Friday, July 12, 2024
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I Thought I Had Those Calves Sold!

One Saturday afternoon I was in the milk room hooking up for the evening milking when I heard something drive up. I didn’t stop what I was doing I just figured it was one of those old boys that came by to visit every once in a while. After a few minutes there was a knock on the door and right then I knew that it was somebody that we didn’t know.

I was trying to get started on time that evening so I just hollered, “Come in” and didn’t stop what I was doing. The door opened a crack and this feller wearing a big, black cowboy hat stuck his head in the door, “Is it all right if I come in?”

“Come on in.”

He stepped through the door and just stood there looking around. I reckon he had never been in the milk room of a dairy before. Trying not to sound impatient or impolite I asked, “What can I do for you, you lost?”

“No I’m not lost. I was wondering if any of those half longhorn calves in that lot next to the road are for sale?”

“They’re all for sale.”

He stood there for a second and then he asked, “Can we go look at them?”

“No. You can go look. I’m busy. Pick out what you want and then we can talk.”

Well he was gone about 15 minutes and when he came back and stuck his head in the door, I said, louder than I should have, “Don’t come in here with mud on your boots.” And then I walked out to talk to him about calf buying.

He had picked out 6 calves. I put a price on them that was more than I knew they would bring at the sale barn. I wasn’t trying to cheat this old boy or anything of the sort, I guess you can say I was taking advantage of an opportunity. He was one of those guys that had one of those high dollar plant jobs and wanted to be a cowboy on the weekends.

Now you might ask how in the world did I know that if I never met this feller. I’m not being critical or anything, but I didn’t know anybody who milked cows for a living or ran a herd of beef cows full time who could afford a big, old shiny pickup such as the one this feller was driving. And for the price of the boots and that hat he had on you could buy a couple of those calves. We got on a deal and he asked if I would take a check. I said I would and he propped up on the hood of his truck and wrote it out. Then he asked, “Will you hold them until next week?”

I told him that I would, but understand if anything should happen to any one of those calves that week to remember they belong to him. But I would feed them for one week for him for no cost. With the price I had put on those calves my conscience would not let me do otherwise. We shook hands and he climbed in his big shiny pickup and drove off and I went to get started milking.

The next day being Sunday we didn’t do anything but milk and feed stock unless it was hay season or some calamity had arisen. Anyway, I was in the milk room that afternoon and a car drove up and stopped where I could see it out of one of the windows behind the milk tanks. The guy from the calf deal yesterday was driving and sitting next to him was a lady who had turned in the seat facing him and she was giving him what for. This old boy was in a heap of hurt, just sitting there looking at his lap, shaking his head up and down in agreement with whatever it was she was saying. In a little bit I heard that car door slam and then the knock on the door.

“Come in.” I knew how this was going to go before it started, that old boy came through the door looking like a chicken killing dog. He didn’t want to look at me but finally he looked up and said kind of quiet like, “Can we talk?”


“You think it would be possible to call off that deal and get my check back?”

Now I knew damn well what done happened. He went home and told his wife what he had done and she let him know in no uncertain terms, “No you didn’t!”

So when he asked me for his check back I could not add to his misery. But I did ask, “You decided you didn’t want them?”

“Well, I really don’t need them right now.”

“I’ll give you your check back, and if you think you want or need any of these calves we have for sale just come by.”

I never saw him again.

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Don Ashford
Don Ashford
My name is Don Ashford and my wife is Betty and we live in Ethel, LA. It would be impossible for me to write a bio about myself without including Betty in it. We have been together since high school. I was in the senior class of 1955 and she was in the class of 1957. Do the math. We have raised cattle since 1959 except for a little time that I spent with Uncle Sam. We have grazed stockers, owned several cow- calf herds and custom grazed cattle for other folks. I worked as a pipefitter for more than 25 years. Until we went into the dairy business in 1977 we were as most people down here part-timers or week-end ranchers. Later after we had learned enough about MIG to talk about it so that it would be understood by others we put together a pasture-walk group to introduce it to our friends and neighbors. We belong to more farm groups then we probably should but we get great joy working with other people. What makes us most proud are our son and daughter, our 5 grandkids and our 7 great-grand kids. It has been a hell of a trip so far, but we are not done yet.


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