” ‘Cowboy Up’ my back leg!” said this cow.

This one’s for Jenn. She’s so up on cowboys. Especially the pretty ones!

Life around my house changes with the grandkids. Each phase they go through is a relief or dangerous. We have entered another dangerous one.

For me.

Grandson wants a horse. Not just any horse, a roping horse. Problem? He lives in a subdivision in Petal, while we live in Necaise Crossing an hour and a half away. So guess who’d end up taking care of the horse? Yeah, you got it.

My response to those big green eyes blinking at me was roping horses went to ropers. Wrong thing to say in the presence of co-conspirators. Poppa took him straight to the feed store and got not only the rope, but also a piggin string.

The rope is the long thing tossed by the rider from the back of the running horse over the unsuspecting (but smart enough to flee!) calf’s head; horse plants his feet; calf hits end of rope with an audible ‘twaang’ and enough velocity to snatch all four hooves three feet into the air.

He, the calf–well, unless the cowboy gets tangled up in the rope when he bails out of the saddle to run to the prostrate calf–kisses dirt, complete with big poofy cloud of dust. If the cowboy does get tangled you have an opportunity to see who’s really in command. Usually the horse. I tend to laugh hysterically while he keeps backing up the way he’s been trained to, dragging calf AND embarrassed cowboy clear across the arena. I’ve actually seen rooster tails of dirt shooting off the cowboy’s boots if he manages to dig in. “Whoa!” doesn’t cut it in these situations. (Skiing in bull poop. Now there’s a new Olympic event!)

While the calf is on the ground wondering if there’s a chiropractor in the house, and the crowd is spinning around him like a multi-colored tilt-a-whirl, the cowboy is supposed to run to him, grab him and tie up three of his four feet with the piggin string. Piggin string’s the short rope with spit on it from being clenched between the cowboy’s teeth during the entire run. (Do they use a fresh piggin string each time? Multiple uses may crimp the cowboy’s success in the kiss department after the rodeo. Eeew!) The cowboy throwing his hands in the air signals the calf is tied and someone stops the stopwatch they started when the calf left his chute. The fastest time wins. Event over.

Well, unless the calf finds his feet before the cowboy arrives. Then the cowboy gets to wrestle him to the ground while the calf practices Jackie Chan style kicks on the cowboy’s stomach, thighs and shins. Or in steer roping (bigger moo-moos) I laugh when the cowboy has to chase the horse now backing toward the exit and his oat bin, dragging a tied-up, struggling steer in his wake, and won’t let the cowboy remount. Got to remount to finish the ride.

Seriously, roping is actually a precision event and takes years of practice, unbelievable hand-to-eye coordination, lightening reflexes and some finely trained animals. I have a lot of respect for it. I just don’t like being the calf.

This Sunday I kept forgetting to watch out and was lassoed nine times. Usually when my back was turned. Or I walked around a corner. Or had the peacocks’ food in my hands and couldn’t protect myself. And those were just the head shots! I lost track of how many times he snapped one around my ankle, hobbling me mid stride. “Grace” and “femininity” do not pop to mind while you’re hopping on one leg to keep your balance and the other one is stretched in the air. Fixed him. Shuffled everywhere like an old woman so he couldn’t get a clear shot at either foot.

I snuck away and left him throwing loops over on old fence post while I hid inside, where it was safe.

Never doze off on the couch with a budding roper around. I was startled awake by Hubby yelling “Time! Five point four seconds, a new world record!” Grandson was doing a knock-kneed boogie dance around the coffee table while Pop cheered. Scared me bad enough to jump up.

Difficult maneuver with your feet tied together. Fell off the couch, smacked the coffee table on the way down and said words that would get us an R-rating. They were semi-muffled by the area rug I got a close enough look at to realize I really needed to vacuum again.

They were kind enough to untie me, but not until I quit screeching. I thought that was a little extreme, considering.

Negotiations were in order. Pop sided with grandson, the traitor. We agreed he got the fake steer head with horns nailed to a sawhorse to practice on if he agreed to follow the new house rules. There were only two of them.

1.) No roping inside.
2.) Mawmaw is off limits.

Oh, and at the next rodeo? It’ll be easy to spot me. I’ll be the crazy person in the stands screaming, “Go calves!”

4 Responses

  1. Oh you are a good grandma. I would’ve gone nuts a lot sooner than you did. Having a championship roper cousin, I can agree with you as to how much work it is and how coordinated you have to be. I bet if olympic poop skiing were an event, it would be attended by us gals that appreciate a good looking roper- ick factor aside on the poop! And yes. fresh rope would be required. Your grandson is cute- glad you didn’t do bodily harm to him (and glad you survived). S

  2. I really don’t expect to die a normal death. One of the grandkids will probably take me out! laughing

  3. well, at least you are prosaic about it! LOL! Because you are very imaginative about other stuff- of course, I have no idea of the myriad ways you may have imagined your demise at the hands of a lineal descendant.

  4. This is too funny! My four year old decided she wanted to rope too after we went to the roping pen and she saw momma doing it(not so well). She roped herself more than anything else so I’m safe for a little while!

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