Sunday, February 19, 2006

SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE WESTERNER

A kept woman -- matter of perception

By Julie Carter

Two women at one of those mixed social gatherings were having a conversation. The event was a collection of people who don’t walk in the same world on a day to day basis. Those kinds of get togethers usually prove without a doubt that perceptions are not even close to reality.

“What do you do for a living?”

“I work at the ranch.”

“Oh, so you don’t have a job?”

“Yes, I work at the ranch.”

The knowing “I see,” that was spoken came with an unspoken attitude that said “I’m talking to a “kept” woman.”

Oh yah, a kept woman. A ranch wife is indeed a kept woman. The list of her “kept” duties is endless.

She kept going to the corrals every night for three months in sub zero temperatures to check on calving heifers.

She kept hay hauled to the barn and ice on the tanks broken.

She kept the fuel and feed suppliers on call so tanks weren’t empty and the cattle didn’t go hungry.

She kept the horses wormed, the horseshoer scheduled, the saddle house swept and the saddle blankets washed.

She kept the horse in the corral and the dogs out of the corral.

She kept gate open while she waited for him to show up or she kept the gate closed because he didn’t.

She kept the pantry full, hot food on the table, clean clothes in the drawer, and the ever proverbial “home fires burning.”

She kept the grocery list, the spare parts list, and the Christmas card list.

She kept the calendar marked with family dates, weather reports, cattle working dates and new calf tallies.

She kept the socials “social,” his soul prayed for and his Mother’s birthday remembered.

She kept the bills paid, his boots soled, and the sunscreen where he might think to use it.

She kept the coffee ever handy, the iced tea ever available and his grandfather’s recipe for a hot toddy as a remedy for his achy body.

She kept track of where he put his stuff so he could find it.

She kept his butt out of a jamb and the list is too long to say when and why.

She kept the vaccine guns washed and in one place and the vaccine front and center in the refrigerator.

She kept the kids fed, clean and in school and made sure he remembered which one was which and if he needed to say “happy birthday.”

She kept her legs shaved and reminded him his face needed shaved.

She kept the clippers sharp for haircuts for him, the kids, the dog and the horse.

And through it all she kept her sense of humor even on days when humor was as scarce as rain.

Yes indeed, she is a kept woman.

In fact she has a Ph.D. in “kept” and most days it would be way easier to have a real job.

But usually she would not trade this “kept” life for a two-story house in the suburbs with a new SUV in the driveway and hair and nail appointments every Friday followed by lunch at the club.

She is a kept woman because “kept” is who she is and what she does best.

© Julie Carter 2006

2 comments:

threecollie said...

This is great. Thanks, I read it over at Sarpy Sam's and it made my day.

The Westerner said...

Glad you enjoyed it. Julie writes some great stuff.