Notes To Self
Montana has two seasons: Winter and Company. Never shall the two meet.
Only they did meet, at the Graham Ranch, when my friends from Oregon took their spring break to help during calving.
They were well aware that calving season falls during Winter, not Company Season so any recreation would slip in during projects, jobs and chores, not between them.
I have to hand it to these tough Oregonians. They never quit. They asked questions when they were uncertain, they waited in line to shower the mud and grime off, they cooked and cleaned and pitched in at every turn.
I want them to come back.
Reflection comes after the party is over so I made a few notes to myself before their next visit.
1) When a 15-year-old girl’s eyes bug out of her head and her jaw hits her knees, do not continue to extoll the vast benefits of milking a cow so she can contract cow pox and be immune to small pox.
2) When she immediately walks to the house, do not laugh until your stomach hurts.
3) Stock up on Ibuprofen before handing out shovels and sending friends to the corral full of soupy muck.
4) Remind them of how strong their core muscles will be after draining the corral full of soupy muck.
5) When a 15-year-old girl falls in the soupy muck, do not laugh until you can’t breathe. Do not even smirk.
6) Ibuprofen dissolves in a corral full of soupy muck.
7) Target shooting at rocks is almost as much fun as shooting at gophers on a warm, sunny day.
8) After 120-pound people target practice with the second-largest handgun made, offer ibuprofen.
9) Limit flying sheep. When the sheep shearers are waiting for another batch of wooly ewes, do not allow the flock to jump between friends, kicking sharp hooves and scraping human cheeks, arms, knuckles and knees.
10) Offer ibuprofen when sheep fly.
11) When a friend is smashed between sheep fence and a wooden panel with sheep packed into an alley and she says she is stuck, do not start laughing and ask if she can get loose. If she could get loose, she would not be stuck.
12) Offer ibuprofen when she can’t get loose.
13) When driving across a potentially deep muddy spot in a truck full of people, do not say “hang on” in the split second before gunning the truck and causing bruised abrasions on the top of the tallest person’s head.
14) When a friend notes that the sudden action inside the truck must be what a car accident feels like, do not laugh until you cry.
15) Offer ibuprofen to the good sport with the abrasion on his head.
16) Avoid potential underwater excursions. That submerged barbed wire fence in the creek could create an underwater excursion. When a friend expresses worry, do not start laughing and proclaim everything will be alright.
17) Ibuprofen dissolves in creek water.
18) When a cow in the pasture seems to need calving assistance so you saddle three horses that have not been ridden all winter, stop your bucking horse before the next one starts.
19) Stock up on bananas for cramping muscles after shearing sheep, shoveling muck, piloting bathtubs through fences and rodeos.
20) Offer ibuprofen with the bananas.
21) Pour generous quantities of wine. Red wine goes well with ibuprofen.
22) Pour Jack Daniels on the hard days. Jack loves ibuprofen.
23) Forgive your friend when he wears a Dallas Cowboys hat to a Philadelphia Eagles fan’s home.
24) Offer ibuprofen to the Eagles fan.
25) Admire your friends’ grit.
26) When they not only look forward to another visit, but begin looking for a home nearby, help them find one.
27) Buy ibuprofen as a house-warming present.