No story is the same to us after the lapse of time;
or rather we who read it are no longer the same interpreters.
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
Now where did I leave you all hanging after this story? Oh yes now I remember….spitting rain, orphaned calf, flooded basement, a hopefully creative writing class and a bottle of sweet milk tucked in my vest. Down the lane we go in the tractor.
I could smell that sweet milk tucked in my vest as I drove down that lane, I hopped out of the tractor opened the gate with that bottle still tucked in my vest keeping it warm. Back in the cab I drove through, picked up two bales then drove back out, climbed down again and shut the gate. Back into the cab then drove over to the girls.
Sitting high in the tractor seat I could see everything going on. Some of the girls wandered quickly over to check out the bales so I proceeded to peel the outer layer off the bales one at a time and let it fall to the ground as bedding and moved the center parts of the bales over to dry ground and stood them on their end so all the girls and could pick the bits and pieces they wanted. I could see the Moms with calves snuggled together, some were sleeping but some Moms disturbed by all the noise I was making were now getting up and stretching then walking over to either the outer or inner part of the bale whichever they preferred much like an Oreo cookie (I like the center). I then noticed poor orphan Sally all alone under a cedar tree curled up in the bedding, she was sleeping.
I drove over and parked the tractor between her and Thor the bull as a precaution, he is not aggressive but with any bull you should never take a chance if you are to be fussing with calves, just in case. Even though most days Thor loves watching the girls and I play hat parade he respects my boundary and I do the same of his. I hopped to the ground and wandered over to Sally hoping she was not going to take that bottle, meaning she had eaten earlier from her Mom. I pulled the sweet smelling bottle of milk from my vest and placed it to her nose, she stood up latched on sucking it dry; I had my answer. I noticed a strange red Hereford cow standing in the distance watching us. I patted Sally and told her everything was going to be alright and left her standing there. It was still spitting rain. I threw the empty bottle in the tractor and walked around counting the cows and calves. I felt sorry for Sally but was still hopeful it would all work out. I watched as she wandered among the Moms and let out a couple of bawling sounds, telling her Mom she was looking.
I then as usual proceeded to walk the bush and that is when I seen Sally's (the orphan calf) Mom with older cow Sandy and they were both following one very energetic running calf, I now figured out that they had both probably had their calves born at the same time, hence the confusion. There were two Moms one calf, one calf (Sally) no Mom. There was nothing that I could do about that and with the cow count right and calf cow right and Sally fed there was nothing else I could do back here. I knew I would come back to feed Sally and check for more calves again at noon. I headed back to the basement of disappointment and possible broken dreams and thoughts of a lot of work. It was now half an hour till I could get to that creative writing class and register.
Walking through that basement door and hearing the pump running, then looking at the enormous amount of work waiting to be done I sighed. Thinking but still wavering a bit I decided to run up those stairs wash that sticky milk off my hands, I slapped on some nice smelling cream to cover the smell of the sweet milk that may have spilled and threw on some clean clothes, grabbed that pad of paper and two new pens sitting on the table then raced out the door. I knew if I once again let this interfere with my plans I would never go. The farm and life’s difficulties would continue to always be first and I needed at this time in my life to move these problems to second place, I needed to do this, it was my time. I am not getting any younger and I have to think about myself, selfish maybe, but I needed this. I needed to prove to myself that I was more than just the farmer. Off I drove down the road.
I arrived at that class smelling like sweet milk I am sure, but hopefully no one noticed. I sat in a small class with like-minded eager to learn students and a skilled published writing teacher whom I really liked. I used my new pen and pad of pad of paper and learned how to get ideas flowing for a story. My mind once in a while wandered back to the farm and worried a bit about what was going on but knowing it would still be there waiting for me when I finished this class that I have been thinking of taking for many years and have never made the time.
I walked out the door of that class smiling, excited at the thought of making new friends and learning things I did not know about what I love to do. I had homework tucked under my arm and a new outlook.
I know you are probably still wondering about poor orphan Sally well I am going to tell you. After feeding her all that day and then My Hero doing the night feeding I headed out early the next morning with yet another warm bottle of milk tucked in my vest. I fed the cows and walked all around looking for her but she was nowhere to be found, I have to say I was a little worried about that always watching me Coyote and afraid the Coy wolves that I had seen not too long ago and I thought that was the end of her. I headed back to the bush and there she was standing under a tree.
She was standing there nursing on a Red Hereford cow with her tail wagging and the Red cow was licking her.
I know this is when you are thinking that her Mom had found her. It was not her Mother because I had seen her following Sandy’s calf which by the way really seems to enjoy having two Moms. “All is well that ends well” but …….
You know there is more to this story don’t you? Did I mention her new Mom was going to have a calf very soon?