Veeder: The things we scatter to the wind
"Coming Home" columnist Jessie Veeder shares the story of her husband's recent inadvertent cash trail.
Out here on the ranch, there have been plenty of things lost. Fencing gloves have to be at the top of that list.
I imagine archeologists in the future will be digging around these parts and reasonably conclude that the men and women of the past only had one working hand. Because has anyone in the history of ranching ever lost a PAIR of gloves? Maybe. But not both at the same time.
Because you save the glove left behind just in case maybe it matches one of the other lone rangers on the seat of the pickup. And just as soon as you finally make a pair out of them, you’re adding another lost soul to the pile, and on and on the cycle continues until death finally parts you from the gloves…
Anyway, add to that list pliers, ear taggers and hoof nippers, jackknives, feed buckets, hammers, neckerchiefs and wool caps accidentally left on fence posts or draped over gates (because it warmed up quicker than we thought) and you have a sum of the things we unintentionally left scattered across the prairie, lying in wait to lift our spirits years later when we randomly come across them searching for something else we lost along the way.
Like cash. Cold. Hard. And blowing in the wind.
Yes friends, thanks to my husband, you can add that to the list of things the neighbors now might find tangled up in a tumbleweed bouncing across the gravel road or caught up in the corner of their yard fence.
Because who would have thought that he wouldn’t lose his actual wallet out of his back pocket as he was chasing the bulls across the ranch on the back of our bumpiest horse, just the $300 in cash in $10 and $20 increments? To the wind I say! Which sounds dramatic, but it was more erratic and discreet. Like money dispersed slowly over miles of uneven prairie, hills, rocks and trees, a slow and steady payment to the atmosphere so that the man didn’t notice until he got home only to find the whole money clip empty.
So yeah, there was no chance of retrieval really. Only the hope that it was I, his wife, who raided his wallet, setting us all back the cash I earned selling CDs and books at a concert across the state the night before.
The man, he likes to have cash in his wallet, for emergencies or, you know, an undocumented candy bar. And so when I was paying our niece for babysitting, I traded my small bills for his big ones. Thought it would be easier for her to keep track of.
Hindsight determines we should have trusted the 15 year old.
Hindsight also sent my poor husband back across 10 miles of pasture to see if he could retrieve a few bills, maybe in a bird’s nest or an anthill or something. Which, by some miracle, he did. A whole $40 worth. And my uncle felt so bad for him that he contemplated secretly placing a few more $20 bills of his own in his path like a pathetic rancher Easter egg hunt just to lift the poor sap’s spirits. And that’s my story.
That’s the end.
And I share it with you, my neighbors and friends from sea to shining sea. I share it with the hope that if you’re out walking or riding your horse, driving the combine, hunting for birds or, you know, searching for your own lost thing, and you come across a random $20 or $10 bill, you think of my husband, send up a prayer for his well-being, and buy yourself a candy bar.
May God bless us all, and may all the lost things one day be found….
Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughters on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. She blogs at https://veederranch.com. Readers can reach her at email@example.com.