Time to Cowboy Up

Cowboy Up – ‘kou-boi uhp’:

    1. When faced with a hard chore, it’s a shift in attitude from “can’t” to a positive “can-do” with confidence and a non-complaining spirit that becomes contageous.
    2. Essentially another term for self-endowment of strength and moral, or to another. Essentially another term for a similar phrase like, “toughen up”, or “stop your belly-aching and fight!

~ UrbanDictionary.com

by Pete Ferguson

This week I’ve come down with a pretty nasty cold. Shivers, shakes, body pains, constant coughing, and terrible nights of sleep are counteracted with a continual feed of DayQuil, Ibuprofen, and hot herbal tea to feel about 30-40% of normal.

And it is times like these that make me appreciate all the more all of the times I haven’t been sick, have gotten a decent night’s sleep, and when breathing was a forgotten chore.

And today it is time to Cowboy Up one more time, fly back home, and recover.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. – Will Rogers

Given the fog of my brain, I’m going to throw in a few good quotes, recount some stories, and thank you for reading.

It aint worth fussin’ about unless the bone is showin’ or you ain’t got no feelin’ in it…even then you should cowboy up and walk it off.

I know an old rancher from Idaho who traded in his spurs for a Sunday Suit for three years to serve as a mentor and president to young missionaries in Arizona. Karl Loveland was having some back issues, eventually we had to drag him against his will to the doctor to get x-rays. I’ve never seen anything like it. Screws, wires, and metal braces a plenty from all the times he had fallen off a horse, broken ribs, and a near fatal accident when a ranch-hand not right in the head pointed a shotgun in his face but Karl was able to move the barrel to his shoulder before the trigger was pulled.

Ironically enough, Karl’s back pain was from putting his wallet in his rear pants pocket. He had never put a wallet in his pants, it was always on the dash of his truck for when he went into town. He also never locked a door on the ranch. So I would follow him after he’d put the keys on the rear tire in El Paso – car theft capitol of the US if not the world at the time – and put them in my pocket, then run out and put them back on the tire just before he returned to the car.

If you’re not makin’ dust your eattin’ it.

I grew up in Utah until I was thirteen and we moved to Texas and then New Jersey for my high school years. As a kid, my good friend, Dustin Spangler, had an uncle Mark who ran a large dairy farm. When I was seven or eight, we slept over at the farm and I awoke about five am to talk poor Mark to death with a million questions. He was a good sport and answered all he could. In the midst of feeding the cattle, he got a call on the radio that one of the cows was in breech labor.

Mark rushed over to the pin where they had the cow restrained, put on a glove that went up to his shoulder, and worked with the cow for some time. I could see he was under a lot of stress, so I stopped asking questions and watched. At one point, as I recall, they almost lost momma and baby. But he was eventually able to turn the baby around and using forceps, had a successful delivery. It was amazing to see this new birth on its feet within hours. We returned to the ranch several times and always worked hard for city folk. I’m not sure how helpful we were to ol Mark, but I’m glad I got to put that on my resume of life experiences.

Just because you own a pair of boots, spurs, a hat, drive a truck, or just have a horse doesn’t mean you’re a cowboy. People who walk around saying they’re cowboys and don’t have anything to back it up with make us real cowboys look bad. Oh and by the way JUST because you ride bulls doesn’t make you a cowboy, not once have I ever been asked “Hey man do you think you could come over some time and break my bull for me”. It’s stupid and you’re not a cowboy. ~ True cowboy

After moving to New Jersey, my mom dusted off her teaching diploma and signed up to be a substitute teacher. During a casual conversation, the kids some how started talking about hamburger and were surprised to find out it came from cows. To a kid who was able to go and spend time on Mark’s farm, and who grew up with the occasional very poignant smell of a near by dairy farm wafting in the cold winter air, this seemed pretty ridiculous. But in the town where we lived in Jersey, many of the kids had been raised by a nanny and got a BMW or Mercedes Benz for their 16th birthday (even though you couldn’t drive until 17 back then).

So my mom got ahold of a video from the library discussing the facts of life about hamburger. I’m not sure how graphic the video was, but I recall my mom telling us that many of the kids decided they would be vegetarians from then on. Not me, when I see a nice large cow grazing in Erda, Utah, just one town from where I live, I get a hunkering for a nice juicy t-bone steak.

If you get to thinking you’re a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around. – Will Rogers

Shortly after getting our first condo, I was on my way home from work when my car stalled out in a bit of a remote area. This was pre cell phone era and it was mighty cold that day. I hadn’t brought a jacket to work because I figured I could just run from home-to-car-to-work and back again.

Feeling a bit panicked, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do next. Within a few minutes, an old green Chevy pickup with a white shell pulled over in front of me and backed up to where I was. A rusty old cowboy got out, looked at me without my coat shivering in the cold, half smiled and said “well, I guess we’d better get you fixed.”

He opened up the shell of his truck, pulled out a blanket threw it at me, told me to get my silly ass back inside my car and pop my hood. I did as I was told and he tinkered for a few moments and got my car fired up again. I got out of my car to return the blanket and tried to give him some money. I can still remember the look in his eyes when he saw the money- I had offended him. He told me to put my money back into my pocket, always wear a jacket in the cold, and then told me he’d be following me home to make sure I got there alright.

I have known many cowboys & gals, both real and not…the difference is their willingness to assist both neighbor and stranger alike for no pay.

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