Baxter Black: Roundin’ up a loose cow
One of the greatest feelings in the world is to see a cow loose on the road and realize it’s not yours.
I know that sounds awful. And I do feel a little guilty sayin’ it, but it’s true! Of course, I do feel bad for whos’ever critter it is. And many’s the time I’ve driven ’em down my lane and penned ’em up and called the owner of the wandering beast.
Chasin’ somebody else’s cow back where she belongs is kinda like drivin’ a rented car. You do your best but you don’t worry about the outcome quite as much. ’Specially if there’s three or four neighbors helpin’.
Or passing motorists who are always willing to help. They’re usually about as much help as a town dog but they’re enthusiastic. There’s something that draws these good Samaritans, like a car wreck or someone threatening to jump off a bridge.
If things are getting out of hand, there’s always the possibility you can take down your rope and get a shot or two at her before she crawls through the fence. ’Course, if it’s your cow, it’s different. You’re racin’ around tryin’ to get the lower pasture gate open whilst keepin’ an eye on her last reported position. You’re shouting orders at members of your family and the neighborhood pets, stationing motorists to slow down traffic and mostly makin’ a fool of yourself.
The cow, on the other hand, has developed amnesia. She seems to have lost all memory of where she’s been eating and sleeping for seven years. She’s got her head up in the air like a drum major. She’s crashing through the neighbor’s corn, headin’ for the truck stop a mile away. You manage to get her headed off the creek, where she breaks back south, in the opposite direction of your place. You are a’horseback and the wife’s ratlin’ down the end of the corn rows in the pickup. It’s a good thing the 30-30 is with her.
The cow finally turns up the neighbor’s drive and is converged on by six vehicles, swerving in like treasury agents at a moonshiner’s convention. You find her in the neighbor’s shop calmly chewing on electrical wire.
With a little help, you get her worked into his corral and then go home to get the trailer and haul her home. An experience you won’t long forget — ‘specially since it will be the hot topic at the coffee shop for the next 30 days.
What often begins as a hobby to pass the time by creating something appealing to the artist or appealing to the eye, to the ear, something tasty or something — anything, can often flower into a real source of income that can help working families in rural economies like ours.