Other places start a story with Once upon a time, but here in
Texas we say, You aint going to believe this! Shore nuff,
you aint going to believe this one.
A West Texas rancher had two sons, one named Junior, and the other
was just called Bubba. Ill not name the rancher cause you might
have known him.
Junior was very intelligent. He did well in high school athletics
and made good grades. He went on to the state cow college in this
area and did well. He was on the judging teams for cattle and
horses and graduated with honors.
Bubba was a little slow...had a learning disability and a slight
speech problem. The high school finally graduated him just to
get him gone. He was strong and enjoyed working on the ranch.
Everyone said he had a way with animals. He learned fence building,
windmill repair and maintenance, roping and doctoring cattle and
all the chores around the ranch. He just wasnt capable of making
important decisions in ranch management. Bubba was good natured
and didnt seem to mind that Junior was gradually taking over
the buying of new bulls, culling the herd and making all of the
important decisions for the ranch.
Bubba had an older pickup full of tools and seldom went to town.
Junior drove a new pickup; spent time in town with some amigos;
played golf; but did a good job of keeping up with the cattle
and feed markets. The old rancher was very proud of Junior and
finally turned the ranch over to him as foreman. Junior would
line out the work every day and Bubba would go about his work
with the Mexican vaqueros as happy as could be.
Bubba had an old pet billygoat called Billy. He had big horns,
was black and white and stank to high heaven. Billy was the head
man of the goat herd Junior kept on the ranch so they could let
the Mexican hands barbeque a young chivo on weekends. No matter
where Bubba was working on the ranch, Billy would usually show
up and hang around him while he was doing whatever his job was
that day. Fences didnt mean much to Billy. He would jump them
and go where he pleased. Bubba would let him ride back to headquarters
in the back of the pickup when the work was done. Bubba and one
of the vaqueros would leave the ranch at various times to pick
up some new piece of equipment Junior had ordered to upgrade the
ranch operations: a solar motor pump system; a new calf tilt table;
a bulk order of salt and mineral blocks bought at a discount;
and other items to make things more efficient. Everyone liked
to watch Bubba and Billy greet each other on his return to the
ranch from El Paso, Fort Davis or San Angelo. Billy would stand
up and put his forefeet on Bubbas chest or sometimes push him
with his head but never actually butt him or hit him with his
horns. They would romp and play while Bubba would be telling Billy
about his trip.
The rancher passed away and the will was read. Junior was somewhat
upset that the ranch was to be divided equally and each son to
receive half of the livestock. Junior felt he should have more
than Bubba since he had been ramrodding the outfit for the past
eight years. He figured out a plan that would give him an advantage,
and told his town amigos to come out to the ranch to see him pull
Junior put all the younger cows and bulls in one pen and the older
stock and sick in another pen. He put Billy in with the smooth-mouths
and cancer-eyed herd. He called Bubba over and said, The ranch
is half yours; the surveyors have separated it equally as to grass,
creek frontage, windmill wells, barns and houses. The cattle have
been divided...an equal amount in each pen and Im going to give
you first choice to show you my heart is in the right place.
Juniors friends were opening beer cans from a cooler they had
brought from town and they winked at each other and laughed behind
Bubbas back. The ranch vaqueros saw what was happening but were
reluctant to say anything.
Bubba climbed up on the fence and looked at the pen of good cattle.
He didnt say anything, he just hummed a little tune and smiled
at everyone. He then walked over to the pen holding the culls
and Billy. He climbed up on the fences top rail and looked them
over real good. Billy saw Bubba up on the fence and he ran over
and looked up at him as if to say, Hello Bubba. Everyone was
waiting for Bubbas decision and he finally said, I wove you
Billy; but you in de wong pen.
Bill Leftwich, of Fort Davis, Texas, says hes a western artist
and shade tree historian.