My cowboy pride has taken a hard hit

By Baxter Black: PNT columnist

I was wounded. I got cracked across the bridge of my nose.

Not that my nose needs to do anything to attract attention. As one friend put it, “Bax, if you’d lie flat on your back in the sun, we could tell time.”

Of course, the next day I had a big show in Durango. I knew I would be answering the inevitable question, “How’d you hurt your nose?”

My first thoughts on how to handle it included several clever riposte like; “I was swatting flies with my branding iron,” or, “When my wife asked if I thought the dress made her look fat, I gave the wrong answer,” or, “I burned myself trying to pull toast out of the toaster with my teeth,” or, “My hair blower turned on me like a snarling koala bear.”

But those answers seemed so mundane. I needed a reason befitting my heroic cowboy reputation:

“We were driving a herd of range cattle over the big divide. The trail was steep and narrow. Suddenly a little black-bally calf slipped off the edge and landed 10 feet down on a ledge no bigger than a Volkswagon’s floor mat.

“I quickly dropped my loop over my saddle horn, dismounted and using the tail of my rope I descended the cliff wall and reached the calf. It was as I lifted him to the safety of the trail rim that he stepped on my nose to make the last scramble to the top. My heart sang as I saw the mama welcome her baby as he nuzzled under her flank. ‘All in the line of duty,’ I thought, wiping away a tear.”

Or … I could have been riding night herd when lightening cracked and the cattle stampeded. I rode for the front before they reached the river breaks and managed to rope the leader. But one of my dallies wrapped around my head. I couldn’t let go or we’d have lost the herd.

Or … I was returning an eaglet that had fallen from his eyrie, and his mother, misunderstanding my intentions, attacked me.

Or … I was injured while auditioning for a spot on “Dancing with the Stars” when my adagio came loose and I slid across the floor, unintentionally biting the ankle of one of the judges.

Truth is, in the dark of night I walked into a Regulator clock hanging on the wall. I’m hoping my wound will eventually heal and look like a birth mark instead of the traffic-stopping hood ornament it does now.

Oh, and do you wanna know the time before I get back up?