Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Flap That Dress

I’ve always prided myself on being a quick learner so when my husband, Bev, asked me if I thought I could handle being a farm wife I rose to the challenge. He got a job as a Dairy Herdsman and we moved to the country. I must admit I felt a little intimidated by the cows at first. In time I began to feel more confident though, especially when they were lined up neatly and safely locked into the stanchions. They were so placid and well behaved. That was before the fateful Sunday we met under very different circumstances.

We pulled into our lane after a particularly grueling church service. Being nearly eight months pregnant made almost everything grueling back then. I wanted nothing more than a nap at that moment. In fact I had already closed my eyes when I heard Bev’s explosive “Oh no!” and felt the car lurch to a sudden standstill.

There in the yard ahead of us was a group of at least a dozen escapees from the adjoining pasture. It seemed to me that there were cows everywhere. Bev reacted quickly. He maneuvered the car into a position that would block the lane and got out to confront the miscreants. In a series of fits and starts I managed to gain the house where I watched nervously from the safe haven of the porch.

Perhaps they didn’t recognize the suit and tie or perhaps their first taste of freedom had gone to their heads but those cows were being particularly uncooperative. Time and time again he would get them started in the right direction and they would scatter as they approached the gate. Finally, he called out to me that I would have to help.

“I can’t chase cows in my condition!” I shouted in instant apprehension.

“You don’t have to chase them,” he responded patiently. “Just put on some boots and come out here.”

This crisis was obviously going to require teamwork so I reluctantly made my way out to the yard feeling clumsy and awkward in oversized boots.

“What do I do?” I asked.

“I want you to go out into the field, say about a hundred yards or so and flap your dress,” Bev explained.

“Flap my dress?” I looked down at myself in bewilderment. The red dress I was wearing looked more like a tent than anything else and I couldn’t figure out what he was getting at. It sounded a lot easier than chasing cows though, so I waddled out into the empty field and took up my position.

If I had known the likely result of such a display, I probably would not have flapped that dress with such naïve abandon. One by one heads lifted and turned in my direction. The nearest cow, its curiosity peaked, took a few tentative steps toward the gate. The next thing I knew, what looked like a full scale stampede was on and it was coming straight at me.

I froze in mid flap, rooted to the spot in horrified expectation of a fatal trampling. The charge lasted only seconds but I could have sworn it was much longer. To my utter amazement, those cows came to an abrupt stop within feet of where I stood. I reminded myself to resume breathing as I looked into several pairs of huge brown eyes and searched for signs of aggression. However, not even my overactive imagination could turn milk cows into anything but milk cows.

As I stood there trying to anticipate their next move, they lost interest in me and began to wander and graze as if nothing had happened. It seemed a rather flat ending to my ‘near death experience’.
I trudged back to my grinning husband who shouted, “Well done!” as he latched the gate. He obviously knew I had never been in the slightest danger.

“All in a day’s work,” I responded with a shaky smile.

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