AMY KIRK: Traveling brings fresh appreciation that we are rednecksOn the rare occasion that ranchers travel someplace, they love looking at new scenery, especially when it looks just like home.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
On the rare occasion that ranchers travel someplace, they love looking at new scenery, especially when it looks just like home.
If you’ve ever taken a long car trip with a rancher, you’ll eventually notice that they spend more time looking out their car door window at hay fields, cattle and crops than they do at the road. On these kinds of trips I spend a lot of time talking to the back of my husband’s neck while he stares out his window ogling at scenery consisting of the same kinds of things we see at home: cattle, hay and equipment.
There’s some kind of fascination among these male types that when they take a much-needed break to leave their slave camp, they find someone else’s slave camp admirable. They love looking at the work of their own kind in different areas of the country.
I’ll join my husband in his interstate amusement for a while as we visit, but eventually the hay bales all start to look alike — very big and round, freshly cut and tightly baled, and dotting the landscape for miles. The same is true with cattle.
To show my interest, I’ll say, “Oh, look honey! Did you see that? They run Hereford-Black Angus too! Their cattle look just like ours, just different ear tags!”
Occasionally we’ll see a tractor or some other kind of equipment working in a field, which will capture his attention. He’ll crane his neck to get a good look at the equipment until he recognizes what model it is so he can describe its features to me.
After a while, looking at round bales while zooming down the interstate begins to work its magic, and before long, I become hypnotized and lulled to sleep, missing some of his tractor and implement commentary.
When I take a car trip, I want to feel inspired. I want to see things I don’t see at home, like strange, bizarre-looking and questionable characters who wear tattoos like clothing and have 10 pounds worth of body piercings, for instance, or things like parking meters and paid parking towers. I’m always on the lookout for new material to give my column a fresh sarcastic perspective.
When we get burned out from doing the same routine and dealing with the same problems, it’s nice to broaden our horizons and experience something different to change the scenery, our surroundings and our thinking. I find cities enlightening places and return home feeling a sense of renewed appreciation knowing that we are rednecks.
Still, it doesn’t matter how much of a break from the ranch is needed, seeing someone else’s hay, crops, cows, farm, ranch or equipment elsewhere is my husband’s idea of slave camp vacation.
Whether driving through a different part of the country or doing a drive-by to look at their own cows or hay fields, ranchers love admiring the fruits of their labors. This kind of behavior is not unusual. Ranchers are not vain by nature but it’s not uncommon for them to admire their own work as well as the efforts of others in areas where agriculture is present.
Even on a much-needed break from their ranch work and aggravations, ranchers will never leave the country.
Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.