Have cows…will travel

dad and cow.jpg

Yes… you see correctly.  No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you.  There is indeed a cow in the backseat of the car.

When I was around 5 1/2 or 6, my dad decided that since we lived in the country, we should try having some cows.  This “experiment” lasted around a year.  We had 7 cows.  At some point during this time, one of the cows got out of the fencing.  My dad went out to search for the cow.  He found it quite a distance from the house.  Since he didn’t want to lose it again by going home, he just took the back seat out of the car.  In older cars, you could just push down on the seat and pull them out.  He left the seat by the roadside (remember from this post and this one that we lived in uncharted territory of rural Florida) so it would still be there when he returned.  He put the cow in the backseat of the car and the hilarious picture above is the end result.

We fed them the big bales of hay and I remember a raised trough with a saltlick inside.  I was told not to taste it, but at some point I did.  Yep, it tasted like a massive mouthful of salt.  Gross!!  Otherwise, the cows just wandered around the fenced section eating grass.


 One of the 7 cows was a baby and/or a runt.  I decided that she was mine because she small, like me.  The problem was that she didn’t like to walk around as much as the other cows.  She just stood there munching grass in one spot.  So I would help her along.  I would stand beside her and push slightly on her rump to get her to walk forward.  I didn’t know it at the time, but she already had pneumonia when we got her.

I can still vividly remember the day that she died.  My mom, my brother, and I were in the smaller front bedroom of the trailer.  There was a bed beside the window.  The small window started even higher than my head while standing on the bed.  My mom told me not to look outside because the cow had died and my dad was burying her.

I didn’t believe her.  Surely my cow had not died.  I had recently seen her standing in the yard.  I wanted to see if my mom was telling the truth, but I didn’t want her to know I was checking.  I started jumping on the bed.  When I would spring up, I was tall enough to see out the window.  I could just turn my head slightly and my mom wouldn’t suspect that I was trying to catch her in a lie.

Jump- and up I went, and I saw my dad dragging my cow out farther back onto the property to bury her. My stomach dropped. I was shocked.  My mom was telling the truth.

Down I went. When I landed, I sat down with a numb heaviness on the bed.  My cow was dead.  Was it because I had pushed her to walk forward?  Was it my fault that she was dead?  I remember having these thoughts as I sat there experiencing the first death of my life.

Death is a natural part of the process of our existence.  It is still a painful experience when it comes to your doorstep.  I choose to focus on the fact that I loved that cow dearly.  She was my friend when I had no nearby playmates. I  walked and talked with her daily, in our short time together, as we strolled along in the wilds of Florida.  She taught me the importance of letting people (or animals) know that I loved them because the length of our time together is never promised.

Let your light shine!


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