This is my last re-posting from our first year of Gate Guarding. I’ll write a few more posts about the interesting visitors we’ve had, the guys on the rig and, of course, the great state of Texas and then I’ll get back to the present.
The present, for this past month, has been a gate between Westhoff (population 410) and Cuero (population 6500) . Cuero is about a 25 minute drive and is a big time city. It has a H.E.B. and a Walmart!. We’re just subs for the regular gate guards so we anticipate going back to the holding tank in a week or so to once again, wait for an assignment.
My final re-post and my final title snafu was It’s On Like Donkey Kong. That was a night I won’t soon forget.
According to the Urban Dictionary It’s on like Donkey Kong is a phrase that denotes that it’s time to throw down or compete at a high level; or that something is about to go down.
Back in the early 80’s, Donkey-Kong swept the arcades. DK highlighted the adventures of a large ape named Donkey Kong and a plumber, Mario, who was constantly dodging fireballs and barrels thrown by DK. In the sequel, DK had buddies.
I hadn’t thought about Donkey Kong in a really long time.
It was around 1 a.m. when the RV started rocking. I looked out the front window at the tree (there’s only one), and could see that there wasn’t any wind. Still, the rocking continued. I’d done the research. I knew we aren’t on a major fault line.
The rocking was joined by thumping and soon there was a sound resembling a belt being lashed against the side of the RV. I looked out at the little mesquite tree, again. No branches were in reach. The night before, a persistent, inebriated man with a large dog on a rope, came pounding on the door at 3 am determined to get a job on the rig. It took me quite a while to convince him to walk home and sleep it off. So my guard was up.
I grabbed my camera.
Ever since my success in scaring away that raccoon that was clinging to the screen with one flash from my point and shoot, I’ve become overly confident about the protective powers of my Olympus Stylist. In retrospect, the pepper spray hanging by the door, or even my Grandpa’s cane might have been wiser.
As the RV continued to rock, Henry’s ears stood up. This is generally not a good sign. I walked to the door, camera in hand and pushed. Nothing. Something pushed back. In a rare moment of bravery and stupidity, I gave the door a mighty heave. As it grudgingly gave way, I tumbled out of the RV onto a very startled calf.
It’s on like Donkey Kong: they were everywhere and it was definitely going down. And just like Mario, I’d wandered into their jungle. There were Long horns and no horns, steers and heifers, brand new calves and teenage calves… too many to count.
And there was also Festus, the guard donkey, that lives with the cattle on this ranch. Festus is no ape, but he is fiercely protective of his herd.
Guard donkeys are fairly common around here. Did you know that donkeys and mules have the unique ability to kick in all directions? Hmm…
Festus is very people friendly and loves peppermints, but in true guard donkey style, he hates wolves, coyotes and domestic canines (poor Henry – just add it to the list).
As I stood, dazed, in my white tennis shoes, faded jeans and white t-shirt, I apparently looked like an over-sized mobile salt lick. The young calves, having recovered from my startling entrance, circled and began to nose and lick me. I found this to be both bewildering and slightly unnerving. I felt like ET, except I already was home and apparently so were they.
I stood in the midst of the herd taking pictures.
By the way, in case you’re inclined to try my approach, cows aren’t the least bit deterred by a camera flash. They’re nothing like the raccoons. Cows pose.
This became less entertaining when a teenage steer pulled off one of the leather wheel covers and started to carry it to a more comfortable snacking location. We had a brief tug of war . He grudgingly gave it up. Another inquisitive calf found my satellite cable to be extra tasty.
I was at a loss as to how to un-invite my curious visitors before they ate everything portable. I tried reasoning with them.
I eventually dispersed the crowd with persistent waving and gentle shoving of the broom. That caused them to relocate a whole 10 yards away.
In the end, after I’d rescued two tire covers, 1 bird feeder and placed the ladder over the TV cables to serve as a cattle crossing, I came in and told the whole tale of how it went down to Henry. I told him: It’s on like Donkey Kong…