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A city slicker’s tale

Ann Loyola

Ann Loyola

He was big, bigger than the others hanging out around him, and ebony black. His eyes were a warm brown and I felt that he may have been a bit shy despite his bulk. He would occasionally look down at the ground and then lift his eyes to look around, as if he wanted to say something to those of us who had noticed him. He was gorgeous and I didn’t mind telling my husband that although I didn’t know his name, I wanted him.

My husband was equally besotted and that’s how it happened, this enormous lapse of judgement. This momentary loss of brain cells. This shame upon my family. My husband signaled the auctioneer and the beast was ours, all 1,320 pounds of Angus beef.

At first we were delighted. Then, as the auctioneer moved along to a lamb and then a pig, I began to wonder about the little graph of numbers and confusing auction instructions on the brochure I was holding. I had barely skimmed them and it seemed like there was a multiplier in there so I had done some magical thinking and decided that we had just made a $2,000 purchase. Not bad for so much beef, right? Especially since we had a friend who’d earlier said he’d buy $300 of whatever we purchased.

Still, I felt uneasy. I don’t like math. When I see numbers, my brain shuts off. My husband has dyslexia so he avoids pesky stuff like instructions. It was the perfect storm. After a covert conversation with a 4-H livestock expert, the number became quite clear: we were on the hoof for $6,500, something that everyone else in the auction crowd knew quite a bit earlier than we did.

Anns-BullIt was a humbling experience. Just moments before, I was thinking of barbeques. Now I wanted to become a vegetarian immediately. I wondered if a doctor’s note would get us out of the debt: Temporary insanity. Acute brain freeze? I wondered if I should start driving and never come back. Just that morning, we’d paid cash for a used car for our college-bound son, so it was a red letter day for the family checking account.

Luckily, there’s a happy ending. My husband and I had no idea that so many people were lusting after our beast, too. Portions were sold quite quickly and we ended up with just the right amount for our freezer. The stink of our embarrassment fades with every barbeque and every taste of that astonishingly good beef.

We’ll be at the next Teton County 4-H Livestock Auction and we’ll raise our paddle again in a more informed manner. We hope more community members will come out and support the youth who participate in this program. These kids work very hard to bring their critters to market and as my husband and I have learned, you can get your friends together to share the costs and have a great time watching the show. 

Have you heard any good city-slicker stories? If so, share them here.

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Jump into summer — Feet first

Jump into summer — Feet first
Ann Loyola

Ann Loyola

After much consideration, the decision was made. Pros outweighed the cons; intellect won over the heart and so I took the sandals off the exhibit and asked the saleswoman to bring a pair in my size. I sat impatiently in the chair, relishing the very thought of having a new pair of sandals snuggled away in my closet. They’d be hidden from sight for the mandatory 3 weeks so that I could then wear them and say truthfully to my husband, “No honey, these aren’t new. I’ve had them for a while now.”

She came out of the shoe inventory door (also known as heaven’s gate) and bobbed toward me carrying several boxes of sandals that may be of interest.

I took off my shoes, slid down my socks and nearly fainted from the sudden awareness of my aged Post Winter Feet. Good lord almighty, there was nowhere to hide. The saleswoman was upon me. My feet were bare and nearly glowed in the unfortunate retail lighting.

As I shuffled my feet beneath one of the boxes that I pretended to drop, she stood there, refusing to move along and help other swooning women. She asked if I needed a nylon stocking and I whispered yes. She handed me a flimsy film of nylon and remained planted in her spot, determined to watch me pull on the sandals.

I scooped the nylon quickly over one foot and put on the shoe. My thick, jagged toenails ripped through the end of the nylon like shark’s teeth. The hoary, cracked skin of my heel snagged and shredded the rest of it. Scars from my ankle replacement surgery three years ago stood out like purple reminders of putting my foot in a margarita blender. My humiliation was complete. Still, I carried on and minced around the sales floor as if I had just come from the mani/pedi salon. The foot-high mirrors told no lies however and it was clear from the bits of nylon and flaking skin floating to the floor that I would have to buy the sandals or be forced to accompany the saleswoman outside to dump them in an incinerator.

At the register, she thanked me for my business and hoped I enjoyed the new sandals. I blurted out that yes, I would enjoy them greatly sometime after several visits to the farrier salon. She smiled politely, wondering – I’m sure – why I had apparently waited 47 years to apply lotion or a soapstone to my feet.

My female compatriots of a certain age, take this cautionary tale to heart. Take a peek at your feet before you hit the shoe store.

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