Yesterday I had the opportunity to go observe a “calf dragging” in Oklahoma. That’s what they call cattle processing locally there even though it does sound a little rough in today’s society. And in the dusty conditions yesterday, even the pictures appear that the cattle are being jostled around excessively, when in reality, they were being handled as easy as possible during the actual processing.
I took along my camera to capture some of the events. I was hoping to capture some such as a cowboy throwing “the perfect loop”, some cowboy getting run over by a runaway calf or some other funny happening. I also had hopes of getting a few that would provoke some thought. So when going through the pictures last night I found one that really stood out to me.
A few months back, I wrote a blog called Cowboys and Heroes where I told of how I had always looked up to cowboys. I mentioned down in the story of some “real” cowboys and cattleman that had affected my life as a young adult. And the older I get, the more value I place on that time of learning, the wisdom they shared and the laughs caused by their stories.
This picture, showing the backs of two cowboys, shows to me the contrast of “those with experience” and “those wishing to gain experience”. I know J. B. Bowman pretty well and have tremendous admiration for the man. The youngster (whose name I do not know) can be seen in the background in several pictures doing his assigned job.
J. B. has spent most of his 72 years in the ranching areas of southern KS and northern OK and still puts in a day’s work that most half his age couldn’t. He has done every associated job from fixing fence to selling the fattened cattle. He has made money and he has lost money. And yesterday he told me his reflexes just weren’t quite quick enough to “tail down” a calf. Then said with a grin, “I’ll leave that to the younger ones, even though I still can.”
And I also had some admiration for this youngster. Here was a youngster who wasn’t sitting in the house on a Saturday morning, watching cartoons or playing video games. He was up at daybreak anticipating a day filled with “working cattle”.
It really bothers me to hear people talking about this “new generation” in an all-encompassing way, saying they are lazy and incompetent. Some are, but my belief is that, by in large, they will find some of the answers to the problems we are facing today.
This picture portrays to me the dreams of youth combined with the experience of maturity; the respect for the elder by the youth, the acquiesce for the youth by the elder.