The Little Blue Book



9. Branding the Sandhills

Swish of the grass in the summer’s gust of wind,
Lowing of the pairs of cows and this year’s calves,
Nickering of the 1200-pound animal underneath me,
Sandhills sand carried by the wind into my eyes,
Slight smell of a patch of spiderworts flows through the wind,
Creeks of the windmill pumping up the water from the aquifer,
The soft sound of the water rustling through the river,
People gathering up the cattle as we prod them to the pen of panels
The ho’s and hey’s of the wranglers pushing them into the homestretch,
Chatter of the older ladies and gents as they prepare for the bunch,
Children running around not caring ‘bout what the adults said,
With the irons all ready to brand, the gates open,
Wails of the first calf caught,
2 shots, brand, cut, 2 shots, brand, cut,
The pattern continues with the next calf.
Last calf worked and let up,

Shouts of the elders tell the young’uns to pick up the panels,
Clash of the panels’ together echoes across the pasture,
Panels on the trailer, horses loaded, were ready to leave,
We gather at the host’s house or shop,
As you walk in you see,
Rows upon rows of muddy boots at the door
Wash up and get in line,
Plates, napkins and plastic silverware
A variety of food sits in a row,
Salads to Roast, Rolls to Desserts
A cooler of sodas and other beverages at the end

Sitting in rows of tables,
Chatter of the crowd soon fills the room,
Happy memories are made,
Either one is drenched by a cooler of ice water,
Or one does something so stupid they can’t live it down.

We leave with a cheek in my hand,
And with a new memory
This is what my community is like,
It’s not that big,
Not that exotic,
Nowhere close perfect,

But we come together as a community to help each other.
I go to brandings not because of the money,

I come to learn,
To help,

And to make some new memories.

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