Last Thursday night one of my sons and I were at the Turner County Stockyard in Ashburn, GA. We took a cow/calf pair and our beloved bull, Jack, (more stories about him in another column). Our herd has grown from zero to 21 head since we’ve started this little farm adventure and the herd has outgrown our available pasture so it’s time to downsize. I hate to see any of them go; they’re almost part of the family!
The stockyard is a fascinating place, especially if you’ve never been to a cattle auction. It sits right on highway US 41 in the quaint little town of Ashburn, GA. It was built in 1948 and has steadily grown under three generations of leadership by the Wiggins family to where it’s the “Number One Stockyard” in Georgia as their website proudly proclaims.
On any given auction day (every Wednesday afternoon) or special monthly sale of bred cattle and bulls, you’ll find the stockyard parking area full of dually pickups and cattle trailers from all over Georgia as well as Alabama and Florida. Cattlemen, and women, come to shrink or build their herds as their needs might be. It’s a colorful crowd of cowboy hats, boots, suspenders and red handkerchiefs surrounding a multi-tiered bidding pit that could be right out of a set from a Hollywood western movie. It truly is entertaining to hear the auctioneer crying out his colorful chant pitting one bidder against another and then another up on the top row; only this is real life! And it runs like a Swiss watch. It’s almost mind boggling how they can auction that many cattle, get them to their new owners, and checks to their sellers almost instantly. I was impressed!
But what impressed me most was how Mr. Allen Wiggins started off the auction session both times I was there: with prayer. Last Thursday the prayer was especially for the victims of Hurricane Michael. If I didn’t know better, I might have thought I was at a small church prayer meeting.
But now I’d like to wax political for a few minutes. As I thought about this public expression of prayer I was really moved and motivated more than ever to go to the polls in a couple weeks and exercise my constitutional right, privilege and duty.
Back when we seniors were kids, we might take for granted a public expression of prayer like this; but not anymore. Almost weekly I hear of lawsuits being brought by the Freedom from religion foundation, or some other group, trying to exorcise any religious expression from our public life. And if you think about it, they have been largely successful while many of us quiet conservatives have sat on the sideline. Not anymore; it’s way beyond time for us to make our voices heard loud and clear at the polls.
So, in order to protect the precious first amendment to our constitution which “prevents the government from respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech…..” among other things, I plan to vote on Nov. 6th.
I hope you will too!
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!
Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org