Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cow Tale

Today, I'm thankful for childhood memories. a stick of Fruit Stripe gum or song can send me back there. sharing funny stories about it with Noah warms my heart. simple and carefree it was, even though I didn't realize it then.

I've been very nostalgic this weekend, thinking back to my childhood and specifically growing up on Evans Farm.  This was the farm and home of Dallas and Altiabelle Evans and they opened it up to us when my mom met their son.  We moved there when I was in the 2nd grade, so truly, it was the only childhood home I really ever knew.

Some of the best memories I have of growing up there include exploring the woods that surrounded our home and playing outside from sunrise to sunset but never getting bored.  There is a peace on the farm which is unexplainable.  Nature soaks up your worries and it's beauty was always an inspiration to me.  I remember sitting on the front porch, sketching charcoal drawings of the barns and tree lines.  I remember lying on a blanket of pine needles, staring up at their tall branches, inhaling their fragrance.  And I remember the dozens of different animals we grew up with, from pigs to horses, to chickens and geese, dogs and cats, to herds of cattle.

Wendy and me with a litter of Dallas' labs
In fact, I think I'll share a cow story today, one I know Dallas would've found funny, especially since he loved cattle so much.  It was not long after we moved there and, in an effort to make new friends, I was bragging about our farm.  To me, the fact that we had so many animals was unreal, never knowing farm life before.  I guess I should've realized we now lived in the country so being on a farm was the norm.  Nobody was impressed. 

This one particular boy, who I thought was cute but annoyed the heck out of me, was making fun and I needed something to make our farm stand out.  So what if I had cows, he scoffed, to which I replied, "Well, I bet you can't ride your cows like we do."  That shut him up.  And so I might have embellished the already tall tale to a story John Wayne could've starred in.  Problem solved, or so I thought.

Fast forward a few weeks to the first time a new friend came home.  At this point, I had forgotten all about the cow tale; however, she apparently had not.  On our walk home from the bus stop she said, "Hey maybe we can ride your cow this afternoon."

I gulped, and would've stopped in my tracks from the fear that washed over me, but walking was my only option to save face.  The normally lengthy trek home did not seem quite as long that day, at least not enough time or me to figure out how to get out of the lie.  As we neared the house, I told her my mom probably wouldn't let us today.

To my dismay, Mom agreed.  Of course she would, especially since Ronda only mentioned seeing the cow, not saddling the bad boy up and taking it for a stroll.  Seeing the cows was nothing out of the ordinary for us to do, especially when someone new came over.  I invited my sister to go with us, which I'm sure shocked her and gave me brownie points with Mom since that was out of character.  I wasn't being nice though, I'd hoped I could talk her into riding it first. 

Now, we all have different versions of how this story unfolded.  I prefer to think my way is only truthful one.  No matter, the end result still humiliates me.  I tried at first to continue the charade as we neared the gate.  My attempts at scaring Ronda off, like warning she could ruin her shoes in the cow patty field, did not work.  We climbed the fence and opted for the field that contained only one cow.

In my head I thought that one cow versus a herd of them was safer.  Little did I know, Mr. Cow was in this section alone because he was in a time-out for bad behavior.  After a few futile tries to near him, including picking up what I felt was a giant branch to guard myself, but in others' stories hear it was a tiny stick, the cow had enough.  (I had too since I was shaking at my knees and crying by this point!)  He stomped his huge hoof, snarled his mouth, and snorted me away.

We ran screaming to the nearest retreat we could find, a rickety old shack.  Thankfully, the doorway was too narrow for Evil Cow to fit through, though he tried.  As he hovered, shoulders framing the entry, we breathed a quick sigh of relief.  That is, until we turned to find a dead skeleton carcass of an old goat behind us.  This sent us all screaming again, frantically hugging each other and saying our goodbyes. 

The dinner bell saved us, as Mom stepped out on the porch around this time to call us in.  Hearing our screams, she ran across the road to the field.  I can only imagine what she thought when she saw three little girls, heads peeking out, in between a circling, angry cow.  As the hero she was, she called the cow, distracting him so we could slink out of the shack and exit the back fence.

Luckily, my friend still chose to be my friend, in fact she became by BFF.  And I chose to keep her, even though she re-enacted it at school the next week.  Lesson learned, I discovered our farm (and me) were great just the way we were, no tall tales needed.


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