When Dad was talking.
I was listening . . .
|Every. Square. Foot.|
The annual production sale at the Stringam ranch was the highlight of our year.
It’s when we had the most visitors.
The most traffic.
The most income.
And the most work. Both before and after.
Before, we had the cattle and the ranch to prepare and beautify.
After, we had the deliveries.
Our family hauled cattle to nearly every square foot of North America.
Every. Square. Foot.
It was a slow, exacting task.
Driving the length and breadth of this continent in a truck, hauling a boatload of bawling cattle. Mapping out places to stop each night so the animals could be released, fed and watered.
Then loading them up the next morning to continue the journey.
Yep. Slow and exacting.
And it wasn’t without its own adventures - due to oversight, wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time, misfortune.
Or all of the above.
Let me tell you about it . . .
Mom and Dad were trucking cattle through Alberta.
They had only been on the road a few hours.
And were, ironically enough, just passing an auction market where a cattle sale was ongoing.
A truck pulled out.
Pickup. With the tailgate down.
This will become significant . . .
Spotting the slow-moving vehicle, Dad pulled into the other lane to give it a wide berth.
For several seconds, the two of them occupied close quarters.
Dad and his heavy rig in one lane.
The man and his pickup in the other.
Then, suddenly, inexplicably, the pickup decided to pull over.
Directly in front of Dad.
The collision was immediate.
Remember when I mentioned the pickup’s tailgate?
Well, that comes into play here.
Dad hit that tailgate going sixty miles per hour.
Both vehicles jammed to a halt.
Then the drivers, both unharmed, got out to inspect the damage.
The grill of Dad’s truck had been caved in, rupturing the radiator and radically displacing the fan and other important features.
Interestingly enough, though, the gate had slid with surgical precision between the headlights and the running lights of the truck, leaving all four intact.
So the front of the truck had been crushed.
But without cracking a single light.
Okay, well, it was interesting to us . . .
Dad scratched his head and looked at the driver of the pickup. “Why did you pull over in front of me?” he asked.
“Oh, I was sure you could stop,” was the reply.
The man repeated the statement to his insurance company.
Who also blinked.
Dad was involved in two automobile accidents in his life.
Both resulting in considerable vehicular damage.
And neither of which was his fault.
I wish I could say the same about me.