Flowers, candy and horse sales
Valentine’s Day tends to look a little bit different for those of us here in the ag world.
For some it is spent hauling corn to the elevator to fill contracts. To others, it might be spent inventorying the vet room in the calving barn, making sure that everything is in order before those sleepless nights of calving season are in full swing. Sure you might have time to run into town and buy your sweetheart a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers, but more often than not it comes down to you taking the time to fix supper so Mom can have the night off or giving the kids a bath and putting them to bed so the lady of the house can enjoy a few minutes to herself.
In the years that I have been married, my wife and I have found a different tradition all together. See since we have been married, we have always been at least a hundred miles from the nearest “big” town. We always tried to make Valentine’s Day the last little weekend getaway before it was all hands on deck for the next two months during calving season.
Oddly enough, there always seems to be a horse sale about this time of year. While the only thing we usually ever buy is our lunch, it’s still fun for us to go and see good horse flesh and hear the auctioneer cry us a chant while we visit with friends and others within the industry. This year I decided to commemorate the tradition with verse and rhyme.
“Don’t forget the checkbook!” I hollered from the car, “There’s a Playgun gelding I want to bid on!” My bride is not amused, and tells me to wish upon a star, “We’re going to watch, and besides you don’t need another horse.” I frown and have to agree, the woman is right of course.
It’s the last hurrah before two months of being up all night, that makes leaving the ranch a welcome sight. The neighbor agreed to come and chore, rich folks would go vacation on a sandy shore! Two hundred miles to go and we’ll be in the Black Hills, if we get there early we can look over the sale bill.
With the preview over and the horses all in full groom, we better go find a chair before there isn’t any room. One by one they lead the mounts in, bays and sorrels, roans and even a gray, all go to those who are willing to pay. They bid a while, then all goes quiet as a man reads the pedigree and tries to start a bidding riot!
There’s a horse here for everyone, ranchers, ropers and if you don’t like your mother-in-law, there’s a feller in the stables trying to sell a regular outlaw. I go grab us a bite to eat, while the Mrs. saves our seat. The gelding I like comes into the ring, he sells before I can even wave my hand, guess I’ll ride the ones I’ve already got this spring.
Well the sale is over and we’re on the way home, if we hurry we’ll beat the snow that’s supposed to come. It was short and it was sweet, but that’s all we needed for our Valentine’s Day retreat.
That’s all for this time! Take your sweetheart out for a date this month and remember to take care of your side of the barbed wire. ❖
Meinzer is a fourth-generation rancher raised on the southeastern plains of Colorado. He and his family live and ranch in Oshkosh, Neb.