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Cow Stories

September 7, 2005

Last Thursday Josh and I went to the Maryland State Fair. We ate fries and had the best and thickest milkshakes in the world. We checked out the 4-H projects and watched a calf stand for the first time after being born just a few hours before in the birthing area. The familiar smells of hay and warm milk and the milking parlor brought back memories . . .

It reminded me of the first time I can recall the State Fair. I was around 5 years old or younger and I wanted to go on a ride called the Octopus. My dad said he’d take me on it. My mom remarked that she didn’t think it was a good idea, considering swinging on a swing made my dad sick. “No, no,” he said “I won’t get sick,” and off we went to get on the ride. When we got off of the ride, my dad’s face was rather white. He got very sick.

My favorite fair of all was the Elizabethtown, PA fair. I went to that fair for about five years and participated in various ways. Submitted garden grown green beans, watercolored paintings and drawings, and cookies. I remember I was very proud when I entered my “famous” coconut pecan chocolate chip cookies. I was stunned when my sister took first place, however, with a chocolate version of a Rice Crispy treat recipe taken from the back of a Sunday School take-home paper! Can you believe that! And she won the first trophy for cow showing out of all of us kids. I still haven’t gotten over it . . .

Then there was the experience of showing cows. My first cow (or heifer, because until she’s had a calf, a cow is still a heifer) to train was Lass, an almost pure white cow with black-tipped ears. The cow was rather high-strung and hard to handle, but I loved her. Once she almost got away from me when I was practicing showing while my dad was gone. I remember when she had to be sold and how I cried and how my mom comforted me by making me Cream of Wheat for breakfast with brown sugar. I hoped my next cow would be less rowdy.

My dad and I bought Rose when we went to Canada on a cow-buying trip with my Pop-pop. I remember that trip distinctly because I woke up when we crossed the border. It was dark and the moon glowed luminously. I also remember that because my grandfather, who was going senile, peed in front of the gas station for all to see while my dad was pumping gas. “Dad, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” was my father’s response. Otherwise, the trip was uneventful and we bought Rose and some other heifers.

Rose was not calm, actually, she was way more rowdy than Lass. She practially ran around the ring during a show with me trying to keep her in step. She never won “best showmanship” award, that’s for sure! But we persevered and became fast friends. Rose was my favorite and I showed her various places, but finally, it was time for the Elizabethtown Fair again. We loaded our supplies in the tack box and hauled the animals to the fairgrounds. We put down fresh bedding and made sure the animals were comfortable and secure.

On the day I was to show Rose, my dad and I washed and groomed her. She was a beautiful heifer, with great legs and a straight back (something the judges look for). I felt sick to my stomach that day with nerves and almost didn’t want to go, despite the fact I’d done this many times before. But I went and I showed her and we won! It was the first time I’d one first place. Then we won again, and again! At the end of the day, Rose had swept every category she was in and won Supreme Champion over every other cow in the entire fair! I was amazed. The newspaper photographers came to get our pictures. She was hot stuff now! She went on to win other shows too, but then the day came when she had to be sold. Again it broke my heart to see her go, but dad said he knew the guy who was buying her and off she went to Flordia. The last I heard was that she’d had several calves and was a top dairy producer.

The fair also reminds me of when my mom practially got dragged by Apple, a cow who decided to chase horses, leaving my mom in the dust and my dad to run after her and chase her down. Or when my fingernail got bit off when a cow who thought my finger was a some food (she wasn’t trying to be mean, honest!). Believe me, I’ve got lots of cow stories!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2005 12:46 pm

    Oh, do tell moooore cow stories. So your sister won first place with a cereal box recipe, and you had a cow over it. (Sorry. Farm humor, or something like that.) Now that I’m conscientiously pumping gas, I will not be able to get that erase from my mind the image of your PopPop peeing. Oh, dear. Got more PopPop stories?

  2. September 7, 2005 5:50 pm

    Girl, we were there on Sunday and GOT TO SEE a calf being born! Start to finish. All Miguel could say was “sick, ewww, gross…” it was so funny!

  3. September 7, 2005 6:44 pm

    Cool! I wish Josh could have seen it! We missed most of the action but when the cow we saw on Thursday excreted her birthing “stuff” Josh was totally grossed out. I teased him and was like “that’s going to be me someday!”

  4. September 7, 2005 7:02 pm

    Miguel stated that he “wouldn’t look at the gross stuff…just the baby being born!” I had to laugh–don’t think he knows it will ALL be gross stuff hehe

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