The lariat’s loop sailed true. Bingo, thought Carter. Scrambling from his horse, he sprinted to the bucking calf, grabbed him, hefted him up and flipped him on his side. Carter snatched the piggin’ string from his clenched teeth and tied a half-hitch knot around three flailing legs. Raising his hands, Carter signaled completion.
“Eleven seconds,” shouted Grady, monitoring the stopwatch from his perch atop a weathered rail fence. “Y’r ropin’ real good.”
Carter yanked the rope free, allowing the angry calf to scamper out of the corral into open pasture.
“I hope it’ll be good enough,” responded Carter, swinging into the saddle. “Down there, I won’t be ridin’ and ropin’, just ropin’.”
“You gonna be rodeo’n on this trip y’r takin’?” asked Grady. “And where are y’ goin’ anyway?”
“Nope and New Delhi,” answered Carter.
“You mean that little sub shop down on th' square? Mighty fine eatin’. I like their fried baloney sandwich…a nice slice a provoloney cheese… slathered with a bit a…”
“Not th' sandwich shop,” interrupted Carter. “I’m goin’ t' New Delhi, India…on a mission trip. I’m gonna do a little cow catchin’.”
“Cow catchin’? Don’t sound like much of a mission trip t’ me,” Grady said, slapping dust off his faded blue jeans.
Carter nudged his Dapple Gray mare to the fence and nimbly coiled the dangling rope. He mopped pouring sweat from his brow with a tattered handkerchief.
“Only about twenty percent of th' people livin’ in India know Christ. I’m goin’ down there t' work with th’ local government. I’ll be workin’ with other hired cow catchers, t' get those pesky bovines off th’ streets and in t’ local animal sanctuaries. If I have an opportunity t' share my faith with m’ co-workers, I’ll do it.”
Grady rummaged in his denim jean pocket and retrieved two strips of beef jerky, handing one to Carter.
“What do you mean get th’ cows off th’ streets?” Grady asked.
“Many of th’ folks in India believe cows are sacred…almost god-like.” Carter gnawed off a piece of jerky. “According t' our pastor,” he continued, chomping, “about twelve thousand cows roam th’ streets of New Delhi. Imagine the mess.”
Grady squinted into the sun eyeing the cattle grazing and the young calves bawling for their mommas. Gliding in the distance, a red-tailed hawk circled, seeking an unsuspecting field mouse.
“Y’r telling me they just let th’ cows roam free…in th’ city?” Grady asked, amazed.
“Yep. Th’ government hires official cow catchers, but there are still thousands wanderin' aroun’ town, grazin’ outta trash cans,” Carter replied, swatting at an annoying sweat bee.
“There’s gotta be cow patties everywhere,” Grady observed. “I expect t’ step in it from time t’ time on th’ farm, but when I go t’ town I pull on m’ Sunday go-to-meetin’ boots. I don’t wanna be scraping ‘you know what’ off m’ soles ev’ry time I have coffee at th’ diner.
Carter smiled and nodded. “I’m sure fresh droppin’s are commonplace.”
Carter swung from his horse and grabbed the reins, leading the sweaty mare towards the barn. Grady slipped off the fence and followed.
“Let’s say y’r out walking after dark. What’re y’ gonna do then?” wondered Grady aloud.
“Listen for flies, I reckon.”
Both friends chuckled.
“What if y’ don’t have an opportunity t’ share Jesus…whatcha gonna do?” Grady wanted to know.
“This trip is all about service. Some men from church and m’self will be servin’ the folks of New Delhi in diffr’nt ways. Some will be offerin’ a free health clinic…others helpin’ in an orphanage. A couple other men and m’self will be catchin’ cows. We’ve made up a name for it. We call it a little ‘R f’r R’.”
“R f’r R?” questioned Grady.
“Ropin’ f’r the Redeemer,” Carter answered with a toothy grin. “At nights we’ll stroll th’ streets of New Delhi, prayin’ that God might move there in a mighty way. We need prayer support from people here at home. Will you pray for us?”
“You know I will. And,” he added, “I have a bit of advice for y’.”
“What’s that?” Carter asked.
“Watch y’r step.”
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