Cowgirls Don’t Cry…

I have been staying out at the ranch since last Monday. I normally only stay on weekends and even then I haven’t been out here very much because my girlfriend’s nephew showed up at the door about a month and a half ago. He came, hat in hand, with a smile and a promise that he had cleaned his life up. He claimed to have been drug-free for over a year and just needed somewhere to crash for a couple of days until his ride came to pick him and his horses up for a new job in Idaho at a big ranch near Boise.

This is the same nephew that she finally had to have forcibly removed from her place three years ago via a restraining order and legal documents drawn up by her lawyer. She has removed him completely from the trust and the will and hasn’t spoken to him since. Not that he hasn’t tried to contact her but he had become physically and verbally abusive to her and she was afraid of him so she ignored his calls and texts.

This young man is pretty much all the family she has left. His mother passed away when he was about 17 and my friend finished raising him. she and his grandfather bought him trucks and horse rigs so he could go out on the rodeo circuit and do what he does best–rope. He is a very talented roper and horseman. But when his grandfather died he left everything to my friend, with the understanding that when the nephew came of age and proved himself he would get the ranch and would help her run it. Unfortunately while he was in college he discovered meth and became a slave to it and his promising career in rodeo fizzled out. He cannot be trusted to show up for work and all the ranchers in the area won’t hire him for even day work now. According to his father he hasn’t had a job in quite some time and the reason he had nowhere to go was that his dad had lost his residence and had to move and refused to let him move with him.

However, my friend didn’t know all of this when her nephew showed up on her doorstep. All she knew is that the young man she had loved for over 30 years was standing there and her heart melted as it always did and she let him in. Which was a bad idea. He immediately began taking advantage of her, borrowing her truck for late-night excursions into town and to supposedly go and get money owed to him for work he had done with a friend. She began to suspect that the story about a job out-of-state was just that–a story–and she finally told him that she wasn’t going to feed him or his horses any more that he had to go get a paying job to support himself. When he refused to do that she told him to get out and that was when things got ugly. He got up in her face and threatened her, telling her if she made him leave again he would strip the house and barn and take everything this time. He took to riding her good gelding when she wouldn’t let him take her truck any more and the horse disappeared for several days and she was afraid he had stolen him.

Last Monday it came to a head. She came home from work and was out feeding her stock when she noticed the lock had been cut off the back door of the big barn. Upon investigation she realized that all her antiques–the old hay wagon, grain scale, and countless other things stored in that part of the barn–had been stolen. She called me up, crying hysterically, and my son and I flew out there. We decided to knock the lock off the tackroom door where I stored my saddles and tack that he had for some reason suddenly decided to put his stuff in and lock. I began pulling my saddles out and throwing in the back of my truck and I realized that MY saddle was missing.

Now unless you are a cowboy you may not understand the significance of this but I was devastated. My saddle is a 1950’s era Hereford brand saddle. I have personally owned it for a little over 30 years. It isn’t my only saddle but it is the one I use all the time. It is extremely heavy but it is broken in to fit my butt and I love it. A cowboy may lose everything but he never loses his saddle. He may not have his own horse but as long as he has his saddle he can still make a living. It’s as much a part of him as his arm or legs…  And mine was gone.

Needless to say he had finally crossed a line he wasn’t going to be able to step back over. The sheriff was called and a report was made. We went the next day to the local pawn shop and discovered that he had hocked my saddle. The man behind the counter promised he would hold the saddle for me and I reported its whereabouts to the sheriff. then my friend got her mail and found several notices from her bank. Apparently he had gotten ahold of her ATM card and had cleaned out her bank account. That was the absolute final straw. She completely broke down and ended up missing several days of work and I have been living at the ranch ever since, mostly because she is terrified he will come back and hurt her. Tomorrow he is coming to get his horses and his stuff , which I packed into Hefty bags and dumped out on the porch. Everyone of my family will be there and he is basically a coward and won’t try anything with all of us there. She doesn’t want anyone to call the police while he is there because then she will be responsible for his horses and dogs and she can’t afford to feed them so he will get a free pass tomorrow.

I shared all of this because I want to make the point about how important family is. Family is so important that my friend was willing to let bygones be bygones just to have that one member of her blood family back in her life. She was willing to turn a blind eye to his faults and believe the best of him, even though in her heart she knew better than to be sucked into his web of lies again.

Most of us are like that. Tough love is a great concept but so very hard to implement when the one you have to turn away from is your own family member. My heart breaks for her and I have been here to help her get through it. My family has become her family but she always holds out hope that her nephew will become the man they raised him to be and instead he constantly proves to her that he isn’t that man and never will be.

have you ever had an experience like this? Family turns on you, a child goes astray, and you have to cut them out of your life? How did you cope with the pain and betrayal? How did you find the strength to harden your heart against them and do the right thing and disconnect from them before they drug you and everyone else down into the pit that is their own personal hell? It’s easy for me–he isn’t my family– but I do love the kid and it hurts me to see them both going through this.

I’m sitting in Starbucks typing this because as I may have mentioned in previous posts we don’t’ have internet at the ranch. Other than the music being fairly loud this hasn’t been a bad experience and the tables are the perfect height for a laptop! Not a bad deal…

Ok. I have left her alone long enough. Hope you all have a great Easter and enjoy it with family and friends wherever you are. We are expecting rain, and though I am disappointed for the grandbabies’ sake I am praying we get a downpour–this drought is getting ridiculous here! Gotta go–I have horses and goats and dogs to feed back at the ranch. Shower was supposed to come for the two mares but he never showed up so I am hoping he can reschedule for Monday. Rodeo is this coming weekend so I hope I can get a little time here at Starbucks again to blog about the rodeo! Yee haw! Can’t wait!