Quit or you are fired
I worked on the farm as the self-titled ‘farm manager’ since about eighth grade through high school. I cannot say I was always the best worker, but I was there a lot and did a lot. For a good portion of the time, Dad did not have to be there all the time but he would definitely stop in to make sure I was not screwing things up too much. This often just made things worse for me, because you know he was sure to find things wrong that I was not doing or just did not do the way he would have.
Some of the things he was sure to notice was the mineral running out for the steers or a steer that was looking sick. Most of the time, it probably just ran empty, but he would show up on that day and would see it, then I had to hear about it.
I think one of the worse things that you could do was to let a steer get sick and die. From his standpoint, if you are paying attention every day, you would notice when a steer is starting to get sick and you get on top of it right away. Once a steer gets bad, it is hard to bring them back. This is not to say that Dad never had a steer die on his watch, he would just get even more pissed if someone else let it happen.
It is no secret that my Dad and I did not get along when I was in high school. It all came to a head after I graduated and Dad stopped in at the farm one day and was counting the steers while I was feeding. He noticed one was missing and he want looking for it. Well he found it dead in the pasture field down by the creek. I can honestly say that I did in fact count the day before and had even road the four wheeler through the pasture because I had to check the fence so I know the steer was not dead then. But on a hot summer day if the steer had died that day he could have easily started to bloat up. For Dad, the bloating meant that he had been out there for days and I was not doing my job. There was a lot of yelling and then he said, “quit or you are fired!” So I quit. This was the first and only time in my life that I have been faced with such a decision.
This was the first time I had the option of not working on a weekend, early in the morning, or whatever. I ended up getting a job at Sea and Ski, had regular hours, and had more of an opportunity to party than I used to have. It was probably the best thing that could have happened. It was some time before I even had to again help out around the farm. This along with going away for school was probably the best thing that could have happened for our relationship.