Have you ever milked a cow? How about ride a horse that took naps?
Dee Gatrell ©
When I was a teenager my parents bought a 70-acre farm in Minerva, OH. I had been raised in the city of Canton until the age of nine when we moved to the village of East Canton. So at the age of 14, moving to the country wasn’t my cup of tea.
Eventually, my parents bought pigs, who managed to break out of their area often. Pigs are pretty smart and probably figured out why they were there. Then they got turkeys who were put on the top floor of the garage. They couldn’t stay outside. Turkeys aren’t overly bright and can drown in the rain. I have to admit, my cousin’s aunt and uncle had a farm with very mean turkeys that ran free. I wished they would’ve drowned. They used to chase us kids to bite us.
And of course there were the chickens who ran free--until some of one of our dogs killed them. What fun to see a yard full of dead chickens. They got rid of my dog. I love dogs and cats and preferred the chickens go and the dogs stay.
Then my city parents decided we should get a cow to provide us with milk. Did I mention they took in foster kids and the house was generally filled?
I didn’t care for the chickens, turkeys or pigs, so I opted to learn how to milk the cow. I pulled out the little stool that I saw the others sit on when they milked the cow. How hard could it be to milk the thing? She was a sweet old cow, as far as cows go. I remember talking to the cow whose name was Bessie. I reached for her utters and nothing came out. I tried several more times. I guess she got disgusted with me as she decided to lay down and take a nap. I tried my best to coax her to get up. But no way would she allow me to milk her.
I finally gave up and let my foster brother take over. Of course he snickered once the cow stood up for him and let him milk her.
That ended my affection for the cow.
Until my parents got a calf named Candy. She was cute and I could pet her, and she grew into a pretty brown and white cow. My Aunt Mildred wasn’t too happy that I named her Candy. I never knew if she was joking or not, but she swore that’s what she wanted to name her baby. My cousin Mary Alice is thankful she wasn’t named Candy.
And then one day Candy disappeared while I was in school. My parents said they took her to their friend’s farm in exchange for meat, and Candy would be happy to run around with all their other cows. Okay, I could deal with that. Until a year later when my mother the liar told me we ate Candy. She also told me a rabbit I ate was chicken. She wasn’t a trust worthy mother.
Then there was the neighbor boy who had a horse. He brought it to our farm and said he’d take me for a horse ride, which sounded fun. We trotted about a mile and suddenly the horse laid down. What was it with me and animals lying down? I was a skinny girl back then, so it wasn’t my weight. And he was a skinny boy. But I was worried my 102 pounds was too much for the horse and I had hurt him. A week later my neighbor boy learned his horse was having heart attacks.
From then on I mostly did the housework chores and occasionally got to drive the tractor during hay season. But I longed for the city.
I didn’t live in the city again until I was married with kids. Then I longed for the country.
Teenage kids aren’t easy to please. I used to tell my parents if I died I wanted them to bury me where I could see city lights.
And later what did I want? The country sounded great.