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IT'S THE PITTS -- RAIN WARS

by: Lee Pitts

If there is one thing I can't stomach it's a person who lies about the level in his rain gauge. Anyone who would knowingly exaggerate about how much rain he received is a person who would also beat his dog, lie to his banker and keep his pajamas under another man's pillow.

I have an acquaintance who routinely inflates the amount of rainfall he gets. Although I have no proof that he lies, I find it impossible to believe that when I only get a half-inch of silt out of a “storm,” Rain Man reports three inches in his rain gauge. And he lives only twelve miles up the road! Clearly this cannot be.

Usually on rainy days when it's too muddy to work a group of ranchers will meet at the bakery in town for donuts, conversation and coffee. It is at such gatherings that Rain Man takes every opportunity to brag about how smart his kids are and how much more per pound he got for his calves last year than we all did. As if that's not bad enough he has to rub it in about the amount of moisture he got from the most recent storm. Where I come from inflating your rainfall totals is worse than cheating on your taxes. (Although I realize that in some circles that is quite an admirable trait.)

What really galls me is that Rain Man acts as though he has something to do with the fact that while he's getting a gully washer, it's dryer than my sense of humor at our place. It's been especially bad this past winter where Christmas came and went at our house but nary a cloud ever did. I just don't understand how it can be so dry at my place that the Sierra Club is trying to declare rainfall an endangered species while at his place the ducks are drowning in the creek and Rain Man is actually having to use the four wheel drive on his pickup. After listening to Rain Man report on his weather you wonder how he has kept from getting webbed feet or rusting to death. As you can clearly tell, I'm envious. The only moisture in my rain gauge is drool.

I know I shouldn't be jealous of another man's precipitation but he's really getting on my nerves. It's probably just a guy thing, I'm envious that Rain Man's rain gauge is twice as big as mine. And I must admit that I have looked in alternative newspapers and on the Internet for some form of rain gauge enhancement. But the real problem is that Rain Man may NOT be full of what cattle stand in. The last time I helped him gather cattle at his place my horse got bogged down in green grass. The mud was up to my saddle skirts while back at our place dust clouds gathered. I'm seriously considering putting a mattress on top of our car and heading BACK to Oklahoma.

Who knows what causes grown men to do childish things? Perhaps it was small- rain-gauge-envy but I feel I was provoked because Rain Man keeps his rain gauge on top of a fence post down by the road, mocking us drylanders who pass by. After the last storm I was irked to the point of emptying out the contents of Rain Man's rain gauge. I know, I know, it was a terrible thing to do but later that morning at the bakery I was giddy in anticipation of Rain Man's arrival. I was so excited I just had to tell someone what I'd done so I asked my friend Curlie Tinkle if he could keep a secret. Then I told him of my despicable act. A few minutes later Rain Man came in dragging his tail and for the first time we could all brag that our rain gauges were fuller than his.

My giddiness was short-lived however because the very next day as Rain Man approached us in the bakery with a big smile on his ugly mug I knew that the word of my dirty deed was out. Now he was even more unbearable than before. Later, when I got Curlie alone I berated him, “I thought you said you could keep a secret!”

Curlie shuffled his feet, looked guilty and said, “I can keep a secret but evidently the guys I told it to couldn't keep one.”

We both agreed that in the future we're going to have to be a lot more careful who we tell our secrets to.

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