This column is being written on the evening of Thanksgiving, and I find myself in a thankful but pensive mood.
As we count our blessings, ranging from as small as a wonderful family to as big as world peace, the whole concept of perspective can nag at a person.
For example, Wyoming, it could be argued, is fortunate to be such a unique place, both because of a tiny population and our vast resources.
From a political perspective, our voters are, by far, the most powerful in the country. When it comes to electoral votes, each vote cast by Wyoming represents about 190,000 people. In California, it takes about 700,000 to create an electoral vote. These are the votes that actually elect a president in national elections.
I always love the New York Times map produced a few years ago showing the states when it came to Electoral College influence. The map shows Wyoming is by far the biggest state with California one of the smallest.
On a more current political level, the state now has as much influence in Congress as perhaps any time in its history. Our senior U.S. senator, Mike Enzi, is a venerable and respected leader who gets more bills passed than just about anyone else in the country. A humble, modest man, he is one of the most powerful people in the country.
Our junior U.S. senator, John Barrasso, just got re-elected. He was recently voted to the number three position in the Senate when it comes to power among the majority Republican senators. He is mighty important and we are very proud of him and his work.
Wyoming’s lone U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney was just voted by her peers to the number three GOP position in the House — an amazing achievement considering she is in just her third year there. Prior to going to D.C., she was already voted one of the 20 most influential Republican women in national poll.
With all this clout, might you expect some pork to come rolling toward Wyoming?
Perhaps the billions of dollars planned for F.W. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne is a small example of how this influence is being used.
Well, enough of the serious stuff. On the subject of pork, the following story happened over in Wheatland. Ray Hunkins, Chuck Brown or Linda Fabian should be able to confirm it:
A guy moved to the country outside of Wheatland and decided to be a small-time farmer. He went to the Torrington auction and bought 12 hogs. He loaded them in his pickup and hauled them home.
Once home, he called his neighbor, an experienced hog farmer, and invited the guy to check his purchase.
The experienced farmer said they were good hogs, but there was just one big problem. They were all 12 female.
“But that is not a big deal,” the guy said. “Just load them up in your pickup and bring them over to my yard. I have several boars. We’ll get them bred. You really need to get your females bred this time of year.”
“Sure,” the new farmer said.
The next morning, he loaded up the hogs in the back of his truck and hauled them to the experienced farmer’s lot. He unloaded them and waited all day. Then he brought them home. Before leaving, he asked the experienced farmer: “How will I know if they were successfully bred?”
“If they were bred successfully, tomorrow morning, your hogs should be happily grazing,” the experienced farmer replied.
Well, the next morning, the new farmer got up early and looked out the window. The hogs were not grazing. So he took them to the experienced farmer’s lot again.
Again, the next morning, the hogs were not grazing.
He hauled them over the next day, too, in his pickup. Still no luck. This went on for a week.
Finally, one day after hauling the hogs over to his neighbor’s place, he woke the next morning and turned to his wife. He said, “I can’t bear the disappointment. Would you look out the window and see if those hogs are grazing?”
“Yes, dear,” she replied.
After a few moments, he hollered at his wife: “Well? Are they grazing? Tell me what they are doing.”
His wife paused and then said, “I don’t know how to tell you this. They definitely are not grazing. But 11 of them are sitting in the back of the pickup and the 12th one is in the driver’s seat honking the horn.”