What’s A Gelding?

There are various tasks that must be done on any ranch. Some of them are not fit for small children or sensitive stomachs. Castration of any male animal fits that set of ranching jobs that some might want to avoid at all costs. Especially the animals.

The children were out of school for summer break. Shelby and Rebecca were at the house. Shelby and Lex were going over the livestock count and were deciding the optimal time to castrate the bulls.

“Can I watch?” Lorrie’s asked excitedly.

Shelby looked at Lex, who looked at me, while Rebecca decided to pretend she wasn’t listening and thumbed through a magazine.

“Sweetie,” I said, “Why do you want to watch?”

“Well,” Lorrie went into her reasoning stance, the one where she puts one over on the grown folks. “This might be my ranch someday, right?” She waited for Lex to answer.

“Um, sure. One day. But you’re still a little young to be out there when we’re gelding the animals. Are you sure you want to be there? It’s smelly and not really pleasant to see.”

“Yes, Momma. Can I?”

We’ve had the facts of life talk with Lorrie in all its variations. Several times. Especially after that one time—but that’s another story. Lorrie knew the difference between the male anatomy and the female anatomy. So we weren’t worried about any new revelations along that line. “I’m okay with it if your Momma is,” I said, happily lobbing the decision back to my wife.

“Okay. Shelby, after most of the work is done, please come get Lorrie so that she can see how it’s done.”

“Why me? I don’t wanna be the one who explains it all to her!” Shelby protested.

Lex smirked, “It’s good to be the boss.”

Rebecca snickered at the pained look on Shelby’s face.

A few days later, castration was underway. The cries of the cattle could be heard from a distance, so we decided to see if Lorrie’s resolve was still firm. It was. So later that afternoon, Shelby showed up at the house and escorted Lorrie to our stockyard to watch the last of the bulls go through the process.

Mel was at Martha’s and Eddie was asleep.  I was upstairs taking a break and working on my blog. I heard Lex’s footsteps on the stairs and called to her. “Honey? Can you come here?”

“Right away, darlin’.” As she came into our room, she asked, “What’s up?” She glanced around obviously looking for something or someone needing attention.

“Nothing’s wrong, honey. It’s something I want to show you on my laptop computer.”

“Oh, yeah.” As she sat on the bed beside me, she noticed what was on the screen. “Hey! RockingWMom! I didn’t know that you were still writing a blog. That’s great, Amanda!”

She started to get back off the bed, so I grabbed her hand and tugged her until she was seated back next to me. Then I clicked on a few things to take us to the statistics page for my blog. “Look!”

“What are all those flags, Amanda?”

“Where my readers live.”

“People are really reading your blog? That’s great, but there must be at least two dozen or more flags showing. You mean to tell me that people from all those countries are reading your blog?”

“Mostly in the United States, Canada, and the U.K. But there are a total of 45 flags here. Can you believe it?”

“I sure do, love. I guess they like keeping up with our little family. Congratulations.”

Lex bent to give me a kiss but the echo of Lorrie banging the front door open stopped her in mid smooch.

“Mom! Momma! I’m going to be—”

What can we say, we warned her.


P.S. Thank you to all the readers who check in to read Amanda’s blog, wherever you may live.

Ghosts of Turkeys Past

Around the time that Lex and I had our commitment ceremony, we talked about our future and what it might have in store for us. We had no idea that all these years later, we’d be the mothers of two rambunctious girls and a toddler who could give us a run for our money any day of the week.

It’s been awhile since Jeannie’s great turkey disaster, when her self-cleaning oven turned itself on and ruined the turkey inside.  Of course, everyone who has ever eaten Jeannie’s cooking might claim that the oven sacrificed itself in our behalf since it had to be replaced.  Jeannie found an unusual recipe for stuffing—don’t ask—which made us even gladder that our holiday dinner consisted of cold cuts and store bought fried chicken.

But what about other Thanksgiving holidays in our home? What have they been like? I think I should talk about them by using the Richter scale. But I’ll just tell about some of them instead.

  • Our first Thanksgiving. My uncle Morris came to visit with his boyfriend who had an uncanny resemblance to man who played the television ‘Hercules’. What has happened to them over the years?  The boyfriend, Kevin, encouraged in part by the constant comments about his physical resemblance to the actor, started attending comic book and fantasy conventions where he was perpetually mobbed. Eventually, the ‘real’ Hercules spotted him and hired him on as a body guard/double.  Kevin left my uncle Morris after one convention and took up with a cross-dressing Wonder Woman imitator.
  • The Thanksgiving when Morris came by himself. Uncle Morris stayed a few extra days to make a trip to the northern part of the state where the Gay Rodeo was being held. He met a good looking rodeo clown, at least beneath the makeup, he was good looking, and he is happily involved with him to this day. He closed his office back east and now travels the circuit providing chiropractic care to the men and women of the rodeo.
  • Freckles, Turkey Hunter. When Freckles smells something tasty being prepared, she’ll go shopping. She walks on her back feet and looks like a little old lady checking out the kitchen counters. On Thanksgiving number nine, Freckles’ efforts were well rewarded. She used the dining room chair to jump up to the table and snatched the turkey by a leg and dragged it off to Lorrie’s room where she hid under the bed until every morsel was devoured. Jeannie couldn’t resist teasing that maybe Freckles was saving them from Amanda’s stuffing recipe.
  • Our last Thanksgiving: Stomach flu does not a tasty gravy make. Enough said.

So, now you know. Things we only dreamed about when we started our lives together pale in the face of our reality.  Having children is a deal breaker for most Holiday romance. Someone always has poopy drawers, a tummy ache, or starts fighting with a sibling. Or Lex has to be rescued from a muddy ravine where her horse or a cow or some other animal has landed on top of her when she was out doing work that she pays her ranch hands to do. Also, during holidays, unexpected relatives show up and confuse the daylights out of the children and exasperate the adults like when Jeannie’s former in-laws decided to drop in and question our adoption of Lorrie and make Mel think she was going to lose her sister.

Holidays come and go, but the reward is in surviving them. And we have. That’s a good thing, right? Next time, maybe I’ll talk about Christmases at the Rocking W Ranch and things you never ever thought you’d find beneath a Christmas tree.  And why the Santa Claus I hired to surprise the children was on the receiving end of a shotgun blast in the patootie.