Open RangeSomething unique and special about open country. While I had worked ranches as a kid, helping with roundup and branding, and had been a rodeo cowboy and rodeo clown/bullfighter, I had always wanted a cattle and horse ranch of my own. That dream came true after Donna Sue and I were married.

Together with son Darren, we purchased a spread of rich meadows and woodlands along the upper reaches of Lake Fort Gibson in Oklahoma. Soon, I had it populated with cattle and horses. Again I was roping in competition on weekends, training good registered roping ponies, watching over my cows and calves, riding in the good Oklahoma wind to check on calving cows, bringing the babies back in to the barn across my saddle while Mama cow trotted alongside mooing and making sure her baby was all right.

A beagle named Bagel and a miniature pet pig named Porkchop followed me wherever I went on the range. During calving season in the spring, the dog and the pig went hunting for newborn calves. They would get all excited whenever they found one hidden in the grass by Mama. Barking and pointing and Porkchop squealing in delight.

I had traveled all over the world as a writer, combat correspondent, soldier, sailor, adventurer—and continued to do so. But now with Donna Sue and the GG Ranch I had roots. The summer wind in my face as I rode, the first flurries of winter snowflakes, spring rains, new life bursting all around. Thundering flocks of quail. Wild turkeys, coyotes, cottontails. A bobcat now and then. Lots of deer, geese, ducks…

The firm feel of a lasso in my hand while rounding up my herd. Riding after a stray through the woods, even though I hit a low limb and knocked out one of my teeth chasing a stray. I awoke long before sunrise every day to meet my writing deadlines—then out into the open where I remained tan and strong riding, roping, milking and tending cows. A long day’s work. Naming my new babies in the spring—Ears, Bully, Geraldine…

Mankind lost a lot of our humanity when we broke ourselves from the land and moved into crowded cities where we collectively forgot what it meant to be free.

Charles W. Sasser is author of over 60 published books and novels and thousands of magazine articles and short stories. He latest book is Crushing the Collective: America’s Last Chance to Remain Free and Self-Governing. His forthcoming book is Looneyville USA: America’s Descent into Madness and Chaos.