alan skeoch
May 28, 2021


I was pitching stones into the rock pile when Jim Sanderson’s daughter approached me.
“At last we found the remaining three cattle from the herd that got away three days ago. Mr. Skeoch.”
“I have not seen any cattle.”
“Neither had we until now.   Do you want to see them…take a look at Anthony Acres winter wheat field on
your son’s farm…over here.”
Jim Sanderson’s daughter is known locally as the Cattle Whisperer because she has a way of settling
down animals who might be easily startled.  She seemed amused by the adventure.  She seemed confident although I
could not see how these cattle could be rounded up and led like lambs back home…miles away.

“Can’t see any cattle…”
“See that white dot way in the distance?”
“Well, I’ll be damned.  How did they get there?”
“No one knows.”
“How long have they been gone?”
“Three days.”
“Where did they come from?”
“Farm on Trafalgar Road near Ballinafad.”
“That’s several miles from here…maybe 3 or 4!”
“We got the others but these three were a mystery until now.”

PAUSE HERE FOR A MOMENT:  Study the picture.  See if you can
find a tiny white dot.  Do it now.

“There got them on my telephoto lens…got them munching water wheat.”

As we looked, trucks began to arrive.   One truck had an ATV in a trailer.  Sort of a suprise to me.   I was brought up when cattle round ups were
done with horses.   And done by cowboys.  Jim Sanderson’s daughter soon disappeared on the ATV sneaking in behind the cattle.   I thought that
would be done by John Wayne …or Roy Rogers on Trigger…or The Lone Ranger on Silver…”Hi Ho, Silver, Away!”   Instead, and probably better,
Jim’s daughter would whisper, “Time to go home, let me show you the way.”

This began to look like an illegal Covid 19 roadside party

This was not my best picture but does credit to one of the cattle wranglers chest.

Then the owner of the herd appeared with his cell phone.  Maybe the cattle were wired!   Maybe they would respond
to the cattle call….’Co boss..co boss’ which I remembered from the past.

He seemed a little startled as I clicked my camera.

“How can I help?” I said.
He looked me straight in the eye and said “The best way you can help is by staying out of the way.”
Now that sounds like a mean thing to say.   There was no malice in his comment.   Cattle can be
startled by strangers.  Sort of ignored his advice anyway but did keep my distance.

The cattle were on the move.

They burst onto the road for a while and then were herded back into the wheat field while the
trap…the corral…was being assembled and baited.

So, as nightfall approached the corral trap was set and baited.   I do not know the end of this story.  Which would be the happier
ending?  Either the cattle remained in the field until next fall or the cattle enter the corral and someone closes the gate.
As we drove down the road there was no one there to close the gate.  And the cattle were back in the field beyond our vision.

Steer Talking:  “What do you think Elsie?  Is that grain in the trough  trap?”
Heifer Talking:   “I think we should just stay here…whole field of fresh wheat
and lots of water in he swamp.”

Alan Thinking:  “I do not think anyone in this drama appreciates my presence with my camera…
except, maybe, the guy whose bare chest I managed to snap…and neighbour Jamie who 
got same advice I did…”Stay out of the way…block the hole in the fence in the back field…out of sight.”


Alan ; “What was the best picture I managed to take of the Great Cattle Round Up?”
Marjorie: “No doubt about that, Alan.”
Alan: “The telephoto of the cattle?”
Marjorie: “No, the picture of the owner of the cattle telling you to STAY OUT OF THE WAY!”

Years ago when our boys were young Marjorie and I and the boys would sing our hearts
out replicating Eddie Arnold’s Cattle Call.   Great days were those.  If only we could
remember the words maybe Jim Sanderson’s daughter would ask us to join her on
the ATV in the big Fifth Line round up.

“Cattle Call”

The cattle are prowlin’ the coyotes are howlin’
Out with the doggies bawl
Where spurs are jinglin’ a cowboy is singin’
This lonesome cattle call [moan]

He rides in the sun till his day’s work is done
And he rounds up the cattle each fall
[Moan] Singin’ this cattle call

For hours he will ride on the range far and wide
When the night wind blows up a squall
His heart is a feather in all kinds of weather
He sings his cattle call [moan]

He’s brown as a berry from ridin’ the prairie
And he sings with an old western drawl
[Moan] Singin’ this cattle call… [moan]

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