Two young boys were growing up on their parents’ small farm. This meant that raising show-worthy pigs and calves for livestock shows was a normal thing in life to them.

The youngest of the two was small in stature and big in heart. That year he had spent his hard-earned money for a quality steer that he carefully groomed every day, readying it for the shows. Daily he faithfully fed, watered and brushed it. Eventually his dad put a halter on the steer, so that its’ lead training could begin.

There was only one problem. This steer hated being told where to go and what to do. Kicking and screaming, Charley resisted any attempt to gentle him, let alone teach him to follow directions in the show ring. The problem was bad enough that dad had given strict instructions to the boy that he was never to attempt to train him all alone.

You did read the earlier reference to small in stature and big in heart?

One day while dad was away from the farm, the determined and energetic twelve-year-old decided that it was time to try to handle Crazy Charley on his own. Slipping away from his older brother, he walked to the corral where his nemesis was peacefully grazing. Glittering daydreams were in his head of his dad coming home that evening to a calm Charley walking peacefully beside him, gazing adoringly at his master and following his every command.

Taking a lead rope from the barn, he carefully approached the now suspicious Charley. He successfully attached the lead rope to the halter, and led the wild-eyed steer out of the corral and through the gate into a much larger pen. But the milli-second the gate swung open, all Hell broke loose in the form of a Crazy-Charley-On-Triple-Steroids.

From inside the house, the older brother heard terrified calf bellows and even louder human profanities coming from the pen. As he started running, he could see Crazy Charley racing at full tilt, shrieking his head off while dragging his sixty-pound little brother at the end of the rope. Said younger brother had been jerked off his feet and was now bouncing headlong behind that scared seven-hundred-pound animal. Every breath the boy took he was using to yell angry obscenities at the calf, which only caused it to panic and run harder.

The older brother started screaming at the top of his lungs, trying to get Bouncing Bobby to “Let go! Turn loose of the @%*# rope!” But he stubbornly refused, so Bobby and Crazy Charley made another couple of rounds around the pen, before it all ended in a cloud of dust when the calf finally swung him into the surrounding barbed wire fence.

Now, folks, commitment is a good thing. But stupidity? That is a whole ‘nuther ball game. Gotta learn when to let go of the rope.

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