Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Bubba's a Hungarian and I'm a Coon-Ass"

My wife and I made a quick trip to Galveston, Texas last week to attend a funeral and had the pleasure of meeting some really charming people while we were there.  I had the opportunity to have an extended conversation with one couple in particular that I found to be just plain old "good folks."  Bubba and Edith are ranchers in their retirement years although each of them had other careers, he with the railroad and she as a nurse.  They have 2 daughters, 2 grandsons, 2 great-grandsons, 62 head of cattle and a jackass.  I'm pretty sure that I listed them in order of importance  . . . but I could be wrong. 

I was sitting next to Edith on the ride back from the cemetery and she just casually remarked to me, "Bubba's a Hungarian and I'm a Coon-Ass. I guess you could call our daughters little Hungarian Coon-Asses."

In the event that you're not familiar with the term "Coon-Ass", it's a slang term for Cajuns or the people of French-Canadian descent in Louisiana.  How can you not love someone that plain-spoken and unpretentious?   Edith went on to explain that she was born across the state line in Louisiana but had grown-up a few miles west of there in Orange, Texas.  She didn't attend nursing school but learned her nursing skills on the job working as an office nurse for a couple of doctors over the years, the last 30 years for the doctor whose funeral we were both attending. 

Both Edith and Bubba shared some interesting stories with me but none more entertaining than the one about how she got her jackass.  It seems that one of her daughters mentioned to her that she wanted to send Bubba and Edith on a trip (a cruise, I think) for their Christmas present a couple of years back.  Edith wasn't too keen on the idea and told her daughter that what she really wanted was a jackass.

"What did you want with a jackass?" I asked her.  "You already had Bubba!"  She thought about that for a minute and then laughed.

"I wanted a jackass to protect my cattle", she told me.

Who knew jackasses were good cattle guards?  Apparently, they are great cattle guards, protecting the cattle from coyotes, dogs or anything else that might harm or harass them.  Edith loves her jackass and told me how she watches out for carrots on sales and buys them in bulk.  Her jackass loves carrots but isn't too fond of apples or other snacks she brings him.  She enjoyed him so much that she bought her daughter (the one that had bought her the jackass) a jackass, too.   Edith told me that her daughter's jackass is actually much friendlier than her own and will rub his head against you and rest his head on your shoulder.  Edith's jackass, on the other hand, is all business.  He has cattle to guard and can't be bothered with all that mushy, friendly stuff.

Folks like Bubba and Edith are hard to come by.  Treasure the ones in your life and maybe, just maybe you need to treat them to a jackass.