“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!
There’s a quote by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich that states: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” It’s a often posted on Pinterest boards and slapped onto cards with women in 1920s-fashion kicking up their heels in unison. But for me, this sentiment is more than encouragement to go on a girls trip and go wild; it’s a celebration of women who choose to be defined by their courage, bravery and decisions to go after the life they want to live instead of being confined by “appropriateness.” Call them bold, fearless, or powerful, these are women who light up a room with their magnetic energy. They intimidate the close-minded and inspire those who have long hungered for tangible proof that they, too, will serve themselves well by igniting their passions and relishing in their independence. I know a few of them very well and they have changed my…
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the devastating reality.
We don’t commit now. We don’t see the point. They’ve always said there are so many fish in the sea, but never before has that sea of fish been right at our fingertips on OkCupid, Tinder, Grindr, Dattch, take your pick. We can order up a human being in the same way we can order up pad thai on Seamless. We think intimacy lies in a perfectly-executed string of emoji. We think effort is a “good morning” text. We say romance is dead, because maybe it is, but maybe we just need to reinvent it. Maybe romance in our modern age is putting the phone down long enough to look in each other’s eyes at dinner. Maybe romance is deleting Tinder off your phone after an incredible first date with someone. Maybe romance is still there, we just don’t know what it looks like now.
When we choose—if…
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I grew up farming. I never considered it a “passion,” what with the early mornings helping dad, spending 16 hours a day on a tractor, and not to mention, the multiple encounters with rattle snakes.
Although, I always liked it, and never forgot how blessed I was to have such a beautiful upbringing.
But it wasn’t until May 16th, 2014 to be exact, that it all came to me…
I was tightly squeezed on the arm rest of the 4440 model John Deere tractor, next to my best friend in the entire world, as we applied fertilizer to a hay meadow in East Texas. It seemed to be a sensational day at first: Friday, good weather, no school, and best of all, we had just installed auto steer. What in the world could ruin this day?
Well, it took an abrupt turn. Literally. The field was rough, and unlike eastern Colorado, where there are ZERO trees, this field had enough to cause trouble. Braden took what he thought was an easy turn, and “CRACK!” There went the left boom, not quite in half, but close enough to cause a significant break.
We were easily thirty miles from the barn, where we would need to take the tractor to fix the boom. Ok, so I calmly tried to convince him that we could finish that field while we wait for our friend Tanner to bring the welder to us. So we make a round, and then the auto track starts beeping. The filters were clogged. We got out, cleaned them quickly, and were back in business…for maybe three minutes.
By this time, Braden had gotten off of the phone with a local parts dealership, who hadn’t ordered the right parts for his combine, which was waiting to be finished in the shop. So I thought I’d let him blow off some steam and clean the filters himself. Bad idea. He pulled a plug that squirted chemical everywhere-his whole left side was covered. He lividly stomped back to the tractor cab to tell me how miserable this day had become.
Yet another business call came in, so he jumped in (tight squeeze, let me remind you). He hung up the phone with severe frustration and said, “I’m so sick of this. Nothing goes right. Just when you want to have a productive day, it’s useless!”
I couldn’t help but grin.
“Darlin’, if you think it’s gonna be rainbows and butterflies, you’re in the wrong occupation.”
I’ll be darned, he smiled back.
Here’s my point: The boom was fixed in no time. The parts came in for the combine. The good Lord blessed us with a plentiful downpour, and Nana made Braden’s favorite meal.
So you know, maybe it is all rainbows and butterflies. Things go wrong. It’s inevitable; we’re farmers! But at the end of the day, everything comes together.
It’s a perfect life. Just perfect.