By Julie Carter
John Wayne taught about every cowboy I know how to be fearless. It's the movies, but they believe it anyway.
They will fight to get on a horse that clearly has blood in his eye and rope wild cattle that would love nothing better than to run a horn through them or their horses.
They will climb windmill towers in a blizzard wind and track cougars through the snow, fly crop dusters like a wild man, and generally undertake most any dangerous activity they can dream up.
On occasion, they will even go so far as to order their wives around.
When not endangering themselves, they love nothing better than to help their pards out along those same lines.
Button was running a big working crew and had already put in a full day. With great concentration, sitting astride his cowpony, he was counting cattle out the gate.
"Button," came a voice from behind him.
Button went on counting; ignoring the idiot that would dare interrupt.
"Button," came the voice again and getting the same response as before.
This continued, but Button just kept counting.
When the last cow got through the gate, Button turned and said, "What do you want, Reese?"
Reese tossed a big rattlesnake onto Button's lap and the wreck was on.
When the horse was back under control, the snake shaken off and his heart rate back below the critical stage, Button rode over to Reese.
He gave him a mean, squinty-eyed look and said, " I might not could whup you, but I can surely hit you up side the head with this saddle gun."
Reese took this statement under thoughtful consideration.
The next week Reese was horseback counting cattle while Button was slowly driving the feed truck along and putting out feed.
Reese tossed another big snake in the front seat of the truck.
Button bailed out the other side, the truck continued on, and Reese beat a cowboy-retreat for parts afar.
During the rather colorful discussion that followed somewhat later, it was determined that Reese would not give Button any more snakes, no matter the circumstances.
At the next cattle working, Button seemed to have misplaced his gloves.
Nobody would admit to anything, even with Button's threats about what he'd do if he found out someone had assisted the gloves in going missing.
At the break, Reese brought out a Banty rooster he had brought from home and carefully put him in the large cardboard box full of ear tags.
When the cowboy crew started working again, he fessed up to Button about his gloves and told him they were in the ear tag box.
The flapping, squawking rooster moment when the box was opened was not nearly as good as the rattlesnake chaos, but it would do.
The next day Button told Reese to saddle up the new bay colt and put some miles on him. He specifically told him to ride across the tank dam and show the colt how to do that, get him used to it.
Reese rode the skittish, scared colt onto the dam - fence on one side, water on the other- when a big Canadian goose, whose nest was disturbed by this intruder, raised up, flapped her wings and hissed loudly at Reese.
You can break a colt to a lot of things, but a mad momma goose on the fight is not one of them.
It had taken awhile, but it was in this moment that Reese had an epiphany. He was thinking maybe it was time to give Button a break.
Julie can be reached for comment at www.julie-carter.com
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