Monday, May 26, 2008

What Would Buckaroo Do?

Between the ages of fourteen and seventeen, I lived in a wonderful/horrible place called Gilmer County in the north Georgia mountains. I won't get into the whys of the "horrible", but I will mention some of the "wonderful" things.

Probably the best thing about it was its rural character. It even had real wilderness remaining. Vast tracts of land where there were no roads and where access was possible only on foot in some places. Many of the kids I knew lived on farms. Actual honest-to-Bacchus farms. Most of those families didn't make all of their money from farming, but it was an integral part of the lives of just about everyone I knew when I went to high school there. All but the richest of the families seemed to have at least a couple of acres of some type under plow, or have livestock of some kind.

This was, looking back on it, very fine. I miss experiencing that. I miss helping friends plow a field. I miss spreading manure. (No, really! I do! It was fun.) I miss helping people harvest things from the fields--apples, corn, beans, okra, tomatoes, you-name-it. One of my pals I used to help when he'd go to the chicken coop to pick out a chicken for slaughter. They really do run around when you chop off their heads. Mainly, though, they fall down a lot.

Two of my pals were brothers, and we did a lot of hiking and backpacking together. Their dad leased a large pasture for raising beef cattle. They had a huge bull named Buckaroo. Whenever they had to go into the pasture, they had to keep a close eye out for Buckaroo. He did not care for humans trespassing on his territory. My pals would sometimes cut across the pasture on their hikes, and would make sure Buckaroo was far away when they'd commence to invading his land as they shortcut across it. Often, Buckaroo would spy them and give chase.

"What would Buckaroo do if he caught you guys?" I once asked them.

The brothers looked at one another, nodded, and said, "He'd kill us."

Not Buckaroo, but a reasonable facsimile.

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