In the dictionary the word august is defined as “inspiring reverence or admiration.” For the past twenty plus years we have had an august long horn steer who sported what looked like a heraldic shield on his forehead. We purchased him along with four heifers when we were raising cattle. He had several jobs. His favorite was when the heifers calved. He would stay with the calves while the mothers grazed peacefully in the field. While in his care, he would groom them as he watched over them while protecting them from any prey that might be looking for a tender meal. He also helped me when I was teaching Algebra. I enlarged a picture of him, put a large “x” on his forehead, and named him Buford X Domain. I then told the story of how his job was to determine who could enter the pasture. He was the boss. The domain is the first member of an ordered pair that determines the answer and the range, the second member of an ordered pair, is the answer or the result of input. With Buford as the domain, he determined what was allowed on the range. The students could always determine the domain in a function.
But all things must come to an end. Buford grew old and had begun to look like a skeleton covered with loose skin. He was failing fast. Several weeks ago, after many days of rain, he got stuck in the mud while getting a drink of water from the pond. We had to physically pull him out of the mud with the tractor, but he was too weak to get back up on his feet. Rather than let him suffer, we decided to put him down and thus the end of an era.
His seven-foot rack is now curing in the arena and will be mounted somewhere on the farm (not in the house). He is gone but not forgotten.