Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Gus

Howdy once again from San Antonio and the NCBA annual convention. If yesterdays and today's font and color are not to your liking I apologize. When I am at home I usually type this out on a word document and then edit, yeah I really do edit, then copy and paste. I can not seem to make this work down here so things may look a bit different until I get back to my home computer. I am meeting lots of great people down here and also seeing old friends. The geographical differences as well as segment differences in our industry are really profound here. What is amazing though is that it seems most everyone is this business are passionate, hardworking people.

Once again I am going to change gears just a bit today because today is a very special day. Happy Birthday to my youngest daughter Dakota today! Our baby becomes a teenager today despite the fact in my mind we just brought her home from the hospital last week. Age has never been an issue for me or really caused me any grief. However,having my youngest child become a teenager is really sobering and making me feel older than I want to be.

When I turned 16 it was not that big of a deal as it was for many kids because I had been driving for quite some time around the ranch and countryside. The only difference was now I could get a drivers license so the authorities had some information for the traffic citations I would acquire at a fairly constant level over the next several years. Turning 21 was not that big of deal either since I had had 2 or 3 beers before I turned 21 years of age. Turning 30 was not an issue because I still felt young and age is just a number. Even turning 40 really was not an issue because although I was feeling some physical slowdown I felt that was tempered somewhat by knowledge, experience and possibly even some wisdom. I was just fine, getting older without all the stress so many feel until a year ago today.

When I realized that today Dakota would be a teen it hit me hard and I am struggling a bit. How can my tiny little precious baby girl be a teen? How can she even discuss things like texting, makeup, nail polish and Oh my Gosh even the possibility of maybe liking a boy! As I have struggled through this I have found some comfort in remembering the previous 13 years and all that has went with it. She may not be a baby or even little girl anymore but she also has became quite a young woman despite her poor genetic contribution from the sire side of her registration papers. I mean how many kids have to start life with a logic EPD of -30 on her sire side. For you non cattle people that is a joke related to her sire(fathers) inability to always think like normal people.

The day we brought Dakota (aka known as Koko, pop pop and Gus) home from the hospital I was carrying her and as I waited for her mother to sign some forms an elderly gentleman approached me. He was at the hospital visiting his wife who was dealing with some health issues. We chatted for a few moments and he gave me some of the best advice I have ever received, "you take that little girl home, you love her, care for her, teach her, guide her and spoil her every chance you get." She has been a wonderful kid and all those things have been easy to do. She is a sometimes straight A student and always very close to being a straight A student. She is everything I could have ever dreamed of for a boy in the rough and tough department yet she does it with a grace of a lady in braided pigtails.

One of her attributes that I am most proud of is she is a true cattle woman. She has shown cattle since 3rd grade and helped with the operation and has skills way beyond her years. We will sometimes bet who a specific cow is just based on a silhouette in the distance. She often wins those bets because she really knows the cattle well. She has her paternal greatgrandmothers ability to know who will be the next to calve and who are the right kind of animals to keep in production. dealing with cold, hot, wet, dry, windy, dusty or any difficult environment is easy for her. She also is very much a people person and strangers are not strangers for long with her. I have no idea where that comes from because her dad is so quiet, shy and rarely has an opinion.

Dakota is also well rounded and like her older sister is quite an athlete. She plays volleyball, basketball and softball and excels at all of those endeavors. She is also just a fun kid to be around with her wit and maturity. I may be getting older but trading that for watching a little girl blossom into quite a young lady is a fair trade. Happy 13th Birthday Gus, I love you very much and am very proud to be your dad.

Today's picture is cow 4199b and her fall steer calf which is one of Dakotas favorites.

Today's real environmentalist species found on the ranch is red clover aka Trifoleum pratense.