Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cowboyin' Stories

I found a copy of this letter sent to a friend a couple of years ago.  I thought it was worth sharing.

"This morning I saw the title and preface to an article in a magazine that caught my attention.  The title was “Big Brandings”.  The preface said that due to the drought, economy and various other things, these “big brandings” are becoming a thing of the past.  The article, though not very good in my opinion, talked about calf brandings involving family, neighbors, everyone’s roles, etc.  There was not that much detail or many personal stories shared in this short article.  It started me to thinking.  Generally when someone older dies you start to think about your own mortality; you begin to think of all the things you meant to ask them and didn’t and of all the stories they told you about that you wish were written down.  I know you told me your dad shared a lot of stories and information from the past with you within the last couple of years.  I think it would be a great idea for you to be the historian of those stories, for you to write them down.  You have a great memory for things like that and a great interest in your heritage and history.  You have told me lots of stories about the ranch that you were told.  You have great “cattle working" and ranch stories of your own that would make for great sharing.  Stories of miraculous feats you completed yourself horseback; things you accomplished with help; horses in your back yard and on the ranch and their stories; ear notches and brands; crazy hog hunting stories done horseback, in jeeps, and trucks, from finding hogs in cars to bleeding, slashed and almost dying dogs (Dan); contests from bow and arrows to black powder rifles to include shooting birds with rifles; sizes of deer from somebody’s first spike deer to largest deer seen or shot; your “cowboys” and cattle workin’s and the fun and history they have brought to the ranch; all this needs to be shared.  All of this is part of what makes you and your children love the ranch so much.  With the ranch’s continued existence being in the limelight and fear of its loss being possibly imminent, this information seems even more critical.  This family’s legacy is at stake.  You know when the folks who know the history are gone, the history is lost. Your children, your grandchildren and their children need to know their heritage.  Who from Texas would not want to know that they come from “cowboys”?  You know, it’s almost like an ethnicity or a race…..Anglo, Hispanic, African American, Asian and “Cowboy”.   I hope you will consider your multitude of knowledge about this a gift and be willing to share it on paper.  I know you hate typing and the thought of this may be a little overwhelming.  You could talk into a tape recorder, perhaps while your driving or dictate it to someone.  Your daughter or I could type it out, write it out, help you edit it.  You could do it on your own or with the help of someone else if you wanted.  What a great gift this would be to give to your children, their children and all the children beyond. 
I think the family legacy is worth telling, and writing it in a book keeps the history alive.
You may think this is a crazy idea…or want no part of it.  It was just an overwhelming thought that came to me this morning and I had to send it to you.  The ranch was always more important to me than you will ever know, for reasons you may never understand.  Perhaps it made me feel a part of that legacy too.  Regardless of what you decide, it will always hold fond memories for me and I will have a few stories of my own to tell.  Let me know what you think.”   So far, no stories have been written.
Do you have family stories to tell?  We all do.  Maybe you should think about documenting yours.

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