Lee Pitts: Gone But Not Forgotten
My friend Woody always has been forgetful. In fact, it’s why he got fired, but I’ll let him tell the story.
“I had this real good ranch job working for an absentee owner who lived in Chicago. He was pleased with my work and I was happy with his money. Then one day the owner writes me from the windy city saying he’d read an article that said breeding our heifers to a Jersey bull would eliminate all our calving problems on the ranch, of which we had none. Either the heifers lived through the experience or they didn’t. It was no problem really!
“The owner bought a Jersey bull and told me to go pick him up. Now, up until this time my vision of dairy animals was of docile creatures that walked single file into a milking parlor and gave up their milk willingly in exchange for a hand full of grain. And when I first saw “Bright Eyes”, as he’d been named by my boss, the bull certainly fit that description. Bright Eyes was fawn colored with six black points with a slight dish in his head. He couldn’t have weighed over 1,000 pounds. The only thing missing was a locket around his horns. He sure looked peaceful enough until we went to load him in the Gooseneck®.
“In the process of loading Bright Eyes he put one horn through the radiator of the truck and tore the back door off the trailer. We chained the door closed and all the way home I thought at any minute that bull was going to explode through the roof of the trailer.
“His disposition didn’t improve once we got him home either. That sorry excuse for a bull was a man killer, and simply the sight of a human being was enough to send him into orbit, pawing and bellering. I can’t even begin to count the number of times he charged me on my horse, upending the two of us on several occasions. It got so bad I took to carrying a four-ten shotgun with me along with shells filled with a light load of buckshot and powder. When Bright Eyes charged I’d pull the trigger and knock the dust off his head. It didn’t seem to hurt him none but it didn’t seem to dampen his enthusiasm for charging me and my horse either.
“Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to the day when it came time to take Bright Eyes out of the heifers to put him in the bull pasture. I tried everything for safety sake including roping Bright Eyes from the top of the Gooseneck® and from the bucket of a backhoe, but I still couldn’t escape his wrath. Then one day I did manage to get a rope around his horns, but instead of pulling back and admitting defeat he took off after me and my horse with his head down and nostrils flaring. My horse was just barely staying ahead of the raging bull as we raced through the thickets. I knew I’d better do something quick as my legs were getting shredded in the dense brush and my horse was tiring fast. I devised a plan on the run and when we neared the closest tree I turned my horse and circled that tree five times, the result was that the Jersey bull was snubbed right up next to the tree’s trunk. I tied the outlaw off, figuring I’d return the next day with the Gooseneck®.
“But a funny thing happened the next day. After recalling all the near-death experiences I’d had with Bright Eyes darned if my brain didn’t go blank and I completely forgot where I tied up that SOB. It’s a real medical condition called temporary amnesia, I think they call it. And darned if I could recall any landmarks or discerning features that would jog my memory.
“After about two or three months it came to me in a dream where I’d tied Bright Eyes up. Sure enough, I found that old bag of bones tied right where I left him right next to a tree, my rope still around his horns and a defiant smile on his sun-bleached dead lips. When I informed the boss I’d simply forgotten where I’d tied his prize Jersey bull, he went beserk. And that’s how I got fired from The Lone Tree Ranch.”