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March 31, 2020

Coyote guide

Did I ever mention that when I was small we always had a cow? It wasn’t a show cow, just a cow that had to be milked twice a day. I had the late milking; my mom had the early shift. My mom always had butter for the morning biscuits and buttermilk for my dad to drink. (I didn’t care for it.) I can remember getting off the bus and being able to smell the bread she would be baking. I would run into the house and grab a whole loaf. Then smear that with mom’s butter. Umm good! Occasionally the cow we had would start slowing in her milk production so we would look forward to hamburgers. (You ever wonder why they are called hamburgers when it is beef that goes into them?)

When we finished with one cow my dad wasted little time in trying to find another. My dad was not a big spender so he usually found a young cow and would buy it if it was cheap enough. That led to quite an adventure for me. We lived on a ranch but for this cow we had to go way out in the country. This friend of my dad said he had just what we were looking for. The only problem is that he had about twenty. You might have called them a herd. I was about 9 to 10 years old and went along with my dad and two older brothers. When we got to the ranch the owner pointed out the cow he had in mind. He told my dad there might be a little difficulty cutting her from the heard. He wasn’t kidding. My brothers and I chased those cows all over the place trying to get the right one separated so we could get her into the trailer. Since I was the youngest I ran more than the others. I was trying to make my dad proud of me.

Finally the cows broke out of our little enclosure and headed west. I kept my eye on that cow and followed them. The ranch had lots of hills and gulleys but I just kept after them. Eventually I lost sight of them, which was fortunate because that caused me to look around and see I didn’t know exactly where I was. I won’t say I was lost but pretty close. It was coming up on twilight. I don’t know what kind of bird it was but some bird kept whistling just like my mom would whistle. For a long time I thought it was one of my older brothers torturing me. I was sort of getting nervous. As I turned around and started retracing my steps I looked up and right into the eyes of this coyote. A regular coyote, scruffy brown grey and I could see his yellow eyes.

Now I wasn’t scared of a coyote. I had shot at one once and my dad said they eat the rabbits that eat our hay, so I put my gun to better use shooting jackrabbits. So, initially I wasn’t afraid. Then that rascal took a couple of steps towards me and I thought maybe I better respect this one. Then he turned and trotted off. Of course between the time I saw him and he left I got turned around. I hadn’t started crying or anything but it was sounding like a good idea when that coyote came back, looked at me and trotted off again. Don’t ask me why even today at my advanced age why I decided that maybe he or she knew something I didn’t. So I started in the same direction. It was as good as any and it was only a coyote.

That coyote would disappear for a few minutes then he would pop up in front of me again. Once, when I had to traverse a gulley that was over my head I was at the bottom and I looked up and saw him standing there looking at me with those yellow eyes. But I kept going. To be honest I wasn’t afraid of the coyote. I was afraid of not being able to get back to the truck. It was like we were playing Hide and Go Seek.

It was coming up dark pretty soon and I was getting a little more afraid. Don’t ask me of what but if you ever find yourself lost when you are a very young boy you might better understand. I climbed out of one last gulley, saw my traveling companion at the top of a hill and I followed him again. As soon as I would get about 50 yards from him he would disappear for a while, so when he trotted off I was just thinking of my mother and how much I loved her, then lo and behold, at the top of the hill, I was looking down on the corral where I started. My dad was drinking a beer and my brothers were just sitting on the fence. If you are ever lost I hope you have an intelligent traveling companion as I did. God will provide. God Bless.

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