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Keep life in perspective


I know I should be more like my responsible co-workers and
be posting reports here that help farmers grow better crops, or harvest more
pounds of beef per acre, but ideas for this column usually come from what’s on
my mind at the moment. And this morning before I head off to a Foothills Forage
Association field day I was thinking briefly about priorities in life.

The events with this Bryce guy over the past few days just
bring home a message of how people’s lives can change on a dime. As odd as it
sounds, it would probably do everyone good to spend a day just listening and
watching in the waiting room of a hospital Intensive Care Unit. You think you
got problems today? Well just look around.

I am feeling angst for Bryce and his family, and I am not
dropping in at the hospital to learn everyone else’s business, but I went with
Bryce’s mother, Joan, to his bed in the ICU yesterday, and it is like walking
through a portal into another dimension.

There are hospital gurneys everywhere, rows of curtained
rooms running off in all directions, some rooms are quiet as a patient lays
alone, or there may be a couple family members sitting quietly beside the bed.
And then you run into a cluster of doctors consulting on a case, and everywhere
nurses are buzzing about checking and adjusting equipment. Around just about

every bed was a small forest of electronic equipment monitoring and
controlling body conditions I can’t imagine.

It is incorrect to think ‘this is not a good place’, because
quite the opposite – miracles and recovery are taking place everywhere. But, at
the same time, you have to realize for someone to get here, likely something bad had
to happen. These just aren’t old people whose time had come.

In one curtained room was a ranching family from Stettler in
central Alberta, who for the past 10 or 12 days had been maintaining a vigil
over a young man who had serious injuries after a horse rolled on him. In
another bed was a young woman fighting for life due to anorexia. In another bed
was a young man who suffered serious injuries in a car accident in the city a
few days before.

My biggest concern of the day had been guilt over having
fries for lunch because I really should be working harder to lose that next 10

or 15 pounds.  My wife and I are
fine, our kids are fine and busy with their lives, but that isn’t the case for

In reality, we can’t just sit around all day holding hands
with healthy family members talking about gratitude. But it is important to keep
life in perspective. I have a bunch of work to get done before the next
deadline. It may be raining today, which means the plans of a farmer for
combining that field are on hold, again. And after managing that cow herd all
year, the rancher has a nagging question of whether calf prices will be decent
on sale day.

Those things are all important too. But somewhere in the
back of your mind you have to remember there could come a day when the most
welcome and joyous words you’d give anything to hear are “Mom and Dad what’s
for supper tonight?”  And with that
every other problem seems pretty manageable.



About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.


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