Lee Pitts: Indian giver | TSLN.com

Lee Pitts: Indian giver

No man wants to admit that he fears his wife and I am no exception. I'm just a little henpecked that's all. So much so that I molt twice a year.

It's just that I have been known to make some pretty stupid mistakes on occasion and have had to listen to my wife scold me… "Where were you when they passed out brains, in the basement?"

Sometimes I will go to great lengths to avoid being reminded of my shortcomings. Like the time we were planning a little 2-day holiday to Las Vegas. It had been years since we'd taken a vacation and we were really looking forward to the trip. But before we left we had to check things at the ranch one last time. I knew something was wrong when I saw the buzzards. The buzzard is like a stork… it always brings bad news.

Sure enough one of our good young heifers had died trying to give birth. But remarkably the calf had lived. Ordinarily I would have been grateful but that cute, little calf just meant that our holiday would be canceled as we would have to stay home and play nurse maid.

Then I remembered that my neighbor just the day before had mentioned that he was having difficulty in finding drop calves for a couple cows that had lost their calves. I knew my wife wouldn't want me to, but I decided right then and there to sell the calf so I could have some walking-around-money in Vegas. So without telling her I loaded up the orphan and went over to my neighbors.

My spirits rose when I was greeted by a whole pen of big bagged cows. Needless to say, my neighbor was most receptive. I knew I had him in a bind and decided to drive a hard bargain. "I suppose you know that these drop calves are in real critical supply," I told my neighbor who was sick and tired of milking out cows.

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"Let's cut to the chase. How much do you want?"

"I suppose it's worth $300 but I'll let you have it for $290 just because we're friends."

My elation at feeling the wad of gambling money in my pocket was short lived. On returning home my wife greeted me. "Where have you been? We've got a heifer trying to calve." So we headed out to the calving pasture where we were once again greeted by circling buzzards. This time the heifer lived but the calf died.

"It's sure a good thing we have that extra drop calf," my wife said. "Now all we have to do is get them paired up and it's Las Vegas here we come."

It was in her best interests that I did not tell her I'd sold the calf. I knew there was only one thing I could do. I got in the truck and hurried over to the neighbor's who was in the process of successfully grafting the calf. It was then that I made a very critical mistake…I decided to tell my neighbor the whole story hoping that he would show some sympathy.

"Well, you know these good drop calves are in real short supply right now don't you? And this here calf is a real good one. It sure does mother up fast. But considering your predicament and because we are friends I suppose that I could let you have it for $500." It was at this point that I sensed my neighbor knew he had me.

"If you think I'm going to give you $500 for a calf that I just sold you for $290 you are nuts. Since you haven't branded him it's questionable whether ownership has legally changed hands anyway. I am not so afraid of my wife that I'll let you rob me. I'll give you $490 and that's my top offer."

He took the deal and I loaded up the calf, which by now knew the road pretty well. My wife and I did go to Las Vegas after all but I had a terrible time because I kept having to ask her for gambling money. In addition to the $490 that I paid for the calf, my neighbor also wanted a like amount for hush money not to tell my wife.

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