I figured I had a pretty good plan to get the chores done in the morning, in addition to a couple of little projects that wouldn’t take too long to finish. Of course, as my luck would have it, the cows I was moving from the northwest flat to the Carl Black place were not quite as cooperative as I would have liked them to be – and the wire-cut mare must have been feeling a little better because it took me 10 minutes to catch her when I wanted to doctor her leg.

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Paul Marchant is a rancher and freelance writer in southern Idaho. Follow Paul Marchant on X (@pm...

I was a little behind schedule but still in pretty good shape when I stopped at the high school to swap vehicles with my wife. The glow plugs are a little iffy on the pickup, and I didn’t want to get stuck at a cold airport on my return with a truck that wouldn’t start. I’d rather take my chances on the 19-year-old car with nearly 300,000 miles on it. She’s old, but she’s been a good old car. We’ve used that car like a pony at an orphanage.

I drove the 25 miles to Burley and stopped at Farmer’s Corner to top off the gas tank. I was just short of dismayed when I noticed a little plume of steam rising up from under the hood. A little water and an overpriced jug of anti-freeze from the gas station fixed the minor dilemma, but it tightened the squeeze on my already tight schedule.

I made it through the miserable urban traffic and to the airport without much trouble, cruised into the cheap parking lot, caught the shuttle and made it through the security check nonsense just in time to make it to my gate just as the plane was boarding.

I didn’t have an extra minute, but I stepped on up just like I owned the plane. As the attendant checked my boarding pass, she asked if I’d like to gate-check my carry-on bag, as it was a full flight and they were looking for volunteers to free up space in the overhead bins. Sure, why not? It seemed like a good idea at the time.


My eventual late-night arrival in Tulsa did not coincide with the arrival of my bag. As a matter of fact, the arrival of my bag in Tulsa didn’t coincide with anything at all because, as far as I know, it hasn’t arrived to this day. It hasn’t arrived anywhere. Of course, American Airlines cares deeply about me, and their crack team of lost baggage finders is still searching for my lost luggage.

No doubt they’ll continue their quest through the ages until my bag is found. In the meantime, I hope someone is enjoying my four best button-down shirts (I appeared deceptively handsome in that red paisley one), the Oakley High School Lady Hornets basketball T-shirt and the little customized leather-bound scriptures, complete with personalized, individual notations from each one of my kids.

The little lost luggage episode is not the first time I’ve made a wrong decision at the spur of the moment that seemed like a good idea at the time. I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m like the guy I met in Kansas who bought a ratty-looking little Jersey-cross heifer at the sale yard for next to nothing.

He figured he could mix her in with his cows and nobody would notice. Of course, she’s now the cow that is always right on the fence in the pasture next to the highway, gloriously announcing her presence to any and all visitors to his place.

The wounds of my mistakes usually heal up fairly well with the aid of time, experience and perspective. I’ve decided that even though I may make a few wrong decisions, it’s folly to live in fear of making a wrong decision. Regardless of the perils of wrong decisions, it seems to me it’s best to commit to a decision and follow it through.

What may appear to be a wrong decision early on can eventually evolve into wisdom. It’s easy to make a commitment. It’s another thing entirely to keep a commitment. Genuine commitment is staying true to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left – even if you risk losing a bag once in a while.  end mark

Paul Marchant