During the winter months of our first meeting each other I learned some things that I seriously had no clue about, but realized that I was right where I belonged at the moment.  Thus, the prayer about what I should do, stay, move, etc. had been answered temporarily.

One bit of trivia, Clay had been trying to get my attention for nearly four years prior.  Haha!  Who knew!  I was working the prior four years at a local coop in Kendrick and I recall seeing him, but didn’t really know who he was.  Man, I know you all are thinking, how does she not notice?!  I will remind you I DID NOT NEED this in my life and it was the farthest thing from my mind to be cohorting with this supposedly subdued individual.  Subdued, hahhahhhahha!  Anyway, he thought he was charming I guess.

While employed by the coop my job would take me many places in the Spring, Summer and Fall to do paperwork, do warehouse inspections, haul feed. But most of the time I was located in Kendrick and we would load out and charge feed orders.  There was a time or two I recall this guy coming in with Cliff Ensley, whom I knew.  I presumed it was his son, but never asked any questions.  Nosey aren’t I?  Haha!  I remember one particular time when he came in by himself, said VERY LITTLE, but was observant.  What I recall the most about that visit was that he was extremely dark tan and his blue eyes sparkled with mischief.  Thus, I recall thinking, oh grief he is trouble!  So, I went about my business, wrote up the ticket and sent him on his way.  That’s the highlight of me noticing in those prior 4 years.

Back to ranch happenings……that same Fall that I asked for his help, he telephoned me on my way from work in Moscow.  The phone rang as I was descending the Kendrick Grade and it was spotty at best.  Anyway, I answered and this deep dark voice comes over and says, my parents are gone and there is nothing to eat in the house.  What’s for dinner.  I am so gullible sometimes, seriously!  Sigh!  I say, okay, well dinner is at 6:30-7:00, you can join us if you like; I have no idea what I’m cooking though.  I should have known it was a trick!!!!!  I have to say that it was pleasant and stimulating conversation over the dinner table that night.  Timing of this setting is about November 2009….keep that thought!

A couple of weeks pass, I don’t hear anything from him and then one Saturday or Sunday evening he shows at the door saying, “Dad got bucked off during fall gather and I think he has some broken ribs, there is a cow down at the creek that needs doctored, can you come help?”  Ok, anytime its animals, I’m a sap!  I said sure, let me gab my coveralls, gloves and hat.    I remember by girls giving me the look of “oh good grief Mom, really”!  Off we went to the creek!

On the way down the hill Clay asked if I could give the shot and administer the pill if he held the cow?  I was OFFENDED only because I have administered pills and shots by the hundreds.  The eve was going to be a clear full moon and cold!  He pulls into the cow pasture and parks next to the embankment heading to a small flat next to the Potlatch.  We ended up following the cow clear up the hay mound about 300 yards from the truck.  Rope in hand, pills, syringe of antibiotic and MoxMox (The Snake You Do Not See) black devil dog in tow!  Clay roped her near the hay mound, snubbed her off to a pine tree, tripped her and got ahold her head while I administered medication.  We let her go and she went down.  It could have anaphylactic shock, who knows?  We went to get the trailer and tried to catch her again, ending up on the crick bed got her roped and snubbed upto a tree again.  Clay went to get the trailer closer while I had the rope wound around a tree truck.  I moved her from tree to tree trying to get her closer for loading as we both felt she needed to go to the vet.  When Clay got back to us, she went down again and was choking, not because of the rope.  That’s when he thought she was choking on a frozen apple.  She was literally suffocating so Clay tried to resuscitate her by pressing and jumping on her ribs.  She then expired!

Clay wouldn’t let it go, he wanted to know why she died.  So, he pulled out his knife and opened her up and found a frozen apple lodged in the esophagus.  Stupid me, I say “wow, sharp knife!”.  Then, Clay says, “we must be rednecks there’s a full moon, blood on my hands and I’m telling him he has a sharp knife.  He then says “I’m turned on”!

It’s about 9pm by now and both of us are exasperated that we couldn’t do something to save her.  We head back to my place and sat out in the truck in the driveway and talked for a bit.  This was probably the beginning of my feeling trust!  Why, you say?  Because, he tried to do the right thing and he was trying to save a life.  We worked well together!

By | 2017-10-25T19:56:03+00:00 February 3rd, 2017|blog|2 Comments

About the Author:

Shelley Ensley is the owner of C & S Saddlery and runs it along with her master craftsman saddle maker husband Clay Ensley. Together they make the finest in hand-made saddles and many other leather products.


  1. Mike Jarrett February 4, 2017 at 2:23 am - Reply

    Great story!

  2. Cheryl Livengood February 4, 2017 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    Beautiful story Shelley. You two were meant for each other. Love you guys

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