There ain’t no cattle.
If there was one thing I shoulda found a way to tell our bucket gal that day, it was that. I ain’t sure whether she knew there wasn’t, and didn’t give a flip of a wirey Appy’s tail, or didn’t know, and didn’t want to know — and then I also ain’t sure which one’d be worse. Bein a partly retired County Island pet pleasure horse gives an old ranch horse too much time to think. Bein rode around a ranch that ain’t even got one stray cow, when all the people ridin us horses are blabberin on and on and on about how the place was an old cattle ranch, and how many cattle had been run down the same trail we traveled, when you’re tryin hard not to hear any more of their blabber and also tryin to be a good ranch horse and look for any of these cattle just in case, also give an old ranch horse too much time to think.
We went to the ranch, not once, but twice, and it was the second time when I truthfully shoulda found a way to tell her and put her and her friends outa their misery, so to speak. Or maybe that was my own misery. And I’d be willin to bet my own grain bucket we’ll be headin back there again one of these days. Coors Light went once, too, without me, and he also confirmed the suspicious lack of cattle. He confirmed another thing, too, and I’ll get to that, after a spell, and spell may be the proper word for it.
Going to a cattle ranch that’s got no cattle on purpose takes the County Island people’s stupid cow games, such as pennin, sortin and ropin, to what’s called an entirely new level — which ain’t a good thing — if now they’re playin stupid cow games even without the cows. That’s just some stupid people games, right there.
But, even stupid people games can still be fun for a horse. And so twice we went ridin around the cattle ranch that ain’t got no cattle, talkin about cattle, although presumably lookin for cattle. I got to trot through some of the nice sandy flat spots, and lope up some little hills before I had to stop to catch my breath. It was, like my Coors Brothers horse compadres would say, hella cool. This no-cattle ranch has got some downright enjoyable trails for moseyin, as far as pointless pleasure rides go.
Seems like everybody from the whole entire County Island was out lookin for cattle both times I went there, too, and they was in such good moods about it! There was whole herds of people walkin, with no good horses in sight, like the herd was just walkin for the sake of walkin, which don’t make no sense at all to a horse, and herds of those rolly fast bicycle contraptions with bicycle contraption riders. I don’t know how they hell, pardon my french, they expected to rope and hold a cow with a rolly fast bicycle, but I reckon maybe it’s as likely as anythin else that happens in these parts.
And so I decided to just be the very good horse I am, and not try to tell our bucket gal there wasn’t any cattle by makin any kinda horse-statement about there bein no cattle, such as actin barn sour or bargey or spooky. There ain’t never much of a point to makin your point with a vice.
Coors Light said that another horse said that parts of the ranch was infested with cow ghosts, back behind the hills where the cow pens used to be.
First off, there ain’t no such thing. Second off, if there was, I would know about it, if any horse is gonna know about cow ghosts. And third off, sayin there’s a thing that “used to be” makes no sense at all. A thing just is. If it “used to be,” then it ain’t no more, and cow pens can’t have cows in ‘em if they ain’t there no more. All the damned cow ghosts would likely wander off like real cows do, with no corral to contain ‘em. You seriously think cow ghosts would be waitin around, chewin on their ghost cuds and swishin their ghost tails, for some County Island horses to spook?
I mean to say, I ain’t yet been back behind the hills where the cow pens used to be to see for myself, but I’m still as sure as I need to be that the only cow ghosts livin back behind the hills on the cow-less ranch where the cow pens used to be are the cow ghosts that live between some horses’ own ears.
The best part of bein such an honest ranch horse is the way everybody automatically takes your word for it.
So what I told Coors Light was — Son, you’re right. There are ghost cattle.
I’ll be waitin to see if my own words come back to haunt me, the next time I get to go to the ranch that ain’t got no cattle. I feel purty confident about it, but I also know I still got what it takes to high-tail it back to the trailhead if need be. I ain’t got to be the fastest horse when the ghost cows come home, just faster than the horse the ghost cows get.