Gypsy Wagon Dec. 2020/ Jan. 2021

By Betty Go Gigot, Publisher

First of all, Merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year! As strong and resilient people, I have no doubt we will all look forward to 2021 as a bright light in the midst of uncertainty. We here at CALF News are readjusting to the postponement of the Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville and are looking for ways to ensure our advertisers can still make one-on-one contact with their clients. I know you are all figuring out ways to work around changes in the system, indeed changes in the world. We also are adjusting to masks and rising rates of COVID-19, along with concerns about relatives and staff. I have no doubt THIS TOO WILL PASS but certainly share your concerns.

In the category of adjustments, right here in Castle Rock, Colo., I am seeing a microcosm of the effect of the pandemic. One evening, CALF News writer and friend, James Coope, his wife, Lawrie, and I went to a local restaurant to deliver copies of CALF News that had featured them in a “Where’s the Really Exceptional Beef?” column, as well as enjoy their fine cuisine. The night James had interviewed them last spring, the staff had been told that all restaurants were being closed to inhouse service for six weeks by order of Gov. Polis. Most of the original staff has moved on, and the place was virtually empty.

This week, we all went to visit with Paul at Vista Vino for this issue’s “Where’s the Really Exceptional Beef?” column. The interview was inspiring and the food was unbelievable. Talk about knowing how to buy, cook and serve beef. The sad part was that the new rule as of that night was 25 percent capacity, allowing them to serve only twenty-some people at one time. We all were aware there was a good chance a stay-at-home edict could come at any time. Heartbreaking.

On a different note, I just called my supplier of steaks, tri-tips and carne asada that I send my staff for Christmas. His shop is in California and has been my go-to beef gift supplier for the past umpteen years. He said he is literally “worn out.” He has done more business in the past year than he has the last 20. He spent the first two months of the pandemic explaining to customers how to cook roasts, steaks and stews. The line at the store went all the way around the block.

He has the product I need for gifts, but very much doubts he will be able to ship to my people by Christmas unless a shipping window shows up around the first of December. Since it is a perishable product, he can’t afford to send if the shippers are not able to deliver. We may have to opt for a Super Bowl delivery timeline (if there is a Super Bowl). Just one of many things that have changed in 2020.

In the good news column, Walt Barnhart, who had written for us in the past, has retired from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and rejoined us here at CALF News as a feature writer. His lead article on “Where Do We Go from Here?” in this issue gives us a full account of the future, according to the people who should know. Welcome back Walt.

Also, in the good news column is that longtime CALF News contributor and best friend, Baxter Black, has released a set of audio books called Baxter Black’s Rodeo Re-Ride. Available as a CD or a digital download, it’s ready for those of you waiting at home for COVID-19 to go away or for those rodeo riders on their way to the next event. It’s great listening.

Personally, this issue really carries sad news with obituaries of several of my longtime friends. Dr. Bob Hummel was a mentor; Dallas Horton was in my life for what seems like forever; and Bob Josserand was a close personal friend. I had known Jackie Winters over at Bar G since I was a traveling salesman for Lexton. Rest in peace all of you.

And there are still questions to be answered. What really happened to Don Lewis, Carol Baskin’s husband from Tiger King? For that matter, the same goes for Jeffery Epstein. And have you been dispensed camping yet? It seems that’s the new way to camp, which apparently is pitching a tent outside a designated campground. My grandfather would be on board. Merry Christmas.