Do you have a bucket list? You know, the list of things you hope to accomplish before you “kick the bucket?” Now, my bucket list is full of the usual thrilling adventures I hope to have, experiences I plan to live and goals I wish to accomplish.
Also on my bucket list are a few quirky and unique items. For example, I have always wanted to learn how to drive a cattle pot. Why, you may ask? Well, I have absolutely no idea except it looks fun and it appears to be a task that is actually doable, or so I thought.
I have been lamenting for years now that for some unexplainable reason I cannot for the life of me back up a trailer. As a rancher’s daughter turned rancher’s wife one would think I came out of the womb knowing how to do it but, nope.
I was complaining about my handicap one day when we were shipping cows and my husband’s cousin, Josh, made the comment that it is actually easier to back up a cattle pot than a truck and trailer. It just so happened that day, Josh was doing the trucking and we had the cattle in the corrals early so we had some time to kill before the brand inspector was due to arrive.
Josh instructed me to hop in the driver’s seat of the semi so I could back it up to the loading chute. Bursting with excitement I climbed up into the truck, turned the key and listened to the diesel engine roar to life. I released the air breaks, listened to a few last minute instructions from Josh and finally eased the truck into its granny gear.
The whole outfit lurched forward and I do believe I squealed. I swung wide in the drive and prepared the rig to be backed up. After a minute of fishing, I was finally able to find reverse and I was all business as the beast began to roll backwards.
It took all of about four seconds for me to discover that Josh was actually a dirty liar, backing up a cattle pot is NOT easier than backing up a truck and trailer. I must have shifted from forward to reverse about 100 times and not one single time did I come even close to lining up with the loading chute. I finally threw my hands up in frustration, declaring the task impossible for me. I climbed out of the truck and thanked Josh for the lesson and opportunity to drive the cattle truck a whopping 300 feet before I assumed my usual post of sorting cattle to load.
Even though it was only for a short distance, I do declare I can cross at least one more item off my bucket list. I may not ever make a trucker but the experience did hold a deeper lesson.
Life can get a little fast and wild for us grownups and we often lose track of the innocence of joy. At least for a moment, I was reminded that oftentimes the big things don’t really matter but happiness can still be found in the little things, like a late brand inspector and a random item on a bucket list.