Making a hand


What's rarely noted and is missing in this discussion about the cowboy myth is that taking care of animals requires commitment to their welfare and a lot of knowledge (HCN, 6/09/08). Without this, you're unemployable as a cowpoke and an outfit can't survive economically. If you can't handle feed and supplement needs with changing seasons, growth periods, and reproduction cycles; if you can't take care of animal health needs when no veterinarian can be had; if you can't recognize good stock to acquire in the first place, you aren't worth much as a cowhand.

Blacks shouldn't be counted out of this story, either. Like Guinda, Calif., home to generations of blacks. Like Al Jones, who is pictured in J. Frank Dobie's book, Cow People -- Jones drove cattle north out of Texas 13 times, four of them as trail boss.

Michael Garabedian
Citrus Heights, California

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