I was walking through the Denver airport quite a few years ago and I was walking pretty fast and passed a lady wearing a sweater with horses on it. As I passed I complimented the sweater and it happened to be Temple Grandin wearing it.
I stopped and we visited for quite a while. She was very willing to share her opinions and ideas and wanted to visit. At that time I would have never expected to have the relationship I have with her today.
I worked The Minnesota Horse fair a few years later and she was a speaker as well. I was doing a cattle/horse demo and she came and watched. She was very positive when we talked about it later and shared her point of view and helped me with some things.
In this time I was really working on promoting good cattlehandling. I was really into promoting the Bud box and was pretty critical of the crowding tub. Lots of folks that had been studying the teaching of Bud Williams were doing the same. He liked the box and not the tub, and gave the reasons for it.
The next event I was on that Temple was presenting at was a horse fair in Denver called the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo. She came up to me before I Presented and asked if I was going to bad mouth her like that (I’ll leave the name out.). Well I might have, I don’t think so, but I sure didn’t. She wasn’t mean, just strait forward with her statements. I am so glad she did, because I saw things from her point of view.
We have now done several programs together that just she and I are presenting. This has allowed me to really spend some time discussing and learning things from Temples point of view. I have also witnessed other people only seeing things from their point of view, and while they are right in their own small world, they are missing learning and improving themselves because of the negative way they are going about attacking Temple and the things she sees from her point of view.
Several months ago I was contacted by Christine Long from North Carolina. She was putting a program together with Temple, and Temple said she would not do live cattle unless I was there to help. Wow, how could I refuse that. What an honor to have Temple say that. Game on.
We had done a program together a couple years ago in Mile City and Baker Montana. She rode with me in my tuck and trailer and we visited about lots of things and I really saw how passionate Temple is about lots of things. We visited about helping young people overcome problems, dangers in the world and staying prepared and of coarse cattle handling. I was worried about what we were going to talk about, and ended up wishing we had more miles to talk more.
All the previous times had me real comfortable this last trip. I was to meet Temple and Brad (can’t remember his last name) at the airport and we were going to drive part way to the event and stay and then drive on the rest of the way the next morning.
Temple was just full of energy and really had lots she wanted to talk about. Brad works for the publishing company that sells her books, and he is a very nice guy that has spent many miles and hours working with Temple. He really is good to Temple and she feels real comfortable with him it seems.
A new book has just came out by Temple Grandin titled “Working With Farm Animals” and we spent a lot of time discussing it. We also talked about Electro Magnetic Pulse(EMP’S) that we both are concerned about what will happen to people if one happens in the US. Temple is very prepared and researches things that are important to her to the fullest.
We stopped at a little diner and had a great supper. I said I liked stopping at these little places and not the chain restaurants, and Brad and Temple agreed. We then traveled on until we got to the Holiday Inn Express that we had reservations at. Temple said to me, “I don’t mind Mom and Pop restaurants, but I don’t take chances on motels”. She needs to know that she is going to be safe and comfortable. I enjoy watching how people react to her no nonsense personality and wonder if they know she is autistic and that’s why she is so matter of fact.
I got to thinking the way she thinks about motels is why she is so favorable to the tub. If designed right, the check in and checkout should flow smoothly. A well designed system may cost more, like a good motel, but you have a consistent quality. In Temple’s world that is very important.
We got one of her new books out and I looked it over and then we talked about it at breakfast and on the way to the Event. It is a great book that covers just about all aspects of cattle handling and care. I really like it and think you should read it.
Temple pays attention to every detail and wants everything taken care of. I am just the opposite, I just roll with what I’ve got and work from there. I like this because it challenges me, and I think it is good for people watching to see how to get out of, or what to do when things aren’t perfect. If the set up is not perfect, it presents more learning moments to see how to overcome and use more cattle handling techniques.
This works for me, and sometimes it doesn’t go perfect.
An example of how she thinks. I had a one hour layover coming from Vancouver to Houston, and going on to North Carolina. She was real worried about it and thought that was very risky to have that close of a connection. She didn’t want to take the chance of me not making it to do the demo.
The set up was to our satisfaction. Everyone had worked real hard to get it ready. We had a good demo with lots of good people in attendance. I have learned how to work with Temple in a demo to help get her knowledge out to the attendees.
All this time I have spent with Temple Grandin has helped me to understand how why she teaches what she teaches. The more organized and systematic things are the more comfortable she is. She doesn’t like to take chances. She sees things in pictures, but those pictures are are created from facts, not emotions.
Because of this, her livestock handling systems and her style of handling is not leaving anything to chance. She wants a “Holiday Inn” rather than “Cock Roach Inn”. Her mind doesn’t allow her to take the chance of distractions and not being safe.
I have changed my mind on many things as I gain knowledge in this life and I think the thing that is important is to try to see things from someone you don’t agree withs point of view. Temple has really helped me to understand this. She is a researcher. She is always learning and interpreting what people put out there. She may not see the same picture the person she studies sees and that offends some people. They think that their view is the only one. This is a very tough situation, that creates animosity between people that are trying to do the right thing for animals and people, and ends up being a negative in a real positive way of going about things.
I watch Temple and see how good she is at presenting her power point. She has been promoting the same ideas for years, but keeps learning and adding to it. I think she has overcome many challenges of dealing with people and the fame she has acquired, and keeps thinking and working on improving herself and what she does.
The part we in the livestock industry don’t see is just how in demand Temple is on speaking about Autism. This is speculation on my part, but I think she could spend all her time speaking about autism, but feels comfortable and likes livestock and livestock people so she balances it out for herself.
We loaded up after the demo and headed back toward Charlotte to fly out the next day. Temple was happy with the demo and we discussed it. She felt the heifers were real nice and liked the way we worked, but felt they got a little upset when we put them through and tagged them as part of the demo.
Brad drove, we talked and discussed many things. We stopped at the same diner and it was fun to see how some of the staff had figured out who Temple was from the night before and they wanted photos with her. Some of the customers recognized Temple and came and told her thank you for the things she is doing. Temple is always very polite, very matter of fact to the folks, and after they leave goes right on with no change in her thoughts and conversations.
We got to the Hotel and I could tell she was very tired. We were waiting on the check in and she said she would like to sign the book she gave me. She looked at me and said “I really like working with you” and wrote it in my book.
I just can’t believe how fortunate I am. I believe animals do make us human, as Temples book says, but they have sure helped me get around lots of interesting people. Temple is one of the most interesting and different.
She has helped so many animals, people, and the livestock industry. This is what she lives. To see how busy she is, the enthusiasm and passion she has at near 70 years old is amazing.
I’m sure you have challenges in your life. Look at the challenges Temple overcame and how she has used what some call a disability and with the help of some very good people, now lives a productive, positive life and helps so many.
How much better is this world because of Temples work? She tells it like she sees it and she sees in pictures. The picture I see is a much better world because of Temple Grandin, my world and yours.
Temple, I really like working with you.