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HAT TIPS

Posted 9/15/10 (Wed)

Hello,

Writing this on Monday morning as I prepare to leave for Houston, Texas on a hotshot run. So I will have plenty of opportunity to think about next week’s column.
But I did do a little driving this week. And I took one of the nicest drives I have in a long time.
On Thursday, I went down to Camp Crook and visited Carm and the kids for a few minutes. I guess I had forgotten how pleasant it was to drive down a highway and meet so few vehicles. And how nice Harding County could look in the fall. The grass still had a tint of green, hay was being hauled, and calves are half as big as the cows.
It was great to stop and visit the school at Crook. Two caring teachers. About a dozen kids in seven grades. I watched two little girls run from the school to take the flag down before school dismissed for the day. I smiled to myself as I recalled the picture that Carm had e’d me on the first day of school, as the students stood reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as the flag was raised that morning. Beautiful!
When school dismissed, Gage and a couple friends took off down Main Street on two bikes and a scooter, headed for a friend’s house. Three kids jumped in with Carm for the drive to Buffalo for basketball practice. No dust cloud from traffic. No trucks rumbling through town. Oh, you still look both ways as you pull away from school. But all I saw was a dozen turkeys heading from the schoolyard to the cottonwoods along the river.
I left Crook headed west and went around the south end of the Long Pines headed for Ekalaka. I’ve heard of Ekalaka my entire adult life. Which is getting to be a long time. The home of the greatest bucking horses in the world. But I had never been there. I was speaking that evening at a stockgrowers meeting.
It was a grand drive! I think in the forty-odd miles from Crook to Ekalaka I met two vehicles. And I suppose that was a busy day. I saw grass and grain. Hay and cows. Pine trees and sagebrush. I probably don’t need to worry about it, but I’m kind of hoping heaven looks like that for the rest of you cowboys.
At Ekalaka, I watched football practice for a bit. And I smiled to myself as I thought of parents worrying that their son won’t get enough playing time. They play in a six-man conference. And had nine boys out for football! Trust me, they will get their minutes in.
The Stockgrowers meeting had around forty people. Forty ranchers who fight rain and snow and drought and dust. Often too little rain. Often too much snow. But they had smiles on their faces and families in tow. I imagine the youngest was eight weeks. The oldest eighty.
The roast beef they served wasn’t “sliced thin and stacked high.” It was sliced thick and simmering in a wonderful juice. The way roast beef is supposed to be served. The boiled potatoes were soft. I’m getting the recipe for soft potatoes for Shirley!
I tell you what. You get tired of the traffic. And want a little piece and quiet. Take that drive. Go to Buffalo and Camp Crook and Ekalaka. Stop and visit the museum. Stop and have a beer. And tell them I sent you!
Thanks for riding along.

Later,
Dean