Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Inside Job

As I sit and watch the snow falling on the Plains, I'm thankful that my job is not one that requires me to work out in the cold. I see pickups with trailers driving by with horses saddled for checking the cattle on wheat pasture. Their winter coats are long, but you can see them bunched forward under the half-top to try and escape the biting wind.

Through the fogged windows, you catch a glimpse of a hat pulled low and a bright splash of color that is a "wild rag" for keeping the wind from pushing down the front of the insulated coveralls that are partially open to let the heat soak in until he gets to the next pasture.

He pulls into the Quick Stop for a can of Copenhagen and some coffee. His face is red behind the two-day growth that looks like a sheet of sandpaper. Grinning, he cuts up with the clerk as she hands him his change. He heads out the door and throws the new can on the dashboard, then grabs the empty which he pitches into the back of the truck where it lands in a pile of straw. The black-and-white Border Collie sniffs it as it rolls to a stop against the spare trailer tire that needs to go to the shop.

Climbing in, he pauses to take a dip and then a sip of coffee. He listens to the Market Report as he puts it in gear and heads south. He's got two more pastures to go and then he'll head to the Ranch House for lunch. It's already been a long day.

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