Not only can ranchers do everything in the whole world, but they also own everything they need to do it. Such was the case with my dad. He held onto precious antiques passed down from generation to generation, plus everything he had ever been given, all the things he had ever scavenged from the dump, anything he had ever purchased new from a store, and especially those treasures for which he had haggled every weekend at a yard sale. Everything he owned seemed to hold a higher purpose. Where others might have seen the wooden console from a busted old TV set, Daddy saw a new bookshelf. A dead refrigerator could double as a meat smoker. He once sculpted a really terrific hood ornament out of two bowling trophies that he picked up at a yard sale. One trophy was a male bowler and the other female, each with its right arm back ready to swing the ball. He removed them from their wooden bases, cut off their little bowling balls, soldered their left hands together, and proudly presented them to me.
"Look at the hood ornament I made for your car!" he beamed.
At seventeen I drove a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda, with like, I don’t know, maybe three million miles on it. I think my dad paid $150 for it in the mid-1970's. While serious auto enthusiasts would give their eye teeth for that car today, at the time it was just an old Plymouth.
"What’s that supposed to be?" I didn’t mean to be rude, but I was, after all, seventeen.
"It’s a hood ornament. They’re square dancing, see?"
Okay, so now my story becomes a gutsy tell-all autobiography: Here is where I reveal a fact that even some of my closest friends do not know: I was an avid square-dancer in high school. My best friend, Holly, wore platforms and knew all the movements to "YMCA." I secretly dressed in pantaloons and knew the difference between a Do-Si-Do and a Right and Left Grand. The little bowling trophy people were clearly engaged in a Right and Left Grand.
While I was moved by my dad’s thoughtful gesture and impressed further by his ingenuity, I had no intention of driving to school in an old Plymouth with square dancing bowlers bolted to the front of it. He ended up attaching them to our front gate post right over the "A 4-H Member Lives Here" sign. Just so there’s no confusion here: Yes, we were class A nerds.