Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 12-20-10
Order buyers live and die by the telephone. They are “on call” 24 hours a day just like a veterinarian, a plumber and a Mom. So it’s necessary that they have all the modern communication devices at their disposal.
As Slim sat in his new dually truck he was surrounded by a mobile telecommunications center including two cellular phones, fax machine, CB radio for talking to lost truckers, CD player, laptop computer, GPS, I Pad and I Pod. His truck looked like a mobile command station for an invasion of Nebraska.
It’s a good thing Slim had a phone this day because he could quickly see it was going to take much longer than he previously thought. He’d better call his girlfriend and tell her he would be a little late for dinner.
The contract had called for the cattle “to be gathered at first light after an overnight stand in a dry corral.” Instead, Slim could see the cattle gorging themselves in knee high alfalfa. Dub did not even begin to gather the cattle until they had enjoyed both brunch and lunch. Instead of being gathered into a dust free corral the cattle slushed through brisket deep mud where the mud added more pounds to the calves’ weaning weights than the performance tested bulls Dub bought three years ago. The only thing going in Slim’s favor was that the cattle were wild and hopefully, with a hard sort, Slim could run off some of their fill.
After the cattle were weighed it was time to load them in the truck. But every time a calf got to the door of the double-deck trailer they took a whiff and turned back down the loading chute. They acted like the previous occupants of the truck had been smelly hogs, which was entirely possible because the truck carried an Iowa return address.
Finally, the calves started stringing into the trailer when all of a sudden lights started flashing, a horn honked and sirens wailed.
“What in tarnation is that?” yelled Dub as the cattle unloaded themselves out of the trailer and jumped over, through and under the panels of the corral. The wreck was on!
“Don’t be alarmed, that’s the warning system on my truck,” screamed Slim above the din. “I had it installed so that no one would steal all my expensive electronic equipment inside the cab.”
“What set the darn thing off?” hollered Dub as he attempted to stop the stampede.
“Your dog must have done it when he watered my tires,” said Slim as he fumbled with his keys to disarm the alarm.
“Get outta here,” screamed an irate Dub to his dog, as if all this was the dog’s fault. “Go get in your house.”
It took nearly till nightfall to get the cattle corralled again and finally on their way. As the two men walked down to the house they stopped by Dub’s old pick up truck to argue about the day’s cattle trade. In stark contrast to Slim’s brand new rig with leather upholstery, chrome wheels, and a two-tone paint job, Dub had a 25-year-old truck that was painted in primer and “upholstered” in cow manure.
About the time Slim raised his voice to complain about the weighing conditions Dub’s dog suddenly sprang from his “house” … which happened to be underneath the tool box in the back of Dub’s truck. In one lightning fast surprise attack the dog lunged at Slim and nearly took a hunk out of the order buyer’s ear.
“That’s my truck’s alarm system,” said Dub chuckling. “That’s so no one will steal my laptop computer, pager, cell phone or radio … if I had any of those things.”
As they concluded their business the rancher looked disgustedly at the order buyer’s truck and said, “I swear, I haven’t seen so many antennas since the grasshopper invasion of ’89.”