I wrote this a few years ago when I was writing an agricultural blog for The Journal Record. You can find it here. I read on Facebook that Harv died this afternoon.
Living in the panhandle has given me the opportunity to know quite a few cowboys. They are a breed unto themselves. A cowboy hates to farm, and hates to be stuck indoors. He loves his horse, and likes to ride. A cowboy is his own man.
I had times in my life that I went through a “cowboy” phase, but I never was a real cowboy. I always said that, “I farmed like a cowboy, and cowboyed like a farmer.”
When I think of a cowboy, Harv comes to mind. He wore a hat and boots, and he walked and talked like a cowboy. His language was laced, and his gate had a gimp from too many days in the saddle.
Harv used to do day work for us. (Day work is when a cowboy hires himself and his horse out for the day to help work cattle.) One day, Harv was helping us move some calves. The boys, Harv, and I were riding to the back of the pasture beside an electric fence. As we were riding along, Reid’s horse brushed up against the fence, and he started bucking. Reid wasn’t very old; I’m guessing about ten. His horse was bucking pretty hard, but Reid was hanging on. As quickly as the bucking started, it stopped. I jumped off my horse, and grabbed Reid’s horse by the bridle. Reid had that frightful look on his face that said, “I want off this horse now!”
Before I could say a word a voice shouted loud and clear behind me, “Wow! You sure cowboyed up and rode him, by god!” It was Harv. He bragged on Reid for a couple of minutes; talking about how hard the horse bucked, and how well Reid rode him. The frightened look disappeared from Reid’s face, and was replaced with a look of confidence.
I got to see a little bit of cowboy wisdom first hand, and Reid got praised by a bona fide bronc bustin cowboy.
May God Bless you Harv.