My Grandpa Mac was a cattle man. He had a nice herd, but retired when it got to be too much for him. However, like most farmers, he never really retired. Instead, on some Saturdays, he would still go to the Fairview Sale Barn for lunch (which is ironic, because my Grandma Mary is an excellent cook). More times than desired by my grandma, he would come home with "just a few calves." He could never resist the lure of the cattle sale.
Fast forward nearly 20 years, and here we are again. Joe does have a little different philosophy on cattle sales than my grandpa. He doesn't go just to buy a few. In fact, he rarely comes home with any. However, when a sale ad comes in the mail, the date is tentatively written in his Blackberry. Today is such a day.
The lure of a cattle sale is not just to add calves to the family herd. Joe rarely comes home with any wares. . . unlike my recent trip to the Gap. Essentially, a cattle sale and its advertisements are comparable to getting great coupons in the mail and going shopping with your friends. Joe has been to many sales since we have started our cattle business, generally going to scope out the calves, talk to fellow cattle folk, and enjoy a day off and out (a rare event). Unlike Grandpa Mac, Joe doesn't usually come home with "just a few," rather, he saves his money for the big Silvertown Sale in eastern Indiana in the fall. That's more of a "vacation sale," complete with a hotel room. Whoo-hoo! If it wasn't nearly 6 hours away, I would have first hand experience, but it's a man-vacation. . . until the girls are old enough to travel without asking, "are we there yet?" every 15 minutes!
Regardless of the location, the Saturday cattle sale is crucial in a cattle man's (or woman's) social network. From my perspective, it's a good place to check out who's buying what, what's "out there," and just getting a feel for the local cattle market. I compare it to window shopping.
So, on this dreary Saturday before Easter, Joe's considering making a two hour trek to Boden to just "look." I say, go for it. . .everyone needs a dose of retail therapy once in awhile.