I wrote this names were not used to protect the guilty. How things use to be before computers and smart phones.
The wreck as told to me by an old cowboy. (This is for you Sam)
It all started on a beautiful spring day in southern California in the San Bernardino Mountains.
The cows needed to be pushed into the high country the snow had melted and the bunch grass was tender and full of promise for a good weight gain. The boys started out on fresh horses leading a replacement horse for tomorrow’s activities.
They rode in and out of all the gulleys and canyons making the normally cranky mother cows appear to be possessed by the devil himself. As they pushed the cows and calves into the high country the normal doctoring of abscesses on the lower jaw from fox tails and the occasional pink eye were treated.
As the boys came to the first reservoir the sun was just getting ready to slip behind the mountains. They hobbled the horse’s put a one-pound coffee can of sweet feed with the barley for each horse and set about taking care of the evening chores. One gathered wood while the other unpacked and laid out the bedrolls and got the one pot meal ready to eat.
You have to understand away from home all meals can be prepared in a single pot. Supper done the plates burned in the fire pit and the one pot put away dirty (scrubbing the pot ruins the pots seasoning) the boys settled down for the night. One complained of a terrible pain in his back and the other offered a tube of bute. The tube was passed around like a tube of toothpaste and each boy took a precisely measured amount. (A painkiller designed for a 1,200 lb. Animal works wonders on a 160 lb. Boy.)
. The only complaint heard was about the after taste. This is when the night went wrong. One of the boys had brought a mason jar of pomegranate wine. When the jar was empty the boys zipped up in their sleeping bags and just as the peaceful sleep you can only get from bute and pomegranate wine was slowly falling on the boys the hobbled horse tried to go swimming.
If you don’t know hobbles pretty much keep a horse from swimming. One of the boys zippers stuck on his sleeping bag so he started cutting himself out of the bag, the other boy is trying to get a rope on the drowning horse and the night air is full of screams from the horses descriptive adjectives from the boys and fine down feathers from the sleeping bag.
All ended well the horse was pulled to shore and all four horses were put on a picket line. The boys used duct tape to repair the sleeping bag and dried their long johns by the fire. I have thought of this wreck many times and I am sure the sticking zipper caused the wreck.
By Bill W