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I drove around the place a couple of hours looking for the lost bull. I know he just wanted to go visit the neighbors or make a trip to town. It got dark, real dark, and about that time I was sure he would show up in the morning. He did not and therefore a day in the saddle came next. The offspring offered to trade jobs, but I refused due to my age and their riding four-wheelers all over the place.

I needed to see the place on horseback. You will miss things driving around, but it is good to be able to see all the critters and all the holes in the pasture. You will see rocks that are new to the surface in the field you so carefully cleared 15 years ago and patches of clover you thought had all died out.

I rode from early -- about 6 a.m., as soon as it was good and light -- to look in all the corners of the place. I went in for lunch at about eleven and put Snip up. He needed the exercise but was glad to be loose again. No tracks and no bull were found.

Sure, there are lots of tracks, but not stray ones and not from a fifteen hundred pound bull. It was strange for one to be missing when there were others just minding their own bull business, no open gates, no broken wires, and not a sign as to where he got out. I do not believe he just floated out and neither do I believe anyone came along and loaded him. Old Dog is old but he would surely let us know if a truck came in during the night.

My close relative said she heard lots of bull bellowing all morning, and I wondered about that because the bullpen appeared to be calm and quiet. I was just finishing my pie when the offspring drove in for lunch and laughing all the way from the gate to the door. I was ready for a laugh myself but they just stood there and grinned.

The bull went with me to the feed room when I went after a sack of mineral yesterday morning. He managed to get into one of the sick pen stalls and proceeded to make himself at home, a nice helping of good hay and an automatic water tank and clean straw to bed down on. He was in the last pen on the end and the gate had swung shut on him. Finally, wanting some of the grain he was used to eating, he had started telling where he was.

It was not wasted time spent looking for that surly critter, I saw the place from on high! Now I will be more careful as I know he will be watching for another expedition to the private room!

It is my opinion, and everyone has one, this year is a hard one but we can make do with some faith, prayer and common sense. We are blessed to be living in the shrinking but still alive Bible Belt of America! We can stand about anything here with determination and pride in our country. The health of our families is the number one concern, so be careful and do what you know you should.

I do not think we should go to see the banker all masked up and act like we are packing iron! But, wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay home if possible.

Bill is the pen name of the Gravette area author of this weekly column. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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