Cow in the road

This weekend, Trifecta challenged us to respond to this picture

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.

About jesterqueen:
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.


Cow in the road — 35 Comments

    • You’re not missing much. Mom swears that when I was a baby, I adored cows, used to make her stop the car so I could go pet them. I must have been a really naive baby.

    • I know lots of people who didn’t. I envy them. On the other hand, ‘not-being-a-vegetarian’ is an easy choice for me. I look at cows today and think, “You are my lunch. You are my dinner. You may be my breakfast, too, but I can’t quite decide.”

    • Very much so. Very very much so. There was always the distinct possibility that she’d run out on me. I never really feared that she’d run me over, but she would gun that engine to try and move the cow along. (The cows never responded.)

  1. great piece, Jessie – but the challenge was to use only 33 words. Hope you can change it to fit the challenge. 🙂

    • oooops – go back and READ the directions, moosie!!!!! my bad. Sorry, Jessie. I am sure you wrote 333 exactly. 🙂 (and it’s STILL a great entry)

      • Haha! It IS a bit unusual for them to choose either 33 OR 333. Given my druthers, I’ll always take the longer route. I am terrible at twitter for this reason. My stories just take longer to tell.

    • And there’s that initial anxiety…what if the bloody thing didn’t go to the usual spot? What if I DON’T find it in time?

  2. Very good story told in a friendly voice. I like your use of language like oh-dark-thirty and screamed a 360. Well executed memoir.

    • And it describes her so perfectly. She typically wound up facing the same direction she had come before swinging a (slightly) less ambitious U turn.

  3. That this story was based in truth makes it all the more endearing. I can easily imagine how much you hated those cows, but this reminded me so much of my grandparents and their own pinked nosed cows.

  4. Loved oh-dark-thirty and you true story about living in the country. No experience with cows here but you brought me to the farm with you. Stupid cows!

    • Ugh – I always seem to remember having backup of SOME variety. I’d have been a mess doing it alone. As long as I was part of a team, I was competent.

  5. Until the comments, I didn’t realize this was fiction! Very fun. Chasing cows is a great metaphor for writing… BTW I got a Liebster award, and you are one of the lucky ones I’m passing it on to. Do with it what you will… 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for linking up to Trifextra this weekend. The challenge this weekend will be judged by the community. So please come back to the Trifecta home page and click the stars next to the three posts you most enjoyed. You only have until Monday at 8 am EST, so hurry!

    • Oh those are lovely pictures! I was expecting more farm life. My favorite was the little girl whose brothers are autistic who had gone to sleep on top of a hill of rocks.

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