We were in the far left lane, barreling down the interstate, a half-hour down the road from the Simmental junior regional cattle show in Ohio, when we heard it. Thlump, thlump, whack. Pshiing.
I checked the side mirror and sure enough — tread was flying off the right rear tire on the livestock trailer, shredding and curling the fender as it flung off in every direction. Cars were swerving to miss the debris; chunks went flying across three lanes of traffic.
My husband, John, made his way to the right lane, and then off the side of the interstate. We jumped out to assess the damage. Cars and semis whizzed by. Son Nathan and I ran back up to the truck, but before we could even get the spare tire off and the jack out, four Tarrs came running up the side of the interstate!
Cattle friends! With big, burly teenage boys! Brad Tarr had stopped with sons Mitch and Nick and cousin Marshall. We’d all been at the show together, and they were caravanning back to Illinois with the rest of their family, with two trucks and trailers and an SUV — all pulled off just ahead of us on the interstate.
In 20 minutes, flat, we had the tire changed and the mangled fender off and were back on the road. Full disclosure: By “we,” I mean “they.” Also, that darn fender was a train wreck to get off. It was curled up underneath and had to come off, or it would rub the spare. They banged and bent and pounded and whacked and finally, cut, until it came off.
We all hit the road together, with the Spanglers folding into the Tarr caravan. As 9-year-old Caroline said, “We’re a Tarr sandwich!”
A good place to be, for sure. And while it’s tempting to say Illinois cattle people are the best — because they are — what’s really true is that farm people are the best. No matter the state or species, when someone needs a hand, it’s there. And aren’t those the kind of people we all want to be?