A Tribute to Judy – Part 4

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Published Monday, September 18, 2023
by Ernest Hammer

Judith Darlene Hammer

May 31, 1938 - August 8, 2023

Nebraska on to Wyoming

We bought a nice house in Moorefield, a town of about fifty people, fifteen miles east of Curtis. This was the only time in our life we lived in an incorporated town except for college.

That summer, I got a month off. Judy and the kids took a bus to Colorado Springs to spend time with her parents. I got a job artificially inseminating some cows. I got up early in the morning to check on the cows. There was a young boy named Pete there from Chicago, and he got up early too. He got Sundays off and wanted to go with me. The middle of the day was kind of slow, so I sat in my pickup and listened to Christian music. Pete would ask "why are you listening to that stuff?" After breeding season was over, I went home to get Judy and the kids. 

The job at the Vo Tec school was a good one, but I wanted to get back to ranching. We heard about a ranch manager job thirty miles northwest of Wheatland, Wyoming. The ranch was owned by Lee and Alice Hagemister of Estes Park. They called it the Twin Pine Ranch. They were great people. 

Judy led the music at the Wheatland Church of the Nazarene. She had a beautiful soprano voice and sang specials in all of the churches we attended. She also raised a garden and cooked three meals a day for the single hired men.

My friend Pete from Chicago found us that spring and wanted a job. We said we could use him. We also hired Harold Rants and wife. They had three girls and one boy.

Harold, his son, Pete, and I were checking cows 15 miles from the ranch. Pete and Harold's son had gone ahead checking other cows. I had roped a prolapse cow. My horse fell with me between the horse and a rock. Harold unhooked the trailer from the pickup and tied the horses to it. He then pigeon stringed my leg for support and we drove back to the ranch on a very bumpy road. The femur bone of my one leg was crushed into small pieces, but no bone came through the skin. Judy took me to the hospital in Wheatland, which was 30 miles away. They x-rayed my leg and said they couldn't do anything for it. They put a air cast on it and sent me to Cheyenne - in a hearse - 70 miles south. Judy followed me in the car. They manipulated my leg into its original shape as best as they could. I healed pretty good. I was in the hospital for one month.

Lee and Alice were planning on a trip abroad. They put Judy in charge while they were gone. Every morning Judy would meet with Harold and Pete to discuss the day's activities. The first week, Judy would come see me every day in the hospital in Cheyenne. The last three weeks she came every other day.

After I got home I learned to walk with crutches even with a full cast on. I also learned how to drive the pickup and ride a horse.

Next: Bail Harold and Pete out.

Part 3 was published September 11, 2023, and can be found here.

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