December 2013
On the Edge of Common Sense

Christmas Letter From Baxter

We started out last year in Pasadena riding in the Rose Parade as part of RFD-TV’s 100 Palominos entry. I came home with flowers in my hair! It was one of five speaking programs I did (out of 65 in 2012) in California. The National Western Stock Show in Denver has been a big part of our lives for years. I see a lot of friends walking the barns and signing books and often do a program somewhere in town. We lived in Colorado for many years before moving to Arizona.

January-February also included two events I never miss, the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko and the National Cattlemen’s Association annual meeting, in Nashville that year. I spent time with my TV and radio sponsors. They include B&W Trailer Hitches, Sweetlix, IMI Global, The Beef Checkoff, RFD-TV and U.S. Farm Report. I’m a good boy and try to make myself useful!

March brought in the "Southern Alberta Cowboy Tour," which was me! We hit all the big cities: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal … no, pardon me, Pincher Creek, Stavely and Youngstown! They’ve got more character in one community hall than all the legislators in Washington, D.C., and Ottawa combined!

I had the pleasure of being part of the Horseman’s Reunion in Paso Robles. I got to hang out with Martin Black, Larry Mahan, Craig Cameron, Chris Cox, Pat Parelli, Bryan Neubert and Bill Ink, etc. Pretty exciting. Of course, being true horsemen, they paid me in horse. With a little more work I think I’ll be able to get on him without wearin’ him down!

Summer flew by, Cindy Lou and I spent a few days in one of my favorite places - Acadiana, La. We got to see some friends who had hosted my son and me when we went down to help after the hurricanes. We also made the Florida Cattlemen’s meeting at Marco Island then went home with one of the ranchers. I saw more rain in one day than I had seen all spring at home!

In June, we pulled some calves off early and took ‘em to town due to the drought. Then came the fires!

Since I met Cindy Lou at the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association back in the Dark Ages, we try to make the summer meeting. It’s sure ‘nuf cowboy and we feel right at home.

Priefert Company has taken us into their "endorsee" category. We flew to Mt. Pleasant, Texas, to meet the boss and see the shop. A great group; my kinda people! While we were there we got to see our son who is goin’ to school in the area.

"On the Road Again" - Lewistown, Mont.; Tulsa, Okla. (saw my daughter, son-in-law, and year-old grandchild!); Dallas; Portland, Maine; College Station (the big Horse Initiative); the Ozark Farm Festival; Cincinnati; Washington State University; the Bell Ranch; Sterling, Colo.; Loomis, Calif.; shipped more calves and deer season (a nice 4-pointer).

In the last four weeks before Christmas, I spoke to the Cattlemen’s Associations in South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico and Iowa … salt of the earth!

I know we, as a nation, are still tryin’ to drag ourselves out of the mess we have made of our country. In my travels this past year, I have seen many thousands of people with their shoulder to the wheel holding us all together. They are the ones who still believe in Kennedy’s words, "Ask not what your country (government) can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Thanx for bein’ there for us all.

Merry Christmas, God Bless y’all and pray for "Next year better!"

Baxter Black is a former large animal veterinarian who can be followed nationwide through this column, National Public Radio, public appearances, television and also through his books, cds, videos and website,