Friday, April 12, 2013

Committed to the toboggan. - Life on the other side of the table.

It was one of my first years teaching when a boy named Cory who had a great personality and was very intelligent told me "some people are happy with a pickup truck and a coon dog". As a recent college graduate I was unaware that a student with the ability and means may not want to go to college.  Heck they may not want to drive a new car, live in a 2000 square foot house with a white picket fence or any of the other "normal" American wants. It was an awakening moment and that comment has stuck with me for the rest of my life.

It is a really important lesson (that I still struggle with today) that not everyone wants to live like me.  

We live just outside the metropolis of St. Clairsville where our girls attend school.  I car pool with another very special mother.  She is a supporter of rural living, eating beef and has become a proud supporter of her local beef producers.  She volunteers a lot of time at school, so she often meets me in the morning and drives the girls to town.  A few weeks ago temperatures were reaching a high of 30 degrees and a windchill below 0, making a 4-wheeler ride to check cows even more frigid.  I often showed up dressed from head to toe with just my faced exposed.  Colleen is so kind she often will compliment my zebra print toboggan.  Really there is not much to compliment about work clothes, however I always appreciate her effort. More so I appreciate that she drives the kids to town so I don't have to face an entire crowd of parents decked out in business attire with the prettiest dresses, accessorized and wearing the best heals. Yea, sometimes I am jealous.

However a few weeks ago Colleen drove the girls to school and I headed to disperse minerals to the cows.  She must have called me when I was out riding.  I hate that you can't hear your phone on a 4-wheeler (although I don't let Jake use that as an excuse, when I call him). She was calling to say Jacie had forgot her lunch and that if I called her back she would go to the store for me and get her something, of course her daughter said she would just share her lunch. By the time I got her message she was home. Jacie's lunch was in my backseat, and I needed to take it town.  However my dilemma was my commitment to my toboggan.  Once you put a hat on in the morning, you can't take it off.  Really no one wants to see hat hair, that is all matted to your head. So, off to school I went hat, ski pants, heavy coat and everything.  I was really hoping to sneak into town, with no one seeing me.  But we all know how that turns out. There I was getting a once over from a lady in town. The look that screams "really those shoes with that outfit".  Maybe it wasn't the shoes or the hat or the muddy ski pants, but it wasn't my hat hair (it was looking bad, under my hat). It is difficult to get a "once over" without having your self esteem a little injured.  Jacie now had her lunch and I was headed back to the ranch that most people don't even know exists outside of St. Clairsville thinking I am just as guilty.

I drive into a subdivision with houses just feet apart and sidewalks leading to all the beautiful homes and think, who wants to live like this.  These are the same thoughts and comments that people have about my want to live miles from people, raising the beef for this country.  I hope I can get to a place in my life to fully appreciate that one person's happiness could be the complete opposite of someone else's. The truth is backyard barbeques in the subdivisions don't happen without beef producers and if all those people didn't enjoy living in subdivisions we wouldn't need to produce so much beef.  Thanks for enjoying beef with your friends and neighbors.

photo taken by Meg Roussos

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