Monday, January 18, 2010

Little white Sambo

I stayed up late to post this just so it would be ready. Today I am going to shift gears a bit, don’t worry I will be back to my smartass self tomorrow. Today I want to wish my daughter Samantha a happy 19th birthday. For those needing a little background Sam was 3 when I met her mother and just over four years old when I stepped off a plane to meet her and her older sister. Sam was holding a sign that read, “Hi Larry, Welcome to Texas”. She was smiling with her blonde hair and the same luminous blue eyes that had first made me notice her mom a few months before. Within a year I was her mother’s husband and her “Dad”.

I knew Samantha was special all along but it was really clear the first time her mom, sister and herself came to Washington to visit. I had taken them all out to look at some first calf heifer pairs I had close to the house. Her mom stepped in a big fresh cow pie and as she wiped off her shoes and accessed the situation with some disdain Sam said, “Oh mom, it is not that big of a deal, it is just part of being on a farm.” Until Sam started kindergarten she was a constant presence in the passenger seat of the pickup. Sam. I hope you could find a bank open to make a “positive” today! (Inside joke)

We used to have long discussions about many things. These usually started with me making a statement and her saying, “but why?” to each and everything I said. Sam took to the cows like a fish to water. She had an amazing ability to see what was abnormal or out of sorts with a specific cow or calf, her first three years of life being a city girl not withstanding. Sam was tough and little bothered her including entering a “mutton bustin” competition and although she was summarily tossed in the dirt, she was smiling and proud with her hat, cowgirl shirt, Wranglers and steer head belt buckle. Once when she was with me after finding a dead cow out on the range in the middle of the summer Sam described it to her mother, “It was so gross Mom, it smelled really bad and it was full of little white magnets*” ……*maggots

Sam was always an excellent student and as she matured she became quite athletically inclined. She started playing softball at a young age and was a superstar shortstop. I spent many years coaching her and her teammates in competitive softball. One of my proudest moments was watching her catching a direct shot in her glove, tagging a girl running from second to third base and then making a perfect throw to first base catching a base runner off the bag completing a triple play. I jumped up in celebration from my seat on the backrest of the bench and knocked myself out for a few moments as I hit my head on the ceiling of the dugout. As Sam advanced into her teen years we experienced the same deterioration of relationship that many fathers and daughters have at that stage of life.

As we put those difficult years behind us Sam and I have come to a mutual respect and admiration for each other. When my father passed away and her grandpa unexpectedly in March of 2008 our family was put in an upheaval that included long hours, work like you would not believe and many sacrifices on everyone’s part as well as a physical move back to the ranch. Sam also had to deal with her Grandfathers death on her mother’s side in November of 2008. After we moved to Connell in June of 2008, Sam made the 90 mile round trip to high school and back each day during the 2008-09 school year to finish her senior year with the friends she had made since kindergarten without complaint or whine. She also has been a hard worker helping to change water, work and move cattle, she can shovel manure out of the barn like nobodies business and anything else she has been asked to do. Sam is also a master rifle marksman and if you are a rabbit, rockchuck or carp you better beware. She is also conscientious about not taking too many of any species to make sure they are all here for generations to enjoy.

Sam never had shown steers at the fair when she was younger because most every weekend from March through September she was playing softball all across the country. Sam did work with, tame and show two steers in her final year of high school and did an excellent job. She also was instrumental in keeping her 12 year old sister focused on the task at hand last summer. I cannot thank her enough for that.

Sam attends Columbia Basin Community College and since she was a running start student in her senior year of High school she will complete her AA degree this spring. At this time she is planning on pursuing a degree in journalism. Although Sam and I do not always agree on all issues political (psssst she is 19) her life experience and knowledge with agriculture will make her an asset to our industry no matter what she chooses to do with her life. I love ya Sambo and I promise not to tell anyone that you read and sometimes enjoy this blog. I am going to call KORD today and see if they can play the “SS” song super Sammy! Happy Birthday!

today's picture shows Sam with 5 rabbits with 6 shots.

Today's real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the cottontail rabbit aka Sylvilagus and many species found in eastern Washington.

Love Dad.