Lee Pitts: Coming in hot | TSLN.com

Lee Pitts: Coming in hot

Disposition is an undervalued trait in the beef business. It doesn’t matter how much your calves weigh if one of your bulls puts your wife in the hospital and your profit goes to pay medical bills, and you have to make your own dinner and wash your own clothes. (“No, honey, you put the dirty clothes in the dishwasher again.”)

My dearly departed friend, Curly Tinkle, was always fiddling with his formula on how to raise cattle and his very last experiment was buying some dairy-type bulls from one of the few breeds left that he’d never tried before. I’ll admit they were rather interesting to look at… from a distance. Get any closer and they’d try to kill you.

It’s been my experience that when you unload bulls out of the back of a trailer amidst a bunch of cows they act just like a bunch of teenagers. They’ll saunter out of the trailer showing off for the girls. Not these bulls. When Curly and his son, Junior Tinkle, opened the Gooseneck gate the bulls took four steps and turned right around and charged both Tinkles. Catching them completely off guard, the two of them, despite being intellectually challenged, simultaneously appraised the situation and dove underneath the pickup truck from opposite sides, meeting in the middle. They were, as pilots say when trying to land while going too fast, “coming in hot.”

Unless you’re a muffler repair man, not many folks are familiar with the ecosystem of the underbelly of a pickup. The first thing our chubby duo experienced were the close clearances, especially with the mad bulls periodically thrusting their horned-heads underneath. There are also a lot of things that are very warm to the touch. And you’d be amazed at the amount of fresh organic material that accumulates underneath a truck, especially whenever a bull would charge, knocking this material into the faces of the two Tinkles. “Close your eyes Junior, here they come again!”

Had Curly known they were going to be in this predicament he would have removed the big plug of tobacco from his cheek as it’s very hard to spit while flat on your back. Due to the lack of space, when the need arose he would tilt his head 25 degrees and let the brown juice drool out of the corner of his mouth. He’d also have maintained his truck a little better because it was like Chinese water torture every time a drop of oil splattered his forehead. The bulls kept up a steady patrol around the perimeter as the pressure created by the jugs of ice tea the pair had consumed at lunch needed desperately to be released. Both Tinkles needed a bio-break but that’s another thing that’s hard to do while flat on your back. Just try it sometime, if you doubt my words.

The hefty Tinkles had been under the truck for a couple hours and were getting ravenously hungry as neither had ever gone this long without some form of nourishment. It didn’t help that there was a sack full of jerky, cheese and crackers not two feet north of their position on the seat of the truck. It also didn’t help that Junior kept saying things like, “I sure could use a double cheeseburger and breakfast burrito right about now.” Papa Tinkle could have killed him… if he’d have had the room.

What kept the bulls interested in the truck was the Tinkle’s worthless cow dog, Tinkle Two, sitting on the toolbox behind the cab. Every time the bulls started to leave the dog would bark and they’d return. It also seemed to irritate the bulls when Mrs. Tinkle would call on the radio. “Where are you two? Napping again? ANSWER ME!”

By the time the bulls vacated the area the heat from the exhaust had long since dissipated and the sun was gone from the sky. Only then were the two Tinkles finally able to roll their frozen, manure encrusted bodies from beneath the truck. Curly didn’t waste any time in admitting that his experiment was a total failure and he hauled the bulls that had held them captive to the auction market to sell in the slaughter run. After all, the Tinkles were not the kind of folks to take that sort of treatment laying down. F

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Lee Pitts

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