riding side-by-side “a-talkin”—the cattle were “shufflin” in the right direction. Suddenly a calf bolted out of the group to the right of them. I was quite a bit away to the left. In just a moment, Dail called out to me, “Miz Ginzey” (her fond name for me), go and get that bugger.” At first I thought she was kidding as she was a whole lot closer than I to the stray. But after looking at her face, I could see she was serious. And so I did what I was told.
It was after the drive, as she was taking me home, she laughingly had to share this bit of my special Jackson Hole life … when Dail had called out to me to go and retrieve that calf, Gladace leaned over from her horse toward Dail and said, “Don’t she mind you bossin’ her like that?”
Heck, as I said before, this here “mature” (in age, not in actions) woman was havin’ the time of her life in what turned out to be the best “first childhood” a kid ever had!
(Maybe more later…?)
(Part 1) | Part 2