In the spring new calves arrived almost daily and I loved the new babies. Although our cows were protective of their shiny black and white toddlers most of them allowed us to pet and handle them. So when I was helping bring the cows into the corral one evening I was attracted to a new calf.
Suddenly I realized this one belonged to our cranky cow. She lowered her head and charged. I don’t think I even touched the ground as I shot across the barnyard. Ornery was right behind me as I rolled under the fence. I don’t remember screaming but my mom heard me and was out of the house and dusting me off before I knew what had happened. We tried to gentle down our grouchy cow but Dad finally had to sell her.
There was another time my mother came sprinting in response to my scream. Not all our fields were well fenced to contain the cattle. Some were surrounded by a single strand of barbed wire, but that wire was charged with a pulse of electricity. The cows and the rest of us, including the dog, had a healthy respect for a one-wire fence. Accidently touching the wire would give a surprise shock we didn’t forget.
One evening as I was bringing in the cows from pasture I decided I could jump a big puddle across the path. I missed the jump and instinctively stretched out my hand to steady myself only to have it close around that electric fence. Standing in water must have really increased the buzz because I let out a yell that brought Mom in a hurry from a hundred yards away. I had recovered from the shock by the time she arrived. I think I was more surprised at how fast she could run.
Illustrations are watercolor pencil on paper from my sketch book.