One thing my father instilled in me was you never drove by a truck and trailer on the side of the road without stopping to see if they need help. I’ve been many, many miles in my career and have stopped many times and also been broken down and received help. That’s what this story is about.
Our new covered pen has been a blessing and I’ve been very fortunate to have had lessons booked solid for the last few weeks. It’s nice but does make for some very long days. Hali’s been practicing her Breakaway either before or after lessons for the last couple of weeks in preparation for the Texas High School Finals. This year, due to Covid, rather than all regions competing throughout the week, two regions compete each day and then leave.
We drew up in the first set on Monday at 8 a.m. The day before I had a lesson booked from 1-5 and was scheduled to leave our house at 5:30. My wife went with Hali in one pick up and Gabe and I would follow when we were finished with our lesson. As things often go, we were running late and by the time we headed out it was 10 p.m. We were pretty tired, but it’s not a huge deal since Abilene is not quite an hour away.
One thing I stress to my kids is the importance of being prepared and getting enough rest. I didn’t want to wake Hali if she was sleeping, so I called Jennifer and she said they were still up and it was fine to come on.
About the time we get to Cross Plains, as I come around a curve we see a truck and trailer in the ditch with their lights on. I had passed it by the time I could see it and as tired as I was, started to keep going on to Abilene. I drove about three miles and started thinking about my kids traveling and how many times people have stopped to help me so we turned around. There’s a 75-year-old man, Rodney Green, with a blow out on the left front of his truck. His jack won’t fit under the truck, the ground was uneven and you’d have to be in the road, right in a curve, trying to change the tire.
I told him I didn’t think we could get it changed and asked where he lived. He said that he lived about an hour and a half on the other side of Abilene and was just going to sleep in his truck and get help in the morning. I said, “No, I’m not leaving you and your horse on the side of the road. It’s too dangerous.” We get hooked up to his trailer and head out. I hear him on the phone quietly telling someone to go borrow the neighbor’s flatbed and meet him in Abilene. I asked him, “Are you talking to anyone but your wife?” I did not want his wife to have to do that. I told him to let her to stay in bed and we would take him home.
He was very entertaining and fun to talk to. It was amazing how many people we knew in common. He tried to pay us and we refused. He told us about picking up Leo and Gerald Camarillo once in Albuquerque, NM and helping them. I said, “Consider that debt paid.”
Here’s where our good deed backfires a little. When I picked up Rodney, I called my wife and told her what was happening and we’d be in around 1 or 2. It ended up being closer to 3 a.m. and Gabe and I made the decision to get a motel room rather than wake everyone sleeping in the trailer. We’d just get there in the morning in time to watch Hali do her drills on the Speed Trainer and rope.
I thought about texting Jennifer and letting her know we had gotten a room but didn’t want to wake them when they had to get up in a couple of hours. Our family has the 360 app so we can locate each other and I knew she could find me if she needed to. Gabe and I get laid down about 3:30 and we’re both exhausted. I turned my ringer off and went to sleep. About 3:45 Gabe’s phone rings and I hear him mumbling. I’m not really awake but am aware enough to know he’s talking to his mom. I hear him say “I love you” and hang up.
At 3:30 Jennifer had woken up and we weren’t there. All she knew was that we had picked up a stranger and were late. She couldn’t get me on the phone. She called Gabe who was mumbling incoherently. At 4:00 the front desk of the motel calls and says my wife is in the lobby and wants to know if they can send her up. When I look out the peep hole, I do not see a happy wife. When I open the door, she says, “You pick up a stranger and tell me you’re going to be late and then you don’t come home.” I tried to tell her that I didn’t want to wake them and that she could find me with the 360 app. Apparently Gabe and I both had turned the app off at some point.
Gabe asked me, “Dad how did we do a good deed and get in trouble?” I just told him, “Son when you pick up a stranger you need to let you mama know if you’re not coming home.”
I couldn’t blame her for being scared and upset. Needless to say, that won’t happen again and I will send a text next time. I have been blessed many times during my rodeo career with people helping me in times of need. I’ve loaned trucks to people I didn’t know. It’s always been in the back of my mind that my dad would kick me square in the butt if I didn’t stop and help.
What’s new with me: Both kids are competing at their state finals. At this moment Hali is in the short go in the Breakaway at Abilene and next week Gabe will rope in Gonzales. We love our new indoor. It is so nice having a roof over our head and being able to stay out of the sun while I’m teaching. We are on top of a hill and usually have a nice breeze. We just need a few more hours in the day to get a little more sleep.