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Thursday, September 5, 2013

When I Wanted to be a Cowboy...or a Fire Truck

I last wrote about my Uncle George when I learned all thosenew words.  It probably wasn’t very long after that when I got to put some of those words in practice.  to give just a little background, my Dad and Grandpa had a dairy together when I was about five or six.  When it was springtime I was always pretty excited, after all here was a bunch of cows that were little boy sized.  I wanted to be cowboy like my dad…or a farmer, like my grandpa….or a fire truck…….sometimes I wanted to be Superman.

But I digress, this particular day I was wearing my cowboy hat.  Uncle George was heading out to doctor some Holstein calves and he was carrying a rope.  Now George was not a cowboy by any means, he wasn’t going to ride a horse and we drove to the pasture.  BUT, he was carrying a rope.  So I jumped all over the chance to go rope some calves.  Imagine my disappointment when he said I couldn’t bring my rope.  Was he not taking this aspiring young cowboy (that day anyway) seriously?  Did he not know that I had plans to be the next Phil Lyne?  Apparently he had no idea that Phil Lyne was the All-Around cowboy in the finals that year.  I wondered what he had been watching that year, the Hesston commercials?

When we got to the pasture George calmly got out and walked into the pasture carrying his rope.  Now all my life, short as it was, I had been told to watch out for the momma cows.  They would get you to protect their babies.  So of course I was right on George’s heels going into that pen.  He very calmly walked up to that old milk cow and dropped a loop on the calf.  That’s when things got a little western.

As he tightened that loop on that calf, the natural instincts of a cow came out.  It seems no matter how tame the momma is, when young ‘uns are under pressure they remember all of the wild, in-the-brush instincts of a longhorn.  That calf was jumpin’ and dodgin’ around, the momma cow was bellerin’ and carryin’ on and it was all George could do to hold that calf, let alone do the doctorin’.  Now I really think that George thought I would be more help than I was, because I was just standing back watching this whole show.  I was really thinking that today may have been the day I wanted to be a fire truck instead of a cowboy.  That calf probably outweighed me and the thought of jumping in there and helping made me want to get my little red hat and run around going “whayooo, whayooo” (do your best fire truck siren imitation here).

But, George had started using those words again and he did have something in his hands that he could give me a whippin’ with eventually.  So I tentatively started walking up to that calf, and George started hollerin’. 

He said, “Get in there and grab that _____ calf”  (words I won’t repeat)

“What about the momma?” I asked.

“She won’t bother you as long as you have a hold of the calf, now get in there and grab that _____ calf!"  He replied.

So this little five year old boy took a deep breath, mentally took off his red firemans hat, put his cowboy hat back on and started toward that calf.  It was a really slow “start toward the calf” and an involved lot of words as George was trying to hold the syringe and the calf at the same time.  It seems he was losing his sparkling disposition again.

When I finally reached the calf, that momma cow had reached it about the same time.  I remember what George had said, so I grabbed a hold of that calf.  That’s when all of the words that Uncle George had taught me came to my mind.  That momma cow hit me and must have knocked me into the atmosphere.  I knew this to be true because I saw stars and there are only stars in the sky.  When I came back to earth, ol’ momma hit me again and proceeded to roll me along the ground like a dog pushing a basketball downhill.  Lucky for me, we slammed into the feed bunk and her momentum was arrested.  At that point I think I must have been beamed up to the Star Trek Enterprise because I couldn’t feel anything and I saw those stars again.

When Captain Kirk had beamed me back to Earth, I happened to see good ol’ Uncle George.  It seemed that the calf had got away and he was on his hand and knees having some sort of spasms.  When the roaring had stopped in my ears (a byproduct of the beaming back and forth?) and my senses started returning, I started to hear the most horrible sound.  I thought maybe George was hurt and because I couldn’t hold that calf, it was my fault.

Then I realized he was laughing at me.  I could have sucked it up and not cried about the cow running me over and mashing me into the feed bunk, but between that and him laughing at me…it was too much for this five year old boy.  I jumped up, with tears running down my face and said, “You lied to me!  You said she wouldn’t get me!”  He couldn’t even catch his breath, he was laughing so hard!

I didn’t even wait for him to stand up.  I turned and ran to Grandma’s house and cried to her for a little while.  She explained that George probably didn’t do it on purpose (I did notice that she used the word probably) and that he just need my help.  I didn’t care if he needed help or not, at that point.  I just knew he was not getting any help from me.

The good news was that Grandma gave me a bowl of ice cream and I spent the rest of the day pushing around my fire truck and wearing my fireman’s hat.  To heck with that cowboy stuff that day, maybe I would try it again tomorrow.


  1. The memories we can re-live, when confronted with a mad mamma cow story. I think there are days I still want to wear the ole fire hat, and leave the cowboy hat on the rack. Great story amigo!!

    1. I still wear the hat, but probably see more fire trucks than mad momma cows! Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Great story. In my mind, I can see your Uncle George and your wonderful Grandmother holding you on her lap, and you eating ice cream. Thanks for the memories. I remember visiting on the farm, with my mother and your Grandmother visiting in the kitchen. From your 2nd Cousin, Gail

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Gail. I can recall a lot of stories from then, pretty funny now!