Lisa Hamblen Hood: Through the Fence 11-19-12
Many women get married wearing rose-colored glasses. As we gaze into the future with Mr. Right, especially if he’s a cowboy, we see a romantic version of life. Even those of us who were raised on farms and ranches seem to forget the long hours and back breaking work that country life entails. All we can think of as we look through the fog of love is how handsome, manly and rugged he is — no wingtip shoes or leather briefcases for our men. Rather its jeans or overalls, cowboy boots or work boots. No luxury sedans, only horses, pickup trucks and four-wheelers.
But whether or not they admit it, they can’t run the ranch or the farm without our help. We ladies get to open gates, hold syringes, fill the drench guns, warm the calf bottles and make endless trips to “town” for feed, diesel, hydraulic fluid and various other supplies. When asked to go out to the pasture or the barn for just a minute, we’re usually promised that it won’t take long. After a few years, we realize that we better put on our boots and plan to stay a while.
My friend Stacy was a child-bride of 19 when Mr. Right came along. Even at her tender age, she was not naïve. Her first date involved sorting and loading calves. That inauspicious beginning didn’t deter her from having the second date. Now 20 plus years later, she’s sorted hundreds of cows, sheep and goats. She’s cut and baled hay, fed bottle calves and whatever else she needed to do to facilitate their ranching operation, which is a second job for both of them.
My friend Adrianne was no child when she married at 30. She should have known more of what a rancher’s life involved than Stacy. She met her handsome life partner, Dallas the way many modern brides do today — online. Living far away from a pool of eligible bachelors, it was the only way she felt that she could meet a suitable mate that didn’t come with a load of emotional baggage or a string of ex-wives. One of the things she loved about him was that he was a cowboy. He wore a black canvas vest and a black felt hat. He and his family had raised roping steers most of his life. He made a living by horseshoeing and roping.
So it was somewhat humorous and maybe a little ridiculous when she tried to tell him how to do parts of his job like backing up a trailer. He’d been driving trucks and trailers since he was old enough to see over the steering wheel. He’d hauled a load of roping steers across several states before he was 15. But on this particular day, when they were out moving some cows, Adrianne felt her hubby needed some vehicular direction. He had just asked her to come along for the company and to open the gates. He took all her well meaning advice in stride and tried hard not to comment. As he puts it, “I let a lot of that stuff go in one ear and out the other.” (… Don’t they all?)
When they pulled up to the pen where the cows were, Dallas put the truck in reverse. Instinctively, Adrianne swung her door open and stepped out so she could help guide him into the narrow space. When she did, her boot hit a fresh pile of cow manure. She looked down in horror as her foot sank down deep in the slimy ooze. “Well, dangit all!” she muttered among other things as she slammed the door and stepped away. She commenced dragging her boot across the dry grass in a vain attempt at cleaning them enough to tolerate the smell on the ride home.
Dallas tried not to rupture any internal organs by suppressing the laughter that wanted to burst out of him at that moment. He just smiled and hollered out the window, “Remember! You said Yes!” referring to his proposal a short two years ago. She looked back him and smiled. She shrugged her shoulders, and for once, she was speechless. ❖
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So two weeks ago the president told us that the greatest threat to the United States is systemic racism. Last week he told the Europeans that the greatest threat to the U.S. is climate change.