Laugh Tracks in the Dust 10-4-10
Rural America is populated by a mix of old and young farmers and ranchers, or as I prefer to call them “experienced” and “gonna-get-experienced.”
And, as I’ve personally progressed into the “very experienced” group, I want to share some ways that anyone can tell the two groups apart.
So, here are sure-fire ways to know if you are in the “experienced” group with me:
You can consider yourself “experienced” …
… when you don’t roll down your pickup window to spit because you can hit the hole in the floor board – even when it’s on the passenger side.
… when you get to town and realize you’ve seen more of what’s happening on both sides of the road than you’ve seen in the middle of the road.
… when you know to turn at the end of all your fields without interrupting your afternoon nap.
… when you can grease your combine in the dark – without a flashlight.
… when you don’t even take a look to see what’s wrong before you grab the can of WD40, pliers, a roll of duct tape, and a length of baling wire.
… when you have a bad chest cold and you just give yourself a good big dose from that bottle of Agri-cillin from that old dusty fridge in the barn.
… when you, as the senior member of the farm management team, always blame “that darn kid” for all the problems on the farm or ranch – and that darn kid just turned 50.
… when a city friend mentions hamburger and you think of the steer that broke his hip yesterday.
… when you get athlete’s foot from wearing gum boots, but you just consider it human foot-rot.
… when you turn the first calf heifers with the bull and dread the day your grand-daughter heads off to college.
… when time alone with your husband consists of bringing him lunch on the combine, or helping him haul big round bales.
… When your family members have their own sign language.
… When you see a discarded bath tub and automatically think “stock tank.”
… When you enjoy your second honeymoon in the living quarters in your horse trailer while parked at the state fair.
… When your very best dress clothes are either nearly new blue jeans or overalls.
… When you’d rather play cards with your grizzled old buddies than go to the field or gather cattle.
… When you insist on driving the air conditioned tractor or else you won’t help out.
… When suspenders are essential for keeping your britches from falling down around you ankles.
… When you become the “parts picker-upper” rather than your daughter-in-law.
… When you won’t walk anywhere when there’s a 4-wheeler within walking distance.
… When you intentionally pick the shortest horse with the longest stirrups on its saddle so you won’t need assistance in mounting up.
… When you’re the “water gate is out finder” and not the “water gate fixer-upper.”
… When you become the automatic “ag convention attendee” in your family because you’ll be missed the least.
… When you can’t see your boot toes without bending WAY over.
… When you are relegated to lawn mower duty and your grandson is promoted to tractor driver.
… When everyone in the family urges you to slow down and take more vacations.
… When you figger that some of the world’s greatest philosophers are Baxter Black, Jerry Palen’s Elmo and Flo, Lee Pitts, and hopefully Milo Yield.
Last week, I had to resort to high tech common sense to find my lost cell phone. I had the phone snapped – safely, I thought – into the top pocket of my overalls, but when I returned to the house, I soon realized my cell phone wuz missing.
I thought about what I’d done when outside and the list included picking up a few broken limbs, doing my chicken chores, picking tomatoes, radishes and okra, and digging sweet potatoes.
Of all those activities, I figgered I’d been standing on my head the most while digging those sweet taters. So, I had ol’ Nevah get her cell phone and we took the ATV to the sweet potato patch.
When she rang my cell phone number, sure enuf, the well-known jingle came from under the stack of sweet potato vines. My cell phone wuz literally saved by the bell.
Enuf for this week, I’ll close with these wise words about gardening from Texas Bix Bender: “The best way to garden is to put on a wide-brimmed straw hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell somebody else where to dig.”
Have a good ‘un.
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