Don’t underestimate a rancher’s wife

By Con McAlvy: CNJ columnist

What about the Curry County rancher’s wife? Well, she comes in all assorted sizes – short and tall and medium height. She’s America’s greatest career girl, she feeds the men who feed the world. She’s America in a gingham dress, she’s democracy in a pair of blue jeans, and she’s freedom in a checkered apron.

She can saddle a horse, tat a doily, can peaches, pitch hay, lift milk cans, feed chickens, drive tractors, and still be the belle of the ball at the Saturday night dance.

She’s America’s greatest hostess. She can feed six or 60 at a moment’s notice during roundup time, and still find time to wear a rose in her hair. Her day begins with the first smile of dawn, and she says goodnight to the moon when it is high in the sky.

She is a wife and mid-wife. She is mother and sweetheart. She is a grandmother and good neighbor. She is a charming hostess and a helpful helpmate. She is housewife, farmhand, chicken-raiser, canner, seamstress, and spur-of-the moment veterinarian.

She is Sunday school teacher, PTA chairman, party-giver, gardener, and woman of all trades. She’s a wave of a month’s hand as the school bus disappears down the lane, and she’s a bowl of hot soup to an ailing neighbor. She’s a hot mince pie cooling off on a well-scrubbed window sill. She’s geraniums on a shady porch, a glass of cool lemonade on a hot summer’s day, and a sunbonnet in a tomato patch.

Her gentle hands can ring a dinner bell, soothe the fevered brow of a sick child, cook a stew, pick a flower, and hitch a team of horses. She’s as modern as tomorrow, and as old-fashioned as yesterday. She can dress in the latest Fifth Avenue Fashions and still whip up a batch of fresh baked bread.

She gives the nation tall, strong sons, and self-reliant daughters. She is strong when the land is weak. She brings roots to the wilderness and the singing grass. She likes the crackle of a friendly fire on winter evenings. She likes the sound of children laughing on a grassy summer lawn. She likes the aroma of fresh-baked bread, and the music of strong men laughing. She likes the curl of smoke coming from friendly chimneys.

She likes family reunions and Fourth of July picnics, and neighbors. She has the courage that brings gentleness to raw plains, and her tender hands and loving eyes settle wild valleys. She brings warmth to cold prairies, and civilization to new frontiers. She’s a real rancher or farmer’s wife. Are the Cowbelles trying to tell us men something?”