A lesson in patience
One of the main reasons we chose this lifestyle was to have the ability to “work” side by side with our children. Our whole married life up to this point, included a combination of two jobs, whether it was both of us working outside the home or me working two jobs. So when the farm opportunity came along it gave us the opportunity to work as a family on the second job.
One of the duties when raising livestock is to sell animals to generate income, (we are not raising a bunch of pets). With this in mind, in August, Zane and I had to take a group of goats to the livestock auction. This is always a very exciting day for Zane. He loves to hear the auctioneer talking and about every 30 seconds there is a new animal being led out for him to see. I enjoy our trips to the auction because it is about a 2 hour trip that Zane and I just get to chat about whatever is on his mind, and sometimes what’s on a 6 year old’s mind can be quite entertaining. On the drive to the market the conversation ranged from were dinosaurs bigger than the whole earth to can a cheetah run faster than our truck to can you stand on clouds or would you fall right through. Answering questions such as these sure makes the trip go fast and can make a man forget all the stress in life and remember what is really important.
We arrived at the auction early and unloaded our animals and as is the Zane/Daddy custom went to the lunch counter to get our fries and a coke. Zane relishes this time more than any other I think, as he only gets to drink a soda pop about 5 or 6 times a year, and I’m usually the culprit that gives it to him. After finishing our treat we decided to walk out back through the corrals to look at all the animals that were up for auction that particular day. As we were walking back I saw a rig pulling up from one of those “fancy” goat farms that breed the top quality goats that are way out of my price range. It caught my attention because at the auction, animals sell way cheaper than at those fancy farms.
Now I had been given specific instructions that on this particular day I was to sell goats, not buy. Hmmmm…. “Well, it doesn’t hurt to look.” I thought as I wandered over to the trailer as it was getting unloaded. There were some very nice meat goats coming out of that trailer and I wondered why in the world these quality goats were available at the auction. I asked the owner why she was getting rid of these goats, and found out that they had bought another place and needed to be off their place now so they were under the gun to sell them today. Strict orders or not, a guy must take advantage of an opportunity such as this, so I went to the auction office and got a bidding number. You can’t bid on anything without a number that is registered to your name. With that we were off to the auction.
Once seated, Zane looked very delighted as he sat there, with his second bucket of fries, and settled down to see all the animals. This was the Saturday auction so it was a mixture of all the animals. There was cows, horses, llamas, sheep, hogs, goats. The whole process takes about three hours, normally we are able to leave directly after our animals are sold but on this particular day we had to wait because I wanted to purchase the goat I had saw getting unloaded. Soon enough the sparkle of the day wore off and Zane began to get bored, probably after he realized I would not be getting him another soda. He began to ask, “Is it almost over?” I told him, “Son, sit still, God is teaching you patience.” As the day began to drag on, he continued to ask several times in many different ways, if we could please go home. I replied each time with my same answer of God teaching him patience, pretty darn proud of myself for taking the opportunity of the teaching moment at hand. Finally, we reached the end of the auction and I was able to purchase the goat and did get a great deal.
We collected our money from our sales and paid for the goat we purchased. Then it was time to get in line and pick up our new goat. We had to sit in line in our non-air conditioned truck in 100 degree heat for over an hour. Once again, Zane informing me of his desire to get home and me responding about God teaching him patience. With the goat loaded and the auction finished we headed for home. Then, getting on the interstate, I pushed in the clutch and heard a loud “plunk”, and my clutch stayed on the floor. Oh no…… My clutch had literally fell out the bottom of my truck. There we were along side the road, broken.
I had no cell phone so with Zane on my shoulders we ran across the interstate to a convenience store and called my wife to get somebody to come pick us up, remember, we had a goat in the back of the truck. She was able to get ahold of our friend Jody, and he told her he would finish some things up and head that way. He was at least two hours away so we walked back over to the truck to watch over the goat and wait. No air conditioning in the truck so we sat with the windows down, until we realized that we were right next to the river and there was a fresh hatch of mosquitoes that decided to attack us. So the windows went up and we cooked. Now I was the frustrated one, sweating, tired, worried about my poor son sitting there bitten up by mosquitoes. While Zane was calmly playing with his dinosaurs and making up little games he said to me, “I’m sure glad I came today.” “Why is that?” I asked half listening and half steaming mad at my situation. “Cause if I didn’t come, you would have had to go through this all by yourself.” he answered. Wow, didn’t see that coming. Those are the moments that can bring tears to a father’s eyes. After three hours of idle conversation and waiting we were sitting in about of ten minutes of silence when I heard Zane say, almost to himself, “God sure is teaching us patience.”