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Posted 12/01/10 (Wed)


Well, Thanksgiving is over and we’re down to the last plate of leftover turkey! Turkey tortilla soup for dinner. Turkey on toast for breakfast. Turkey meatloaf for supper. Turkey and beer for a snack. Turkey and dressing. I mean stuffing. But, that’s another story.
The Thanksgiving shoppers were lined up by midnight across the nation. I guess if you needed something bad enough, like snuff or cigarettes, you could get in line. But I don’t think I ever needed anything bad enough to drive a couple of hundred miles and stand in line. Except maybe for a dance or something when I was younger.
Oh, we men laugh about Thanksgiving shoppers. We tease our wives, girlfriends, or daughters about their early Christmas shopping. But then, as I was looking around the sales ring at the guys at the Thanksgiving Stock Cow Sale, it dawned on me! We’re just the same! We are! The Thanksgiving Stock Cow Sale is J.C. Penny’s on legs!
Every sales ring has one. Mobridge on Wednesday. Dickinson on Friday. Lemmon on Saturday. If you are an honest-to-goodness addicted rancher, you smell like a sales ring for the next few weeks.
And just like the ladies at Macy’s, there are the seasoned veterans.
Richard is always looking for a bunch of three-year-olds. At a hundred dollars less than market. If the good three-year-olds are fifteen-hundred, he’s only going to fourteen. If they are eleven, he’s bidding a thousand. He never misses the sale, and I’ve never seen him go home with a trailer. Some of the three-year-olds he bid on when he started are now coming back through as thirteen-year-olds. And he is still looking.
Pat is always there. He never bids. But he is one of the first to the place across the street where he knows a friend will buy him lunch and a cocktail. He is a socialite. And good to visit with. He knows what the cows at Sidney brought, and is quick to point out a cow with long toes or a swinging bag. The consignors hate him.
Doug is one of the first at the ring. He grabs a chair for himself and a friend, and fights off men twice his size to hold that extra chair as the ring fills to the rafters with dads, grandpas, brothers and neighbors. He is looking for a load of old cows. But they have to be just right. And like Richard, they have to be a hundred dollars under whatever they are bringing. If they’re seven, he’s six. If they are six-fifty, he’s five-and-a-half.
Sidney buys the best. He is like the lady who is going to buy those pretty earrings just because someone else might get them if she doesn’t. If he bids, you’ve got a free roll. You can bid along, knowing you are not going to buy any cows. And the auctioneer will appreciate you. And maybe buy you a drink after the sale.
I know. I know. You are wondering why I was there. So was Shirley. She was quick to point out I never buy cows at the Thanksgiving Day sale. I was quick to point out that I have to go. Doug is saving a seat for me! Pat is waiting for lunch! Richard is going for a drink! And Sid wants me to line up trucks!
I’ve got to run. I think they are selling cows at Williston this afternoon!