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Posted 3/25/09 (Wed)


I used to plan better. I used to calve heifers only on the years when I was in Bismarck. And Shirley would check heifers, get the kids to school, operate a clothing store in Watford, do the bookwork, and have a nice supper ready when I got home on Friday night. Like I mentioned before, she could have married better.
Oh, you don’t need to feel sorry for her. I usually made sure I gathered up one of my pinochle buddies to help her out a little. Tim was one of them.
Now, Tim was a good guy. A good roper. A good pinochle player. He was easy going, and didn’t get too excited about anything. Shirley could do pretty much anything, but she was in trouble if she had to pick up a rope. I mean real trouble. She was just as likely to hang herself as stick a loop on a heifer that was on the fight. So, when I broke it to Shirley that Tim would be there to help, she was all  right with that.
Now, in the evening, I would go out for supper with constituents, lobbyists, friends, or fellow legislators. It was usually a nice meal at Peacock, Seven Seas, East Forty, or some really nice place. In the morning, around daylight, I would give Shirley a call to see how the heifers were. Most mornings the phone would ring and ring. Finally Tim would pick up and give me a sleepy, “Hello.” I would ask how the heifers were and there would be a pause, then a long yawn, then a “I don’t know, Shirley hasn’t come back in yet.” I would tell Tim if she doesn’t come in, maybe he should check on her in case a heifer had her down in the barn. He would yawn again and let me know if she wasn’t in, he would go check in a bit.
What got me thinking about all this is the weather. The pens are muddy, the calves are wet, and a big storm is brewing in the Rockies. We’re supposed to get a foot of snow and forty mph winds. I’m watching the heifers and taking care of my new puppy. Shirley is in Bismarck. That is not the way I had my senior years planned! (Pup! Get out of there! That is Shirley’s box of income tax stuff!)
 I’ve got two calves in the entry way, which Shirley scrubbed and cleaned on Sunday. I’ve got a six-week-old pup that is harder to train than a two-year-old kid. He has chewed up Shirley’s good shoes and shredded several house plants. Shirley had a strange tone in her voice when I told her I had a new puppy. I figured it was elation, but now I am beginning to wonder. (Get back, pup! You’re biting my foot!)
You know, it is only Monday. Shirley won’t be home until Friday. If I put newspapers (Dammit dog! I haven’t read that paper yet!) all over the house, then I should be able to (Dog! I mean it! Do you want to go out in the snow!) throw all the papers out at once, spray a little stuff in the air, and everything (Dog! I’m gonna kick your $%$%!) should work out.