Monday, August 13, 2012

A look into the past: 30 Years and a Little Trophy Ago

“Time flies when you’re having fun,” or so the saying goes. Well, I had no idea how fast the past 30 years had flown by until a few weeks ago I was traveling down Memory Lane, or actually Nebraska’s Hwy. 2, when a childhood memory hit me like a brick – a fast moving brick aimed right to the chest to knock the wind out of me. I was going through my childhood hometown of Mullen in the heart of ht Sandhills, and took note that it was Hooker County Fair week.

After some quick, or quick for me, math, I calculated that it was indeed 30 years prior that I had competed in my first 4-H fair and won my first trophy. And that trophy has moved through three states with me, multiple houses, colleges, apartments and jobs, as a reminder of my humble beginning. You see, I was just 9-years-old and pretty little, compared to the “big” kids and my mentors, like Donnie, Jamie & David Cox and John & Julie Tucker, some of the others in our county that showed. I’m sure I was a nuisance “tag along” but they tolerated and even coached me as I went into the showring for the first time. I loved my little “home-raised” Hereford heifer, and was so proud of her – SAS Jolly Dolly. We spent countless hours in the coral, as my dad and I practiced showmanship every night. All that work paid off, and I won reserve champion heifer, or “hiefer” as I wrote countless times in my 4-H record book – a sure sign I struggled through and did my own work! And, the next year we moved away to Dawes County, where I made more and new friends, but never forgot where I got my start. The trophies and awards I won in the future were bigger, shinier, fancier. But none of them are as well traveled as this little marble-based, golden crowned with red velvet trophy.

Why do I share this? Well, I think it is important we all remember where we came from. I’ve not had a lot of time to watch this summer’s Olympic Games, but I have caught some of the athletes’ stories. Some of them had very humble beginnings, just like me and Jolly Dolly. Some countries start training their athletes by taking them away from their families and training them at such a young age. Some families have made major sacrifices for the athletes in their families; and some are repeat Olympians who hold world record titles. If someone would have told 30 years after I won that first trophy, that would be the beginning of a successful career in the livestock industry, I would have questioned them. But every year when I’m in Denver for the Stock Show, surrounded by great cattle producers, herdsman and fitters, I feel so blessed and humbled.

So, time really DOES fly when you’re having fun! Who’d have thought that 30 years would have passed in front of me so quickly?!?! I can’t wait to see where the next 30 years will take me, and I’ll never forget that first show season with Jolly Dolly. And I appreciate all those who gave me guidance and “coached” me along the way. Where did you get your start? Was it at a little ole fairgrounds in rural America? Never forget your roots, they will keep you grounded.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day - Thanks Mom for all You Do!

I’ve heard it said that life is cyclic – we come into this world crying, and depending on others, and we go out of this world somewhat the same way.  When the Good Lord is ready for me, I hope I go out of this world quickly, because A) When I get old, I will likely have no one to take care of me; and B) it is hard to see strong, independent people become dependent.  This Mother’s Day and the conclusion of Nurse’s Week, I’m giving a big shout out to my mom, for not only putting up with me when I was a bratty child, difficult teenager, and now absent workaholic, but now for dedicating the last 5 weeks to selflessly giving herself to her own mother.  Thanks Mom, for being a shining example to me! 

April 5, 2012, is a day that will forever standout in my mind. No, it wasn't a holiday or a significant birthday. It just started out as an ordinary Thursday for me and my Grandma. I was on vacation, spending time at my grandparents' house like I do each year before Easter & Christmas and we had a good morning; playing cards, eating lunch, talking like two girlfriends. I had gone out to get the mail and we made ourselves comfy in the living room, read the Chadron paper and were watching the Western channel when Grandma took a nap. When she woke up from her nap, her life and those around her would be changed.

I'll spare you a lot of the details, but Grandma woke with a start, and sometime within less than a 2 hour nap, something lapsed in her mind. She was confused— and I was scared. I thought playing cards, our favorite pastime, would help her so we went to the kitchen and I walked her through a game of Rummy. But she kept talking about how “foggy” things were and how tired she was.  And she acted like she never even heard of a “wild” card before.  Thankfully my parents arrived within the hour, and my mom and uncle drove Grandma to the Emergency Room, and she spent the next few days in the Hospital.  None of the tests showed signs of stroke, and she has no infections. 

Grandma basically has little memory function and she gets confused easily.  She knows people, like my mom, uncle and aunt that are around her often, but when I make my weekly phone calls, she might know me for a while, then start talking about me in the third person.  Sometimes she even has fun tales to tell about me—like the week I had “kidnapped a trunk full of babies and was running from the law.”  But most of the time her conversations are sad, and most of the time, life for Grandma must be very sad and lonely as she shows little emotion.

April 5 – it’s the day I realized that sometimes we have to grow up fast and take care of those older than us.  And moms and kids and aunts all take on the mothering role of the matriarch of the family. 

This Mother’s Day, I want to wish all my “mom” friends the best Mother’s Day yet—if it’s your first one, enjoy those little moments during the first year as a mom, and if it’s your 38th Mother’s day, remember, I love you more than you know!  Happy Mother’s Day!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's all about the Meat!

Last week while attending the Fort Worth Stock Show for work, I had a life changing experience. OK. Perhaps, those words are stretching it a little much, but it was definitely an experience, and it was one I won't forget for a VERY long time! You see, Friday, after Jared and I had finished checking in all the Angus cattle and checked in with our favorite superintendents, Von and Todd, they suggested we grab some lunch. I was thinking, JJ's Oyster Bar....They were thinking Cooper's Old Time BBQ. UGH. Now, you see, I'm not a BBQ fan. I can do ribs and a little bit of brisket and some pig once in a while, but that's about it. So, we hopped into Todd's rig and drove to the old Cowtown to Cooper's, located just across from Billy Bob's (it looks so different in daylight hours).

We walked into the door, and some great aromas greeted us, along with this:

That's right--a pit with about any kind of meat you can imagine! And, they will cut whatever you want; dip it some sauce and slap it on a red plastic tray for you. Then you step inside, hand it to the next person who weighs it, wraps it in brown paper and provides you with coleslaw or potato salad or condiments for your baked potato if you got one out of the pit. It happened to be pork chop & baked potato special day, so that is what was weighing down my tray.

Once we walked inside, we were greeting by the proprietor, Barry Cooper, who bought our lunch--What a treat! And once through the line, you would normally pay. The beans, pickles, onions and bread are all self serve, over by the drink station, along with the silverware and gallon jars of hot peppers are on the tables.

Rows of long tables and benches line the other side of the dining hall. Needless to say, I did NOT leave Cooper's hungry. And, I found an all-new respect and love for BBQ. Here's the little lunch I had:

I'd definitely recommend Cooper's BBQ to anyone in the Fort Worth area. It's a great amount of high quality food for a great price. Oh, and Barry came by our ROV Show, the next morning. Now, that's a guy that appreciates where his meat comes' from. Because at Cooper's it's all about the Meat!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011-The Year in Review

It's time to review 2011, so I can look forward to 2012. Here's an alphabetical run down of my last year. And here's hoping your new year is healthy, happy and full of good cheer!

Another year comes to close
Blessings in disguise
Cattle & the people who raise them are my world.
Dad gets National Ag Agent DSA!
Event planning for cattle producers keeps me busy.
Flew my 25th Southwest Flight of 2011 on 12/31/11 home from Phoenix—I’m on the A List in 2012!
God is so Good All time; I joined Ashland UMC.
Highways led me all the way to PA for NJAS—Yes, I drove!
Interns Katie & Emily lived with me in the summer—love these girls from GA & IL!
Juniors I advised got married & had babies—so fun to see these young people grow!
Kansas Junior Livestock Show—Gab won grand Champion Gelbvieh Heifer, and I was there!
Learned the tornado plan during National Angus Tour registration in Athens, GA!
Made memories to last a lifetime.
NO more online dating for me; destined to be an old maid.
One last Easter with Grandpa before he went to his Heavenly home.
People, photographs, planes, pain
Quail Run Quilts—need something quilted, call my mom!
Risk Taking Mission Committee at Church—serving soup; selling cheese & helping others.
Same old me; I never really change.
Time goes to0 fast; traveled 170 days this year, and didn’t get to see all the places I wanted to.
Unbelievable week with Aunt Barb in Missouri in August!
Victorious over cancer—my dad beat his Prostate Cancer! Yeah for early detection!
Way too much to do, and not enough hours in the day!
YOU are always welcome to visit me, follow on Twitter or friend me on FB!
Zest! I’m going to live my life with ZEST in 2012! I hope you do too!