Monday, August 22, 2016

One of My First Paying Jobs

This time of year, as a kid, I’d be getting ready to take my steers to the livestock auctioneer in Cortez, Colorado.

Dad would loan me the money to buy 3-4 steers in April, I would put them on pasture-- he would charge me a grazing fee-- then feed them grain the last two weeks of August and sell them in early September, hoping for about a 1.5 lb average gain/day over those months. I would usually make about $400-$500 profit on the whole deal. That was a lot of money at the time-- mid 1970s.

The stories along the way were priceless-- all the weird things that would happen while raising those steers and taking care of them-- like the one “crazy” steer—with horns-- that would charge you if you weren’t on a horse. We warned the auctioneer, but that steer charged the handler at the livestock pen, hooked the guy’s pants and threw him over the fence. As a teenage boy, nothing was funnier.

I practiced and practiced until I could do a pretty good version of the auctioneer. I can still do it…I uncork it in the morning when shaving…pretending to sell my razor.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

40-Year Old Matches

My dad carried these matches in the glove box of his truck. He died in 1978 and I've toted them around the world, ever since. The top of the pill bottle was white at one time. It's a nice shade of yellow from age now. We spent a bunch of time in very remote places in the days before cell phones, when southwestern Colorado and the Four Corners weren't nearly as populated or visited as today, and cars and trucks weren't as reliable. You never knew when a campfire or signal fire might be necessary. I have no clue why they are sentimental, but they are... or how I've managed to hang onto them, given how many times I've moved.

These are "strike anywhere" matches, by the way. I don't think you can't buy them anymore. I don't see them at the grocers story, anyway. All you needed to light these was a good rock or, if you really wanted to flash your bad ass wild west colors, you could light them with a fast swipe on the backside of the leg on your Levi's. You can't do that anymore.

Life is fascinating.


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