Thursday, April 24, 2014
Memories of Buddy
Buddy, my cousin, passed away at 90 years of age. He was a big part of my life when I was a teenager. My Dad worked as a cowboy on a few of Buddy's ranches. I spent a lot of time with my Dad trying to be a cowboy, especially during the summer.
It was always an adventure. Buddy was modernizing his ranching style keeping ahead of the crowd. Buddy was always so busy and he would come by and leave a note on the kitchen table which was the custom if someone at a ranch wasn't home. He knew my dad didn't need any supervision to get things done. My dad thought that Buddy, as the boss, should have waited to talk to him in person. Dad would either ignore the note or just quit for a while. That is why I say he worked on a "few" of the ranches. Buddy would talk him into coming back to work at a different place.
Branding was always a big event each year. The cowboys gathered the cattle in the morning and branded in the afternoon. Cowboys would always rope the calves on horseback and tie them down for branding. One of the summers Buddy brought butane heaters for the branding irons, so much faster than wood fires. Buddy came up with the idea of separating the cows and calves and penning the calves alone in a small corral. There were two flanking teams, two on each team to throw down and hold each calf for branding. Buddy did the branding, my dad castrated the bull calves, Helen (Buddy's wife) vaccinated and I was on one of the four flankers. We branded 110 calves that afternoon! It must have been a record as we had always branded 25 or so on a given day. We finished up in two or three days what normally took a week or more with half the cowhands.
I have no photos of Buddy. This is Dad at some other branding. You can see the cows and calves are all together. Looks like he is putting something on the calf, maybe it was de-horned.
I have missed seeing Buddy and his family. Buddy and Helen had six children. When I was there for the summers, there were just four, two were born later. They were little and always rode and "helped" with the gathering of cattle, branding, etc. They turned out to be great cowboys but when they were so little, they were into everything. Helen passed away many years ago. We see the family only occasionally now. Too bad how our lives change and we grow away from family that we were so close with. Maybe we will see some of them this summer. I hope so. Many good memories in the memory bank. Rest in peace, cousin!
- Jo Castillo
- Bastrop, Texas, United States
- I Grew up in a small town , Magdalena, New Mexico. I enjoy art and the pleasure other people get from my work. I always donate some of my sales and art to charities, especially for children. That started in Bolivia with Para los Niños. (Link on sidebar) "I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." -- Winston Churchill
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