A Cowboy’s Faith: Ornery Shorty was talented – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Ornery Shorty was talented

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Best known as Shorty, or Short, grinning ornery Marven Brabb towered above most with diverse abilities.”

Last week Shorty, a New Year’s Day baby in 1928, passed away at 93 years of age. Until a few months ago, Shorty had continued daily care of his straight Hereford cow herd. Time had taken toll, but Shorty with walking canes remained himself, jovial, mischievous, knowing, heartfelt concerned.

Then serious health incapacitated Shorty, forcing him off his beloved farm into a care home. For a while, Shorty would visit briefly when called, but lost interest in what was happening “back home.”

His cattle were dispersed and then machinery, a large assortment of tools and household were sold at auction. Uncertain if Shorty was even aware, but difficult time for friends watching his life’s toil going under the gavel.

It must be 45 years since first meeting Shorty, who enjoyed off farm work for the lumberyard. Anything needing built or repaired; he had the ability and always seemed eager to do the task.

At a purebred Hereford sale, Shorty with his big smile bought a top bull. Sadly the ring man who he’d done a number of jobs for didn’t even know his name. It’d always just been “Shorty,” but Marven Brabb was never forgotten after that.

The old barn had two grain bins, milk cow stanchions, three workhorse stalls and a lean-to. Shorty renovated them into nine riding horse stalls with his uniquely-designed two-by-six gates inside Dutch doors.

For the annual livestock field day including 25 Quarter Horse sales, it was Shorty who always helped get ready. Any fence and building repairs were his assignment, along with a fresh coat of red paint on the barn. In his 80s, he’d jaunt right up that 24-foot extension ladder with his spray gun, paint thinned with gasoline.

For any special project or advice needed, Shorty was called. He repaired machinery, replaced all the worn disc blades, even fixed a saddle when the tree was broken.

Passing of wife June in 2008 after nearly 61 years of marriage did set Shorty back. But his four children, grandkids, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren still made those bright eyes twinkle.

Hard working talented friends like Shorty are impossible to replace.

Reminded of Second Samuel 1:26: “Crushed by your death, oh what a friendship yours was.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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