I spent my childhood chasing other people’s cows. The farmers who rented our fields were supposed to keep up the fences, but they never did. And the cows never got out during the day. No, they escaped at midnight or two AM, so that we all had to scramble out of bed looking for feed when someone banged on the door. And I slept downstairs, so I always heard the knock.
I hated those cows. I wanted them to die. But, especially once we bought the house and land, a wreck would have been on our insurance. While Mom tried to raise the cow’s owner, I tramped up State Route 286 in my nightgown chanting, “Come on cow, stupid cow, gonna get us both killed cow.” And then she’d join me in the car, and we’d herd the bovine slowly down the road, me leading the animal by the halter with a feed bucket, her following with the flashers on.
We lived in a sharp curve. Drunks regularly got tangled in our trees. (One memorable fellow actually knocked one over. Broke his own neck, too, that night. Worst neck break the hospital had seen where the victim walked away six weeks later.) So I watched for headlights behind me as I paraded backwards down the street, the cow and my mother following.
When I was twelve, I used to sleep in only my underpants. So when I went to answer the man pounding on the door at oh-dark-thirty, I actually managed to humiliate a neighborhood father with my breasts, which were far too large to be called ‘buds’ at that point.
By the time I was twenty one, all the roles had swapped and swapped again. My sister drove and I walked. Only, where Mom followed slowly with the flashers, Amye zoomed past in her Mazda, slammed on the brakes and screamed a 360 before coming in behind the cow, her red eyes haunting behind the wheel as she pursued us to safety.
This post came easy. It’s the first one all week that has. Of course, ‘easy’ for me is always relative. Anyway, when I saw the picture Trifecta posted for our photo response this weekend, my mind went home. The only difference here is that the little girl in this picture doesn’t seem to care, or even notice, that the cow is walking down the road. Perhaps she’s in a country where such is common. I always cared. I always hated.
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.