Things don’t al­ways go as planned, even for a ‘great man’

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION - By Bill Bill is the pen name of the Gravette-area au­thor of this weekly col­umn. Opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

I think I passed the test! My youngest grand told me she could do some­thing I can’t do, and we pro­ceeded to the barn to test this the­ory. She said test­ing my abil­ity to be a great man was im­por­tant and, so, I was get­ting sorta con­cerned; re­mem­ber I am not young and spry any­more! We climbed up the square bale stack and sat on the top bale — not my fa­vorite ac­tiv­ity, but she spends time play­ing in the hay. She sig­naled to be very still and quiet, lis­ten care­fully and “pay at­ten­tion.”

This child is afraid of noth­ing! She was born fear­less and has bro­ken sev­eral bones and car­ried a shiner or two, so I got to think­ing about her try­ing to scare me with old sneaky snake. I sure hoped I would not scream like a girl and fall to the bot­tom of the haystack if that was her plan. We sat for about five or six min­utes and hardly breathed. I was sweat­ing and she was grin­ning.

Finally, a tiny lit­tle cry was heard from down in the hay. A tiny lit­tle kit­ten had man­aged to wedge it­self in and could not get out. The al­ways-pre­pared kid pro­duced a flash­light from her pocket and handed it to me as she in­formed me her arms were just too short! Now, I was re­lieved and happy to as­sist the es­cape of said fe­line. I handed the kit­ten to her and we climbed down with both of us happy. She held out her hand and, as she shook mine, she con­grat­u­lated me for be­ing a great man!

That lit­tle episode oc­curred dur­ing the time I was chang­ing the wornout tires on the trailer and putting on new worn-out tires. I hate hav­ing flats on the stock trailer and a few other nasty lit­tle things that hap­pen to beef pro­duc­ers. We try to keep things ready, stay ahead of tri­als, run checks on equip­ment and keep the weather in mind. But even if I have passed the test as a great man, things don’t al­ways go as planned.

I was de­ter­mined to fill a ditch in the road from the barn lot to the bullpen when we moved here. I hauled rocks and then, the next year, hauled more rocks. I finally got it solid enough to drive the trac­tor over and that was that. If you ever picked up rocks in the pas­tures, you can ap­pre­ci­ate the chore I had fin­ished.

Then the rains came. Sev­eral years worth of rain and I was still driv­ing over the ditch in my truck with­out a prob­lem, but it was get­ting lower. I did not no­tice how much lower — sorta like los­ing your hair, one strand here and one gone there. I loaded a new con­crete feed trough on the trac­tor on Satur­day morn­ing and took off to the bullpen. I did not make it across. The thing gave way be­neath the back tires, and there I was! I sup­pose the trough was just heavy enough to do the deed. I turned the trac­tor off, waded the muddy draw and walked to the house. Some things are bet­ter left to a later time and a fresh out­look be­fore mess­ing around with them.

It is my opin­ion, and ev­ery­one has one, fall calv­ing is one of the things that lighten the load of the man do­ing the work. The cows do good, the calves are so feisty and there’s not a bit of snow any­where. The rain doesn’t bother, just makes bet­ter grass, and we won’t have a hard freeze for a while yet. We are calved out, and the crop is al­most 50/50 again this year with heifer and bull calves. We lost one and al­most two oth­ers but man­aged to get enough meds down them to do the job. I will be smil­ing when you see me at the round­table!

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