There’s a million words of wisdom about the importance of knowledge. The Bible pretty much has an entire book dedicated to seeking knowledge, the book of Proverbs. Proverbs was written by King Solomon, who was the wisest king to ever live. Proverbs has all sorts of teachings about how to live your life and the importance of knowledge and wisdom.
Around my house we joke that we each have doctorate degrees from the school of hard knocks. Will Rogers once said, “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” Even though Will Rogers lived almost exactly a hundred years ago, he still grew up on a farm. He also was handy with a rope, which is what made him famous in the first place. He heeled a mouse one time. I’ve always wondered what happened after he roped that little mouse. What did he do with it?
The other day at a horse sale in Nebraska the auctioneer mentioned they had roped a deer on this horse that was coming into the sale ring to be auctioned off. He said they get horses that people have roped hogs on quite often, but a horse they roped a deer on was a first for him.
As I was listening to him I couldn’t help but wonder what happened after they roped the deer. How did they let the deer loose? All sorts of questions were going through my mind. Did the deer live? Did the deer go into attack mode and charge the horse and rider? On the other hand, did the deer go into a sort of tremoring fit and fall over in a trance like those fainting goats do when you honk the horn close to them? My mind raced with the possibilities of someone roping a deer.
One time when I was a kid my uncle Clarence had a pet deer named Bambi. She was really tame and friendly to most people, that is most people except me. I was constantly trying to rope her. This was during the time when I was just learning to swing a rope. No animal was safe from my loop back then. I roped all the dogs. I roped calves on foot, the goats, horses and even the chickens. Bambi had yet to be caught. She was kind of the big prize to prove to myself I was a real roping fool.
One day I caught Bambi unaware and I was finally able to rope her by the neck. She went absolutely crazy. She fought and jumped and bellered like a mad cow.
Like any ten year old kid, I was an idiot. I held on to the rope, I had it in my mind I was also going to hog tie her with my piggin string. As we were fighting one another I think she finally realized I was the evil culprit causing her stress. In a flash she changed from trying to escape the rope to going full out deer ninja. The teenage mutant ninja turtles didn’t have nothing on Bambi’s moves. She came at me on her hind legs and struck me in the face about ten times before I even knew what was happening. She knocked me down and then proceeded to do the mean bucking bull hook me in the ribs with her head and jump up and down and stomp me with her feet.
After a few times of being ninja kicked I was able to grab the hondo of my rope and sort of pull the loop out of the rope as she was attacking me. After what seemed like an eternity she realized she was free, so she bounded away to the other side of the yard where my uncle Clarence was hoeing the garden.
From that day on anytime I came to my uncle Clarence’s Bambi met me on two legs and tried to ninja kick me in the face. She never forgave me for roping her. They say elephants have a good memory, I don’t about elephants, but a tame whitetail deer never forgets a slight and they hold a grudge forever.
As that young cowboy rode his horse in the sale ring all these memories came back to life. He sold his horse and went on out the back of the sale barn. I couldn’t help but wonder about his deer roping and if he fared better than me. Will Rogers also said there are men running governments that shouldn’t be allowed to play with matches. Proverbs said something about a fool appears wise when he keeps his mouth shut, so I didn’t chase the young cowboy down and tell him about my deer roping, I just continued to sit in my lawn chair and wonder how it worked out for him.
James Lockhart lives near the Kiamichi mountains in southeast Oklahoma. He writes cowboy stories and fools with cows and horses.