“WHAT THE (insert four letter word that doesn’t start with H) are you doing? Get in the damn pickup.”
…that was the first time I’d ever heard the “f” word come out of my Dad’s mouth.
He threw his gloves down, ran to the pickup, and had it in gear before I placed my right boot on the footstep.
The pickup halted and he said, “Get out and do not let him past you, do you hear me?”
My lip started to quiver.
It was a cold winter day. We were working cattle.
So here I am, a seven-year-old gal in a pasture full of testosterone; hat strapped on, glittery coat buttoned to my nose, rockin’ the pink cowboy(girl) boots.
It was early, we were cold, and the cattle were uneasy. I could tell my dad was irritated, but what was I to do?
…stand on the panels and throw my arms up, singing, “Hey! Hip! Go boys, move on!”
There was about a five foot gap between the panels and the trailer. That was my position.
On that particular day, I was hesitant to take stance. I’m still not sure why. It surely wasn’t the first time I’d worked cattle, and certainly not my first encounter with hormonal bulls.
But, on that day, I was intimidated, ok?
For goodness sake, imagine 2,000 lb. angus males plowing straight towards little pink boots! My ferocious 52 pounds was not about to get in the middle of them and wherever they wanted to go…
Yet I knew I was supposed to have been standing there.
…he came storming towards the trailer, the last bull to be loaded.
He was huge.
…I may have stepped aside.
…he may have plowed over the panel and into an open pasture…
(Cue Dixie Chicks’ Wide Open Spaces)
“Get in the damn pickup!”
At this point, it was fight or flight. As my lip quivered and my big brown eyes flooded, I stood my ground.
We got him back to the corrals, no big deal.
(Side note: This literally took a whapping five minutes, guys. My dad totally overreacted).
Moral of the story:
It was one day. One instance. One ass chewing.
One ass chewing and I became a ‘suck up your pride, take responsibilities for your actions and get the job done’ girl (no matter how embarrassed or intimidated I might’ve been).
The other day at work, we were discussing how it seems as though kids who were raised around agriculture have a unique work ethic and knack for using common sense.
I am not measuring anyone’s work ethic on influences of being raised or not being raised on a farm, because I understand there are infinite factors, and that not all of us have the luxury of such a lifestyle. But from observation and experience, I can attest that my upbringing of handling livestock, heavy equipment, and early mornings typically contributed to my successful actions as an adult.
Were there days I threw a fit because I didn’t want to go out and break ice in the stock tank at 5:30 AM? You bet.
Were there days I rolled my eyes when my Dad told me to road a tractor from Wildhorse alllllll the way to Cheyenne Wells? You bet.
Were there days I “faked” sick so I didn’t have to go drive a sprayer on a Saturday? You bet. (That trick never worked).
The first time I heard my dad say the “f” word is the day I am forever indebted to.
Had it not been for the way my Dad raised a corn-fed, God-fearing, tomboy in glittery boots, I would most assuredly not be where I stand today.
Dad: Thank you for the ass-chewings, thank you for forcing me out of my comfort zone, thank you for encouraging me to “man up,” thank you for showing me how to budget and plan and persevere.
Thank you for being the epitome of everything I look for in a husband. Thank you for teaching me how to deal with people, how to “suck it up,” and how to love others unconditionally. Thank you for accepting that you didn’t have any sons, but that your oldest daughter would be the closest you could get. Thank you for appreciating the way I enjoy hip hop and small tattoos and art and dressing like a total “hippie,” even though you’re not crazy about any of those things. Thank you for sitting in my combine with me and singing Vince Gill and George Strait at the top of your lungs. Thank you for honking at “monkeys in the road,” and teaching me (or at least trying to) how to drive an 18-wheeler.
Thank you for being there, always, thank you for constantly reminding me of my roots, and thank you for doing your part in serving this world with the fruits of your labor.
*PS-I didn’t hear him say the “f” word for about four years after that day. And that’s a whole ‘nother story, ya’ll!