So last week, the boys and I were driving through a little bitty Texas town named Crockett, after Davy, who is reported to have camped there on his way to the Alamo. I will spare you the photos of us, next to a log cabin, in our coonskin caps, us walking the town square in our coonskin caps, and us, whacking the crud out of each other with our coonskin caps.
I’m sure it means something that my Mom was at the Alamo about the same time we were in Crockett, but I can’t imagine what.
Anyhow, there we were, slowing down to avoid the small town sherrif that no doubt lurks in the bushes waiting for speedsters, when we saw this sign:
Does that say… why yes it does… it says, “TUESDAY! TODAY is Tuesday!” In case we needed further evidence that there were big goings on at the cattle barn, the usually deserted parking lot looked like this:
You know what emptry trailers mean, right? FULL PENS! Well I simply cannot pass up the opportunity to see something that we’ve never seen before, so we pulled over and had ourselves a look see.
The cows looked back.
So did the cowboys. I didn’t take their pictures though. We might as well have been purple polka dotted parrots for all the bewildered stares that we got. I guess minivan moms and their flip flop wearin’ brood don’t often show up for the Tuesday sales.
Well, it was about this time that we noticed some stairs a the side of the barn, and asked if we might go up and have a look.
The man said, “Don’t know why not.”
Up we went, and found ourselves at the start of a long catwalk that stretched across the entirety of the barn. Imagine half a football field, divided into pens which were packed full with cattle, stretch a rickety board plank bridge across the whole thing, and you’ve got a pretty clear idea of what we were faced with.
The sound was deafening. We hung on for dear life, and I tried to think only of the educational value of the experience, and not the fact that one sorry little rail was all that stood between my boys and glory hallelujah, if you know what I mean. I took loads of pictures of the cowboys prodding the cows and bulls through the pens and into the viewing area, but they all turned out really dark. I was too scared that I’d cause a stampede if I used the flash. This is one of the few that came out moderately well.
In case you are wondering, this is not a feedlot, it’s an auction site. These cows are being sold between ranchers. At least I think so.
It was really very interesting to see the whole process of moving them in and out. Not to mention the incredible bovine variety. We were even treated to a few of these:
Of course this left us thinking long and hard about our lunch choices at the town’s cafe. I mean on the one hand, it’s kind of tough to look into those faces and contribute to their demise. On the other, it’s tough to look at the faces of the cowboys and townspeople, their weathered skin and worn fingers and go meatless. Cattle ranching is their lifeblood.
I was thinking about all this, as we waited for the Town Cafe’s one and only waitress to bring our drinks and take our orders. Kind of a heady question, “What’ll it be?”
My guys did a lot of thinking too.
Mostly, they thought about how quickly the cook could make their burgers. Apparently livestock sales leave them famished. After my middle boy finished his lunch, he declared, “they sure do grow good cows here!”
I have to admit, they do.
A little while down the road we caught sight of this girl:
She was doing a lot of thinking too. Something like, “Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far, far away.”