More Tales From The Ranch - Soapbox Jr.
People seemed to like the stories about Twin Pines Ranch, so I thought I’d relate a few more memories of growing up there.
As I mentioned previously, we moved between my 8th and 9th-grade year in junior high from Mt. Juliet proper out to Twin Pines which was closer to Gladeville, “Where Softball is King.”
It seemed like we were out in the sticks, which essentially, we were. It was at least 15 minutes down a long, winding two-lane road just to get to the interstate, and Mt. Juliet was a bustling metropolis compared to “The Glade.”
It also took about 7 minutes just to get off the ranch, because the original entrance was a mile-long gravel driveway which wrapped around the small lake on the property, and required someone – me – to get out and open the gates, so you really had to allow extra time to go basically anywhere.
Things have changed a lot, and now a high school and a new convenience store sit less than a mile from mom and dad’s, but back then, we might as well have been on some remote island with the Professor and Mary Ann, sans the coconuts.
Not saying that I didn’t love it there, in fact, I did and still do. It was just an adjustment.
Not long after we moved there, dad said he would pay me $50 if I could rope a steer. It took a while, and I was on foot and basically put the rope over the steer’s head, but that counted as a “rope,” so dad paid up.
Dad used to do team roping in the 80s. Twin Pines has a great arena where they used to do ropings, and even did some local competitions.
With team roping, you have a header who ropes the head, and a heeler who ropes the back legs as the steer as its back legs are off the ground, dad was a heeler, and was pretty good at it, from what I remember.
We used to put up a steer for slaughter every so often, but not in a long while. When we first moved to the ranch, we had three head of cattle, two steers and one cow which we named Jed, Ellie Mae and Jethro. One night we were having a steak for dinner, and mom blurted out, “We’re eating Jethro!” I love a good steak, but I don’t really like it having a name. I don’t think we gave them cute names anymore.
I learned to ride when I was probably 9 or 10 years old, on a pony. When I was older, I had a beautiful black mare named Beauty. I know, extra points for originality… But she was a good horse, reliable and I loved riding her.
There was one time we were riding along the small lake and I was in a gallop when all of a sudden, Beauty must have stepped in a small sinkhole and stumbled and fell. I just kind of rolled with it, and both of us were unhurt, but I knew dad was worried, so I hopped up as quickly as possible saying, “I’m okay! I’m okay!”
His face said it all. He was concerned, but then relieved. It definitely could have been much worse for both horse and rider.
Sadly, I probably haven’t ridden a horse in over 30 years, but I’m hoping to change that in the new year, if it ever gets here.
2020 has been the longest decade I can ever remember.
One of the saddest memories – which dad relates in his daily reading book, “Let’s All Make The Day Count,” was from 9 years ago when on a cold night in January when mom and dad were at their home in Colorado, the original Twin Pines barn burned to the ground. A pickup truck, a tractor, lots of tack and memorabilia were all lost, and even more tragically, several horses and a bull, including stud horses of a bloodline that had been cultivated by Twin Pines Ranch manager, Thurman Mullins.
We were all devastated, especially Thurman. He put a lot of hard work, dedication and love into the ranch. I drove as quickly as I could when I heard the news from dad, and when I got there, I think Thurman was in a bit of shock seeing the smoldering remnants of the barn that had been there for over 30 years.
Dad assured Thurman that they would rebuild, and they did. They feared the bloodline was gone, however, one of the stud horses had been bred to a mare, and she gave birth to a stud horse that they named Twin Pines New Beginnings.
More stories coming soon.
What do you think?
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