"If you take the cowboy out of society you are going to lose people with integrity and honor and heart and love for country. You're going to lose the best of America." ~CJ Hadley, Range Magazine
Last week I got a facebook message from Cousin Kevin's "Accountant." They were working cattle and she was trying to find out if making it 5 minutes without getting yelled at was good. Listen folks, if you're working cattle with my family and you don't get yelled at before you get out of the truck, you've done alright. I'm a firm believer in working cattle as a test for marriage.....check out this blog from a while back. (No wonder Mr. Right has yet to arrive....he read that blog and ran for the hills!)
Anyway, the next update I got was that Cousin Kevin and the "Accountant" were headed to the sale barn for lunch. She said that was the only place that would allow and appreciate the cow shit streak clear across Cousin Kevin's right leg, but she did not seem very excited about their destination. Any place that doesn't fall into that category is unacceptable if you ask me.
Right away, Little Brother and I both started in with comments about how she was actually in for a treat and how great the sale barn is. I guess this is one of those warped things that country kids take for granted, that city folk don't know about going to the sale barn. So, I figured I needed to share the knowledge for Family Farm Friday.
First off, there is a familiar feeling to every sale barn in America; one that makes you feel at home. You drive up and you'll see pick ups and gooseneck trailers lined up down the road. You walk in and as far as the eye can see there are old men in boots, Wranglers and dirty cowboy hats. They tip their hats and mind their language around a lady, they carry fencing pliers in their back pocket, and can tell you exactly how much rain they've had for the year. Whether you're in Dalhart, Texas, Central California, or the hills of Kentucky, this is sort of a sale barn universal scene. And I love that.
Second, you've got the auctioneer. You get a good one and he'll be kinda commical and you'll be lulled to sleep by the rhythmic sound of his voice on the microphone. I didn't realize this, but a lot of non-farm people haven't ever seen an auction in person, but growing up it was a pretty common occurrance for us. The important thing to know, and one that farm kids learn early is that you don't make eye contact with a ringman or talk with your hands. You do not want to have to find your dad in the sea of cowboy hats and start off a sentence with, "Don't be mad, but I think I just bought...." Never good.
Third, and Little Brother's favorite part, is watching the bidders. The old cattle buyers are pretty clever. First off, just seeing how they bid and trying to figure when they are doing it is interesting. Sometimes it's just raising an eyebrow. Sometimes flicking a paper. Other times you'll swear that they didn't even take a breath, but somehow they bid. They also periodically mess with each other. One will sit right behind another and run the bid on him, while nudging the guy in front and telling him not to quit and let that other kid win, pretending that he's not really the other bidder. It's quite the small town entertainment, folks.
Fourth, sale barns are apparently good for romance. That's right, y'all, sometimes you find a boy who takes you to the sale barn for a date. My dad took my mom there when they were dating 33 years ago. Apparently it worked out pretty well for him. In my experience, these guys are few and far between, so if you find one, you better grab him up and hang on! Especially if he takes a shower between loading the cattle and the date. What? A girl can dream, right?
Finally, you've got the pie. I mean usually all the food is pretty good. They'll have burgers or bbq or maybe roast. All beef, obviously. But you don't beat sale barn pie. There's nothing like sitting in a room full of dirty ol' cowboys eating pie with ice cream on top and listening to them talk about life. It's pretty close to Heaven on Earth in my book.
I know I'm like a broken record here, but farm kids are different. We grew up with different experiences and enjoy different things. For some people, a day at the sale barn would be torture. But give me a building full of cattle, old cowboys and pie, and I'll take it any day!
*Linking up to Rural Thursday.
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