The perfect match


Bluebonnet member Gayle Harper, with her dog Loki, is the winner of a retired Bluebonnet Ford F-250 given away after the Annual Meeting on May 13.

It’s not the number of miles on a truck, but what you truck with the miles you have left.
Gayle Harper, who lives on 20 acres near the tiny community of String Prairie in south Bastrop County, is the lucky winner of the retired Ford F-250 given away by Bluebonnet after the Annual Meeting on May 13.
“I will start hauling hay in it, I will tell you right now,’’ Harper said.
No longer will she have to load hay for her horses into the back seat of the silver hand-me-down 2003 Chevy Cavalier that her mother gave up at age 91.
“I’ve been driving two bales of hay, one in the trunk and one in the back seat,” she said, an arrangement that almost started a fire one day. “I smelled smoke. It was the bale in the trunk. The trunk light had gotten hot and started the bale smoldering.’’ 
The severe drought has wiped out Harper’s pasture, so she must haul feed for her rescue horse, Suspiria, a half blind albino with soft hoofs, and two rescued miniature horses, Biscuit and Cocoa.
She also has four rescue dogs — a Chihuahua named El Chupacabra, a Rottweiler mix named Sasquatch, a red heeler named Tricky Woo (yes, inspired by James Herriot’s memoir), and a German Shepherd mix named Thor. A fifth dog, a German Shepherd mix named Loki, is her only pet that was not a rescue animal.
Harper, a long-time potter who sells handmade dishes at Central Texas craft shows, has been a Bluebonnet member for more than 30 years. She did not attend the co-op’s Annual Meeting this year, but voted by proxy in the Board of Directors election.
Harper’s name was pulled at random after the Annual Meeting from a pool of all co-op members who voted in this year’s board election. 
Barbara Turner-Gerhart, Bluebonnet’s manager of employee services, called Harper’s home after the Annual Meeting, but had to leave a message on the answering machine to notify Harper that she’d won a drawing.
“I thought maybe I’d won a T-shirt,” Harper said. 
Only after calling Bluebonnet back did Harper learn she’d won a truck.
“I just about fainted,” she said. 
Even though the former Bluebonnet truck has about 237,000 miles, the co-op kept it well maintained as a field vehicle.
“I’m thinking they took awfully good care of it,” Harper said. “And I’m going to take good care of it, so here’s hoping it goes for awhile.’’
The Bluebonnet proxy vote that Harper submitted is just the latest vote she cast. “If you can vote, I vote, because you should. If you have a voice you should use it, whether it’s the government (election) or the electric co-op (election).’’
This time, Harper’s belief in participatory democracy unexpectedly rewarded her and her rescued animals with a smoother ride through life. 


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