On Tuesdays

The Day The Pickup Outran Dallas

God put us ranch ladies in different roles than our rancher husbands for a reason. I figured that out many years ago. To this day I seem to need to relearn this obvious lesson in life more times than I care to admit.
The day was planned ahead for me to do Jim’s work in order for him to take our son, Tyler, to his speech contest. Jim had spent time with me laying out the day’s plan of feeding the cattle. After feeding, I was to take a different rig to drive through and check the baby calves for scours which are signs of illness. He told me when I found one, I was to put the pickup in granny low,  pull along side the animal, place the medicine bag on my arm, slip the pickup in neutral,  just before leaping out onto the calf. He assured me that as the calf was sick, I shouldn’t have any trouble catching him.
The next morning found me doing Jim’s work. Feeding was a breeze! Now, onto the real job of doctoring the baby calves. It was a nice day for February. After loading up my doctoring gear in the pickup, I had to hoist my leg as high as my hip so I could climb in the rig that Jim wanted me to jump out of on the fly. I was dressed in my cute new button up western shirt that was tucked neatly into my Levi’s, topped with my pretty pink wool coat that had turquoise plaid lining. My pant legs were tucked inside my cowboy boots, and I had on my favorite cowboy hat that has a stampede string to go around my neck. I say it’s better to have a little ranch lady style than just drab everyday clothes. I looked pretty cute; I’m sure of that. Over in the pasture, I drove slowly, all the while looking for any signs of sickness in the baby calves. I had already looked on the East and West ends of the pasture before making my way to the central area when I found a sick baby. I readied myself as Jim had instructed. Pulling up along side, I jumped out and made the catch. I don’t know who was more surprised, the calf or me? I unzipped the medicine bag, pulled out the syringe and drew up 5cc of antibiotic. Next, I proceeded to administer the shot under the calf’s front leg. After that, I pulled out the balling gun, put in a sulfa pill and gave it orally to the calf. At this point, I was really happy that I had completed the task. I gave my little patient a pat on the head and told him I would check him tomorrow. I gathered my stuff and zipped the bag shut. As I turned to get back into the pickup, to my surprise, the pickup was gone! Looking into the distance, I saw it bumping along in granny low with the driver’s door still open. I had forgotten to slip it into neutral before I made my leap! Nothing more to do than get after it, the quicker the better. I ran hard. Jim’s medicine bag began to weigh me down. I failed to mention earlier that he had a holstered heavy pistol strung onto the fanny pack belt of the medicine bag. This was needed to kill any coyotes we may find that might be stalking the baby calves. I didn’t dare ditch the bag and gun for fear of not finding it later in the tall grass; so without slowing down, I decided to shuck my pretty pink wool coat. I took on a new found burst of speed. That pickup just kept on going, but I was beginning to gain on it. At last, I caught up to that big tall pickup! Throwing my bag onto the flatbed, I grabbed hold of the steering wheel then took a giant leap with all I had left in me.  I had managed to hoist my exhausted body up behind the wheel just before the pickup hit the downhill slope toward the steep ravine just a mere 10 feet ahead of me. Sharply, I turned the wheel, pulled out a ways, and shut the pickup off. I looked down only to see my chest fully exposed. Every single, little button on my cute western shirt had popped off during my quarter-mile sprint! I was breathing so hard and gulping air so loudly, that I know I sounded like a donkey sucking air! I must have sat there for 15 minutes or longer before going back to pick up my pretty pink coat. Needing water, I stopped back by the windmill to recharge before heading home. That evening when Jim and Tyler arrived home, they were full of good news. Eventually, I got around to let Jim know I was not suited to switch roles. I related to him how I had managed to save his beloved pickup from running off into a ravine that day. He somehow seemed… grateful?

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 26, 2014 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Dallas, Janet and I enjoyed this story very much. It reminded me of one of my own a few years ago. I was returning to Amarillo from Borger via the Fritch Hwy. I pulled over onto the shoulder to get out to take some photographs that I planned to use to paint from later. I took a few pictures there and continued to walk along side the road taking other pictures. I don’t think any of them were of any spectacular scenery, but I thought I would be able to use them. After I had walked a good ways, I decided to return to my parked van. I turned around and much to my surprise the van had followed me and was right behind me. Good thing I wasn’t going down a very steep hill or the van might have overtaken me or even run over me. I had not put it in Park when I got out. At least it was following me instead of running away from me as in your case.

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