Kudos for Vagneur
I hadn’t talked to Tony Vagneur or even thought about him for more than 40 years, I guess, until I happened on to him on the Times website while checking to see if my name was in the obituaries.
In the late 1950s or so, my aunt was going with Al Senna, a cowboy working for Clyde and Wayne Vagneur and the rest of the Woody Creek ranchers punching cows from the Woody Creek cow camp. I would go up on the range with Al for a week at a time. We would ride between Sloan’s and Kobey Park. It was an idyllic time for a kid. Fresh fish for breakfast and homemade bread, maybe a grouse thrown in occasionally.
One Sunday afternoon when we got ready to leave Woody Creek, Al told me that we were gonna pick up Tony Vagneur and take him with us. I immediately went into a sweat. I haven’t been intimidated much in my life, but here was a real cowboy a year younger than me coming along! I rode with an old cinch strap and a saddle blanket because we couldn’t afford a saddle and on top of that, I was a town kid from the east end mine dump neighborhood that didn’t know a thing about being a real cowboy. I guess I was afraid that Tony would look down on me or poke fun or something. When we picked him up, he had everything I didn’t. A full set-up, even chaps, I think. He never said a word about my getup the whole time. We had a great few days, and we all laughed when a yellow jacket got between Tony and his sleeping bag zipper and again when my cinch strap slipped around under Brownie and took me with it.
A few years later when I was a lineman for Aspen High, Tony was the quarterback. Now we all know what kind of relationship that can be, especially in high school. Not much love lost! Tony never acted as if anyone was beneath him or was a lesser player that I can recall. Always a nice guy.
So as a kid, a high school quarterback and now as a columnist for your newspaper, I think Tony has shown strength of character not seen a lot these days.
Thank you for finding the space for this if you can.
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