Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Escape Story #567

Strike a pose, there's nothing to it: Vogue!
Morning around here is a terrible time to be regular.  But I don't get to schedule the call of nature, I just have to answer it. And that is what I was doing yesterday, mid-get-to-school rush, when Blue answered the door.  I didn't know she was answering the door because I was in the bathroom, focusing on gettin' regular.  And from that throne I heard the common call of the Common Pony-tailed American Child, "Mom!  Mo-om!"  To which I responded as all moms sometimes do, at top volume, "I can't help you right now, honey.  I've got a log hanging from my ass.  It's just going to have to wait a minute."  To which she finally informs me, "Well, there's this man at the door and he's wondering if we're missing our cows."  And our dignity.

When I finally met the chuckling man at the door, I was still in slippers and pajamas, because I am not a morning person by nature.  I thought it would make me a virtuous woman if I forced myself to be up and about in the morning.  After babies didn't turn me in to one of these bright and happy sunrise people, I turned to more hard-core hobbies whose crying you can't fix by rolling over and shoving a breast at it: cows and chickens.  (Full Disclosure:  I don't actually know how they would respond to that.)  But instead of turning me into a better person, I've just invented clever and humane ways to not have to deal with them until after the kids have launched, my tea is fully sipped and I've read the obits, the comics, the dog ads (I have no idea why I read those.  I think I just like the pictures and imagining breeders and what they are eating for breakfast and what they are wearing: sweats and wife-beaters?) and completed the sudoku in pen (to add some challenge to the paper's idea of a puzzle).  And then I pull on the cover-alls over my pajamas and head out for the "morning" chores.  So that is why I met the man dressed like that.

Yes, those were my cows.  Although I spent the past sunny Sunday morning doing fence repair, not all was repaired apparently, and some time during the night, the cows broke the electric wire and scooted under a fence. I am not that bad at fence repair.  Cows are just that good at exploiting any weakness in your containment field.  And this man, also a husband of bovines, knew all about that, and he was very understanding.  Following their tracks, we can see that they ventured into the garden and trampled all my newly planted peas and kale seeds, sinking deep into the fluffy loam I'd labored over for knee-bruising, shoulder-aching, wrist-swelling hours on Saturday.  They danced around the garage a few times, and then took off down the road. The "neighbor" (he's a little far away to really be a neighbor) was awakened this morning by early commuters wondering if those were his cows in the road. He had once checked in on a sick cow of mine and so he recognized the fugitives, and took them in anyway, to keep the safe until we could come up with a plan.

What attracted them to his farm was the only fully functional bull for many miles around.  He'd spent much of that morning already, while I was crapping and making lunches and setting timers on children to brush their teeth, trying to separate my obstinate cows from his young bull.

We agreed to meet up again at 10:30 while he went to breakfast and I repaired my fence and drove to town for some cow-provisions.

As my body was busy prepping the farm and running errands, my mind remembered, in sympathy with the cows, the time I snuck out in the middle of the night with my friend.  She lived in town, so after sneaking out there was actually some place to go. We chose the wild and crazy park, obviously, and sat on the swings in the middle of the night in November and looked at the stars and giggled about our bad-ass selves.  Then these guys showed up. Big guys, chatting us up. And so we decided we would rather be home again, because these guys were neither cute nor interesting nor really in our age zone.  Just as we were leaving, the men following a creepy twenty feet behind us, the entire park filled with light from all sides.  I thought I may have died, that's how bright the lights were. Bull horns instructed us to stay where we were, which was not what I expected in heaven. German Shepherds descended, also from all sides, into the park which was just a sunken triangle of grass and a few toys.  The large pack of nazi-dogs strained at their leather harnesses, followed by an even bigger pack of cops.  I might have been relieved, a little, since those boys were so strange.  We were interrogated under flashlight, names, numbers, parents were called (mine were on vacation and this was not the first phone call they had received about their children and they were already starting on their way home to try to salvage what they could after the house fell victim to a teen kegger.  They did not think any of this was as hilarious as their children did.)

Already a political being, I thought, My god, is this how we spend our tax dollars?  Chasing down kids on swings who didn't read  the "Park closes at dusk" sign? Seemed a little over-kill and for we two girls, it was.  But for the boys who'd joined us, it wasn't.  Arrests were made of the Most Wanted Men and we were let free after assuring the cops we had no idea who they were.  I think we should have received community service awards and rewards instead of community service because we were the jail-bait that lured those men into the awaiting hand-cuffs of the po-po.  Without oblivious us, those men might still be on the lam, menacing society.  And that is my memory about sneaking out in the middle of the night.

Later, on his 4-wheeler, the neighbor herded our cows to the edge of his field.  I opened the gate and we marched them down the road.  Of course, at this moment, the arborists arrived to slaughter my neighbor's willows, all big trucks, cherry pickers and chippers and beeping backing up in the middle of the road.  And so the cows bolted and ran and leaped over fences.  And so did I.  And then suddenly (and tragically for the typical and satisfying Greek trajectory of "the story,") the whole episode ended quite quickly and safely with cows back home, pacing around rehashing their totally awesome adventure while Jim and I chatted about the pleasantries of farming, ie: how many coyotes he shot (ack!) and dead calves and vultures and mice.  And I tried to offer to return the favor some day without sounding like a hooker for cow-herding help.


  1. This is an excellent short t story. Truly so wonderful. Sarah Cedars



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