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Paul Marchant

Paul Marchant is an active rancher who tells stories as though we're all "sittin' horseback and ridin' drag" together. His Irons in the Fire articles both entertain and spur thought about personal values and goals.

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All four tires on my old beater trailer were mostly worn out, somewhere between another couple hundred miles and barely hanging on. The manager of the tire shop wasn’t surprised to see me, nor was he surprised at the sorry state of my tires. He was pretty familiar with my routine.

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I spent several years working in and running feedlots, so I have a keen appreciation, even fondness, for that particular side of the cattle business.

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“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing – your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”
—Viktor Frankl

Anybody who’s ever lived, and especially anybody who’s ever tried to raise kids or cattle, knows you can’t avoid making choices. As a matter of fact, that is really an absurd statement. You can’t even function without making a choice. It’s a choice to simply get out of bed, walk out the door, do the chores or wave to your neighbor as she drives past.

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Winter had been dragging on for what seemed like forever. The notion of warm, sunny days and green grass seemed about as distant and likely as a Cleveland Browns Super Bowl victory parade or a referendum for common sense on a San Francisco ballot.

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I wish I had just a dime or two for every gallon of fuel I’ve used on wasted or superfluous trips to town. If I did, my healthy retirement fund might actually exist somewhere besides that spot in my consciousness which houses all my wildest dreams.

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It was about the fourth day of the first real cold stretch of the winter – still the first week of January. It was the time of year when, each day, I counted the seconds at sundown to try to verify if the days really were indeed getting longer.

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