Morris is a character. There’s no other way to describe him. He’s probably about 68 years old now. He’s decidedly rough. He’s definitely tough. He’s got a heart of pure gold and he drives a democrat wagon — a democrat with a pink sort of “surrey on top” — a cover that he had made specially for our event.
The year he joined us, on one of our days we hit that awful storm that started somewhere down around Claresholm with tons of rain and hail. By the time it hit Calgary the hail was the size of softballs and the damage was atrocious. Then it headed east — straight toward us. It caught us half an hour out of Tilley. Thank God the hail was over by then. But rain and wind? The wind was clocked at 100 km/hr — and it drove the rain at us sideways. It literally lifted Morris’ wagon off the road! He got the top down, but not before he went parasailing a couple of times! There was so much rain that we couldn’t even get into the campground where we were supposed to stay that night. It was under a foot and a half of water!
Everybody was soaked to the skin. We were loading horses as fast as we could into trailers and putting riders into trucks so they could warm up. We had to camp on the side of the road with trailers attached and horses in trailers. And there was Morris, out slipping and sliding in the mud, swearing away at his horses (he did that a lot — but it was the kind of swearing that means, “I love you”, y’know?), rain pouring down, wind whipping … and he didn’t even lose his signature cigarette stuck resolutely in the corner of his mouth!
So I phoned Morris today to find out if he’s going to join us this year. (Morris doesn’t do Internet.)
Seems Morris had a knee replaced in May, but that’s not slowing him down a lot. He’s haying (by himself) right now. But the knee stiffens up if he doesn’t move around every hour, so he won’t be joining us this year. He’s thinking of getting the other knee done next spring … but he thinks he’ll get it done earlier in the year. You know why? So he can come with us again — because, in Morris’ words, “It’s the trip of a lifetime.”