Let’s say a busload of Brazillian soccer players unexpectedly came by your place one fine fall afternoon, and took you on a three-day road trip.
You didn’t have time to pack your toothpaste or your own saddle! They made you play two games a day and pinochle every night! By the time they dropped you off down by the mailbox you wouldn’t have enough energy to crawl to the house!
You would be suffering from that deadly menace, the Darth Vader of disease: STRESS!
Now put yourself in the place of the 500-pound suckin’ calf this fall. You spend all summer with your mamma drinkin’ cool spring water, eatin’ good green grass and mother’s milk. You got up when you wanted, slept when you felt like it and ate when you were hungry.
Suddenly, over the rim come five mounted riders! The boss, his wife, the neighbor, the banker, the brother-in-law and 18 dogs! Elbows flyin’, hats wavin’ and chaps flappin’.
Scary? You bet your bippy!
You take off to find mamma with the dogs nippin’ at yer heels. Mamma’s way down the trail. You catch up and travel five miles in her dust, chokin’ and coughin’. That night you spend in a trap with 240 other cows and calves.
Next mornin’ here comes Custer’s army again! Back on the trail, still scared, hungry and tired. All day you walk behind the bunch, walkin’ eye level with the dust. That night you’re put in a big corral. Mama’s uneasy. You don’t get much to drink.
Sunup, the Third Infantry Battalion rides through the corral and pushes you out into the alley with your brothers and sisters. They push you up a little chute. They want you to jump into this big aluminum egg crate. Next thing you know the ground is moving.
Three hours down the road you suggest pulling off at a rest stop. NO DICE! (I don’t know how many of you readers have tried to tinkle out the back of a moving pickup, but it’s no easy thing!)
That evening you get unloaded into a feedyard with strange tasting water and something in the bunk that smells like old lawn clippings. Next morning Bobby Benson and the B Bar B Riders drive you and your siblings to a processing area.
You’re too tired to care. (Imagine, if you will, getting down on your hands and knees with your barber behind you and your cattle buyer in front. Everybody’s lined up nose to wallet! Every time you back up to breathe some fresh air, somebody jabs you! Then they trap you in this big noisy contraption, give you an injection (for your own good), stick things in your mouth, your nose and your ears.
Miraculously, you are released. You wander into a nice bedded pen with some sort of gourmet dish in the bunk (prepared by a chef who builds his recipe on a computer then looks at the manure to see if you liked it?) Blaagh!
You’re scared, worn out, hungry and hurtin’ all over. STRESSED. The cattle foreman drives by that evening checkin’ the bunks. “By gosh,” he says, “Thank goodness they’ll get over it pretty quick.”❖