The Gateman

Ron) A cowboy has a lot of dirty, messy jobs and often times that involves the south end of a cow going north. But when we’re sorting cattle, there’s a very important job, and that is the job of the gateman. It’s kind of a thankless job because he has to make some split-second decisions. In his honor this poem is entitled, “The Gateman.” There are certain thankless jobs that you encounter in this life, like a policeman giving parking tickets or perhaps the farmer’s wife, who’s sent to town for parts, oh it’s about yeah big, we don’t know the model number, but it looks like a thingamajig. Those jobs are truly thankless but among the cowboy clan, there is no job so thankless as that of the gateman. When we go to sorting cattle and the gateman’s simple job, is to open and shut the gate when we separate the mob. But that ain’t nearly as simple as it sounds, he must decide in a split second with chaos all around. He may have many steers a barrelin straight toward him, or a crazy cow that will dodge, or jump, or kick upon a whim. He gets splattered by manure and will have the gate tore from his hand, but he must do the job just right to meet the bosses demand. His head will be spinning from the contrary directions about, one cowboy says to stop the calf and the other says turn him out. So the gateman’s job is thankless, but he can always protect his fate, by saying to his critics, alright it’s your turn to man the gate. Happy Trails.