The Legend of Baby Jim
Photo courtesy of The Old Cowboy Archives
The Legend of
Chapter 1. Getting Started
Baby Jim was not really born nigh on to full-grown. But he was a mite large and just a little peculiar around the edges. On the day he was born, his Daddy picked him up and set him on the ground. Struck by this odd behavior, a neighbor inquired as to what he was doing. Baby Jim’s Daddy replied, “ With ears like that I want to see if he will run like a rabbit or kick like a jackass.” Never one to take kindly to offense, Baby Jim started life off right by biting the old man on the leg. No, Baby Jim was not born with a full set of teeth, but he did have a few to use for self-defense and tending to his vittles.
The boy had a special fondness for his vittles from day one. He was born hungry and has been hungry ever since. In the early years the situation didn’t pose too great a problem. All you had to do was feed him eight or ten times a day and everything was okay. He wasn’t too fussy and would eat most anything you needed to get rid of. He never did take a shine to beets or brussle sprouts though, and could heave them suckers clear across the room with a great show of choking and gagging and frothing at the mouth. His Mother tried hard to get him to eat them, but Baby Jim would not be fooled. No disguise could hide the abominable taste of those two commodities and they just wouldn’t go down his neck.
As time passed by, Baby Jim continued his fondness for the culinary delights of most anyone who would cook for him. Regular feeding became an eighteen hour a day event. Being smarter than the average yard ape, Baby Jim knew that he must be well rested to properly digest his food and has always required six hours of sleep. A fellow just couldn’t eat right when he was tuckered out.
This trend continued until the appetite of Baby Jim exceeded the capacity of the family income. Finally one day when Baby Jim was five or six years old his Daddy declared “ If that boy is going to eat like a man, it is time he commenced to work like a man. Dadgum it boy, get to the field and lets commence to plowing. “ That was the fateful day that Baby Jim discovered that his Daddy had decided to raise him because he couldn’t afford a mule. Course, with Baby Jim’s penchant for groceries it didn’t look like a mule was in the near future either.
Now everyone knew from early on that Baby Jim would probably never crowd in on the territory of that Einstein feller. But our hero was not the dumbest sheep in the flock either. In fact folks often commented that he looked like he had a little bit of goat in him. Baby Jim would just flash his patented smile and take it as a compliment as he knew the goat to be one of the smarter animals in the barn. But, like his Daddy, he always had that hankering for a mule. Baby Jim’s Daddy wanted a little more help, but Baby Jim just wanted the companionship. After all, he felt that he had a lot in common with a good mule.
Baby Jim took to the work that his Daddy put him to. Folks allowed that while he didn’t really look like it, that he must be some kin to his family. He seemed to have the same way with the animals that his Daddy was know for. His mother had higher expectations. She expected Baby Jim to do his lessons and keep up his school work and make something of his self. His mother was thinking things like Doctor and Lawyer and Engineer for her handsome little darling (aw come on, you know how mothers are). His Daddy expected him to do his chores and tend to the stock and keep his self out of trouble ( a troublesome kid generally ain’t no help at all.)
Pretty soon after he started school Baby Jim figured out that he probably didn’t have much of a future in Hollywood. Why the first time he saw hisself in a mirror he even scairt hisself a little bit. But even this early in Baby Jim’s life his pragmatic nature asserted itself. He knew he couldn’t make himself into one of the pretty children. He just had to take what he had and do the best he could. And by golly what he could do as well as anybody breathing was be a cowboy. Now every six year old that ever was has fancied the idea of being a cowboy once or twice. But for Baby Jim it wasn’t an idea it was a mission. At a tender age, Baby Jim had already run into a few roadblocks and brick walls. When he discovered that there were things he could do better than any kid and better than most old folks, he figured “Maybe, this is what I should do”. And lets all face it folks, Baby Jim as endearing as he might be, had a face made for being alone on the range. This was one of the characteristics, which lent itself to him being widely referred to as “A Natural”.
Now in case you didn’t know it being a cowboy ain’t all about hugging your horse and riding off into the sunset. We are talking bout the real deal here not the drug store variety. A cowboy generally is not considered to be a good cowboy until he is so stove up that he generally can’t move without creaking. Consider this, Lane Frost was generally proclaimed to be the best bull rider that ever lived. This happened about the same time that he was killed in the arena by – – – – – – – ———- you guessed it a bull that didn’t think he was so hot. Most times a cowboy just can’t get no respect.