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Confessions of a Gate Getter

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By M.P. Cremer

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned, 

it’s been a while since my last confession.

I’m ready to spill all the beans,

so listen up, I’ve got some tales about my profession.

My husband’s a cowman, as you know. 

He’s a ranchy, reliable, rugged kind of guy. 

And being his wife comes with certain duties,

responsibilities that just cannot be done on the fly. 

When I said “I do,” I really committed

to a job which can be sweet or bitter.

It comes with the territory of the shotgun seat,

and it’s the task of the noble gate getter.

I pave the way for labor,

I control whether the cattle roam free. 

For without gate getters, I beg the question, 

“Where on Earth would we be?”

He needs me to help with book work,

deal with the bank and take care of the bills,

and tend to branding and shipping crews, 

making sure there’s plenty of hearty meals.

From time to time I help him more

with gathering or doctoring or feeding.

He’s even teaching me how to run the tractor,

I suspect I’ll spend next spring seeding. 

Within those duties I’ve learned quite a bit,

and don’t get me wrong, I’m still in gate getting school. 

But there’s been some times when I’ve had to adapt,

and I’ll admit I’ve done a few things that are less than cool. 

I confess I’ve almost wrecked the side-by-side

at least a few dozen, maybe even 100 close calls. 

And there’s been a time or two I’ve left a gate open,

but thank God, no cattle had strolled free to roam and bawl. 

I even once paid a vet bill late,

the added fees made me learn my lesson. 

But all these minor offenses are no match to my big mistake, 

they simply pale in comparison. 

There was this once, and only once,

when an herbivore possessed my body. 

I was feeding a bunch after a May branding,

and attempting to cook a meal not shoddy. 

The dish was packed with protein and carbs,

perfect after a day of roping and wrestling. 

I’d just taken the bread out of the oven, 

and I thought it needed a little more dressing. 

Herbs? I pondered. 

Maybe some flaky salt? 

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks –

the box of butter I’d just bought. 

I galloped to the fridge and flung open the door,

there she was, wrapped up like a present. 

I freed the sticks of their plastic prison

and threw them in the microwave for a melty descent. 

Like I had done time and time before,  

I glazed each loaf of bread with the liquid gold.

The butter crackled and bubbled,

it was a trick I’d learned from the ranch wives of old. 

“Perfect” I said to no one, 

giving myself a much-needed pat on the back. 

But as I went to throw the butter box away,

the label stopped me in my tracks. 

I shook my head in disbelief,

taking a second look at what I’d just read. 

“Plant-based butter substitute.” 

The tiny, red letters filled my heart with dread. 

The fine print had got me good,

but what was I supposed to do now?

The crew’d be coming in to eat at any minute. 

How would I tell them this didn’t come from a cow?

So I hid the evidence as quick as I could. 

No one needed to know my sins. 

I buried the box in my garbage pail

just when the cowboys strolled on in. 

I watch them fix their plates and fill their bellies, 

some even came back for seconds and thirds. 

The bread seemed to be a smashing hit,

it got me quite a few kind words. 

“This bread is delicious! What’s your secret?

How’d you get it so crispy and tasty?” 

“A southern chef never tells,” I answered,

trying my hardest not to seem hasty. 

Lunch was finished and I cleared the table.

I’d gotten away with my plant-based secret.

And none of the cowboys had a clue  

they were a part of the new age vegan movement. 

So I come to you, dear Lord,

the Father, God almighty, with my immoral cander. 

Please forgive me for I have sinned,

and taken with me innocent, non-dairy bystanders.

Hey y’all! I’ve changed the name of my regular column from “Activists vs. Agriculture” to “Confessions of a Gate Getter.” It’s still me, Mayzie Purviance Cremer, writing my column about my everyday life as an ag communicator and ranch wife, I’ve just re-branded to a name that seems more fitting. 

Thanks for reading my column over the years, and I hope you continue to do so and enjoy it.

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