A few years back, a week or two in late January with daytime highs in the 40s would have been amazing. Now we are starting to take it for granted. This was the month we could expect at least a week with the thermometer well below zero for portions of each day.

Ranchers like “open winters” like this. It saves a lot of hay.

But the downside is the risk of a very dry spring and summer. Irrigators are already starting to look at the minimal snowpack and getting a little nervous. We usually get our big snowstorms closer to spring, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Meanwhile the morning coffee club has been having a hard time deciding whether to talk about the impeachment trial in the Senate or the NFL playoff games and the prospects for the Super Bowl this year. The majority is happy to see Kansas City and the 49’ers compete for the title.

We’ve decided the Wyoming automobile dealers and motel owners must have cut a deal with the Wyoming High School Activities Association if you look at the schedules for athletic events in this state.

Out-of-town games sometimes involve overnight trips of up to 800 miles. We’ve talked to more than one family who say they can put close to 100,000 miles on a vehicle in a four-year stint of traveling to various high school events. And if they have two, three or more children they need to trade vehicles at least every four years.

Wyoming residents have a different view of life. We realize this is the “least populated” state in the Union, but everyone is used to it. Making those long trips for school activities is not unusual. The remark that Wyoming is just one community with “very long streets” is very accurate.

A few years ago, the Bench Sitters came up with a list of ways you can tell if you live in Wyoming. Most were not all that original, but we’d like to repeat them anyway.

In Wyoming

The family car is an extended cab pickup.

    They believe the stock market has a fence around it.

    They keep a winter coat in the car 12 months out of the year.

They have the local veterinarian’s number on speed dial.

    They have a coffee table that used to be a cable spool.

Mom has “camo” clothing on her Christmas list.

They think a subdivision is part of a math problem.

They don’t believe Washington has all the answers.

The whole family considers a “branding” a major social event.

Formal dress includes boots, jeans and a cowboy hat.

They stop to help people on the road.

They wave at everyone they see coming down the highway.

They don’t seem to judge folks until they know them.

They drive a dump truck as big as the east wing of the White House.

They expect to feed the family half the time with wild game.

They have a gun rack with a coil of rope in the back window of the pickup

They tend to help each other rather than wait for the government.

They can quote you fat cattle and feeder and wool prices at any time.

They would rather have the state in charge of predators.

And they believe a man’s word should be his bond.

But to be honest, some of that is wishful thinking. We know Wyoming people enjoy a lot of federal money and some of us do judge groups of people long before we know much about them. It doesn’t hurt to be honest and not kid ourselves.

In the meantime, the final thought of the week from the Bench Sitters is this . . . When you are dead; you don’t know you are dead. The pain is only felt by others. The same thing happens when you are stupid.

Keep smiling, stay healthy and we’ll drop a line again next week.

SVEN

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