Nothing but warm sunshine and ocean for as far as the eye can see. That’s what’s on my horizon today. It may come as a real shocker for a handful of reasons, beginning with the fact that our little corner of Idaho is desert and doesn’t lay claim to hardly any water and our sunshine feels somewhat elusive as it is competing with the series of winter storms that are passing through. Obviously that must mean I’m somewhere on vacation which is even more surprising because ranchers never take a day off.
With cattle that need to be fed daily throughout the winter, crops that need to be watered daily throughout the summer, new calves that have to be checked in the spring and more work than the day has hours for in the fall, ranchers are married to their work, year round. I’m shocked just as much as you are that the rancher at my house said, “Let’s go on a cruise,” and we actually went! My fun here on vacation is equal parts enjoying the days away and watching a rancher trying to enjoy his time off. Let me explain what a vacation with a rancher is like.
To begin with, you will likely have to do some clothes shopping for him, because I can nearly guarantee that everyday wardrobe won’t qualify. Grease stained pants and work shorts are hardly the style of fine dining. Although, the authentic holes in his jeans are totally hip these days. If you are going anywhere warm, you are going to have to buy some shorts since that isn’t something he has regularly on hand.
Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t wear those new shorts though because getting a rancher out of his boots and jeans is near impossible. It’s easy to spot a rancher on the beach because he is the only one still in denim and he has no problem with that.
If you are lucky enough to convince him to don his shorts, make sure you pack sunscreen for him and sunglasses for you. He can count the days his legs have seen the sun and it will only take a few rays to turn them bright pink. Those bright white legs will have a little glare to them, so keep those sunglasses handy.
It might be a crapshoot to know how a rancher will handle being on vacation but its likely you will encounter one of two scenarios. The first is that his exhaustive work life catches up with him and he will just want to sit or sleep all day long. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. You just be sure to pack along your own activities and fun while he is out for the count.
The second scenario is that he has no idea how to be leisurely and can’t handle sitting down at all. The thought of spending so much time being “unproductive” is unsettling and he will be pushing to do something ever minute. I recommend you just go with the flow in this case because you will never enjoy a lie down on the beach with him chomping at the bit.
You might be looking for some adventure when you dine out, but make sure there is some beef on the menu alongside the exotic cuisine you are hoping for. A rancher will go with a prime rib dinner over roasted duck, squid or oysters nine times out of ten.
Just know, whatever vacation you plan to take your rancher on, you may be able to take him off the ranch, but you won’t be able to take the ranch out of him. His swagger, talk, buckle and boots will always be a giveaway. On the flip side, its a great way for him to find fellow ranchers wherever he travels.
Whatever the adventure holds, be sure to make memories in every moment, because who knows the next time you can talk him off the ranch for a little vacation again.