Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Project Begins

A couple of days ago I sat down with dear friend and good neighbor Bill Hackett and we made a deal to finish his autobiography, a project he has been wanting to do, and thinking about for years. We are both excited about it. He'll provide the stories, the history, the expertise and the knowledge he wants to pass on. I'll bring my writing, and publishing, and technology expertise to the project. Because we know each other so well, we speak the same language, and we share a love of the people, the horses, and the culture. Should be a dandy, when we get it done. 

Bill and Billee Hackett are our "next door" neighbors here on Bitter Creek, just south of the Montana line north of Recluse, Wyoming. It is a couple miles, I guess, down the creek to their place.I've known them my entire life. When I was little they worked for my Grandad Frank Greenough, and I grew up with their kids. Their son Dusty was a few years older and was one of the big kids along with my uncles over at the home ranch, when I was one of the little kids. Jacque is a few years younger.

I took this picture of Bill and my Dad in the summer of 2012 in front of our barn. They figured out that they had been cowboying together since 1964. 

Years later I was a single Mom with three kids of my own putting myself through school down at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and Bill was working for Superior Livestock a video livestock marketing outfit. He needed help with accepting cattle that had been sold and delivering them to the buyer. I traveled with him for several months doing that, weighing cattle, loading trucks, and handling paperwork. It was a very enjoyable time, and a good experience for me.  

Fast forward again, and my husband Rod McQueary and I moved back to Bitter Creek from Nevada in 1998. Neighbors again, it was a pleasure to strike up where we left off with Bill and Billee, and for Rod to get to know and love them as I always had. We neighbored back and forth helping each other with work that needed down, and trading chores when somebody had to be gone, pitching in when we needed to in the time honored way that neighbors and friends always have in this country.

When I lost Rod last December while my Dad was still in the hospital with a broken back from a pickup wreck, and my Mom's health was failing--quite literally, I don't know what I would have done if Bill hadn't dropped everything to be with Mom and Dad and help them through that whole ordeal. 

Now I'm facing a whole new life, and bound and determined to make a living one way or another on this little ranch. It is a hustle because my steady income died with my husband, I won't be able to get any of his social security or military pension until I turn 60 and that is a good five years away. So, I've put together a little horse business and am scrambling for quick income. I knew Bill was working on a book. So, I screwed up my courage and went down for coffee and a chat. We made a deal. 

Yesterday, I went with Bill out to Bill Mankin's place south of Gillette where we got together with the rest of his team, Jacque Hackett, Mandy Hagler who is Mankin's daughter, and who has been working with Bill and Jacque for a year or so and educating herself by attending an equine acupressure school down in Colorado where she lives, and Jerry Gillum, a horseshoer that Bill thinks is one of the best in the country.  They worked on eight or nine head of horses, Jerry trimmed and reset the shoes on three head of Mandy's horses that had some problems that Jerry was working on fixing. I took a few pictures and Bill and I had a good chance to talk over the project coming and going. It was colder than hell and the wind blowing, but we were inside a barn, and it was a good day. 

As for the project, I'll travel some with the team to record what they do, and how, and Bill and I will keep collecting interviews of people that have been important in his life, and scanning old pictures, and collecting history. I'll blog what we're doing as we go along and post them here. When we get it all together the real work of editing and shaping the final product will begin. 

Come along for the ride if you like, and feel free to chime in. Love to hear from you. 

Sue Wallis

For the Sake of the Horse - Equine Therapists

Sue Wallis, Mandy Hagler, Jacque Hackett, Bill Hackett, Jerry Gillum

Bill Hackett - 307 682 3959

Jacque Hackett - 307 682 9885

Mandy Hagler - 303 809 1351

Jerry Gillum - 307 299 3102