Sunday, June 27, 2004

Save a Cowboy - Ride a Cow

Heard that new song today---Save a Horse - Ride a Cowboy.

It brings to memory the antics of my sisters and I riding one of our Daddy’s prized white face Hereford Cows. We named this piece of prime beef and hamburger on hooves Bossie and made a pet of her. I can’t even remember who decided we should make this 2000 pound creature our own private carnival ride, all I can remember is riding the thing around the yard, not at a wild gallop but traveling at a slow, sedate walk, ambling along at what seemed to be top speed to a bunch of young gals. She wore a little black felt hillbilly hat and sported a halter. I guess we all wanted to be rodeo stars in a future life or at the very least, be as daring as Annie Oakley. How brave we felt, sitting high on a cow’s back, looking down on the world from our lofty perch. I recall waiting anxiously for my turn, awash with the fidgets, and getting so frustrated when the lucky sister who happened to be atop that cow would turn and smirk at the unfortunate wanta-be-cow-riders waiting their turn. I can also remember Mom having to step in and force the change of rider at a specified time because we were unwilling to relinquish possession.

The cowboys on television make riding a cow seem a difficult and fool-hardy piece of idiocy. The trick is to find a cow that actually likes to be ridden and is tame enough as to encourage this trait. Bossie was that and more. I am also of the opinion that her lack of that pesky testosterone that Bulls (which are boy cows, for those uneducated people) have in abundance had some bearing on her gentleness. For a bunch of girls who had little in the way of summertime entertainment, Bossie was definitely a big hit.

Actually riding a cow was simple. To get on that cow was a more difficult maneuver. Especially for a short woman who was an equally short child. My older sister was long -legged and could easily vault onto her back from the ground. She was lucky. But the short become very resourceful in their hour of need. Either a step up from a littler sister’s back who is down on all fours beside said cow or ever a bucket placed near her hooves became a handy stool to use. Once atop the cow, getting her to move was tougher. She had a tendency to just stand there chewing her cud while you kicked and yelled and pleaded for her to move forward. Once in a while, she would swish her tail to shoo a fly. And maybe even turn her head to take a peek at whoever on her back, all the while chewing and blinking at you. Forward motion of both the cow and, ergo, the cowgirl, was achieved simply by means of an ear of dried corn tied to a piece of twine and to a long stick. Bossie would follow that corn anywhere. To turn left, you moved the corn to the left. Right, same thing, opposite direction. Simple. The cow followed the ear of corn. The problems started when you were holding the corn before you were ready to get going. She went whether you were ready or not. It became necessary to ensure her immobility, and that was to make sure someone else had the corn on the stick while you got on and got settled. And equally important was to make sure she could not see the corn, or she would move before your were ready to go after that food. To stop the ride was equally frustrating, both to the rider and to the cow. Either by means of handing the stick to someone on the ground or throwing it as far away as possible was one means. As long as she didn’t see where it went. The most expeditious means was to simply jump off her back while still in motion and hope for a soft landing.

Of course, our cow riding days were not without risks and numerous mishaps. Getting a small bare foot stepped on by a cow hoof is not a pleasant thing. The steering mechanism also left room for improvement. Bossie had a bad habit for side-swiping barbwire fences. Whether from our terrible steering or from sheer perversity I don’t know. But either way, little bare legs and barb wire fences were not a pretty combination. Equally dangerous were the before mentioned dismounts. Rodeo daredevils had nothing on us when it came to abandoning ship and disastrous landings. We sported many scraped knees and arms and bruises, all badges of honor in our eyes. A few of still have the scars to prove it.

She had twin calves once and one got stuck in the mud at the cow pond. When it died, Bossie’s milk dried up and we raised the other calf on a bottle. When the calf got older, Daddy took it to the slaughter house and had it turned into steak, hamburger and roasts. I can clearly remember sitting at the dinner table where Mom had served some of that beef and refusing to eat any of it. None of us would eat it. We all five sat there with tears running down our faces and watching Daddy as he ate our pet. It would have been like eating our pet dog, sacrilege. He had to give all that meat away to appease us. I can remember when Daddy sold her at the sale barn. We were broken hearted.

All in all, I think all kids should have a pet cow. Preferably one that is amicable enough to allow ambling strolls atop her back. We had dogs, cats, goats and pigs. We have even had opossums and skunks as pets. But, for me, Bossie is the best pet we ever had. Maybe because she was unique, because in all honesty, not many have bovines for pets.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Growin Up Wild

I grew up in a family of five girls in rural Lawrence County, Alabama. We were adventuresome and boisterous, with each and every one of us having accomplished a broken bone at least once in our childhood. Some of us achieved more than one, all usually thru our own mischievousness or unadulterated penchant for the wilder side of life. Our parents were less than thrilled at some of our antics, but we were allowed to be as big a tomboy as we wanted. Daddy loved that aspect of us and encouraged it for his own gain. It led to 5 ready, able and sometimes willing farm hands, always on the spot to chase cows, mend fences, haul hay and the occasional lawnmower overhaul. Whatever needed doing, most any of us could turn our hand to it.

Life at our house was highly entertaining and unpredictable. Any common, every day event could and often did turn into a fantastic occurrence. I remember Tina and Teresa dressing puppies in doll clothes. Common enough for little girls. Next thing we knew, they were baptizing them in the ditch full of water running in front of our house. And it was cold, wintertime weather! Mama made them dry the puppies and sit in front of the big old gas heater until they dried. My cousins came down to visit one hot summer day. We were down at the edge of the woods where some old car bodies were. My cousins, being boys, were throwing rocks through the glasses of the cars so they would bust. This was before shatter-proof glass and a sliver of the glass flew off and cut the end of my sister Lana’s finger nearly off. I, personally was run over by a station wagon, driven by my four year old cousin, who, too short to see over the steering wheel while sitting, was standing in the seat of a still-running car. Luckily, even though the tires passed over the backs of my knees, the ground was wet enough and the ground indented enough that no damage was done. Vicki, the oldest, and likely the bravest, was galloping her horse across the pasture when she traveled under a low-lying limb and was knocked unconscious. And Thunder, her trusty steed, stayed beside her until she came to and crawled back on.

These are only a few incidences where the normal everyday activities of any family have turned into a fiasco. How our Mama survived us is a wonder. I do recall the local Doctor telling her that he knew it was summer when the Waters girls began to come in. I must say, though, that we had a wonderful childhood, filled with laughter, excitement and fun. Our parents did a great job of raising us and, for the most part, we turned into fairly respectable adults.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Nearly A Virgin

Can having sex with only one man make you a nearly virgin? If so, that is me. And damn, I must admit, I feel something has been missing from my life forever. Most women my age (fourtish) have experimented and tried out different models of the male animal. And here I am, nearly about old, and I have never seen many of the aforesaid models, much less strapped one on for a test drive. And precisely how does a woman (past her prime, alas) go about capturing one of these specimens of manhood for personal experimentation? Maybe a baited trap? Any sophisticated and alluring attributes I ever possessed have faded long ago and long been forgotten. A deep pit, covered with brush, and a prayer that some likely prospect will come strolling by and fall in, thereby becoming the victim of my adolescent fantasies? I am too lazy to dig a hole to plant a flower, much less a pit over six feet deep to hold him hostage while I have my wicked way with him. Maybe a gentle nudge with the bumper of my car as he walked along the road, to make him somersault into the ditch, thereby stunning him into immobility, giving me time to leap on him.

What are the perfect specifications I should look for in the quest for amorous adventure? Size should be the first requisite I would think. Any red blooded American woman should realize that a tank full to the brim is much more advantageous than a tank only half filled. And stamina….not enough can be said about this I am afraid. What would be the point of riding in a race car and only getting ¾ of the way to the finish line? Every woman should want to cross that line, carry the checkered flag and say “YES!”, “YES!” as she soared to victory. The ride of the machine should also be of prime importance. Who wants to ride on a bumpy old John Deere tractor when the ride of a Cadillac is much smoother and fulfilling to the driver? Should I check his teeth, his oil, his tires?

Is it worth it, this quest for knowledge I have to test-drive and decide the performance of other vehicles of pleasure? Is any one better than another? All in all, I have to believe that I am better off alone in my quest for personal fulfillment. I will drive alone, not to be tempted to stray from my path of self-imposed near virginity. And wonder what I missed.