Opinion

There’s successors and then there’s suckers

By Country News

Never mind that my body's not yet cold in the grave.

I don't even have a cold. In fact, I've never felt better.

Yet some of the kids keep hammering me about a succession plan.

“Bloody hell,” I cried, throwing my hands in the air at dinner the other day.

“If it was good enough for me to fight it out with my brothers and sister then it should be bloody well good enough for you.

“I haven't spoken to two of them for 40 years because of it. Now that's a win-win.”

But no, the little buggers weren't impressed.

Neither, mind you, was the missus. But she is a tough crowd when it comes to impressing.

“Curmudgeon,” she shouted. "Get off your bloody high horse and try talking some sense for a change.”

And then she stomped off.

Always wanting to have the last word and gone before I could come up with a suitably cutting riposte (there's our word for the week).

However, the offspring had also sprung to their feet while I had my back turned and were demanding a serious sit down.

Which had me totally confused — why get up if you want to sit down?

So looking for a bit of swinging room I told them to back off and that I would think about it.

You think that might have been their first clue.

The old Curmudgeon doesn't think about too much these days as it's all too hard. It's much easier being a grumpy old man and just thinking about myself.

But the little buggers haven't let up, and with June 30 passing by and more headaches as the accountant and I draw up this year's storybook for the tax man, I thought I might get proactive and bring up this succession rubbish with him.

“Holy crap Curmudgeon,” he hollered.

“We talked about this more than 20 years ago and you told me you were on the job.”

“I am,” I claimed.

“It's just that I don't like making rush decisions. I mean it's not as if I am going to give up the ghost sometime in the next decade or two,” I said.

“After all, I think I can keep a hand on the tiller for at least the next five or 15 years. Those kids aren't quite ready to be in charge just yet.

“After all, Curmudgeon Junior is only 40, and the youngest is barely 32. It's not as if they are really ready for responsibility.”

“Curmudgeon you dopey bastard,” the aforementioned accountant replied.

“Junior is a state vice-president of the Farmer's Association. Hell, his eldest is already working almost full-time on the farm,” he said.

“You have three generations on the go out there, and that's one too many.

“Get the hell out of the way and let them get on with it.”

There it was.

All those years of blood, sweat and tears and here I am being turned out to paddock without anyone barely batting an eye.

But in the Curmudgeon's book succession actually calls for someone to have proved they actually know what they are doing.

Obviously I knew a hell of a lot more than my old man and for the betterment of all and sundry helped shovel him off to a lovely little retirement complex as soon as possible.

But this is different.

I have forgotten more than my kids know, even though I seem to be forgetting a lot more of it just recently.

I think.

Anyhow, after I got home the missus seemed to have calmed down and when I told her I had actually discussed succession planning with the bean counter she was positively relieved

As we walked arm-in-arm out of the kitchen I figured this was good for another five years or so. So long as I didn't forget what I was up to.