Cowboys make winter better

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So far, this new year has rolled a bunch of gutter balls.

Winter’s grip over these last few weeks has added to the work and worry for everyone, and we all need a way to decompress.

We happened to discover The Cowboy Way, Alabama, on a recently added channel for us. It makes a winter evening an enjoyable escape from snow and ice.

The television series follows a group of three young men who make their living on the land, mostly atop their favorite horse, in the open farm country of Alabama.

Cody Harris, the youngest of the three at 25, has the demeanor of a wise old man.

He knew from about age 10 that he wanted to be a cowboy, because the cowboys he knew were the superheroes of the world, far ahead of Superman or Batman. They had manners, they kept their word and they got the prettiest girls.

He started out in the rodeo world, then earned his way through college building fence in the concrete-like dirt of Oklahoma.

Bubba Thompson is about 10 years older than Harris and has carpentry skills to bring to the trio as they make their way building Faith Cattle Company.

Chris “Booger” Brown is the oldest of the three, with a lifetime of farming under his boots and a deep devotion to his grandparents and the work they accomplished.

After his grandfather died, everything changed, and Brown was a lost soul. He would ride his horse to the cemetery to talk to his granddaddy before making any big decisions. It is heartwarming to see the grand treatment he provides for his grandmother.

Remember that driving desire to grow up to be a cowboy or a cowgirl?

Our first memories of that dream came to life from watching westerns on television. The grainy black and white picture brought those flashy horses, mane and tail flying, right into our humble little living room.

It was easy to tell the good guys from the bad, and the moral to the story was wrapped up with innocence and clarity.

I didn’t think there was any cowboy story worth watching in the present. It is refreshing to learn otherwise.

These modern-day cowboys really are fun to watch. They work hard, know how to have fun, and it is clear they were raised with respect for family while being taught to act like gentlemen.

Even when nothing is going right, they manage to keep their manners (at least while the cameras are rolling), and watching them rope an escaped cow or bull while flying on horseback is something to see.

Harris has written a book, My Word is My Bond: Cool cowboy sayings from the heart to get you through life, and his thoughts are based on a strong faith in the Lord, the desire to make the world a better place and his love for the cowboy way of life. He bets that if we all dug down deep inside, our first hero was a cowboy.

Harris writes, “In the Bible, there’s the parable of the lost sheep. The story goes that there are 100 sheep out there and one goes missing. The shepherd leaves his flock to find the one. That is a good definition of a cowboy. He will sacrifice everything for the one. That is a hero.”

Cowboys give directions to those driving around lost in a language all their own, he says. “Turn up there by that house the same color as baby calf poop.”

Harris writes, “A man needs two of everything except a wife and a God. You need two dogs, two horses and two trucks. One of them is going to break down.”

• • •

Missing dog update. Our best dog, Billy, remains missing. It is as though he vanished in to thin air.

We appreciate the kindness of all who inquired following my column in the Jan. 24 issue.

As we continue to search with heavy hearts, we keep the faith that he will find his way back to us.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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