December 31, 2011
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Getting injured is an embarrassment to a cowboy.
Just because some women have an occupation involving farming and livestock, it doesn’t mean they’re not concerned about their appearance, hair, skin and body care. Kadie is one of them. She’s on a family ranch in Montana. Both she and her husband share the calving duties in the spring, but cold windy weather plays havoc with her beauty regimen. Last Christmas, she clipped out an ad for a spa that included hot tubs, massage, pedicures, manicures and mud baths. She even posted a sample page from the ad on her bathroom mirror listing the services she might need. At 4:30 a.m. one insomniac morning, she rose to check the heavy heifers. Her back ached and she couldn’t sleep.
When I started practicing feedlot medicine in the late 1960s, it was a fairly new specialty. Feedlots, as we picture them now in the Midwest and southwest, were not as common. But by this time I hired on with the Diamond A out of Roswell, N.M., and 20,000 head yards were spreading across the country. They prospered in the more arid southwest because mud is the biggest enemy of feedlot grain. The Imperial Valley of California, the desert country of Arizona and the Texas panhandle became popular places to feed cattle.
I looked at my schedule for the first week in December: Jamestown, N.D., Denver, Laramie, Wyo., and Springfield, Ohio. I asked my secretary why she couldn’t book me in Victoria, Texas or San Diego in the winter? She reminded me she had booked me in Miami last winter. “Yeah,” I said. “Miami, Manitoba.” Actually, I don’t worry about traveling in cold weather. It would be easier to plan if I could count on global warming, but it’s just not reliable. Al Gore found that out. You just can’t count on it when you need it. Jamestown started out clear and cool but Denver turned frosty. I made it to Laramie behind the snowplow. We had a great crowd at the evening show — winter doesn’t stop Wyoming cowboys from comin’ to town.
Like many of you, I receive all kinds of news stories, jokes, blogs, etc. Last week, three items came my way that stimulated a predictable knee-jerk response. Why, I asked myself, can’t I be more generous and examine the opposite side of view? So today, I will. The first item was, “In France, eating animals becomes legal obligation.”
President Jimmy Carter’s reign was called the time of malaise, defined as a feeling of discomfort. Present times might be described as a time of anxiety. Still hopeful, but with very little trust in the people we put in office. The recession has hit everybody and each of us has to find a way to get through it. We cannot let the dread of what our well-meaning but inept government has wrought bring us down. I’m guessing there is a segment of our population that doesn’t worry about our economic condition much. They are on both ends of the spectrum — those who live on a private or government pension, or welfare, who pay little or no taxes, and have no doubt the next check is coming, and …