Saturday, January 24, 2009


I was recently digging through the dusty archives of things written, not-written, ideas, etc. which have accumulated over the years. In it, I found the story below which I composed in April, 1990. The events are based in truth and occurred in the 70's and 80's.

She sure looked scared all huddled up in the back corner of the kennel. It was hard to believe that someone would have such a beautiful animal put to sleep. she wasn't hurt all that bad, but the vet bill was going to be higher than her owner was willing to pay.
Ninety dollars to remove her eye and sew it shut -- but, what good could a one-eyed cowdog be anyway? Wounded in the line of duty by a young horse that didn't know better than to kick at the darting ball of fur nipping at that old cow's nose. A lot of good years left, even with one eye -- but not worth ninety dollars.
I had been working for Doc almost a year and was beginning to make a fair hand at patchin' up the critters that found their way into the clinic. Doc was determined to make a vet out of me, so he let me do a lot of things an assistant normally wouldn't have had opportunity to try.
I told Doc that I thought I could sew up her eye if he'd let me. Sew it up and take her home and not tell anyone that she didn't make it to her great reward on schedule.
She didn't want to be handled. I guess instinct said that this place was not going to be kind to her. Like a wounded badger, she crouched in the corner with her teeth bared and her good eye toward me. Sometimes you have to get a little rough to be kind.
The operation went well, with only a smidgen of guidance from Doc's experienced hand. During the week of recovery, every spare minute was spent in making her acquaintance -- and she became a friend.
Finally, the time to go home arrived and Didjereedoo was well on her way to recovery. A few more weeks of fresh air, green grass and a lot of attention and she was well in body and spirit. It soon became difficult to tell that she was only one-eyed. Her adjustment to the handicap was nearly perfect.
Over the years she was a joy to my family and to me. She never was any good at chasing cattle again. She was too cautious of flying feet. For companionship though, she couldn't be beat.
During years of college and then a new marriage, she and I were often apart. She did just fine living with my parents, but I knew that someday she would move in with my new family -- and so she did.
When we moved to our little country place near town, I knew that Didjer had found the place she had been waiting for. It was her fifth different home since I had rescued her, but the gray frost on her muzzle indicated this would probably be her last.
Still lively after surviving years of puppies, snake-bite, occasional sickness and many a highway pizza, Didjer decided she was still young enough to chase cars. I guess it was the influence of the younger dogs that we had kept to give her company. She was an expert at crouching in the ditch and approaching at just the right speed and angle to make an off-side intercept at almost any time of day or night. I didn't like her ways, but she was beyond convincing that car-chasing wasn't a sport for old dogs. I was concerned that the results would be fatal.
Her end was sudden, and I guess appropriate. It was a pickup that got her -- the sad part is, I was driving. She approached on her blind side and I guess she stumbled. I knew when I felt the bump that her time was gone. Not even a whimper. I stopped and ran back, but she never moved.
It's been about two years now since I buried her under the big old elm tree out back. She was a good friend. Her pup that we had kept got to chasing the neighbor's cattle and found her end very shortly afterwards. I haven't owned a dog since. I guess I know that another dog could never replace my one-eyed cowdog, Didjer.
Note: I have since owned a number of dogs.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Continued Travels

In my last post I left you with great Louisiana cooking. After arriving home on Sunday afternoon I got to sleep in my own bed for a change -- but only for one night. Monday, it was off to Midland, Texas, for the Southwest Beef Symposium.

Midland is not considered the mecca of the southwest, but it is a nice small city. The Symposium was well executed -- including the food. Whoever catered it did an excellent job with the steaks.

Wednesday evening I made it home late and then rose early to catch a flight to Denver for the National Western Stock Show. We participated with one of our vendors as a sponsor. It was my first trip to the National Western.

Denver was a good place to meet a lot of producers in a brief period of time. Many of the purebred cattle raisers had animals there for the show. There was a sprinkling of some of the larger producers but predominately it was those who raise them as a hobby. It is a group of producers with which I rarely come into contact. I believe that it was a productive trip but it will take time before I see any results. In spite of many of the producers there being well versed in genetics, very few of them were well versed in cattle health. They tend to leave it to their Veterinarian which is proper -- however, good producers need to understand health issues better than this group did.

The food in Denver was excellent as always. We made it to Il Posto, an Italian restaurant like none I have ever visited before. I highly recommend it as the pinnacle of dining experiences. When you go, be prepared to spend at least 3 hours dining. The meal is served in courses. Follow the link to find out more about them.

This week I have had some badly needed office time. I didn't realize how far behind I was.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Here We Go Again!

Here we go with another week!

I finished up last week yesterday afternoon when I finally got back home. From Tennessee and Kentucky I traveled south to New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The Louisiana Cattlemen were meeting at the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge. Attendance was low but it was a good trip. I picked up one new customer and several solid prospects. I also was able to visit with a number of leading influencers.

The LSU campus is gorgeous. It is the first time I've ever been on their campus. There are huge live oak trees and lakes. The weather was nice and the facilities were excellent.

We took a brief foray into the French Quarter of New Orleans for dinner on Saturday evening. We didn't stay long after that. It is required that one sample the Cajun cuisine when in town however, and so we did.

At the Conference on the LSU campus we sampled true "native" fare. The first day, dinner was Jambalaya. They spent all day cooking it in a huge pot in the arena of the cattle pavilion. It was outstanding. I've never had Jambalaya in which the meat used was sirloin steak. I've never had better. The second day at lunch was traditional Cajun fare also. We had sticky rice with meatballs. It was ooowheee good! Y'all gotta try it sometime, ya heere?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sales Calls and Customer Acquisition

I flew into Nashville on Tuesday evening in the midst of pouring rain. It did not bode well for the appointments that I had on Wednesday (yesterday). I hate driving in the dark in the rain on unfamiliar roads with high-speed bumper-to-bumper traffic but that is what I did. Thankfully, I reached my motel in one piece and checked in. After a bite to eat, I retired to my room , happy to be out of the rain.

Wednesday dawned with cloud cover, but no rain. The snow which had been forecast failed to materialize and the day turned out to be great. My big worry became a minor scheduling conflict between my appointments. I called the first one early hoping to move it up and low-and-behold, that was the way it happened. It was a 40 mile drive to meet him at his operation south of Nashville. I headed south on I-65 thanking my lucky stars that I wasn't in the inbound traffic that was backed up almost 15 miles south of Franklin in parking lot mode.

The appointment went even better than I had anticipated and I met not only with him but also one of his neighbors that he had invited over. Both of them are now new customers. I then headed north to my next appointment in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I arrived about 20 minutes early which was great because it gave me some extra time to prepare a couple of items that I felt needed to be added to my arsenal.

The meeting went extremely well and we parted with the agreement to take the next steps. I then called a contact in the area that I didn't have on my schedule and he invited me out to his place northeast of Bowling Green. It was well after dark-thirty when I left after a great visit.

As I hit the north edge of Nashville my cell phone rang. It was the veterinarian who does the work for my afternoon appointment. He had lots of questions and said that I had made a favorable impression. We talked for almost 30 minutes as I drove back to my motel. (I know, I shouldn't be talking on the cell phone while driving but the traffic was light at that time of evening.)

This morning I received a call from our home office to let me know that the veterinarian I had spoken with last night was ready to go ahead and utilize our services for his client. He had called before 8:00 a.m. We will be shipping him the items he needs to get started today.

Yep, it has been a good week so far. Three new customers picked up yesterday in an area where we are looking to expand. Now I'd better get off of here so I can catch my flight to New Orleans.