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Stove Up

I haven’t seen fit ta tell the tale of Tigger the cow hoss. So, I best be getting’ to it.  
Last Sunday, Michael’s hoss, Tigger came to the bunk on three legs. He picked up the name cuz he's a tiger striped dun. Rough and Tough! That right front foot never touched the ground as he hobbled about makin’ his way between the other hosses. Now, Tigger has a bit of the free spirit in ‘im and even with that sore foot he wasn’t all that excited about us walkin’ up to him.  
I could sure sympathize with him cuz I’m beginnin’ to think my wild and woolly days are fast disappearin’ into the wind. Seems like everything on me aches when I roll outta bed in the mornin’s and sometimes it takes near half the day for I get all the kinks worked out. The whole incident put me in mind of Charlie Siringo. When he was jest 30 years old Siringo published his first book entitled, A Texas Cowboy or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony. Charlie described himself as “an old stove up “cow puncher” who has spent nearly twenty years on the Great Western Cattle Range. Now, I’m a might older than 30 and when I WAS 30 I wasn’t feelin’ stove up, yet. But, this mornin’ me and Tigger got the same crippled up gait.  
Siringo may have been stove up, but that didn’t slow him down all that much. He put in a lot of years chasin’ outlaws as a Pinkerton detective after publishing A Texas Cowboy. When there’s important work ta be done seems like the ache slips away. And sore muscles or no… Tigger was in pain. A stock shed sits in the middle of the lot open to one side. The hosses generally find shelter from the sun and spend a lot of time loafing in the shed. So, there in the shed Michael gently consoled Tigger and soon had his arm around Tigger’s neck. He always quiets down while Michael strokes his powerful neck and shoulders. Lifting up the sore foot, I find caked soil under his hoof. He wasn’t using the foot all that much and dirt and small rocks had collected there. 
Scraping the hard caked soil away I thought I would find one of those small rocks had bruised his foot, but that didn’t seem to be the problem. A funny strand of fiber seemed to be projecting from the sole of his hoof and that was also the source of tenderness. A little closer inspection and I found the fibers would not scrape away from the hoof, so I grabbed them and pulled. To my surprise a thorn from a honey locust tree was imbedded its full length of a bout three-quarters of an inch into the sole of his foot. OUCH!  
We cleaned him all up and turned him loose. He has continued to limp all week until this morning. While not completely full of vinegar as he often is, he had that sparkle back in his eye and walked pretty steady. So, Tigger is well on the way to recovery. As fer The Cowboy, well lets jest say I kin ride with the best of ‘em, jest don’t expect me ta do the ground work like a kid. And so far, bein’ stove up hasn’t slowed up my story tellin’ one bit. 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 


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