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This is me, Bill, and I hope you can recognize me. I have been through a knot hole backwards and then rode hard and put up wet! I was underfed, underpaid and underappreciated. This is what's left and it is a ragged portion of what was. The total result of being forced to take on tasks that no man should have to live through.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when the mailman brought the flyer announcing the annual cattle sale to take place deep in the heart of Alabama. I have been wanting to go to the event most of my life, wondering what it would be like to see an outfit where all the facilities matched and so did the cattle. Casually, you fellers know how I mean, just real casual, I mentioned that I was definitely thinking about attending the sale this year.

My close relative laid her fork down, picked up her tea glass, leaned back in her chair and looked at me with an expression that said, "My wheels are spinning and I hope you are ready for this!"

Our vacation, that was the name applied, turned out to be a lady's, just the one lady, day out! We took enough luggage for a couple of weeks, had to take the automobile instead of my pickup and an ice chest for her important little bottles of water. The whole thing was not what I had imagined when I brought up going to a cattle sale!

It is a long and snaky trail to Alabama. I would have driven straight through but with my close relative along we were required to motel along the way. Of course, that entails unloading and hauling suitcases up to a room, hauling them down and reloading the next morning, paying for a couple of meals in the hotel restaurant (and bar) that was not of my choice and not cheap. I tried to be patient.

We finally got to the location of our destination and even in my imagination I could never have envisioned the magnificence of the place. I was really taken over with envy as I placed both of the homesteads side by side in my head, mine and theirs. But since envy is sinful I tried to get that out of my heart and think about how fortunate we were to have what we have.

Could I manage while the close relative drove back to the little shopping mall we passed on the way, it was only about five miles back and she would sure enjoy looking in shops? Sure, I sent her on with plenty of my blessings and my checkbook. I was happy to mix and mingle with the locals, look at the cattle and absorb the atmosphere. It was glorious, the food was fantastic, cattle were top of the line and I had a wonderful time. I didn't even know how long the sale was lasting as it is true that time flies when you are having fun.

It is my opinion, and everyone has one, buying everyTom, Dick and Harry in the family Christmas presents is uncalled for, let alone getting them in Alabama. It is nice to think of friends and family, invite them for coffee and pie, but when I was informed we would have to pull a trailer back home, I was hoping for a stock trailer and a big black bull to ride in it. No, just a U-haul full of Christmas gifts.

I did not say too much, have to watch myself and preserve the happy home, but was this necessary? I don't think so and I could have bought a dang good bull for what all the stuff, motels, eats and hide off my nose cost!!

Opinion, Pages 4 on 08/12/2009

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