The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Growing Up On Tuggles Creek - Amateur Cowboy

BY YKW © 1984

Issue: December, 1984

(Editor's Note: Tuggles Creek is located in the Heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the tiny mountain community of Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Meadows of Dan is a crossroads community where US Highway 58 Business and the Blue Ridge Parkway cross. Mabry Mill is north about 1.6 miles and Mayberry Trading Post is about 2.8 miles south on the Blue Ridge Parkway.)

Dad usually kept several head of cattle on one of the three small farms he owned. There was no regular market for them like there is today, but buyers occasionally came along. One such was a Mr. Shepherd of Laurel Fork who bought seven or eight of our herd from Dad. When the deal was completed, he asked Dad if I could go with him to help drive the cattle home. Dad said yes and I was tickled pink for I had read just enough westerns to imagine myself a real cowboy.

So, I saddled up a horse and struck out. We went by way of Mayberry. We took turns blocking the wrong road at each intersection. As the day wore on and the "trail" kept stretching out longer, I kept wondering if we'd ever get there. At last we arrived on the hill overlooking Laurel Fork. Then Mr. Shepherd probably noticing that I was getting pretty tired, said he thought he could manage the rest of the way without me. Then he reached in his pocket and drew out a silver dollar and handed it to me. That was the first dollar I had ever earned and it kept me cheered up all the long way home.

I wish I could say I still have it, but it "burned a hole in my pocket" till I could get out and spend it.

I never felt very romantic about cowboys after that ride however.