Lee Pitts: Never Stumpers

I vacillate between being a traditionalist afraid of the future and being an early adopter of technology. I bought the first model of Apple Macintosh computer ever sold but I don’t have a cell phone. I’m a writer, not a talker. I’m not on Facebook, don’t know how to tweet and I have no idea what Instagram is. I don’t do my banking online, have never got a dime out of an ATM machine and I know the names of every teller in the bank we’ve been loyal to through four ownership changes.

I feel guilty because I’ve bought a few things on Amazon that I could have purchased from local merchants but I shouldn’t feel that way because the hardware store in town practically begs you to shop on their web page.

You can’t be like me any more and I should know better. I got a good lesson on what happens to people and companies who refuse to periodically overhaul and remodel. I was 21 years old and got a job as the “manager” of a registered Angus herd. Actually, I was just a hired hand. The man I worked for refused to be receptive to new ideas. His cattle were terrible and he was still breeding the type that were really short and low set, so much so that if he would have ever won a class at a cattle show and a photo would have been in the livestock press you would have been able to see all the belt buckles of the big shots standing behind the animal. But he didn’t have to worry about that because the odds of his cattle winning anything in a showring were the same odds the bull has in a Tijuana bullring.

I tried to convince the owner that he should make use of my talents as an artificial inseminator but “By, God, my daddy bought his herd bulls out of a range bull sale and if it was good enough for him then it’s good enough for me.”

I almost got killed on numerous occasions because I had to feed a big pen full of bulls that ranged in age from yearlings to four year old bulls we couldn’t sell. I had to feed them with numerous fifty pound sacks of feed in open troughs in the middle of the pen. And did I mention the bulls had a wicked strain of blood that made them man killers. I asked if I couldn’t build some feed bunks like they have in feedlots so I could feed from outside the pen but the owner said, “No. We’ve never done it that way before and it would cost too much money.”

Besides being stuck in the 19th century he was cheap too. I’d run into these types of people before. They have the same mentality as multiple generations of farmers who have plowed around a stump in their field rather than take the time to dig it up, therefore saving future generations the headache of plowing around it. I call such people “never stumpers”. My parents were never stumpers. They’d say things like, “If that shirt was good enough for your brother to wear it’s good enough for you.”

Other never stumpers say things like: “We’ve only had red cattle on this place since my great-great grandaddy homesteaded the place and there will never be a black bull on this ranch.”

“We can’t buy a New Holland baler because we’re John Deere people.” Or vice versa.

“We’ve always sold to the same buyer off the ranch and we’ll never send them to an auction where more than one person could bid on them.”

“There’s good money in goats you say? Our family ran sheep off this place a century ago and they didn’t do it so you could run a bunch of smelly old goats.”

My all time favorite never-stumperism is, “Our family has always driven Fords and my pa would roll over in his grave if I ever bought a Chevy or a Dodge. He’d be twirling around faster than a fan if I ever bought a truck made in Japan.”

Personally, I refuse to admit that I’m a “never-stumper” and it’s merely a coincidence that all our vehicles have been GM’s.