Hat Tips

By Dean Meyer



We dodged a big old snow storm this past week! I was kind of ready for it. Other than the hoses spread out across the yard. The bales still in the field. The calves still on a few cows. Water lines not winterized. Tanks to repair. All in all, I’m closer than normal. The storm went south and east of us, but some of you may have been hit. Hope you got by alright!

Shirley and I had grandkids for a few days this past week. Three boys. From 3 to 10 years old. Out house is too small. I never noticed before. When we bought this house Shirley wanted to put a basement under it. I put my foot down and said no. Basements are cold and damp and full of stuff that you don’t use. So we have no basement and all the stuff we don’t use is stacked upstairs or in the garage. And I don’t mind that (I hope Shirley does not read this).

I go to bed early. Especially with the time change. Late night TV is that show where you guess the phrase. You know. “I’d like to buy a vowel”.

It’s on so late I can’t remember the name of it.

So when we have three boys that get wound up about six o’clock and start tearing through the house, it upsets the equilibrium that I have encased myself with.

But I do enjoy having them help with chores. “Help” being the key word here.

Evan can do chores when it is 25 above and windy out wearing only basketball trunks and tennis shoes. He’s warm blooded. And it keeps me warm hollering at him to go put some clothes on. But he doesn’t.

RJ rides the pail calves and practices steer wrestling as the calves try to come up to the bunk to eat. I think he has a real future. He even started jumping off his horse onto the ground to practice! Actually, he was riding backward and his horse took off for home. He couldn’t get turned around so he bailed off. He thought it was fun!

Slate is the 3-year-old. Like me, he is an early riser. If he sleeps until five I worry about him. But he doesn’t often.

He helps feed cows. He needs his own knife. He has to cut the net wrap. He calls it “nut” wrap. And he insists on cutting every bale. It takes me a lot longer to do chores when he helps. But it makes it enjoyable.

I warned him the other day … Actually I screamed at him. “Stay back dammit! That cow is mean and she’ll get you!”

He calmly looked at me and said, “Don’t worry. I’m indestructible.”

Now, what 3-year-old uses words like that? And he uses some others that I won’t repeat.

But his favorite thing is looking at dead cows. Or horses. In our bone pile. All ranchers have a bone pile. It’s usually hid from public viewing. But Slate knows where it is. And every day we have to stop there so he can stab the dead cows with his knife. He brought home the jawbone of a calf a couple days ago. Makes a nice toy! Grandma frowned a little, but she did relent and soak it in hilex for half a day.

She thinks that day care would be a little too tame for Slate after spending days with Baboo!

Enjoy Thanksgiving! I will!


Dean Meyer is a former legislator and ranches in southwest North Dakota. He has been a columnist around the state for years.

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