I love beef, but I’m no cattleman

Anyone who overheard my wife and I Saturday night at the Greene County Cattlemen’s Association banquet no doubt could sense we don’t get out much.

Let alone to banquets full of cattlemen.
“What are you going to do with that?” my wife asked skeptically when I was awarded a Buck knife for a door prize.

Now, had any other man in that room won himself a new Buck knife, it would have been blatantly obvious what he was going to do with it.

Just once, I wish my woman would humor me.

“What do you think I’m going to do?” I thought about answering. “I’m going to use it in case any of our steers gets tangled in barb wire and I have to cut them free.


But what I really said was, “I think I’ll keep it in my glove box with that ninja throwing star I got at the mall.”

And that, of course, led to the next question: “Why do you have a ninja throwing star in your car?”



In this day and age, you just never know when you’ll need to call upon the weapons of feudal Japan.

My wife, obviously sensing that I would kill before divulging the secrets of the shinobi, decided to just move on without pressing the issue.

She did, however, ask to see my newly acquired pocket knife, which in turn led her to ask how to get the blade unlocked.

“Here,” I announced, taking it back.

All the while, I’m thinking, “Please, God, give me the wisdom to get this knife closed so that I don’t have to ask a real cattleman for assistance.”

Don’t get me wrong. We had a good time at the cattlemen banquet.

I’m all about promoting beef.

In fact, I’m somewhat famous in Ohio for having once ordered a 22-ounce steak on my lunch break one random weekday.

In all fairness, I was on the Atkins Diet at the time.

For me at least, the Atkins Diet went horribly awry around the time my meals started consisting solely of a steak with a side of cheese cubes.

I actually gained eight pounds on the Atkins Diet, but don’t assume I’ve given up on red meat.

Au contraire.

To paraphrase the late, great Charlton Heston standing before the NRA, “From my cold, dead colon!”

I just don’t think I have what it takes to hang with the men who raise and artificially inseminate our nation’s cattle.

The real reason my wife and I attended the cattlemen banquet was so I could bid on the newspaper’s behalf during the trophy auction.

Again, it couldn’t have been more obvious that I was the proverbial fish out of water.

Cattlemen, you see, make a living of attending auctions.


I once got into a bidding war on eBay over a 48-year-old ceramic Batman bank.

Actually, I’m underselling myself.

I’m a beast on eBay.

I’m your worst nightmare.

Just when you think you’ve won that 12-inch, vinyl Fred Flintstone doll from 1960 — boom! — there I am with a final bid with .02 seconds to spare.

Yeah, I’m that guy.

But until last weekend, I’d never participated in an actual auction. That is, with a real-life auctioneer.

My late Grandma Eileen used to work in the kitchen of the Dunlap Livestock Auction, and one summer, my brother and I stopped by because she promised us pie.

It’s now clear I should have hung around a little longer.

My bidding style, for one, leaves a little something to be desired.

Excitedly waving your bright blue program in the air just screams, “Newbie.”

After last weekend, I vowed to master the subtle head nod.

I also need to hang around live auctions more, because, to me, the auctioneer was undecipherable.

I nearly won the paper a semi load of stalk bales.

There were 48 items on the auction block, and with a limited amount of money to spend, I started studying the docket from the time we sat down.

I knew there was no chance of me winning the trophy for the Grand Champion 4-H Market Beef or the Champion Hereford Steer.

But item No. 44 — the trophy for the Champion Return Bottle Bucket Calf — looked to be easy pickings.

I felt like a hyena trying to isolate the gimpiest member of the herd.

Of course, in reality, I didn’t win that, either.

At any rate, it was good to get out.

Like I said, we don’t get out often.

Not that it’s obvious or anything.

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Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

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