COWBOY POETRY: Branding Wire

Cowboy poet Bryce Angell

I recollect I must have been a foolish ten-year-old. My cousin was my idol. Now I’ll let this tale unfold.

One day we rounded up the cows and locked them in the corral. The cowboys started branding; can’t forget that pungent smell.

I made an observation thinking I was the expert. “I see the cows are bawling. That’s for dang sure gotta hurt! “

My cousin was the oldest and he knew just what to say. Said, “Branding’s a necessity. There ain’t no better way.”

“Those cows are only mooing. They’re not really feeling pain. They don’t know what we’re doing ‘cuz they barely got a brain.”

My cousin said, “Let’s take this wire and do a little test. We’ll heat the baling wire to red, then touch it to your chest.”

Now being young and stupid and so eager to impress, I pulled my shirt up to my ears. And now I must confess.

That tiny piece of red hot wire, as far as I could tell, (and no matter what my cousin said), was ‘bout as hot as OW!!

I tried to act like no big deal. I didn’t wanna cry. But on that day I learned new meaning to the dang word FRY!

The story spread throughout our town. Those cowboys couldn’t wait. I’m sure they got a laugh or two of how I took the bait.

Each year when it was branding time, I’d listen to the tale. The cowboys liked to spruce it up, embellished without fail.

And so, the story grew. It always changed as it was spread. My grandson asked me, “Grandpa were you really left for dead?”

I pulled my grandson close, then with a twinkle in my eye. I told him every word was true, ‘cuz Grandpas do not lie.

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