June 3, 2009


By Dean Meyer


Cows are out to grass, crop is in the ground, hay is trying to grow, and Shirley is happy! You know, for a country boy, I’m doing pretty well.     
The cattle are out to pasture. After feeding them for that past six or seven months. They have pretty much ate up any profit we may have convinced our banker was possible.
Oh, we don’t put in a lot of crop. And since we live in the southwest, once we get it in the ground, we’re probably done until next year. Those hot, dry winds that originate in Montana usually hinder any plant growth. We don’t have to worry about harvest and things like that.
The hay crop is always one rain from making a good crop. It’s sprinkling this morning, so maybe, just maybe…
And Shirley is happy. You see, we have been happily married for 25 years. And like I tell Shirley, 25 happy years out of 38 is pretty darn good! The other day was our anniversary.
I, and this is the truth, have never forgotten our anniversary. I tell Shirley it is like remembering the date of Pearl Harbor! It is imprinted indelibly in my mind.
So, this year, I decided not to mention it to Shirley. I would just go about my business. No flowers. No jacket. No romantic supper. Just haul used hay out of our pens in front of the house, patch up a little fence, feed a few horses, and, if Shirley didn’t mention our anniversary, I would be at happy hour by four o’clock.
I took the skidder and started making a mountain of manure. Something for the grandkids to play on. I drug a drainage ditch to empty the mosquito pond in the back lot onto the neighbors land. I took a scoop of older used hay up and dumped by the house so the loving wife could grow tomatoes for me. I love tomatoes on toast for breakfast.
And as I was doing all of this for Shirley, I thought of gifts of the past. The time I gave her “Charlie.” “Charlie” was a colt by King. Shirley liked horses, so I thought that would be the proper gift. “Charlie” went on to be “Bucking Horse of the Year” in North Dakota! Not what I really had in mind.
I thought of the time I gave her both the “Thighmaster” and the “Buttmaster.” Suzanne Sommers made it look like women would love to have them. Wrong.
The time I gave her the fold out poker table that fit over our dining room table…and the time I bought her brand new mud boots.
As I thought about it, I realized that, yes; I was just quite a guy.
At about four o’clock, I went in to clean up for happy hour, and was met by a smiling wife! She had been looking at my manure pile, and the scoop of dirt I had dumped by the house. She had taken a stick down and drained the mosquito pond a little more. Wearing her good mud boots.
“Honey,” she says, “This is the best anniversary present I ever had!”
Go figure.