Drinking poison

The rodeo rigs are rolling through town today, headed to the ranch rodeo, and I’m watching them with a growing pit in my stomach.
It’s funny what sweeps you back. It might be a song, or a smell, or just a breeze that makes you feel like you’re suddenly somewhere or someone you’re no longer familiar with. Today, it’s aluminum trailers, slick horses, and deep-breathing diesel pickups flying low through town, piloted by boys in starched shirts and shaped hats.
I stepped off the merry-go-round almost 10 years ago. After a marriage that was longer than it ever should have been, I told him I wanted out and I didn’t shed a tear when I said the words. He watched me pretend to sleep that night. The next day, when I returned home from work, his things were emptied from the house, though it didn’t look much different than it had that morning.
He spent a lifetime in rodeo arenas trying to be the next big thing, playing a young man’s game in a worn out life. When the arena lights turn off for the night, the momentary grasp he had on a glamorous, fame-filled life was gone. What was left was sweaty horses and scraping money together for the month’s groceries and fuel and a growing pit in my stomach, much like the one there today.
Ten years and two states away, I have a markedly different life and my friends wouldn’t believe me if I told them how different I am; that they wouldn’t have even been my friend then and there. So I find myself straying from my usual writing topics in a wild-eyed attempt to keep my feet planted in the present reality of hog barns, paid bills, and millet fields.
I’ve been told that harboring hate and anger is akin to drinking poison and wishing someone else would die. But sometimes the past steps in, rolls through, and leaves you wishing for a stiff drink and a deep hole to hide in. And sometimes you have the maturity and the wisdom to fix your lipstick and go on with the life you cheated yourself out of but won back.


Of voters and farmers

This legislative session has left farmers, ranchers, and rural Coloradans battered and bruised. The drought has crippled many, forcing the hand of cow calf producers to sell and, in many cases, leave the state or even the business.

Crops are failing and the heat of summer is not yet upon us. To add insult to injury, and despite the efforts of several common sense representatives, legislation has left us the walking wounded.

The passage of SB 252 stands to cost some producers over $100,000. This is not merely an inconvenience. This is a move that will put families out of business and take locally grown foods off many family’s dinner tables.

The sequester of funds owed to farmers and ranchers placed a huge strain on families. This means more than cutting back on daughter’s dance lessons and son’s new shoes to farm and ranch families.

Bills legislating ag practices are opening the door for families to take their operations to other states that recognize their importance and welcome them with open arms and financial opportunity.

Oil and gas restrictions will lead companies to pack up their rigs and leave eastern Colorado, taking with them the revenue that has become vital to the small communities, families, and schools.

On the western slope, the now quieted debate about the possible addition of the sage grouse to the endangered species list would have crippled 2.4 million acres and with it, ranchers’ ability to produce their product, resulting in less food and higher prices passed to your family.

Please pray for the farm and ranch families who are your neighbors. Think of them because they are the people who make your food, fuel, and fiber possible and affordable. Then, please do not vote for the people who vote to cripple Colorado agriculture while their bellies are full compliments of agriculture.


I’ve been missing in action lately but I have a good excuse.

What a great opportunity it was to speak at the Colorado FFA Convention to unveil the video linked above and to remind them that “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”