One of my favorite people in this world is a cowboy named Tuff. Actually his name is Marvin. Tuff was a nickname given to him when he was younger. I was told he didn’t really like the name “Tuff.” I’ve tried to call him Marvin the last few years, but it just won’t roll off my tongue without being forced. He has always been Uncle Tuff to me, and he always will be.
Besides, tuff is what he really is, the name fits him. He is a cowboy, a buckaroo, born and raised in Three Creek, ,Idaho. He’s not one of those dime store types, he is the real deal. After he and my Aunt Leah were married, he worked on a couple of ranches in Idaho. They then moved to Nevada where he worked as a ranch hand and manager on several ranches; Hadley Ranch, Town Ranch, Red House, Carlin Field, and The Rancho Grande. He also worked for a few years in a gold mine in Carlin Nevada. He now owns his own small ranch in Filer, Id.
His love has always been horses, and I’m sure if he could, he would be sitting on one now. He was always breaking a new colt, or trading a horse. In fact, in one of those horse trades with my dad, we ended up with one of my favorite horses of all time. She was named Nevada, (of course!) He has been in numerous horse wrecks…as most real cowboys have. I know he broke his jaw in one of those wrecks and had to have his jaw wired shut. That had to be pretty trying for a cowboy who likes steak and potatoes! He has earned the name “Tuff!”
My husband, Mike, and I lived on the U-3 ranch in Wells, Nevada for several years. My dad, Jim Craig was managing the U-3 when we moved there. We shared many holiday celebrations with Uncle Tuff and Aunt Leah. Those are some of my best memories.
Uncle Tuff also came to most of the U-3 brandings over the years, and that is where Mike came to know, admire, and love him.
My uncle Tuff is tough in every way a man should be. He has survived many trials and tribulations in his life. He has always been the shoulder for his wife and children to lean on, and the courage and perseverance, they, and all who know him, look up to. The one thing about my Uncle Tuff, that is not tough, is his heart. Through all of life’s struggles, his heart has not hardened; it is soft, tender, and always loving.
When I hear the name, Tuff, or Marvin Colyer, I see an image in my mind. There is a man, like the Marlboro Man, for those who remember those old T.V. ads. He is dressed in a cowboy shirt, jeans, boots, chaps, and hat. He has a western scarf around his neck, not for style, but for protection from the elements. He wears leather gloves over calloused hands to protect him from cold weather and from rope burns. He sits on a top-notch cow horse with his rope ready to make a loop, and a good cow dog following alongside.
When he gets off that horse, he walks; a little bow-legged, spurs a-jingling, with a smile of contentment on a sun weathered face, knowing he is living the life he loves… the life of the American Cowboy.
I love you Uncle Tuff!