December, 1968 – Look closely and you’ll see the lariat has been laid nicely around the neck of the calf. Toco (toe-coe,) my horse has seen the rope, too, and is tucking his back feet under him so that he might stop in the shortest possible distance.
One end of the lariat is around the neck of the calf, the other is tied to the saddle horn. This is that half-second just before the calf hits the end of the rope and is yanked backwards off his feet.
By the time the calf has flown into the air and descended with a thud, I will have leaped off my horse and covered the distance between horse and calf. I will quickly tie 3 of the calf’s feet together with a rope carried in my teeth called a “pigging string.”
This is usually mispronounced as “pickin’ strang.”
Welcome to Oklahoma in the wintertime when I was 10 years old. The temperature is 5 degrees and the snow is blowing so fine and small that it’s better described as dust than flakes.
Yes, 5 degrees was 27 below freezing, even back in those days.
Having experienced this lifestyle, I am fully qualified to reject it.
They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway… They say there’s always magic in the air…