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By Bill Roberts
Not long after Jerry Hair helped us catch the Tucker cattle at Port Mayaca, he asked me if I would like to spend a week or so with an old cowman friend of his that he had worked for from the time he was a big kid.
The old man's name was Surrency and he needed some help working his whole herd of cattle. They needed worming for parasites and spraying for horn flies. He had only one man that worked full-time.
When Jerry asked me to come with him, I was flattered and I assumed he considered me a cowboy. To my surprise, my dad let me go. He might've said, "Good riddance" under his breath, but I didn't hear it.
Well, in a couple of days were were headed up through Okeechobee City and we stopped at the Desert Inn where Highway 60 crosses 441. I always enjoyed spending time there at Yeehaw Junction. There were always some Seminoles in their gaudy outfits, and usually a bunch of cowboys drinking coffee or something stronger.
When we left there, we headed east about seven miles toward Vero Beach and turned north on a dirt grade up to the Surrency Ranch.
There was an old cracker ranch house, a big set of cow pens, a horse barn and a small bunk house. Mr. Surrency came out and seemed glad to see us and Jerry introduced me.
He showed us around the horse barn and introduced the horses we would be riding for the next week. It was getting close to supper time and after a big country meal, that was fixed by a Mexican lady, which I guessed was his regular cook, we headed down to the bunk house.
I thought I had just got to sleep when the old man came in and said, "Breakfast is ready and it will be daylight soon." I was tempted to go somewhere and spend the rest of the night, but I didn't.
Well, we put in a tough week and we must have penned and worked 500 or 600 head of cattle. This was manual labor and there wasn't much glamour in it at all.
But, it was still cowboying and I wasn't complaining!
Bill Roberts is a cowboy and artist who resides in Cedar Key. His book, “All I Ever Wanted To Be Is A Cowboy,” costs $15 each and can be purchased by calling 543-5609.