My side of the barbed wire
It’s been said that good fences make good neighbors, and in rural America good neighbors are worth their weight in gold.
Having someone that will put your cows back and mend the fence when they know that you are gone with family on a grocery run to town, or loan a tractor when yours is broke down, help to make rural living truly the good life. Good neighbors are a factor in many farming and ranching operations that no dollar amount can quantify, and often they are there when we most need them. This was just the case this fall when a severe four wheeler accident put my employer out of commission in the middle of pregnancy testing our cows. The poem that follows is dedicated to the neighbors that lend a hand without wanting pay and put their own plans on hold to help out.
There’s a tradition that stands out here in the Heartland, an unwritten code you might say, when your neighbor needs a hand. They come and they help, and for pay they have no need, but you better set the table for another mouth to feed.
At three in the morning they’ll answer your call, when you can’t seem to get that heavy heifer into the box stall. They’ll help you bring in the harvest, ship your calves and mend a broken fence wire, and you can bet they’ll be there if a storm sets the pasture afire!
They’ll help in the heat, the snow and even the cold, best of all sometimes they help without being told! When tragedy strikes and your family is in a state of dire, neighbors come humbly with a work ethic and humility we can all admire.
So next time you take a drive out here in the Heartland, be sure to take the time and wave a friendly welcome, and remember to return the favor when your neighbor needs a hand!
That’s all for this time, remember to close the gate and keep tabs on 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.