Agile Like An Ox

 Agile Like an Ox


   Paul Patterson

John was known far and wide for his scrapes, jackpots, and narrow escapes with horses and cattle, brought on mostly by his readiness to rope too heavy a stock form too light a mount and by his readiness to mount anything the boss drug out. Consequently, he was stiff and stove up beyond his years. The fact that he was horseback far too soon in life detracted even more from his agility afoot.

Take, for example, the time they were working cattle and he tied onto a big, snuffy 7h cow from the back of a green young horse. The three of them all went down together in a wild scramble of windmilling legs, arms, and tails.  As luck would have it, this time John fell free of the melee.  Looking up from a prone position to D.J. Wilson he said:

“You know, Wilson, if I hadn’t been active as a cat I could’a got hurt there.”

Saddle-stiffened though he was, he could show evidence of incredible agility when the occasion demanded, especially in reaction to another’s need.  There was the time Willie Clyde Haynes was down in a narrow washout under an upside down bronc.  Though stiff and stove-up, “Old Juan,” despite four lashing, slashing hooves, had the cowboy out of a nasty jackpot before a cat could wink its eye.  This was the only big rush Clyde had ever seen him in.  Well, he had to do something.  Otherwise he reckoned “ol’ Clyde would’a laid around under there all day, a-losin’ the outfit money.”

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