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Poor people have poor ways and rickety gates

Poor people have poor ways and rickety gates
If you don't have time to do it right, then get out the baling wire.

Come sit a spell on my front porch and listen to a true tale. This one, like most, happened to me. It’s better to poke a little fun at yourself than to stay mad forever!

This one actually started years ago. We lived on a dairy farm. Dad would climb up the silo chute when it was time to change a door, or when the silo unloader burped.

One day I was standing in the feed room below. Suddenly I heard this crash, then banging and cussing. Dad always carried a hammer in his belt — that was the banging. The crash was the silo door above his head, falling on top of him. The extra racket was a string of cuss words, and it sounded personal.

POOR WAYS, RICKETY GATES: This menagerie of gates works — sort of!

For a moment I thought maybe a raccoon was up there, and Dad was battling with it. Once I figured out what happened, it seemed pretty funny. After all, Dad was beating up the silo door and cussing it out, all for falling on his head.


I was pretty sure I would never do that, even though my wife says I‘m more like my dad every day. I always disagree. Then came the day when I was switching gates for the sheep pasture.

The quality of our gates matches the profitability of the sheep enterprise — they’re rickety. In this one spot, I pulled up the fence post a while back to get a wider load through. Instead of pounding the fence post back, I just got a long chain and hooked the fence to the gate it was supposed to butt up against. Only there was a foot gap. A thin old ewe seeing greener grass on the other side would have no problem slipping through it. So I got another gate and propped it up over the hole.

Hole covered, problem solved. One warm Sunday evening, after a long, tiring weekend and so many outdoor chores I had a case of sun poisoning, I was trying to fasten the mish-mash of gates and fence together. Every time I had the chain around all the parts, it slipped loose. The gate would swing out of reach, and the fence would fall down.

Turning point

The third time it happened, I yelled and cussed. I grabbed all the pieces again and flung the chain around them. Before I could snap it together, the whole menagerie fell apart. The fence went flat on the ground, the attached gate swung open and the extra gate plopped on the ground, too.

About then I realized I was indeed my dad, yelling at inanimate objects. If I carried a hammer, I’m sure I would have beat it on the gate.

So what did I do? I didn’t yell or scream again. I just sat down on the grass. I collected my thoughts, got up and rationally pulled the gate and fence together, inserted the other gate and chained them together.

Maybe Mom was right. Cussing doesn’t help. Taking a step back and cooling off works better. My dad often did that, too. Maybe I am my dad — like father, like son.

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