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Real Cowboys

My grandfather (Ferry Larter, left) and his brother-in-law (Dave Luthy, grandma's brother) look like real cowboys in this photo, and they were-- in a way. My grandparents owned a cattle ranch and grandpa always did lots of work involving cows.

I never knew my Great Uncle Dave since he died in 1943 when the troop ship he was on in the North Atlantic was torpedoed by the Germans. I do remember these chaps he's wearing, though, or some like them, since my grandfather wore them whenever they needed to drive cattle up onto the range or down into the field, or round up some calves for branding.

The building my grandfather and great uncle are next to is the bunk house, as we called it in later years. That is where the real cowboys stayed. These men were what we might now call "migrant workers," since they were hired for a short time by ranchers who needed help rounding up cattle, driving the herd to the range, or branding.

The bunk house was where these cowboys slept while doing a job for my grandfather. He'd given up the role of cowboy for rancher and had become the boss. He always told me that he "used to be" a cowboy, though, and would show me this photo and his chaps and spurs as proof. I wanted to be a cowboy, too, and my parents and grandparents appeased me with a tiny pair of cowboy boots that I wore everywhere. Here's a photo of me "helping" with my baby sister, Becky -- while wearing those boots, of course. The cabin we are in front of was my grandparent's house, built by hand a few hundred yards from the bunkhouse, but of the same log-cabin style.

I've pasted here a photo of the bunkhouse I took years later, when I was visiting the ranch, or what remained of it, with my own children. This photo is ten years old, and most of my family has moved away now, so I haven't seen it for awhile. I don't know if any of it is standing anymore. Buildings in that part of the world tend to collapse and crumble to dust after a few decades, leaving only our memories of them.

I hope you've enjoyed this week's Throw Back Thursday post. More photos coming soon!


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