There comes a time when you realize that you have been caught.  I don’t mean being caught in a foot race.  Heck, I don’t like running unless I am being chased.  But, I can tell that I have been caught.  I have been ran down from behind from Father Time.  I have been caught by time.  Things don’t fit like they used to.  Activities hurt now that didn’t before.  You can tell that you aren’t as good at something as you used to be.  Well, I have came to understand that I am old.  Too many miles, some of them kind of hard, some self-inflicted and now things are starting to creak, squeak and it just isn’t supposed to feel like that.

      I don’t know what real pain is like.  I haven’t lost a brother, parent or child.  I haven’t had to undergo chemotherapy or something similar.  I’ve led a real good life.  I don’t want to compare my problems with anybody else’s.  My problems are simple.  But they are my problems.  

      I have clipped thousands of goats, cattle, hogs (even a damn sheep or two) and a few other species.  Throw in trimming hooves on cattle and goats and the numbers get high.  However, it is becoming very apparent that I am not going to clip thousands more.  I can’t.  I am fatter than I used to be, but not by much.  My regular playing weight for the past 20 years is 186.  Right now, I weigh 192 or 3, depending on whose scales.  I have worn the same size pants for the past 5 years.  But these things just hurt.  I was born with horribly flat feet that are incredibly narrow.  Nobody makes a shoe that fits these feet properly.  Add in a right knee that isn’t worth two squirts of duck $h!t and things start to hurt.  Every now and then, after numerous days of doing this non-paying job, a cold beer feels reel good.  Just kind of takes the edge off the hurt.  Okay, I can shear one more.  That works in my barn when I don’t have to drive home.  But…

     It’s time to find somebody else to do this stuff.  I had the thought earlier, that if Duke says “Dad, I want to show a steer.”  Then I am going to make it part of the deal that whomever, I buy a steer from, also does the clipping/fitting.  I like clipping and fitting, but it is a young persons’ game.  I go to shows and realize that other people, that aren’t as good, get paid for their services.  This used to amaze me.  Not anymore.    

     I won’t be able to find anybody to do these jobs for me because I will be picky, want things done right, not half-assed and well, dang it, give me those clippers, I will show you how to do it right.  Then, I will walk with a limp tomorrow after I have done a pile more.  I’ve only got about 25 wethers to get ready tomorrow morning for Woodward district.  I bet they will look good.  I will bet, that they will look real damn good!  I will also bet that I am one sore son-of-a-gun come monday evening.  Sometimes, pride hurts.

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