It was a fickle spring day -- at once promising sunshine and then punishing with hailstones the size of taws. We were in the middle of spring roundup in the Strawberry Mountains, and after twelve hours brushing cattle, my cowpony Jake and I were finally headed to the line house with the rest of the hands.
Throughout the bruising day alternately freezing and sweating, Jake had been a real professional even with the most recalcitrant of cows. He had listened patiently to each of my jokes, only occasionally rolling his eyes at a particularly bad one.
But now it was time to relax and Jake knew how. After rolling over the paddock like an overgrown Airedale, Jake shook himself, looked me straight in the eye and laughed.
It was an almost perfect ending to a perfect day of cowboying...
I say almost perfect 'cause ole Jake wouldn't tell me which joke he had found so funny. I'm still wondering.