Two Things You Should Never Ask a Rancher
I have long said that one of my favorite aspects of my job is talking with interesting people. I interviewed a rancher earlier this week and he definitely qualifies as interesting. That is, if you consider somebody who, in addition to raising cattle, is a cowboy poet, musician, blogger, and Airbnb host who offers guests from all over the world western ranch vacations on his property, compelling. I sure do.
I was surprised to learn I’ve been committing a major faux pas, by the way. During the course of our conversation, I asked him how many acres his ranch comprises. That’s when he brought the hammer down. Very politely, I might add.
“There are two questions you should never ask a rancher,” he told me in his big, booming voice. “How big his property is, and how many cows he has.”
When I asked him why, he said, that’s like asking somebody how much money he has in the bank.
Sure wish I’d known that the last time I interviewed a rancher!
When I was telling my supervisor (whose family also ranches) about this afterward, she echoed his sentiment nearly word-for-word.
“Don’t ever do that,” she said. “It’s like asking somebody how much money they have in the bank!”
OK. Maybe this is common knowledge amongst the agricultural community, but what do I know? I’m just a city slicker.
But a well-prepared city slicker. Next time I talk with a rancher, I’ll steer clear of those questions altogether.
Ranch puns. Gotta love ’em.
Be Still My Music-Lovin’ Heart
Yesterday was the closest things have felt to normal in about 15 months. First, there was a team lunch with the marketing department to celebrate some advertising awards we picked up. We all piled into one car, sans masks, and drove together to a restaurant. It reminded me of how workplaces used to function before the pandemic.
Then, after work, Tara and I headed downtown for actual live music. Be still my rock ‘n roll loving heart!
Well, okay, this happened to be a local country artist. But it was still fun, despite being a genre I’m not particularly crazy about.
When we moved here three years ago, we quickly discovered Summer Nights—a free concert series held in downtown Rapid City every Thursday evening between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They rope off a couple of city blocks and people descend en masse for music, food, and alcohol.
This being South Dakota, the lineup skews more toward country and country/rock. Hey, beggars can’t be choosers. Tara and I bonded over music and it’s always held a special place in our relationship, so we’ll take what we can get. Especially when we haven’t gotten any live music in almost two years. There are worse ways to spend warm summer evenings than cutting loose and enjoying free entertainment. After a few beers, they could be playing Bavarian show tunes from the 1930s and I’d be bopping along contentedly.
Besides, half the fun is in the people watching. Or maybe 70% if I’m being honest. Last night, we stared subtly. Snickered sarcastically at some, outright ogled others. And then compared notes.
My wife is funner than yours.
Afterward, we hit the Culver’s drive-through and enjoyed a late (for a weeknight) dinner on the patio after dark.
Such a great night, and the pandemic felt like a memory that, slowly but surely, continues to recede into the distance.