Ride Easy: George and Sam, a couple of WW2 vets

George and Sam were raised in Minnesota. Best friends, they played, worked and went to school together.  When World War II came along, they enlisted together and went through basic training. George ended up as a mule handler, Sam became a medic and they went their separate ways. They met up with one another late in the war when they were both in Germany. As near as I can remember, George told me, “we tied one on, danced with the ladies, had a good fight, lots of laughs, reminisced, cussed the officers and went back to war.”

After going back to Minnesota to see relatives when the war ended, at different times, they ended up in Montana, working in Camp one or Camp two, which were pulp logging camps, but never came across one another. After the pulp industry died down, they began working on ranches.
George got married and divorced and worked on ranches and at sawmills. Sam continued as a ranch hand and sheepherder. George and he worked on the same ranches at different times and knew the other was in the area but could never make a connection. Most of the time they were around my home town of White Sulphur Springs, but they also worked around Dillon and Big Timber, Montana.

Pops and Bob Hyer along with me and my brothers were able to keep up with the sheep, haying and such. My friend Ken was at the ranch as much as he could be and was welcome help. The sheepherder cared for the band of sheep and things were chugging along pretty smoothly.
When lambing was about to start, the herder quit. We needed someone to take over the band of sheep. Pops hired Sam, who needed a few days to sober up.

It had been at least twenty years since those two fellows had seen one another and it’s a good thing my buddy Ken was helping out on weekends and after school.

Sam and George started talking before Sam got his belongings put away. They quit jabbering long enough for George to grab the .22 and shoot a pheasant that had been eating from our feed bunks. He and Sam fixed as good a meal as I’d ever had, roast pheasant, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, fresh baked bread and a chocolate cake.

We were amazed at how often they had barely missed seeing one another and fascinated by some of the tales they told. Pops, Ken, my brothers and I let them ramble and got things taken care of while they reminisced. They would talk until midnight or later, be up and cooking breakfast before daybreak and never stopped talking and laughing.

After a couple of days, they started to wind down, both were sober and happy. We had one of the best lambing seasons I’ve ever been through. And they always had another story to tell at meals.

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About Pep Dekekr

Pep loves Estes Park, he lives here with his family and hopes to bring people to Estes Park and Estes Park to the people. Along with his wife Paige, they own EstesPark.com.

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