Go With An Easy Gate

Trying to reason with a difficult gate is like talking to a post. Every gate has a different personality and when I have to get a gate, I find myself talking to it.  

I don’t always talk nice to them either; many try my patience. I get along with some gates better than others, like the newer stack yard gate at home. It’s an attractive, red panel that gets a lot of attention, is in good shape, and very approachable (but incidentally, is into chains).   

I have a harder time liking the old stack yard gate north of Pringle. It’s stubborn, unreasonable, and not very pleasant to be around. It ripped my down coat sleeve once, so I called it a few names and we’ve not gotten along since. Like all the other gates, my husband gets along with this one just fine, but I doubt that gate and I will ever see eye to eye. It tries to intimidate me because it’s taller (to keep elk and deer out) and won’t let me reach its latch simultaneously when I squeeze it tightly. I’ve never been able to shut it up without a fight. We tussle every time we see each other and I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve even gotten my kids involved in my scuffles with it.  

The complicated gates, I’m not very patient with when it comes to figuring them out. I dislike dealing with the ones that have issues due to their traumatic cattle holding ordeals and prefer my husband handle them. Then there are the corral gates with appendages that don’t work so well any more. After being involved in a bad wreck, they need a welding torch surgeon.  

The corral gates where we winter our bulls got all bent out of shape a while back. These tough-looking buggers ended up crippled and permanently bent up as a result of challenging a bull in the past, and I tend to ignore their groans. A couple gates that have been around the barn, are big, wooden, and heavy, but want to be useful. Due to their age, they need assistance in getting a leg up to latch shut when being moved around and every thing about them sags. I grumble about having to push, pull, drag, or lift them anywhere.  

Most of the gates that are into accessorizing, hang around in corrals. They have fancy latches that all work differently to open. Each one tests my patience in recalling how to operate them. Some are really fussy or temperamental when I mess with their latches but I don’t coddle them.  

Sometimes we get new gates that are a joke and have a latch that initially, looks like a brain teaser puzzle to figure out. After fiddling around with it for five minutes, an “oh duh,” moment hits and I realize that I made figuring them out, harder than it really was. The gates that refuse to budge in the wintertime, just want to be left alone. They’re content to stay put until summer and don’t care to be useful, so I have to yank on them to get them to move. 

Of all the gates I deal with, there is one I found that I don’t complain about. It’s rarely used, but my all-time favorite; the gate my husband gets.

This column was originally published February 8-14, 2009

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