The commercialism of February has painted the world with red and pink hearts and accented it with chocolate. Dollar signs float through the air like the sugar plum fairies of Christmas.
Some will attest to the theory that Valentine’s Day was invented as a clever ploy to stimulate the economy in an otherwise financially sluggish time of year. Greeting card companies, florists, jewelers and chocolate manufacturers flourish because of it.
Valentine’s Day advertisements, even locally in a rural part of the world, promise evenings of lasting romance and adoration if you will just come dine with them for only $175 a couple. I don’t believe too many pickup trucks will be leaving the ranch for that offer.
However, the ranges of ranch country will not be without their own brand of romantic gestures. It may not be wine and roses but a cowboy on a Valentine’s Day date will offer his heart’s delight a romantic late night walk through the frosty pastures for a “just once more” check of the expectant heifers. After all, it is calving season.
A memorable demonstration of “true love” at the ranch happened some years ago. The rancher left home in the morning as usual to go make his rounds feeding cattle and checking waters. His faithful sidekick Lilly, the obedient and adoring Border collie, was pleased he was going alone because that meant she got to sit up front and ride shotgun in the feed pickup.
Quite a distance into the feed route and miles from the house, the rancher happened to catch a glimpse of something in his rear view mirror. He stopped the pickup and walked to the rear only to find one of his wife’s beloved chickens on the back of flatbed pickup.
At this point in time, this man had many options before him, none of which would have been good for the chicken. Most men would have, at the very minimum, denied all knowledge of ever seeing the hen and more than likely left her in the pasture to the natural order of the food chain in the wild. Chickens usually rank pretty low on the compassion scale for most.
But knowing how much his wife adored her birds of all kinds and especially her hand-raised chickens; he gathered the hen up and put her in the front of the pickup on the seat between Lilly and himself.
To say Lilly was indignant and completely insulted is a complete understatement. She turned her head, nose in the air, and stared out the passenger window the remainder of the trip trying to her best to pretend there was NOT a chicken in seat next to her.
The rancher finished his feed route and returned home a few hours later with the hen nestled tight against him for warmth. The sight had to be one of those rare moments none of us actually ever see. The visual of this guy driving down the road with his dog and his wife’s chicken in the front seat of the pickup is enough to put anyone into fits of laughter.
It also makes a good “true love” story. Not many, chicken lovers or not, will miss the depth of the affection it took to agree to cozy up to a chicken, even for the little woman.