I had noticed him there before and never thought much about it. Ain’t it funny how when we get used to seeing something we just come to the assumption that it will always be there. It was always at the gate going down to the bottom pasture, once tall and strong now stood brittle and bent.
This particular trip to that pasture I was cooking for a branding. I noticed he was leaning and weatherd a might more than usual. I asked one of the old hands on that outfit, “Why hasn’t someone ever straightened that up or even replaced it?” “Well,” he said, “after supper when you get them dishes done, I will catch you up on some history.”
When them supper dishes were all out of the wreck pans, I poured me a cup of coffee old Bertha had been warming all day and sat down with this fellar to hear his story. “Now tell me about that one old post that has stood there by that gate,” I asked. “It’s not even in the fence line, it just sits all alone.”
He took a draw off the pipe he was smoking and said these words:
“We just call him the Sentry. That old bodark post was there when I was hired on to this place and that was 53 years ago. It has stood there through blowing and drifting snow, flash floods and heat waves, not to mention the migratory flight of tumbleweeds every fall. I heard that post was put in over a hundred years ago and we all figured if it had stood there that long, we would just leave it be. It has served as night watchman, messenger and hitching post. I myself have left a kerchief tied on there to tell others which pasture I would be in. I knew a fellar who once tied a slick yearling to it while he went and got his trailer. So you see that old lone post has earned a spot and we sometimes even tip our hats to that old cuss, or tell him adios on our way out. I have heard folks call him the Keeper Of the Gate, or the Guardian.”
After everyone had retired to their teepees, I laid there in my bedroll, looking up at the wagon fly that had covered me and many a hand for over 20 years. It too was weatherd and so thin in spots you could almost count the stars. I pondered that ol’ post and the words that fellar had told me. I have great respect for things that have served and maintianed their spot in history. Now this bodark may not be in any fancy book but it has great meaning to those who have known it or learned from it. A lesson I learned from that post is that no matter what things look like at first glance, most of the time there is a deeper meaning- a greater significance. And not everything we see that’s a little bent, standing alone or even a little used is used up. I had a greater respect for that post when I left the bottom pasture than when I went in.
When I got home I visited that old post pile behind the barn looking for some guards to stand at our gate. It sure feels good to have an old friend to visit everyday.