now, as politely as i can, i am gonna tell you slickers that you haven't a clue how things were done out west in the old days. i will suggest to you that it was a little more rough and ready than you can imagine. i am old enough to have seen a little bit of it, and i am lucky enough to know some of the old timers who lived it.
floyd lewis is 85 years old. he grew up in louisiana, and at age 11 hunted ducks for the family table. by himself. and, he's led an active life since, to put it mildly. his dad taught him the ins and outs of trading and buying, and taking cows to market. as a little boy he went with his dad as he traded cattle, and remembers quite vividly a rank steer putting a horn through the back window of a pickup in which he watched his dad, wide eyed, secure that steer in the back bed of an old pickup. helping a neighbor gather some mountain cows to bring to lower pastures to winter over, he went over a deadfall log ass over tea kettle on a borrowed horse, breaking 5 ribs, 3 in front, two in the back: the doctor remarked, looking at the x-rays taken the next day after the cattle were rounded up, that the x-rays showed old breaks for which he'd never sought treatment. raising bulls in montana he lost over 50 cattle in a spring blizzard, when his cattle sought refuge from the driving freezing wind below a cut bank on the jefferson river, only to have the ice upon which they were standing give way under their weight, drowning them all: they discovered the bodies when the spring thaw finally arrived.
you can read it all, in "grandpa's stories: the cow trader's kid recalls." the cover of his little epistle notes, "bunk house approved, not for sunday school use." you will read about tougher times, and tougher men, way before trans-gender issues became as issue. odd, but when you are genuinely hungry, eating a deer taken illegally as the game warden sits at your supper table eating venison, such things are not worried about.
tying a bull by his balls?
"... the bulls were tied alternately head to tail [across the truck bed], with the biggest having a tow rope on their horns, then we headed to grants pass. this time however, the bulls stood solid. no jostling, no fighting.
we stopped at cave junction to grab a late lunch, and as we emerged from the cafe, i noticed quite a few amused farmers and cowboys looking at the load of bulls. only then did i realize floyd and bud had applied an added restraint on the bulls this trip. every bull was secured by a horn rope on one end and by the testicles on the other end. none of them wanted to move about! tough medicine for big, rough, tough bulls, but it worked."
the author, floyd e. lewis, offers no explanation just how his dad and friend went about tying a tether around the balls of eleven full grown bulls, in order to haul them off to slaughter. personally, i cannot think of a less favorable place to be than crouched down behind an 1800 lb. bull, tying his balls in a rope: that would be a very good place to be kicked straight to eternity. and, neither did floyd explain how the bulls were untied from this restraint.
john jay @ 02.13.2017
p.s. it is a delightful read, full of memorable characters, to include fugitives and murderous wives, and mountain men and recluses who raised cattle. and, of a.t.f. agents who tried to "sneak up" on bootleggers by paying for breakfast in a small oregon town with a government issue check.
you can contact floyd at the following phone number, if you would like to read more: 1.541.938.7973. tell him that john sent you.
i am buying my copy, and happy to do it. you can learn about a boy who was working draft horses at the plow before he was 12. and, about what it took, and what it takes, to get breakfast and dinner on the table.