Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bum Steer


Sometimes our neighbor Les Stone would put us up on Ralf, the Jersey milk cow and she'd buck and lunge like a champion rodeo bull. My friend Stephanie named her after the sound she made when she attempted to moo. Ralf had a big knotted abscess on her cheek and a lisp, so her I'm so lonely song came out RALF! RALF! RALF! 

Ralf was also a consummate escape artist. Her middle name should've been Cowdini. So my neighbors resorted to electric fences to keep the cow in. But come morning, there was Ralf straddling the electric fence, udderly devastated by the height of the fence and the fact that her full udder, in need of milking, wouldn't clear the hurdle—facts colluded. She'd stand there, with back hunched up to lift her udder off the electric fence, waiting patiently to be rescued, muttering ralf, ralf, ralf under her breath. 

Come spring, she'd charge right through that fence to find Old Grandad the Herfie bull in Nuneses' upper pasture on Mt. Barnabe. And she'd bust out again to have her calf in the woods. She'd hide out and blend in with the trees. I swear that cow could tiptoe. We'd have to go hunt her down hidden in the oaks with her newborn calf. We'd follow the calf's yellow fresh milk spoor. Busted!

Poor Ralf loved freedom and we couldn't explain to her why wandering the backroads was not a good idea for a fawn colored cow and calf—especially during deer hunting season.

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