Cody’s outfit had pushed this herd through the panhandle of Texas, up through Oklahoma into Kansas. They were on their way to Abilene and the rail head, the place they could get top dollar for their stock.
It was a long, long trip, each day spent eating the dust of six thousand cattle under the hot summer sun, always looking for watering holes and grass enough for them all. Then at night taking turns on watch because of the Indian threat. It was a hard work and a lot of strain for the ten of them.
There was one young cow puncher on the drive named Andy who didn’t like Cody–not that Cody had done anything to rile him, he was just ornery and found Cody a good target for his irritation.
He would trip Cody around the campfire, tip over his coffee cup, make bad jokes about him and refused to take his turn on guard duty if he was relieving Cody—anything he could do to aggravate him.
Cody, however was a peace-loving man and chose to ignore this young trouble maker, hoping that the hard work would take some of the ginger out of him.
Cody, being a follower of Jesus, took some time to pray and think about this challenge Andy presented. Cody’s Pa back in Tennessee had taught him the importance of the Bible and prayer. “Whenever you have trouble, get God involved,” he would say, and then add, “Of course you should be involved with Him all the time!”
After he’d spent time praying, it came to Cody that probably something was eating away at Andy and he was taking it out on Cody as a result.
“He might have bad motives, but I have to have good ones,” Cody said to himself. After thinking about it, the good motive he came up with was to protect Andy and others from harm, and he would do this by not taking Andy’s bait.
Cody wanted to be peace loving in his interactions with Andy, and to be sweetly reasonable, not opposing him when he could say yes to him, letting his have his way as much as possible.
Cody made up his mind that he was going to be merciful to Andy, but he wondered about how he could do good to Andy, beyond what he was already trying.
As he continued to pray off and on about this problem, it came to Cody that one good he could always do was to set limits for people, helping them to see where they are off base. Cody decided to do that, and he didn’t have to wait long to implement that decision.
One night, Andy got some hard stuff from somewhere and after drinking a bit was feeling pretty good. As the evening wore on, he became louder, more boisterous and belligerent. He began maligning Cody, who ignored it. Some of the other hands told Andy to back off, knowing that he was no match for Cody, but he ignored them .
Cody’s lack of response aggravated Andy even more, and suddenly he came up off the ground and took a swing at Cody, who was sitting on his saddle on the ground.
Cody ducked and the force of Andy’s swing took him right over Cody, who fell back. Andy landed hard and didn’t move for a bit. Cody stood up and quietly waited for him to get up.
Andy rolled over and came slowly to his feet. But he was not a quick learner, so came at Cody again, who used Andy’s momentum to throw him over his shoulder and Andy crashed to the ground. But he wasn’t ready to give up. He again charged at Cody and was met by a powerful left that knocked him clean over and down, cutting his lip badly.
Cody spoke, “Now that’s enough, Andy. I don’t want to fight you; I’ve got nothing against you, so quit it! Now you go wash that blood of your face and get to bed.”
Andy climbed to his feet and stumbled off to his bed roll. But Cody was pretty sure Andy didn’t know he was whipped, and he thought he had to watch out. But he didn’t know the coming events that would dramatically change his relationship with Andy.
picture from internet