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On the Edge of Common Sense: Friends

Baxter Black Published on 02 April 2007

I was walkin’ back to the house about 9:30 p.m. It was dark.

Orion, 7 Sisters, Taurus and Canis Major were blazin’ away as I walked by a beautiful handmade bird feeder, complete with water tower, laurel branches and a copper-roofed cabin. Dan made it for me the year before he died. ‘Evenin’, Dan,’ I said as I passed it by.

‘Howdy, Wayne,’ I said as I scraped my boots on the handmade horseshoe foot scraper. ‘Thanks.’ That afternoon I had put on a ten-year-old pair of Carhartt overalls Andy had given me when he bought a new pair; he is a better dresser than I and has always tried to class-up my act. Thanks Andy. And, Larry, thanks for this hat.

There was snow on my 2-year old Suburban this morning. I’ve had it a month. Red got a new one and I always buy his trade-in. They usually need new brakes or transmission work. But it’s worth the money. Thanks, Red.

We checked the heifers this morning. My good horse I got from Sonny, my bit from Chuck, and my saddle from Roger; they give me good deals. I’m tryin’ to live up to their expectations. One of the heifers in the bunch was the daughter of a cow Gerald traded when he left the ranch. Thanks, boys.

My dog went along. Mary had raised him and Jeb showed me how to make him a better stock dog. Thanks.

I can’t walk through the house or out to the corrals without trippin’ over someone’s contribution to my good life. Grandpa Tommy’s 8 foot table, Jack’s gate, Dick’s molasses tank, Grandpa Landers’s Regulator clock, Butch’s 8 track studio board, Warner’s jaguar photo, Ace’s cartoons, Mother’s paintings on the wall, Chris’ furniture, Ron’s tapaderas, Phyllis’ caned chairs, Pinto’s subscription to a favorite publication – friends, mostly, who have taken the time to do something special. More properly it’s people who have penetrated my marrow and help me remember how lucky I am. For me it’s the people whose names I remember.

I sent a book to an old partner now living in a nursing home. He can’t remember me anymore, but I know him. 40 years ago he gave me a beautiful hunting knife. It had a flexible blade. Over the years I lost it or wore it out, who knows. But there is a deer head hanging above my piano that came off his ranch.

When I go see him next time, he probably won’t know me but I’ll tell him about the hunting knife and the deer head on my wall. I’ll tell Billy what a blessing it has been to have him in my life. I’ll honor him. Couldn’t hurt.  end_mark