Excerpt from "Looking Back"
1945 Robbed of My Pants and My Pickup Truck
fall while gathering our cattle and trailing them home, we didn't have anybody
to do our chores and take care of things at home so every evening we would
leave our cattle and put our horses in a corral or hobble them along the
road. We would then drive clear home through a lot of bad weather. The roads
was real muddy, and when we got home and by the time we got everything done
it would be about twelve o'clock at night. We would sleep about three hours
and get up and start all over again. We really put in some long hours. It
was gettin pretty hard on Syble because she was expecting our second baby
in about a month When the time for her to have the baby got closer, I took
her down to Grand Junction, CoIorado, to stay with some friends, so she
would be near her doctor..
I was staying alone and batching on the ranch. I was riding and
gathering my cattle. I was putting them on the winter range on the north
side of the White River. About that time, I was sufering from a toothache
about every day. I made an appointment with the dentist in Meeker to have
all of my upper teeth pulled and for him to order a new upper plate. The
dentist told me that he would get me a new upper plate for forty dolars,
and he would pull my upper teeth Out..
The dentist's name was Doc Fredericks. I will never forget him.
I met him on the street when I was going up to his office, and he was chewing
tobacco and smoking a cigarette at the same time. That was the first time
I ever seen that in my life..
Before I even left the ranch to get my teeth pulled, I saw a young
man who was about eighteen that was trapping coyotes for a neighbor sheep-man.
It turned out that he was a drifter from Texas. He said that he wanted to
catch a wild-horse and break one to ride. I told him that I was staying
alone, because my wife was gone and needed somebody to help me on the ranch.
I told him if he would come and help me on the ranch, I would take him out
and help him catch a wild-horse. I told him, I would try to rope one for
him. He said that would be fine. I said that I was going to Meeker to get
some teeth pulled and was going to get a neighbor to do my chores and take
care of the ranch for a couple of days. I was going to stay in Meeker for
a few days, because I knew I would bleed a little, after getting all my
upper teeth pulled.
He wanted to ride up to Meeker with me, and then he was going to
catch a ride to Craig and collect some money that a man owed him. After
that, he said that he wanted to come back to Meeker and ride back down to
the ranch with me and go to work. We went up Meeker and I asked him if he
had any money and he said that he didn't. I gave him some so he could buy
something to eat. I didn't eat anything because I thought it would be best,
especially with me having my teeth pulled.
After I got my teeth pulled, I went to my hotel room and went to
bed, because my mouth was hurting and I was bleeding a lot. After dark that
fellow came to the hotel looking for me. He said that it was cold and stormy
and that he had tried to catch a ride to Craig by standing along side the
road until dark, but nobody would stop and give him a ride. He didn't have
any supper or any money to buy anything to eat on, so I gave him some money
for breakfast. He tried all day again, to catch a tide to Craig. He still
couldn't get a ride, so he came back and stayed with me again.
I took some aspirin tablets and I slept real sound that night. When
I woke up the next morning, he was gone. My Levis was gone with what little
money I had in them, but as luck would have it, I had about one hundred
dollars in my pocket-book which I had put under my pillow the night before,
just like I always did. My pickup keys was in my Levis, so they was gone
too. I didn't have any pants to wear, so I couldn't even go out to tell
anybody my troubles or to let anybody know what happened. Finally, I heard
somebody walking in one of the other rooms in the hotel. I hollered to them
and told them what had happened, and that I needed a pair of pants to wear.
A man brought me a pair of pants.
When I got dressed, I went out and saw that my pickup was gone too.
I went and reported my troubles to the law. 1 had to catch a ride to get
back home down by Rangely. I had to take the stage because was no other
way to go home. I kept thinking about that guy, having my pants and all
my things that was in the pockets. He took my pickup with all the things
in it. That sure hurt me. 1 had a good watch in the watch- pocket of my
overalls, that I got from my brother Jim. 1 wouldn't have taken anything
for it, because it was awful special to me. He got a good pocket knife and
also that pair of Levis that we had such a hard time getting during the
war. It really hurt me to think how good I was to that fellow, giving him
a place to steep, and money to eat with, I couldn't believe he could treat
me that way after all I had done for him.
The law did catch up with him around Steamboat, and I got my pickup
back in a couple of days. Both front springs was broke, but other than that,
it seemed to be okay. The sheriff called me after they put him in jail and
wanted to know if I would give that no-good-rat a second chance and let
him go to work for me again. I said, "no, after he did me the way he
did, I don't want any thing more to do with him."
The preceeding is from John Rodney Barney's book "Looking
Back", My True Memories, from 1908 - 1996.