Several times a week I stop in at the Stockman's Cafe for coffee. Several area ranchers, cowboys and local loafers meet there every morning before sun-up to discuss local events, politics, livestock markets, feed and fertilizer prices, the agriculture economy in general and wives. And if it's one of those days when some area rancher is shipping cattle or processing calves, you best be there early or you don't get a chair.
Now when it comes to the presidential political race, the Stockman Cafe's caucus hasn't determined a winner yet. The only general agreement is that Hillary Clinton will not receive an endorsement. As far as the other runners, it's really a crap shot .... using real crap.
In recent weeks, with agriculture input prices reaching all time record highs and cattle prices slipping, the talk is not "if the cattle will loose money" but rather worry over how much they will loose. Although farmers and ranchers are generally optimistic individuals the near term outlook is weighing heavily on the minds of those with hundreds of thousands of dollars invested as well as years of hard work.
But even with the turmoil in the markets the atmosphere is jovial and always light hearted. The other morning for instance, I was a little late and was being chided for having to fix the Warden's breakfast before coming to coffee.
One grizzled old rancher said, "around my house it's the wife who fixes breakfast. I make sure she does every morning before I leave out." We all sipped our coffee and admired his authoritative stance.
Then a local loafer asked, "What was for breakfast this morning?"
"Cheerios" was the response. "But sometimes she fixes Special K." Then he added "And she said if I wanted a hot breakfast, she could stick it in the microwave."
So for a few moments anyway, the worries of the livestock industry gave way to grins and laughter.