By Bob Temple

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Standifer took more than a score of pages to exhaust his reminiscences, most of which are scattered throughout this book. In this small excerpt we get some idea of the gusto with which Standifer met the frequent fickleness of cowboy fortune, the sudden switching of assignments, and even the caprices of Panhandle weather: “Next morning every one was assigned their various jobs, and mine fell to cutting dead cottonwood into stove wood. It was like cutting sponge—ever time my ax hit it bounced back.

W. Armstrong remembers: “My first job was the plowing of ground for the planting of sorghum for feed. I was a freighter for one year freighting supplies of salt, chuck, hay, windmill supplies, in fact anything needed on the ranch, from Farwell Park [Perico] and Channing to Middle Water Ranch. ” Another odd-job man was Jack Bradley. “I worked at anything that was to be done,” he recalls. “Windmill helper a while and then run the windmill wagon a while myself. Cooked several times a few days at a time.

The wagon always had all the beef it could use and in winter they fattened seven or eight spayed cows. ” Whether the job was astride or afoot, concerned with lazing turtles or insistent bulls, most of the hands felt pride in merely belonging to the XIT. W. J. Cook expresses it this way: “It was in the spring of 1887 that I drew into camp at the Alamositas, a part of the XIT. The trail herd of the OB cattle belonged to Snyder’s of Georgetown, Texas, in charge of Duck Arnet. Colonel [Barbecue] Campbell was general manager at the time and Billy Ney was ranch boss.

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