Cattle Rustlers

I was born in 1949 so I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s on a cocklebur farm in Limestone County. I do remember hearing talk about a bootlegger or two but I thought that cattle rustling was something that happened in the old West. In the late 80’s I was asked to preach a revival in a County to our West and the particular community that I was going to was located right in the edge of Bankhead National Forrest. It was a little country church that ran 45-50 people. All of them good, God-fearing people but their pastor was just a little on the edge. In my opinion, this guy was a couple of fries short of a happy meal. He didn’t have enough sense to be afraid. It was a part-time church and the members didn’t expect him to make visits unless their was sickness or some particular need but he was a go getter and he had me come over early to go visiting. We’ve made several visits and are driving down a country road and he says, “Some cattle rustlers live in this next house. We have to visit them in the day time because they work at night. They will probably be asleep but I will wake them up.” He pulls into the yard like he owns the place and precedes toward the house that has no front door and no light coming from within. As soon as I saw the situation, I stopped and I told, “You go on in brother, I am going to stay out here and pray.” He never missed a beat, didn’t hesitate or even question my lack of courage, he just bounded into that dark house like he knew what he was doing. They must have seen us coming because when he went in the front, they went out the back. He was like a blood hound and he followed them out the back. They had headed for the barn but realized that he had already seem them so they just stopped at the wood pile and sat down. I joined them at the wood pile. After we left, I said, “You were kidding about them stealing cattle for a living weren’t you?” “Oh no, they are cattle rustler’s alright and they are good at it. One man near here had a prize bull that got out and was grazing beside the road. He went home to get his cattle trailer but before he could get back the bull had disappeared. These guys are good with animals. They probably walked up to that bull, laid the rope over his neck and had him in the trailer in less than five minutes. They are slick.” I am sitting there thinking, this cannot be happening. This is 1988 for Pete’s sake, who in the world rustled cattle in this day and age. He wanted to finish the story about the bull. “The man who owned the bull knew that they got it and he knew where they had taken it so he stakes out the place himself. He had his gun and was laying in the grass in the ditch in front of their place. He laid there for hours and then dozed off to sleep. While he was asleep they moved the bull.” You probably think that I am full of bull but this really happened.

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