Sunday, November 13, 2016

Baxter Black - Coffee shop experts in small towns

Visit any café or machine shop in any small town in rural America. The first topic of conversation is the weather. It has to be discussed, cussed, praised and pounded thoroughly before any other subject is taken up. 

It is followed by the market; the price of soybeans, grain, cattle, hogs or the price of tea in China. Then, usually politics, sports and local gossip.

I’ve been in a million of these conversations. Everyone has an opinion and we’re quite willing to share it. It takes a little time to hear everybody out but it’s worth it as long as we can get in our two cents worth. But I’ve noticed that farmers and ranchers are a little like vets and lawyers when we get down to talkin’ about our own business. Or talkin’ about parting with some of our own money. It’s harder to get a straight answer. Suddenly our opinions are built on shifting sand.

“Doc, will this medicine work as well as you said at the meeting?”

“Uh, it should help.”


“Henry, you always said you believed in worming your stock.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t know it cost that much.”

Strangely enough, when we’re discussing the neighbor’s problems in the comfort of the coffee shop, there’s no lack of helpful opinions forthcoming. Or when outlining some new wonder drug at the county cattlemen’s meeting, we speak with evangelistic conviction. But when we get down to makin’ the decisions involving our own operation, our confidence gets weak in the knees.

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