Boyd was a Perfect Cowboy

Abondance (cattle)

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“Frank thought for a minute.  Boyd was a perfect cowboy.  All he cared about was cows, but he did care about cows.  He could see a sore-footed one from almost two miles off, as Frank had one day found out.  He was as kind to cows as he was unreasonable to people.  Frank might well have been more assiduous in staying out of his way.  Boyd once clobbered Mike with a frying pan, but Mike thought everyone was crazy anyway and didn’t take it personally, though his nurse complained that he staggered around the office for two and a half days and may well have suffered a concussion.  Frank thought about the cows being by themselves, without Boyd tending to them.  Big, easygoing, helpless creatures dragged onto this prairie by white folks, always pregnant and always out of something they needed.  There had to be someone who tried to close that gap between cows and an environment not always friendly to them.  He had to admit to himself that there was a real satisfaction in seeing Boyd ride through a herd of cattle, knowing that when he got out the other side he’d have learned as much about them as the graduating class of the average veterinary school.  If I knew that much about anything, Frank thought, I wouldn’t be nice to anyone.  But I’m so ignorant I have to go on treating people decently.”

–Thomas McGuane, Nothing But Blue Skies

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