Searching for Cattle

Scott Bumgarner 2008

One warm, Spring night, back in the late 1950s, a lot of rain had fallen, down in the lower Washita River Valley area west and south of Davis, Oklahoma. Uncle Bob, and Granny and her husband Tom Baker lived south of Davis on the lower road that takes one to Price’s Falls or Dougherty, Oklahoma.

Their property ran north to the banks of the old Washita River. Uncle Bob had some cattle and calves situated on this property, and during his daily evening count, he figured out that some of the cows and calves hadn’t come up toward the barn like they usually did, every evening.

Uncle Bob thought that maybe some of the cattle had gotten caught between the actual river and the ole slough after it flooded that day.

Uncle Bob got up on ole Bill’s back, and I got up behind Uncle Bob, and the three of us went searching for lost cattle in the dark of night. There was no moon out that night, and we didn’t have a lantern or flashlight to aid in our search.


We entrusted our lives to ole Bill’s footwork in the mud and any possible holes that we could have fallen into. But, ole Bill came through like the good sure-footed quarter horse that he was, and we made the ride okay. We didn’t find any cattle. The next day the cattle came to the barn, so they were never missing after all.

These days when Uncle Bob and I sit around thinking about that little trip into the dark of night on the back of Ole Bill, we now wonder why we did just that. We could easily have fallen into a water hole or soft mud or who knows what. It is pretty scary to think about it now, even though it has been over fifty years ago.


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