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Monday, November 9, 2009

JJ: Hissy Fit I

Dani's snake worries led to some odd events. A couple of them occurred during the Fall roundups at Star Meadows, when the cattle are pushed back in to the ranch from the grazing lease that extended north and west of the fenced winter pasture on the home ranch. This roundup resembled a game of hide and seek more than it did a Rawhide rerun, putting in a lot of miles in the saddle looking for cows, or tracks or pies or some sign of where they were. It meant riding trails and closed roads and glassing hillsides and hours of plodding, so it was always a good idea to drop a sandwich or two and something to drink into the saddlebags. Dani & I had been checking out a series of closed roads, at a trot on the first ones, but at a walk after a while when boredom started to set in. It was hot and dusty and thirsty work, but when I decided to get a drink it stopped being boring. Susan had packed my saddle bags and dropped in a couple of bottles of Coca-Cola with my lunch, and since I hadn't crossed a stream for a while I finally dug one out and opened it as I rode. Mistake. I'd never paid much attention to the release of carbonation when I opened a pop bottle, and never thought about the shaking the coke had been getting behind the saddle. When I cracked the seal, I found myself in a juggling act with a hissing, foam-spitting bottle and a wild-eyed Arab that was convinced I was holding a snake in my hand. I was trying to screw the lid back down before I got thrown off and Dani was trying to get away from everything on her back. It was a toss-up which was going to hit the ground first: the bottle, the horse, my butt, or all three. The bottle lost. I decided, wisely for a change, that being thirsty was better than being bruised and tossed it so I could grab a saddle horn. When the plastic bottle hit the ground it cracked and spewed Coke in all directions. Dani took one look at it and decided running was better than bucking and took off up the road with me still aboard and somewhat in control. When we stopped, she edged around to keep an eye out in case the snake-in-a-bottle was in pursuit while I got settled back into the saddle, wiped coke, dust and sweat out of my eyes, and calmed down a bit. I stopped at the next creek so we could could both get a soothing drink and returned the second bottle of Coke to Susan that night, unopened. TBC (Me)