This is last week's email from Nate (5/2/16). It didn't get delivered so he resent it today.
|The Branding Team|
We went branding! It was the spring brand on Saturday for Brother Dilt's ranch in Jaffray! I haven't been branding since Grandpa took me to Uncle Bradley's and I got thrown off that horse! I was like, 9 years old back then. And these cowboys did it old-style. They don't have a fancy machine like uncle Brad that grabs the calves so that you can just put the iron on them. You have to have a cowboy go in the pasture, rope them, drag them into the next pasture, and have two cowboys hold the little guy down. It was seriously the most fun service I have ever done on my mission. Just awesome. I have a few stories that go along with it!
So first off, it was pretty awesome to work with all of the different cowboys. I swear, there was only one guy there aside from the missionaries that didn't chew tobacco, and that was Brother Dilt, haha. EVERYONE chewed. But the cowboys were stinking hilarious. There was one named Sandy that was a younger chap. He was the one who taught me how to wrestle the calves. It was pretty cool to learn from him because he's just a soft spoken type of guy, so you have to listen real close. Then there was another guy named Clint. He was like.... out of this world. It was literally like he walked out of the movie "Silverado". The guy is a classic cowboy. Spurs, chaps, stetson; you name it, he had it. He was cracking jokes the entire time and it was awesome. He asked Elder Bryner - who is brand new in the mission - if he had brought his beer or not, and when Elder Bryner said he didn't have any, old Clint started shouting "No Beer?! How are we supposed to brand when we ain't got no beer?!" He was only joking, but it was super funny.
Then we started the actual brand. The Elders were all over it. It was SO FUN. I'm telling you. If Uncle Brad needs any help next year, I am SO THERE. Anyway, we were all getting down and dirty, and then the sisters wanted to give it a whirl. So we slowly started integrating the sisters in by having them share a calf with either a cowboy or one of the Elders. One of the sisters, who had never branded before or even really knew anything about it, grabbed ahold of the back legs of one of the bull calves and tried her best to get ready. Then Brother Dilt's son came up with the razor! LOL. I have never seen a girl's face so panicked! She watch this kid hack off the poor calf's "equipment" and then got all of the smoke from the hot iron in her face! It was hilarious to watch, but this sister is a good sport and kept on going.
The worst part was when Frankie decided to have a bite to eat. Frankie is a 350-400 pound cowboy that heats the irons and brands the calves while we've got them pinned. At one point, he was sitting on his bucket next to the furnace after he had gathered several of the "prairie oysters" and just started to have a snack. LOL. I still don't think any of the sister missionaries realized what was happening - thank heaven - but plenty of the Elders saw and had a blast watching him. The most dangerous thing about it all was that one of the cowboys who was roping - Jason was his name, I think, - was training a colt how to do it all, and the dang horse kept giving him trouble the whole dang time. I almost got a calf dragged over the top of me while I was holding down a different calf because the colt was running all over the place. That was actually pretty scary at times because you never knew what the little bugger was going to do. But it was all so fun!
It made me miss all the good times at the ranch! I'm just a city slicker, but Uncle Brad always told me I was a cowboy and I think I made him proud on Saturday ;) And Grandpa Jackson too. He's always been the cowboy in my life!
Other than that, nothing super spectacular happened. We had Stake Conference this weekend in Cranbrook so that was cool.
Anyway, I don't have a ton else to say, but I love you! I'll be wishing Mom a happy birthday on Mother's Day this Sunday! See you then! Love you all!