I looked up to see a little twist on what it means to be a chauffeur. Instead of a long, black limousine, Randy was driving his long truck and trailer, filled with two young, black angus steers, toward me. I had never thought of Randy as a chauffeur before, but I smiled as he rolled up and said hello. Since he was delivering the beasts to my place, I slid into the passenger seat of his truck and we continued driving until we reached a pasture gate.
I jumped out of the truck, opened the gate and Randy drove through. We almost repeated the entire process at the next gate, but there was a slight variation. I opened the gate, Randy backed his truck and trailer to the opening, we opened the trailer and we both waited.
Our wait time was brief as the two steers cautiously extended their noses to take an examination sniff, then extended their necks forward and let their front legs down to meet the soft, damp ground. The rest of their hulking bodies followed and each steer’s legs propelled them forward toward another gate.
This final gate welcomed them with lush green grass, as well as new, larger and inquisitive bovine friends. It was a postcard scene, so Randy and I leaned on the rail fence, soaked in the sun, admired the snowcapped mountains as a prodigious contrast to the bright blue sky and watched the small herd of black angus cows get to know each other. Because they were kin, it took little time for them to become comfortable with each other. As is their ritual, the herd began a tour of their new home for the new arrivals as we watched.
As you know, a tour includes stops. This tour was no exception. There was the refreshment stop, to show the new members of the family where they could quench their thirst and the “meet the neighbors” stop. It was the “meet the neighbors” stop where all comfort in the pasture suddenly changed. These were neighbors of a different kind.
The different kind, in this case, was sheep. The new steers came from strictly a cattle ranch. They had never encountered smaller, wool covered creatures in their youth. So, their behavior was a perfect model of inquisitive, yet apprehensive, questioning. They stood back:
Demonstrated their strength.
Then they inched forward.
The steers completed their apprehension process in a few minutes. When they were finished, the woolly aliens across the fence had transformed into neighbors.
Randy and I looked up to see a little twist on what it takes to turn someone new and different into a neighbor. Instead of brooding aggression and worry, steers and sheep simply take a little time to learn about each other and when they do, they discover they have a lot in common and live comfortably and happily as neighbors.
Randy and I, neighbors ourselves, drove his long truck and trailer, no longer filled with two young, black angus steers, toward the pasture gate. I had never thought of Randy as an alien before, but it caused me to smile, just a little, as we rolled along. I wondered what my impression of him would have been if he had come to visit me dressed as a sheep.
“No matter!” I said to myself.
I’ve taken the time to get to know Randy a little bit, so we’ve become friends and neighbors.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.