March 4, 2014



They keep promising that the weather will warm up. Next week. It’s always next week. I mean, my phone gives me a forecast for 15 days out. And since the first of December, next week is going to be a lot warmer. I suppose eventually they will get it right.
Now, I am getting an occasional complaint when I miss an article in one of the papers. I am just here to tell you that sometimes, well maybe usually, it is my fault. But sometimes, I get the article written, send it off, and it is destined to wander around in cyberspace, or telephone lines, or wherever bad stories go when they die. If you are reading this article today, it got there. If you are not, it didn’t.
I was looking at the used hay that is building up in our pens and on the feed ground where we are wintering cows and I got to thinking about cleaning pens. Shirley says I should never think, but I couldn’t help it. And then I started thinking about the year Shirley helped me. There are two things that Shirley is not pretty good at. She’s real poor with a rope. I mean, she is really, really bad. And she’s not a real good mechanic. She can operate most machinery, with a quick lesson, but she’s poor at repairs. Pretty good grease monkey though.
One year she rented a Bobcat. No, not an animal. A skid steer loader. She was cleaning out some sheds, spreading a little gravel, hauling a little garbage. Just kind of odds and ends. Fall kind of stuff. Stuff that in December, if you don’t do it, you wish you had.
She had been on the Bobcat for a couple of days, and I was running the loader tractor. The loader tractor has cab and air. The Bobcat has no cab, and fresh air. It was a hundred and something with about a thirty mile per hour wind. I watched her dumping that dry manure out. No matter which way she dumped it, it would blow back in her face. I felt sorry for her and turned my air conditioner down a notch.
Now, every year, for forty some years, I have tried to keep the excitement in our marriage. I am constantly looking for something to keep that ‘spark’ alive. And as I watched her working hour after hour in that hot sun, with that fine dust blowing up all around and through that machine, I had an idea.
So, armed only with my quick wit and loud voice, I did it. I climbed up on the back of the Bobcat while she was working away. I reached in, grabbed her neck and screamed. Talk about keeping spark in a marriage! She can still get pretty excited!