Weekly Posting of the Conservative Cow Doctor



Isn’t it amazing how you take simple things for granted until they are gone? For instance, you think nothing about the hundreds of chemical reactions simultaneously exploding in your car’s engine until your motor stops. As the laws of physics slowly bring your vehicle to a rest on the shoulder of a highway, you frantically scan every light and gauge on your dusty instrument cluster searching for a simple flip of a switch or a push of a button which will restore your engine to life. Frustrated by no obvious remedy, drivers often resort to the fall back position of blaming their spouse for something they did, or did not do. Around 4:30 Black Friday morning, the trophy wife and I were headed home from Great Falls when our car coasted to a dead stop stranding us on the roadside. Unfortunately, I was driving.

This wasn’t our first stranding, but it was definitely our easiest. From the hill above Belt, we googled a tow truck service and were curbside in front of a repair shop an hour before they opened. A diagnostic scan revealed a failed fuel-pump; not an uncommon malady in an eight-year old auto sporting 180,000 miles, but not exactly a quick fix over a Thanksgiving weekend. While mentally playing the fox, goose and grain game on how to get home, we reminisced about our first stranding 32 years earlier in a blizzard on the high plains of central Wyoming.

With Christmas around the corner, we were driving home from vet school with our seven-month old daughter, Meagan and it had been dark and snowing for several hours. As we dropped off the Shirley Basin Rim, our occasionally reliable Ford Fiesta coughed, died and coasted to a stop. The trophy wife was driving, so I reflexively asked, “What did you do?” It was a safe question because she would be reluctant to kill me and be stranded alone on a deserted highway at night in a blizzard with an infant and now a dead body. A quick check under the hood revealed the absence of the alternator belt, so we bundled up Meagan, and stuck out our thumbs to flag a forty mile ride into Casper. Lucky for us, a shift change soon brought car headlights belonging to miners headed home to Casper from Shirley Basin. The first one offered us a ride and we arrived at Druann’s sister’s place in Casper a little before eleven o’clock. Her sister and husband were not home, but their neighbor called the complex manager who unlocked her apartment for us. Apparently, a young couple carrying an infant wearing four pair of adult tube socks serving as leg and arm warmers does not convey the image of gang-bangers intent on burglary. With them warm and safely inside, I hoofed it down the street to a service station and found an alternator belt which fit our yellow car. Back at the apartment, we rummaged around and found the keys to sister-in-law Patty’s old blue Pinto. We fired it up and headed back to Shirley Basin. Installing a new belt on the small engine of the Fiesta was simple and it fired to life after a quick jolt from the jumper cables. It was nearly two o’clock in the morning when we scribbled a thank-you note to Patty and Dick and continued north to the ranch. The loss of our alternator belt and subsequent draining of all electrical power, cost us four hours, but the grace of God coupled with our perseverance made our set back a very minor glitch and this brings me to my point.
Self-reliance, courage and persistence are enemies of the progressive state because once the unwashed are convinced they are helpless, complete regulatory control of their lives becomes the easy final step. The conversation in every university faculty lounge is saturated with the widely accepted myth the little people are not capable of providing their own healthcare, food, shelter or education. I find it amazing, but recent election trends suggest over 50 percent of voters embrace being labeled incompetent, helpless and stranded. To me, dependency is a completely useless state of mind.

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