Since I previously introduced everyone to the Kivans I thought I might share a story after they
were “ supposedly” grown. Somehow, when I was away for a tour in the Army, the Kivans
did manage to grow about a foot and reach the latter teenage years without my help. I am
not sure how that happened with so little supervison.
During the time I was overseas Mother tried her best to keep me up to date on my younger brothers and sister. However, she wasnot aware that the mail service was not dependable. Her letters were serial letters. You needed to read the previous one for the current one to make sense. Some weeks they would get mixed up and I would get letters that began with something like this---“Well the Dr. says it looks like he, them, her (whoever happened to have had the mishap) is healing well and will have no permanent scars”. Then she went right to this week’s trials and tribulation.
I would have to wait until the errant letter showed up to know what happened. It made for interesting reading. My buddies were always ready to hear what happened on the farm. They called my hometown Mayberry instead of Mayfield. I tried to explain to them it was in Oklahoma and I did not have an Aunt Bee or even know Opie or Gomer Pyle. Actually I think they really showed up at mail call to see if I had received any of my Mother or older Sister’s cookies or even better, pictures of my girlfriend (now Mrs. H) or younger sister.
After this point in the Kivans’ lives when I helped on some project I was no longer the boss
of the situation but more of a moderating influence. I think that was because I had recently
developed a keen sense of self preservation. In their minds I had turned into an old lady. For
the most part I tried to keep my cautionary observations to a minimum. If, in my judgement
their plan would only require stitches, or minor injuries to the extremities if it went wrong, I
just kept my advice to myself. If I thought the plan might end up with broken limbs or loss of
life I would then step in and try to modify the risk.
The conversation usually went something like this.
Me: “I don’t think it is a very good idea to rope a 2,000 lb bull next to that cliff and creek with
a 1,000 lb horse. It looks to me like someone could get seriously hurt or killed.
Them: “If we wanted Mother along we would have brought her. Grab your rope and shut
This is almost exactly how the conversation went one time when I was helping them load a
bunch of wild cows to take to the sale. They had gotten most of them but some refused to go
into a corral and the only recourse was to rope them and drag them into the trailer. Now this
was not like roping in the arenas on TV. This was rough brushy country and big crazy wild cows
But they had developed a method that had to be seen to be believed. Two ropers would rope
the crazed cow and drag her to the trailer. The third guy then ran a rope through the front of
the trailer, roped the cow and held her there with his horse. Now here is the tricky part. By
now the cow had locked her front legs and refused to even take a step. That is not a problem
in the open with two horses-- just drag her. But once you got to the trailer her locked legs
would go under the back of the trailer instead of into it, as she refused to take another step.
Their solution was simple.
We would keep the ropes tight on the cow while the younger Kivan dismounted, entered the
trailer from the front through the escape gate. He would then get in the best runner’s track stance he had, right in front of the cow, take off his hat and slap her in the face until she got so mad she would storm after him. He beat her out the front gate, we took up the slack as she ran and bam - one crazed cow loaded and tied in the trailer. We had to tie her down since the trailer
had no top and she would jump out.
If I had a video camera then I would probably be rich. These cows had been running wild so
long they were crazy even by the sale-barn standards. One of the sale-barn guys told us that
we brought in the only cattle he had ever seen that would try to bite him.
-Post by Mr. H