Herding Cattle with True Neighbors

Merrill - Bellwood, Nebraska
Entered on August 31, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

My sister and I were enjoying a leisurely Sunday afternoon when the call came. The cattle had broken through the barb-wire fence that surrounded our pasture and were crossing country, in search of greener grass. We gathered up everything we needed and headed towards the field. Years of practice had taught us to be quick and efficient, for we knew if we dawdled too long, it would only make our job harder. Once we reached the field, I scanned the horizon for any signs of cattle. No cattle, but I did see a pickup truck kicking up dust that was headed towards us.

Within five minutes our 4 wheeler was joined by four more vehicles. After we had gotten the cattle in, most of the farmers left, but three stayed to help us fix the broken down barb wire fence. It was hot, dusty, and dry, but they didn’t seem to mind as they worked the wire into place and tightened it so it could twang like a guitar string. Afterwards we went inside and cooled down with cold tea and my sister’s homemade ice cream sandwiches. We made jokes and laughed together. I was fourteen, and the man sitting next to me was forty-four, but we were both having fun. I think he was enjoying watching my eyes grow big as he told cattle horror stories that happened 30 years ago.

I live in what people call the middle of nowhere— Nebraska. Although I drive thirty miles to the grocery store, I wouldn’t trade where I live for anything because, of the people that live here.

This I believe: The men that helped my sister and me that day were our neighbors, not just because we lived within a few miles from each other, but because we really cared about each other. Even though they had dirt in their fingernails and grease stains on their jeans, they were classy.