Letter to Dave

Dear Dave,

Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to the start of the Christmas season. This is not your Christmas letter but may contain an occasional reference to Christmas buried within the text because it is so close.

This is the time of the year when I like to end my letters by saying “the cattle are all belly deep in straw.” I think this is a phrase that exudes comfort during this very cold season. I cannot say that this year as I have yet to get my straw home. I have been using the top part of my hay stacks to bed for the cattle but that cannot continue as hay is too nice for use as bedding. Hopefully, Granta-Claus and his sleigh full of straw will make an appearance this week-end.

The cold makes me worry about cattle or any animals outside. I think a good cattleman recognizes the discomfort of his animals, it’s the difference between being their captor or their caretaker. I am always amazed by those who seem to believe animals can survive on air- with no shelter, food or a bowl of water that is not in the form of ice. These are the same folks that should receive a ticket to a land where they live under the same care and they themselves offer, it would make them more sympathetic and stimulate a little intelligence.

Dave, I have to recommend one excellent hour of television. Check your listings for the “True Story of Lonesome Dove.” It is the story of Charles Goodnight’s and Oliver Loving’s cattle drive which occurred in the late 1860’s. There are many parallels between the fictionalized account of the drive and the real story, however many of the sub-plots seemed to have been made up to give the story greater depth. “Lonesome Dove,” whether real or fictionalized, is a story I find deeply moving. Maybe it is the friendship between the two men or just the courage it took to begin the crushing adventure of moving cattle in the American South. Anyway Dave, the true story is just as good as the fictionalized one, just a little shorter.

I made chicken casserole last night, Dave; no one can expect much from a paragraph that starts with that sentence. I grilled the chicken, steamed the vegetables in the drippings and threw everything together. Despite all my efforts, it was bland although filling. How come no dish ever made tastes as good as the little burnt pieces left in the bowl? If someone could figure a way to make the whole casserole taste like what is left behind it would change the culinary world, like muffin tops in which all of the muffin is the top.

I cleaned snow off one shed with a roof rake yesterday, Dave. It is an act that should be assigned to bad people who need much punishment. The good news is I will only have to perform this act another 10 times or so this winter. I can accept the cold but the snow is like icing on a cake made of-well you know from what it’s made. I guess we live in the wrong area to complain about the snow. Better to light a candle than curse the dark so I will just keep cleaning snow until I can complain about the mosquitoes. Greet all to whom I’m related with Christmas wishes from Lisa and I.

You’re little bro

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