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Old 06-27-2010, 07:23 AM   #1
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My New Hat .......

Arthur Price.

I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. ''Art'' Price back in 1961 when Jim Price and myself went out to Colorado to spend a couple weeks in Taylor Park above Gunniston, Colorado.
Art Price was a small ranch owner and a ''cow man'' … NOT A COW BOY..
He was a full, died in the wool, COW MAN and he made his living working with and raising cattle. He would occasionally take work at the CO-OP to help support his family but his primary work was with cattle. His primary job was working for the cattlemen s association taking care of the herd of cattle that they placed in Taylor park every year. Most of the ranchers would truck their cattle up to Taylor Park and fatten them up on ''sweet grass'' and then haul them down to market in the fall. Arts job was to watch over the cattle and keep them in ''good grass'' during the summer months.
Jim Price and I were shipmates on the ''Norton'' and we got transferred to Cheltenham, MD and we each got about 40 days leave and we decided to spend at least half of it in Colorado with his family..
After a couple days respite at his families home we ''hit it for the High Country'' in a old Dodge pick up. Art, Jim ''Whiskey the cow dog'' and myself jammed into the seat of the pick up and we hit it for the ''hills''. We stopped in Gunniston and it was decided that I should have a real ''cowboy hat'' instead of the ball cap I had on. Art picked out a ''good straw'' hat for me. It was a tightly woven Stetson and it was actually made from ''straw'' stems. It was beautiful and I wore it with great pride. It also turned out to be the ''butt of jokes'' but all in fun.
In due course we arrived at ''Pie Plant'' cabin in the high rockies in Taylor Park that evening. You must understand that this place had one amenity. ONE. Thats all..... It had a pump inside the cabin over the sink. It had no electricity. No running water as such. No indoor plumbing, There was a wood stove for heat and cooking and a ''safe box'' for food stowage. That evening we feasted on goods that Letra, Jims mom, had prepared for us when we left the ranch. I was almost too excited to sleep that night so we sat by the lantern and talked for a while.
Art was a tall lean man. There was no fat on this man as I could see and he had a ''sparkle in his eye'' and you could catch a glimps of a ''half smile'' on his face some of the time when he talked. He was an all knowing man when it came to ranching and cattle and horses and the tools of his trade. When we finally went to bed he advised me to be sure and ''hang my new hat up high'' so the mice would not use it to build a nest and we surly didnt want to ''Mess up my New Hat'' the first night in the high country.
We were all up before dawn. Art cooked breakfast of pancakes and spam while Whisky and Jim and myself went out to ''wrangle up the horses''.
''Be careful of that new hat Boy. Don't let a horse step on it, especially with it on your head'' Art told me as we left in the rising sun.
Whiskey was a wonder. She could run like a bullet. Ears laid back, tail out straight and legs moving at the speed of light and she could stop on a dime.
Jim told her to ''go get the horses'' and she was gone in a flash. The ''Horse Pasture'' was about a thousand akers and contained probably fifty horses. In a short time Whiskey had rounded up most of the horses and had driven them to the corral.
After breakfast we went out to the corral to ''Pick our Mount for the day''...
Art asked me ''Which horse I would like to ride today''?
Not being fimilar with horse flesh or anything like that I picked out the largest horse in the corral. This turned out to be a draft horse for pulling wagons and sleds and the like and everyone got a good laugh out of my ''choice''. I reasoned that since we would be riding the mountains that I should need a ''good strong horse'' that could last all day without getting ''winded''. I didnt want one of those smaller, skinnie horses.........
Art picked me a horse called ''Booger Red''. It seems that ''Booger''' had been a bucking horse in the rodeo and when he lost his ''spirit for bucking'' the cattlemans assoiciation bought him for a cow horse. Art did tell me that sometimes he would ''come uncorked'' and toss the rider over the barn just for old time sakes but most of the time he was ''pretty tame'' and he sure would not put me on a horse that would cause me to ''bend my new hat'' of course. Art showed me how to ''saddle up'' and how to ''get on'' the horse so it looked like I knew what I was doing. We loaded our sandwiches and our extra coats and headed for the ''High Country'' with Whiskey in tow.

Everything in Taylor Park is ''up hill'' because Taylor Park is in the valley between some of the most beautiful mountains you have ever seen in your life. When God created this place he was in a very good mood and made this some of his best workmanship.
We ambled along going up hill most of the time. We went thru stands of timber and scrub land. We walked the horses and just looked at Gods creations. On several occasions I would point out various shapes in the mountain face and Art was amazed saying he had been here many times and never noticed these things. Occasionally a big elk in ''velvet'' would bolt from our path and run thru trees that I would have had difficulty walking thru with my new hat on.
We finally crested a large mountain with a good view out in front of us. Art stretched in his saddle and gazed over the land looking for two prize bulls that were ''batching'' up here somewhere.
''They are up here somewhere. We just gotta find them and take them down the mountain for round up''......
Everyone looked including Whiskey but there were no bulls to be seen from this vantage point and we could see probably fifty square miles out in front of us.
''I recon we can head up toward Italian Creek and then across toward Horse Pen mountain for a look around'' Art said.
He gestured that we should head ''that a way'' without regard that we were standing on top of a mountain crest that had a drop off of at least forty miles straight down thru rocks, boulders, trees, stumps, bramble bushes and all kinds of hurtful things and stuff that would bend up my new hat. There was also a nice wide creek with lots of rocks and boulders and water for droning in at the bottom of the hill.......
I kinda stood up in the saddle and peeked over the horses head and looked down. GULP.............. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? A freekin mountain goat cant get down from here......
I looked at Art and he grinned that knowing grin and assured me that we could and would go down here and that I would do just fine if I would do exactly what he told me and that for sure I would not bend up my ''New Hat''. He said that the way ''down'' was for me to pull my ''New Hat'' down tight on my head, lean back in the saddle with my feet toward the horses neck, give the horse ''his head'' and hang on to the saddle horn for dear life and the horse would take care of the rest.

''Just watch me boy''...... in a flash he and Rex, his horse, went over the side and Rex immediately went to a ''squat'' position with his front legs out for steering and his rear legs digging in for breaks. They scooted down that hill like a kid on a sled rolling dirt and small animals ahead of the horses hoves while Art sat glued in the saddle leaning and guiding the horse on his way to the bottom. Art reached the bottom without so much as losing his hat, turned in the saddle and said ...''Come on boy, you can do it, just dont bend that New Hat'' and if you fall off, try to fall backwards so ''Booger'' wont step on your hat.''
It goes without saying that I became a Christian that morning. I took a deep breath, pulled my New Hat down tight on my head, leaned back in the saddle with my heels on ''Booger Reds'' neck and over the side we went. An eternity flashed by my eyes in about five seconds of our decent of the mountain face. Booger was a jewel of a horse. He avoided the trees, rocks, boulders, stumps and small animals and stopped just as we got to the creek, stood up and shook his head and looked back at me.
Jim followed and when we all go to the bottom Art turned in his saddle and gave his big toothie grin and congratulated me on my courage and my ability to ''hang on'' and how I looked just like a real cow boy except for the screaming and the promising never to curse again if God would let me live through this.
He stepped off Rex and told me to ''hand me down that New Hat'' ….. I did as he said and he took the ''New Hat'' over to the creek and dipped it into the water. He rumpled the hat and washed out a lot of the starch in it and took his hands and changed the crown to a chyanne flat like his hat. He creased the brim of the hat and totally reshaped it before my very eyes. He removed the ribbon hat band and reached into his vest and installed a horse tail hair hat band on the hat and handed it back to me.
''Try it on for size now boy''..........
I placed it on my head with the ice cold mountain water running down my neck and I could feel the hat conforming to my heads shape. In my life I have never been so proud of such a simple gesture given to me.
''You look almost like a real cow boy now''..............''Lets go find them bulls''

We spent two glorious weeks in the High Country in Taylor Park. We rode horses till my fanny was sore and my legs were raw on the inside and I loved every minute of it. We had adventure upon adventure and Whiskey and I became fast friends and I had the privilege of the company of a real Cow Man for that time and he influenced my life and my well being and my outlook on life with his simple ways and his philosophy of life. Art was a great influence on me and I shall remember him always.

Seajay the sailor man …......

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Old 06-27-2010, 07:46 AM   #2
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Seajay: FABULOUS narrative!! Thanks. Steve

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Old 06-27-2010, 08:17 AM   #3
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That sounds like something I'd love to do! Quite an expierence, you got to see some of God's best work, and had a couple of people to show you the best of it.
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chickadee View Post
Seajay: FABULOUS narrative!! Thanks. Steve
i say 2x because i enjoyed it so much i read it again
just liven life in east tn or where ever our
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:14 PM   #5
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Tks guys. That trip to Colorado gave me ''itchie feet'' and I determined that someday I will come back to Taylor Park in Colorado and I would someday see the ''west'' in all its glory and I have done just that. I have been back to Taylor Park and hardly recognized the place ... Cabins everywhere.... Pie Plant cabin is still there and still used by the Cattlemens Association and they still ''punch cattle'' up there in the summer time. Willa and I met a couple of ''COWMEN'' up at ''Union Station'' ( another cow camp) up there when we visited Gods Country for a week. A million memories came rushing back as we roamed around in the truck just looking and remembering. Strange as it may seem I could still find my way around up there. I shot a lot of pix and stood in ''wonderment'' looking at the snow covered mountains and admiring Gods handy work. Taylor Park is above Gunnison in Colorado. they have a nice campground and good fishing i am told. Go up and spend some time up there. It is worth the drive because the road is now paved all the way up now. Go to ''Shermans Store'' and mention ''Art Price'' and Shermans kids will remember him for sure .......
Seajay the sailor man ....
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:03 AM   #6
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That sounds like it was quite an experience.

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