Day Writing by Heather Hamilton Maude: In search of
Several weeks back, while I stopped to get the mail, a man about my age in a white Chevy pickup waved and pulled up behind me in our driveway. He jumped out of his truck, hurried over, introduced himself, then immediately launched into a several minute dialog.
He and his wife or girlfriend were being kicked out of their lease because their landlord was a drug addict, and they were expecting a baby. They had a 14×70 trailer house purchased in Rapid City, and a CDL, but needed a place to put it for nothing or close to it. Preferably with six or more acres included as they raised both chickens and heritage hogs, and wanted to do more of that, in addition to ranch like me someday. A cement pad, electricity and water hookups needed to be in place, but he could do the septic himself.
As he glanced around my toddler destroyed pickup that I am guessing had his beat by several thousand miles and a few years, he continued that he had 20 years of heavy equipment experience and additional skills that would be of great benefit to whomever helped them. There was more, but it faded in and out as I took in his earrings, tattoos, hair cut and gall to even have such a conversation.
Upon finishing he unabashedly asked if I knew of anyone that had such a setup. I replied in all honesty that I did not while avoiding his hints that perhaps I could create such a thing for him just around the bend. He then asked if there was anyone at all between where I was parked and Interior that he should talk to. I replied that the gentleman who worked at the Scenic store may know of something, if such a thing existed. He quickly replied that he had already talked to him, and he was far from helpful, supportive or encouraging. I apologized, stating again that I didn’t know of any such setup, and thankfully he conceded, wished me a good day, and left.
Here’s what I wanted to tell him. That while I am all for helping folks and have myself been on the end of unexplainable kindness and generosity more than once in my life, he crossed several lines while making his “request.” Asking for help is fine, but asking for a specific checklist of items from a complete stranger because you perceive that individual to have more than you is not okay. It is not a stranger’s duty to provide you the turnkey opportunity to live out your homesteading dreams simply because they have land. The cost of most farm and ranch land is far greater than he will likely ever realize.
I genuinely wish him success, but am doubtful of his ability to achieve it based on his lack of understanding what it entails. I suggest returning the new trailer house and finding a $10,000 special. Take the difference and buy 6 acres, then invest in the chicken and hog operation. Get up before sunrise every morning to get chores done, then go to a second job. In 10 years or so, the second job may no longer be necessary. If he really does have 20 years experience operating heavy equipment, it should only take about five years as he can make darn good money in that particular trade.
Sound tough? It is, but if he wants it bad enough he will find a way to make it, and sleep better at night from physical exhaustion and the sense of pride that comes with working for what he has instead of having it handed to him.
If he wants to be successful, dress the part. No, looks do not make the person, but beautiful blue stud earrings, a hipster haircut and glasses, and tattooed arms are distracting. There is still an awful lot to be said for a clean-cut look. Never forget that, especially if you’re asking for something.
Also, he shouldn’t insult others who offer advice just because it isn’t what he wants to hear. The gentleman I suggested talking to is a veteran, and obviously the holder of a steady job. I am guessing he said some things that should have been taken to heart instead of tossed aside. Refusing advice because it isn’t what he wants to hear won’t get him far.
And, lastly, just to get his dander up a little, I would suggest he pay close attention to our president, as he his views tend to parallel with mine in terms of earning versus being given things in life.