About the Cattle Man

By Jim Hagarty

Today I looked across a field
And the cattle there.
I recalled in my young life
How vital cattle were.

Such noble beasts that I once fed
And cared for in my way.
I wonder if I miss those cattle
In my life today.

We roamed our fields together.
Sometimes they like to play
But I was taught to face them
And never run away.

The joy those gentle giants showed
Out in their pasturelands,
Is something I will not forget
I don’t believe I can.

I gave them straw for bedding
And then twice every day
Went up into the hay mow
And forked them down their hay.

And then walked through the manger
And scratched their heads and ears
To think of cattle, as I write,
Is bringing on the tears.

Don’t think too ill of farmers
And disregard the news.
For those folks love their livestock.
To leave them brings the blues

And when you know a farmer
At 90, on the land.
He simply can’t retire, you see,
Cause he’s a cattle man.

The Way It Used to Be

Stephanie CD cover

By Jim Hagarty
Another self-penned song from a friend of mine, singer-songwriter Stephanie Martin (www.almostfifty.com) from her album Restless, available in the Corner Store. Steph is a passionate writer and singer and is passing along her skills to others through her music shop and the lessons she offers.

The Way it Used to Be by Stephanie Martin

The Archives

By Jim Hagarty

Today, marks my entry into my second month of blogging.

That parade you hear going by your place this morning? Just one of the many taking place in cities and towns across the world to mark the occasion of Month Two.

A friend looked over my blog last week and couldn’t believe I had produced so much in such a short time.

But in classic fashion, it took me 50 years to become an overnight success.

So it’s confession time. Most of what I write here is new and fresh. But at least once a day I go down the stairs to the dusty Hagarty Archives and drag out some nugget or another.

Over the years, I have had more than 1,000 newspaper and magazine columns published. Fortunately, I have most of those now in digital format.

But it has been a hogwrestle.

I had no digital copies of most of what I have written over the years. I did keep scrapbooks of a lot of it. But being lazy and unwilling to retype all those stories into my computer, I had to photocopy them all, carefully cut them out, feed them through my scanner and use a great “optical character recognition” program to enter them into a word-processing program. Even then, the struggle was not over as OCR is never completely accurate. So I had to read through every sentence of every column, making corrections along the way.

There were whole swaths of material that I had not kept. This required me to spend hours in our local community archives, photocopying my stuff from the hard-copy newspapers they still have.

I probably could have found King Tut with less trouble and in less time.

And I am tormented by the writing I did but which I will never find. I don’t know how good it was, but it’s gone.

My goal is to corral all this stuff into a series of books which will sell like crazy, allowing me to live a Donald Trump-lite existence. Or at least as well as the neighbour across the street who has two Corvettes (really).
So now and then, if you are discerning, you might notice a story of mine has a Dead Sea Scroll quality to it. That one might have emerged from the Hagarty Archives.

To get to those, you go down into my basement, open a trap door, climb a ladder down to the subbasement in which you will find another trap door. The files are in boxes, right behind Tut’s old coffin.

New Word Alert

By Jim Hagarty

I am so proud of my daughter.

Last night, she created, what I think, is a new word.

As I was sucking on my seventh or eighth popsicle in a row – it’s hot up here in Canada right now – my little doggie jumped on my lap, eager to participate in the frozen treat bonanza.

“He thinks it’s a pupsicle,” she said. And he did.

She’s a writer too. And any creative writer who doesn’t invent words now and then is probably just a stenographer. (Kids, ask Grandma what that is.)

I don’t work with wood, except as a rough carpenter, with clay, wool or flowers.

I play with words like you might do with your tennis ball on Sunday mornings.

And years ago, in my mind anyway, I reached the pinnacle of my creativeness when I coined the word “geneosity.” I explained to my kids, who were baffled by their dad’s latest invention, that geneosity refers to my genius and my generosity. They reacted to my new creation, and have done ever since when I used it, with a very old and familiar word: the groan.

My geneosity is my being generous with my genius.

I thought it captured my personality perfectly.

My kids seem to believe I am indulging in a bit of insanosity.

Now that’s just a stupid word which I will never use again.

But maybe that’s just me being way too promisecute.

And of course, I discourage promiscutey.

Horsin’ Around

By Jim Hagarty

You know, we’ve come a long way.

Drivers have GPS and I see an ad now for a Ford that can park itself. I wonder if it also stuffs the parking meter with coins.

Amazing have been the advances in transportation over the past few years with many more to come including driverless autos and even flying cars.

But in another way, there isn’t much new under the sun and in some respects, what went before was just as incredible as what we have now.

I wasn’t around in the horse and buggy days (though I live in Mennonite country so the practice is still familiar) but I was just one generation removed and so the elders in my family had lots of stories to tell about the times before the horseless carriage came along. Stories such as fatal buggy accidents – not high-speed head-ons like today, but buggies overturning and the ensuing mayhem resulting in death. I imagine that was a lot rarer incident than traffic fatalities now, but it happened.

And for some farmers, the horse could double as his designated driver when too much imbibing was done by the driver. My Dad told a story about a farmer from around our parts in southern Canada who used to go by horse and buggy to town on Friday nights and hit the hotels, often getting completely pie-eyed during an evening’s fun. He’d make his way somehow to the buggy at closing time, crawl in and sometimes pass out.

No problem.

The horse promptly left town and carried its owner the almost 10 miles home, never missing a turn in the process.

Match that GPS!

Sometimes the farmer in question didn’t completely pass out, but instead provided the entire community along his route home with a free concert. On a still night in winter, the sounds of the inebriated man’s musical voice could be heard across hill and valley, seemingly for miles.

And while he was in the buggy, he didn’t need to take the reins but could sit there in comfort and sing while horsey did all the navigating and steering.

A wonderful John Wayne movie shot in Ireland in the fifties called The Quiet Man has some great scenes in it involving a little old matchmaker who practically gets thrown from his buggy while on chases through the village because his horse insists on stopping automatically and suddenly in front of a pub, a stop it had made many times before.

Just like GPS, I guess, horse sense has its limits.