Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Miles "Bucky" Buckley

If you've read my book, you've read about Bucky. He's one of the only characters that didn't get a "stage name". And when I say "character", I mean it. Bucky rode into our lives as the livery's Barn Boss during my parents' second season at the lodge, and quickly became a part of our family, one that we're missing so very much right now.

I was thrilled to hear from Bucky back in January and knew our horses couldn't go to a better place to finish their training. Bucky was looking forward to seeing the horses, and I was looking forward to getting to see him and Mrs. Bucky. Since they moved their to Arizona a million years ago, we only got to see them on occasion.

The night before we were supposed to leave for Arizona, the truck broke, which delayed our plans. Two days before Mom and Bill were going to leave with the horses, they got a phone call from Mrs. Bucky. He had been diagnosed with cancer and it wasn't a good time to take on three new horses. I firmly believe everything happens for a reason (though I'll be damned if I can figure out the reason Bucky ended up with cancer), so I think that the truck breaking down and delaying our trip was for a reason. Unfortunately, that reason was because of Bucky's health.

He was larger than life and lead a life few would believe. Everyone who met Bucky felt like he was their new BFF in moments, but he had a knack for dazzling people with stories of his life without ever letting them "in". Few people actually knew Bucky.

While I wrote a few stories about him in my book, I didn't do him justice, just like I'm not doing him justice right now. There's just so much to Bucky, so many facets that it's impossible to pare it down and put it to paper.

Lots of people went crazy over the movie "Unbranded", in which a group of guys rode their horses from the Mexican border to the Canadian one. I enjoyed the movie, but when I walked out, I looked at Mom and said, "Yeah, but Bucky was way more cowboy." She knew what I meant. One season, Bucky decided to ride from the Mexican border to his job in Allenspark. Alone. Just him and his two green-broke horses. One to ride, one to pack. He didn't have a support team, out scouting the trail for him. He didn't have GPS or a cell phone in case something happened. He had himself and his horses, and by God, he made it. Every time he'd get near a town, he made sure to call the lodge to let us know his progress.

He was diligent about keeping a "journal" of his trip via tape recorder and I started hounding him the minute he thawed out to give me the tapes to transcribe. The tapes were the last thing on his mind once his got off his horse, and over the course of the years, they've been lost.

After this trip, he did not ride a horse the entire season :)
We were all stunned when we got the news that he lost his battle with cancer and it has taken some time to process. He came into my kids' lives when they were young and impressionable, and I'm forever thankful that they got to have a "real deal" cowboy in their lives.

I asked the kids to write up a memory of Bucky for this post. Digger is struggling as much as I am to come up with something, but Ashinator and Monster were able to put a few words together.

From Ashinator:
When I think of Bucky, there isn't one big story that pops out at me, I think of all the little moments over the years. I think of him sitting at the bar drinking with Papa, laughing at some dirty cowboy joke that went over my 12 year old head. I think of watching him with the horses, wranglers, and guests at the livery across the street. I remember hoping and wishing he'd say I could tag along every time he went out for a ride. I think of the paintings of him on horseback hanging in the hallways. Or him taking the time to help me get better at riding and understanding horses. I think of that story we all love to tell about how he rode across several states on horseback, just because he could. Bucky was a cowboy through and through and one who made you feel special for knowing him- even when he teased you, which was often. But mostly, when I think of Bucky, I think about how lucky my family and I are for having had him in our lives.
Monster shared this one:
I remember one year I was working at the lodge and he kept teasing me because my hair was long and cowboys shouldn't have hippy hair and he drove me to Estes paid for my my haircut, bought me lunch, and paid me $50 to do it. lol Bucky was definitely one of a kind and the only real cowboy I've ever met in my life. He was a hell of a guy! Sitting at the lodge with him and grandpa while they teased each other and listening to Bucky's cowboy tales were one of the highlights of my childhood.
I've been struggling with this post, because writing it brings a finality to Bucky's death, and I'm not ready for that. However, the fact is, he's gone and left a young widow and son, along with his adult children. You see, it's easy for me to just pretend that he's still being ornery down in Arizona, since I only saw him once a year anyway.

Rest in Peace, Cowboy. We miss you.

Lyrics here.


Linda said...

Dang it!! I wish you had those tapes. It would be Unbranded before Unbranded. I had my grandmother make a tape for me a long time ago, and I lost it, too. Now, she is gone. RIP to a true Cowboy. I bet he's riding horses in heaven right now!! I hope your hearts heal and his memory stays strong in you!

GunDiva said...

He was one of a kind, that's for sure.

Momma Fargo said...

What a great tribute. Made me cry or maybe there was a lot of trail dust in my eyes. I never knew Bucky, but I did through your stories. I wish I would have known him in person. Dang the luck on those lost tapes. That would have made for an excellent book and movie. May he rest in peace.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

So sorry for the loss of your friend. I don't think you need to worry about not having the right words, your song selection says it all.