Do chores! Get the mess done! See to it! And how are we going to handle that? These are the questions and demands of the general day. Then comes the unexpected and a whirlwind of activity to manage that is the next thing on the agenda. This is all in the day of the average beef producer. And that guy is me and all of mine!
We range from a day of 8 hard hours to a day of 16 killing hours of work and love it all. I always wanted this, and I guess my offspring did too. We now have a total of three hired hands on the place and all of them are partners in the business. I can't explain that but I believe it, and only the close relative of mine knows the correct answers! Our oldest offspring brought a husband home that is learning to fit in very nicely since he retired from the desk job. The two sons have grown into top hands and, even if they are mine, I know they are priceless!
So, what do you surmise I accomplish around here daily? I am the only one that can ride and enjoy it. I do it gladly and often but not really fancy or extra proficiently, but Snip and Jack don't care! I also count cattle daily, raise cane about some slipshod job and demand some responsibility from each person occasionally. It's a hard job corralling everyone and running this outfit -- just a good thing I have experience!
Although I make this sound so easy and such a good job to have, that's not the case. I am having a spell of spring fever brought on by longer daylight, warmth, some rain and new calves! It must be the reason I am feeling so darn good this morning and looking out of rose-colored glasses. My goodness, I am never out of debt, always try to dodge the banker and sign up for each offer made by the government, hoping to get something that will make more money. We have land in our name and problems in our name -- therefore, all to be expected I guess.
An old (and I mean old) friend showed up at the post office in town the other day. He had come to see us and wasn't sure where to find the place so stopped to ask. I was so taken by his sight I almost shook my head to clear my sight! This feller was a friend of my pappy and I was only a little kid following every step he made.
His trip was made alone and I wonder if the family knew he was gone! Roney Gibbs -- I don't know his real name, but this was because he rode only strawberry roan horses, was one of a kind, and they just don't make them anymore! He stayed for the night with us and told story after story about my parents and him, sharing things I almost but not quite remembered. Our children and one college grandkid listened in awe as they heard the golden nuggets of long ago hit the still evening air. Roney tired at the last story and announced his bedtime and we all praised and thanked him for the history. The next morning at the first light, he was back on the road and headed home. He hoped no one had missed him. That is about 600 miles in a 1999 Chevy pickup. The Lord travels with Roney!
I did come back to earth in time to count the steers and heifers this morning and decided to start culling steers. I hate that job; they all look pretty good to me and my close relative. She makes a determined effort to oversee that first cull job. She is sharp about cattle but I usually let her have her way just out of respect. It also makes life more pleasant!
The lessons learned in these 48 hours were so overpowering with memories. I saw my life sorta replayed as I listened to the past and saw some things I should have learned way back then. I hope the kids did!
Mother's Day was a festival at our home and lots of love was shown to the ladies that go by that distinction. We are so grateful for the cradle rockers who teach us about Christianity and keep us fed! I am going to try to be productive around here from now on, besides being the boss.
Do go fishing in the last hours of light and spend the time thinking. Always Remember the Alamo!
Bill is the pen name used by the Gravette-area author of this weekly column. Opinions expressed are those of the author.