August 16, 2016


Sometimes Shirley gets on my nerves. We’ve been pretty busy this summer. Luckily, we had some hay to put up. And unluckily, our fences aren’t real good. So we’ve either been putting up hay, or chasing the cows that are in the neighbor’s field.
But as haying season is wrapping up, Shirley started thinking we should go on a summer vacation. She doesn’t consider my taking a day a week off for men’s day golf a family vacation! Women are funny that way. I told her how we went to Killdeer for Lynn’s birthday party. She said that was not a family vacation.
Then I explained that we went to Reva and spent the night at our son’s ranch. She said hauling bulls to the pasture is not a vacation.
We went to Medora overnight for a political function. Didn’t count.
So this weekend I bit the bullet and we took a real vacation.
We went to Ekalaka, Mont., for the Carter County Fair.
I don’t suppose a lot of you have been to Ekalaka. And maybe a lot of you haven’t been to a county fair. Three of my favorite fairs take place in a hundred mile circle around the Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota corners.
The Slope County Fair at Amidon. The Harding County Fair at Camp Crook. And now, the Carter County Fair in Ekalaka.
They are good because I enjoy the drive to them.
I enjoy seeing the vast fields northeast of Amidon. I enjoy driving by White and Black Buttes southwest of Amidon. I enjoy the vastness of the prairie between Buffalo and Camp Crook. I enjoy the Medicine Rocks north of Ekalaka. I enjoy the gray gumbo buttes that dot Harding County. And the Long Pines of Carter County.
I enjoy the parade at Camp Crook and the parade at Ekalaka. I enjoy the museum at Ekalaka and the 4-H kids at Amidon. I enjoy the rodeos and the watermelon eating contests.
But mostly I enjoy seeing the people. The lean, hard cowboys with the sun and wind burnt faces and wrinkled eyes from looking into the wind that sweeps across that country. The mothers packing one kid and following three more with cotton candy on their faces and dirty hands from playing in the dust around the arena.
I enjoy the kids that will stand in the sun all day to watch the sheep riding, but make sure their horse is tied in the shade on a hot afternoon.
Anyway, I took Shirley to the Carter County Fair for a summer vacation. We stayed overnight! Really! Well, we slept in the nose of a horse trailer. Didn’t shower or shave for two days. But dang it was a good vacation. Because of the people.
And I ran into an old friend. A retired friend.
I asked him what he had been doing to keep busy. Now this guy is the least mechanical man I have ever met.
And he replied he had been doing “mechanic work.”
He replied, “Yesterday I put a rear end in a recliner!”
Go to the fair. You’ll be glad you did.