Laugh Tracks in the Dust 4-12-10 |

Laugh Tracks in the Dust 4-12-10

I doubt that this is a true story – but, it might be, given the near total disconnect between folks in Washington, D.C., and the great mass of us “hickish” folks in the Ozarks, Great Plains and Mountain West, better known as the Heartland of America.

It’s doubtful that many folks in D.C. know that cattle guards are horizontal steel or concrete rails or steel pipes placed at fence openings, in roads and adjacent to highways to prevent cattle from crossing that area. Cattle will not step on the “guards” – probably because they fear getting their hooves caught between the rails, or just because they’re dumb.

The story goes like this: A few months ago, the government received a report that there were over 100,000 cattle guards in Colorado. And because ranchers in that state had protested the government’s changes in grazing policies, an order came down from on-high ordering the Secretary of the Interior to immediately fire half the cattle guards.

But, before the Interior Secretary could respond, the Congress intervened with a request that before any guards were fired, they be given six months of retraining.


Speaking of cattle getting out, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my shady lifetime, it’s that a hot human temper and breechy cattle usually do not mix.

This is a true story about a farmer, ol’ Lou Zenitt, who had a small bunch of high quality Angus steers on full feed. When they reached slaughter weight, Lou began hauling them to market in his livestock trailer. When all wuz said and done, there wuz one fat steer who just couldn’t be squeezed into the last trailer load.

“No problem,” Lou thinks. “I’ll just butcher the steer for the family to consume this winter. I’ll leave him in the feeding pen until I return from hauling this load of steers to market. Then I’ll load him up and take him to a smaller pen at home.”

Well, it sounded like a sound idea, but the steer had other ideas. Hardly had Lou disappeared down the road when the left-behind steer – now finding himself all alone – went rogue, plowed through the fence, and disappeared into the deep and hilly timberland near the creek.

When Lou returned to the now-empty feeding pen, he suspected the worst. His fears were confirmed when the tracks headed for the river. So, he began trying to round up the rogue steer – which would have none of it. He ran. He jumped. He bulldozed through fences.

Meanwhile, Lou’s blood pressure began to rise. Eventually, it began to boil.

Then he called in two neighbor reinforcements. The steer still eluded all efforts to catch or corral it.

Finally, Lou’s temper erupted. “You got a rifle in that pickup?” he asked one of the helpful neighbors. The neighbor answered in the affirmative. “Then, get it out and shoot that SOB steer hammer dead,” Lou demanded.

That’s when the neighbor’s cooler head prevailed. “I ain’t shooting that good ol’ fat steer. That’s too much money and good eatin’ to waste. He wouldn’t even be salvageable as hot and stirred up as he is. Let’s just leave him alone and he’ll eventually find your cow herd and settle down. Then we can bring the whole herd up and catch him.”

And, that’s exactly what happened the next day. Lou is now really relishing every juicy bite of steak he eats off that rogue steer.


Here’s a story that must have originated during the days of my youth.

A stingy farmer had a hired man and he wuz always being critical of what the hired man did in his meager off time.

“I heard in town the other day that you called on a girl and wuz carrying a lighted lantern when you went – using my lantern and my kerosene all the way,” the farmer rebuked the hired man. “It that true?”

“Yep, it is,” the hired man acknowledged.

“I never heard of such a wasteful thing,” the farmer retorted. “Back in the day when I wuz courting, I never carried a lantern. I went in the dark.”

“Yeah,” the hired man came back. “And look what you got! That’s why I took your lantern a’courtin’.”

I doubt that he kept his job.


Given the legal turmoil in our nation, I’ll close for the week with these words of wisdom about the law by Henry Ward Beecher: “Any law that takes hold of a man’s daily life cannot prevail in a community unless the vast majority of the community are actively in favor of it.”

Have a good ‘un.


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