Many answers sound something like, “I’m thankful for food each day.” This is a very good answer because many in the world wonder moment by moment if they will have a meal. It is often paired with “family,” “friends,” “a house,” “the sunset.” Again, all good answers, all ones I’m extremely thankful for – but somewhat generic.

Whitehurst marci
Freelance Writer
Marci Whitehurst is a freelance writer, ranch wife and the mother of three children. You can foll...

A cowboy’s generic list of things they are thankful for would also include things like cows, horses, four-wheelers, trucks, guns, hay, rain and sunshine.

If we ranchers were to have our own Thanksgiving thankfulness thread, though, I think we should strive to be specific. Our preacher has often encouraged us to be specific in our prayers because good friends tell each other details. Well, friends, here’s a list of some cowboy/girl things we are thankful for this season (in no particular order):

1.The smell of mineral. Depending on the time of year and the ingredients, it may not smell the best. (My husband actually loves the smell of all mineral. He can’t smell a dirty diaper or manure, but he can smell mineral from a mile away.) Regardless, the smell draws in the cows and gives them additional nourishment when they need it. It reminds us of why we do what we do.

2. A cab on a tractor. Those who hay in the summer appreciate its shelter from the heat. If you use a tractor to feed, the same applies for the cold.


3. Saddle bags. Where else do you find a bag of jerky, canteen, a handful of staples, three T-post clips, one glove (usually for the hand you don’t need it for at the moment), a syringe, needles, medicine and marker stick all in one place?

4. Clean trailer mats. This is especially great in the winter. A quick shovel-out after hauling stock goes a long way. Once a cow pie freezes … it’s not coming out until a thaw; for us that could be months.

5. Ropes. A good rope will lay the way you like and help you look good in a branding pen or out in the field. I personally stink at roping, but I admire a good rope.

6. A good dog. I suppose this can sound generic but, if you’ve ever had a good stock dog, you know this can be personal. We once had a dog so great with cows our neighbors called her to help with cattle. We were welcome too – so long as we brought the dog.

7. Fencing pliers. This tool is one handy gadget. Pliers, hammer, wire cutter and staple puller all in one tool. Brilliant.

8. Fly spray. Not pertinent this time of year, but it sure is handy for a 4-H kid, especially in a summer of thick flies and mosquitoes. I’ve tried a ton of natural remedies, from Listerine to apple cider vinegar to lemon balm. I’ve yet to find one that works when the flies are thick.

9. A calm horse. I suppose I don’t need to mention how a calm horse becomes a calm horse … I mean, there’s rarely a calm horse under an agitated rider, but having an especially peaceful horse is nice. My husband’s gelding is the calmest one we’ve ever had. His first time roping, he acted like it was old hat. A good disposition goes a long way.

10. Warm layers. From long johns to chinks, having multiple layers is nice. You can stay warm and take them off if it gets too warm outside – well, to a point.

11. A comfortable hat. A bombardier or Scotch cap is the winter hat of choice when temperatures plummet but, overall, a good cowboy hat that sheds water and blocks out the sun is a must-have.

12. Coffee (or tea). A hot drink on a cold morning makes getting out of bed a little easier … especially if you’re a night calver.

13. Comfortable boots. A broken-in pair of boots that isn’t too broken in to be duct-taped together makes for a happier back and fewer sore muscles.

14. Guns. I know our nation is in an uproar about gun control, but I won’t shy away from saying this is a right and a privilege, not to mention a necessity for work and recreation in rural America.

Of course, the best things in life aren’t tangible: love, hope, peace, etc.

This list is just a beginning. We have a lot to be thankful for, and often it is the little things that make our lives easier and more enjoyable. If you read this list, and someone in your family needs something listed above, it is almost Christmas. Hint. Hint.

Overall, thankfulness is a springboard for joy. Happiness is being thankful for what we have. I don’t know who to give the credit to, but I love this quote: “Those who are happiest never did have everything. But, rather, they are thankful for everything they do have.”  end mark