May 17, 2016


Do you ever think about boards? There are a lot of boards. Oh, not the 2x4 or 2x6 boards. But like the barber board, the hairdresser board, the board of animal health…the list can go on forever. I didn’t realize how many boards there are until I was in the Legislature.
I remember Claude getting mad at me about the barber board. Claude was our hometown barber in Watford City. The barbershop was, and still is in many communities, the center of the world. You could argue politics or the best breed of cattle. You could lambaste the city council or the county commission or you could replay the bad call the ref made that cost you the state title in football.
Anyway, I was researching a bill related to the barber board and found where to be licensed, a barber had to be “of good moral character.” I wrote that I couldn’t figure out how Claude got his license. He didn’t take kindly to criticism.
I’ve served on a lot of boards. From boards dealing with the agriculture industry to boards that operated the rural fire department.
You meet a lot of different kinds of people serving on boards. Some who never stop talking. And some who will serve on a board for years and never say a word. They are just there. I guess it takes all kinds.
And then there are the government regulations that you have to deal with. If you are on a school board or county commission, you learn that in spite of your campaign promises, you can’t really operate as independently as you had promised.
For instance, if you take federal money to put in a pipeline to water your cattle, you have to put a board in the tank so birds taking a bath can walk out of the tank. Otherwise every few days you have to throw a dead bird out of the tank. Not real cool.
Now I know what you are thinking. How in the heck is Dean going to tie all of this together.
Well, years ago, one of the local grazing associations was holding an annual meeting. The discussion meandered (like a meandering stream) around until they got to talking about the pipeline project.
The president of the association was talking about installing bird boards in all of the tanks on the pipeline.
One old cowboy in the back of the room had kind of dozed off and when he awoke he heard them talking about bird boards.
He hadn’t had much input into the meeting all afternoon and it was getting nigh onto happy hour so he wanted to end the meeting.
He quickly piped up, “If it’ll help get this meeting over with, I’d sure volunteer,” he piped up.
The president asked, “Volunteer for what?”
“To serve on that bird board!”