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Cowboy time

Marci Whitehurst for Progressive Cattleman Published on 03 August 2016
cowboy driving cattle

A few nights ago, my hubby was out moving cows with friends. He texted me at 7:30 telling me they were almost done and he'd see me soon. Before long, it was 8:30. No hubby. Then 9:30. 10:30 crept up, no word.

Here's where I'd like to tell you that I did not feel any ounce of concern, but waited patiently knowing he was OK. I figured he was fine, but it seemed odd that three hours later he hadn't arrived home. I'd had major surgery the week before, so perhaps I was still "off." Regardless, I did what I felt necessary: I texted and asked if he was alive.

Fifteen minutes later, I get: Yep, just getting back to the truck. Will drop off horses and see you soon.

Soon. It's such a relative word.

He later explained that things blew up after he'd texted, and he ended up out of cell service.

I'm glad everything worked out, but just when I think I'm content with the fact that “soon” could mean anywhere from 10 minutes to 10 days, I'm reminded how ambiguous time is – especially if my cowboy is horseback.

When a cowboy is horseback, he is in his "happy place." Time ceases to exist. He is in deep connection with the land, the animals and his creator. His appetite slows or stops. He is at peace. (The exception to this is if his horse doesn't behave or his dog embarrasses him. That changes everything.)

Whether horseback or not, we cowboy wives are lucky because our husbands spend their time working hard. We all work hard, but I really appreciate how much my guy is capable of and how hard he tries. He never gives up. Say, for example, that he "nicks" himself with his knife. Does he give up and go for stitches? Of course not! He's convinced super glue is a cure-all.

We ranch families also sprout an uncanny amount of optimism when it comes to time and projects. This spring, we began an irrigation revision that ended up being worse than the house in the movie Money Pit. Throughout the ordeal, we had many things that should have only taken a few minutes. "I just need to connect this pipe, and then I'll be in for lunch." "There's just a little problem here; it'll just take a minute."

The grand duke of it all was when the sump started floating after being set. My hubby grabbed the tractor to lift the sump so we could let the area dry out and place it in again. The tractor tires were a tad close to the bank and the weight of the sump sucked the tractor down the bank instead of lifting the sump up. The neighbor graciously helped pull us out, but the sump got scrunched on top. My cowboy, looking at a broken cross bar and a crunched top, said, "No problem; 30 minutes of welding and it'll be good as new." Suffice it to say, supper was cold and crickets were chirping before the welding was finished.

Now to be fair, we wives have our share of time lapses, but these often revolve around cooking or kid activities. If I was crafty, perhaps a craft fair.

Being human, none of us are without error. Thankfully, my hubby and I have regular opportunities to practice grace. However, should the words “soon,” “almost,” “nearly,” “close,” “five minutes,” “quick” or “in no time” pop up, I will take a deep breath and remind myself that I may have a little wait time.  end mark

Marci Whitehurst is a freelance writer, ranch wife and the mother of three children. You can follow her at her blog.

PHOTO: This cowboy is in his "happy place." Photo provided by Marci Whitehurst.

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