Friday, April 24, 2009

Sunshine Wash & Dry

Early on we lived in the old bunkhouse at the home ranch. I had small children, a very old washing machine, and a defunct hot walker for a clothes line.  The Cowman announced that he was going to sell some of our dry cows and would be getting us a new washer & dryer. (The fact that he had tried to wash a load of horse blankets in my washer instead of taking them to town and plugging up the laundromat's machines might have influenced his decision.) Upon his return, I hear his pickup flying over the last cattle guard, goose neck trailer swaying, & dogs barking. Yes, my hero has returned home with a new washer & dryer. He steps out of the pickup, walks to the back of the stock trailer, and, Wait a Minute, that is not a washer & dryer in the back. It is one of the ugliest, tallest, nastiest looking horses I've ever seen. 
"Now honey, I know I was going to buy the washer & dryer, but, I can really cover some ground on this guy."
There are rules we live by: One, never under any circumstances buy a horse from a sale barn. Two, if you do suddenly become the owner of such a horse, do not bring it to the headquarters, tuck it away at the other end of the ranch. Three, if your really thinking, return it to the sale barn and sell it to some other smuck, asap. The Cowman, having forgotten the rules, did none of them.
All he did was say, "a 10 year old girl has been riding this horse, so he must be gentle, look how tall & long he is, he will be able to cover the ground, and he even has a little cow sense." 
After the dust settled on the discussion that followed "Sunshine Wash & Dry" was given a bath, grooming and installed in the horse barn. Where he was promptly nipped to the bottom of the pecking order in the horse herd. They weren't any fonder of him than I was.
A week later the Cowman decides it's time to move some yearlings to another pasture on Sunshine Wash & Dry. Around lunchtime I'm starting to get a bit worried as he should have been back hours ago. Just then the Cowman walks in the back door, a little worse for wear: scratches, cuts, bruises, mashed hat, torn chinks, & shirt. He proceeds to walk thru to the gun case, unlocks it, pulls out the 348, and starts hunting shells. "That damn horse just bucked me off into the barbwire and railroad tie cross braces at the second cattle guard, and I'm going to put him out of his misery." 
"Wow, he must be really crippled up for you to have to put him down?" 
"No, he's fine, down at the horse barn, he ran off and left me to walk the two miles home." ol Sunshine Wash & Dry was forgiven for his lack of cowboy etiquette and allowed to stay on. But the end was in sight. 
A while later the Cowman was down at the horse barn putting that horse thru his paces for the viewing pleasure of a friend. Here comes the friend trotting up to the bunkhouse, "You better come quick, when the Cowman comes to, if nothing of his is broken, he's going to be damn lucky." As we are hot footing it down to the horse barn the Cowman's friend relays the turn of events. All was going good: nice figure eight patterns, nice straight runs, fair sliding stops, fair quarter turns, then the Cowman had ol Sunshine Wash & Dry do another pattern and all hell broke loose. 
"I've never seen a horse buck so high," said the friend, "and I've never ever seen a cowboy go so high, straight up, and come straight back down, head first with his arms tucked neatly at his sides. It was something to see."
A day later "Sunshine Wash & Dry" was gone, and not spoken of again. That spring we saw him at the BIG RODEO in the saddle bronc string, he seemed happy.


  1. ROFL!!
    They say there's someone for everyone; I'm glad Sunshine found his rightful place in the world and he job he liked. That was a great ending.

    I had to threaten divorce to get my dryer. Sometimes I wonder if my husband thinks he made the wrong decision when bought it. LOL

  2. Fun story. You have had some adventures in your life. AND still married? That says something about character.

  3. Great story Brighid. Glad the horse lived to tell the tail;)

  4. Loved your story. My sister-in-law and husband raised wheat and a dairy herd in North Dakota. She tried unsuccessfully through three babies to get a washer and dryer, the money always got spent on the farm. Then she got really sick for the first times in her life, bedridden for a couple of weeks. One trip alone to the laundromat with three toddlers and a washer and dryer appeared in the basement.

  5. Great story.

    Couldn't manage without my washer, never had a dryer though. Line dry everything outdoors in good weather and have an indoor line in the garage near the heating boiler for the inclement times.

  6. now yourself shore knows how to tell a tale.....

  7. That's a great story. I hope you got your washer and dryer soon after that. I'm still waiting for my dryer.

  8. "Now honey, I know I was going to buy the washer & dryer, but, I can really cover some ground on this guy."

    This reminds me of Jack and the Beanstalk.

    Glad you hung out Wash & Dry!

  9. Too funny a story and so well told. Really enjoyed and so glad it had a happy ending for Sunshine. Rodeo horses only work about 2 minutes a year if you add up all the 8 seconds. Great fit.
    Thank you so much for visiting TNS.
    Confession is good for the soul.

  10. Can't recall reading a post that kept me so focused and entertained at the same time ... glad everyone, horse included, ended up safe and sound ...

  11. Aw lovely. I'm glad Sunshine found a niche in life. There's hope for us all, I guess.. x

  12. The URL link is now working! :D