always think cows are sweet, doe-eyed creatures that spend their
time munching wildflowers and looking wistfully over fences. People
who dont have cows think that anyway. People with cows know
that theyre mean, and worse, sneaky. "How could a cow
weighing upwards of half a ton be sneaky?" you ask. But,
believe me, cows are masters of stealth. Many a time Ive
turned around in the woods or at the far end of the field and
found myself almost nose to nose with one of the devious beasts.
True, cows are not very bright. Many of them have the mentality
of lemmings, which makes a bad apple in the herd even worse. If
you have one bovine Moriarty, then he or she has a ready-made
gang of thugs.
I was seven years old, my mother, little sister, and my dog, Samson
were picking wildflowers in the woods. The cows, or so we believed,
were in the lower pasture happily grazing. We checked their location
before we left for our flower-picking excursion since they made
my little sister, Susan, nervous. Sure enough, the cows were lazily
munching grass and paying no attention to us. We crossed the field
and the half-dry creek bed and started picking flowers on the
lower bank. Samson, a handsome daschund with black and tan markings,
spent his time checking holes and rotten logs for possible bunny
there we were, a merry foursome picking flowers. My sister had
some sort of gummy candy in her pocket, half of which was smeared
on her five-year-old face. I had a handful of Sweet Williams and
was reaching for some Jack in the Pulpit when I heard a snort.
Not a low, deep deer warning snort, but the big, throaty, "Hey
Im here!" snort of a bull. I turned and there they
were the cows. Unbeknownst to us, they had crept up behind
us in the woods using one of their cow paths. The cows had paths
all over the woods that they used for their daily travels, and,
apparently, for waylaying hikers. Samson barked and sprang to
his feet. I dropped my flowers. The bull snorted again. And, I
ran. My Mother picked up my sister who was already wailing and
we took off across the creek toward the barn. I was running so
fast and hard that one of my penny-loafers, all the vogue to a
girl of seven, was sucked off my feet and into the creek-bank
mud. I never found that loafer.
stayed to our rear while we ran and slowed the bull by jumping
at his nose and running between his feet. Ah, the heroism of a
fifteen pound dog! Lassie wouldve been proud and Im
sure Rin Tin Tin never showed more stalwart nerve. Samson saved
us. Despite our screaming and gibbering, my Dad, the only person
that the dread cows feared, couldnt hear us on his tractor
in the hayfield. Samson slowed the bull enough for us all to get
to the barn. I practically leaped the rail fence and my Mom handed
my little Sister over. Susan sort of climbed, fell down the other
side of the railing and promptly began hyperventilating. Her face
was as red as a dime-store cherry sucker (and almost as sticky).
Samson darted between the rails a breath ahead of the bull. The
cows, thwarted but unrepentant, started to circle the barn.
bull, who mustve weighed close to two tons, couldve
easily popped those rails and had us at his stomping pleasure,
but for some reason the barn, the residence of the precious, precious
hay, was a safe zone from the cows. They never seemed to realize
that they could easily pilfer the hay and corn in the barn if
only they burst through the rail fence in front of it. No. The
fence was there and apparently since we were on the other side
of it, we were beyond their grasp. Eventually, my Dad either heard
our yells or noticed the cows odd circling behavior and drove
over on the tractor.
scattered everywhere. You could almost see their hangdog expression.
If they could talk, Im sure they wouldve said it was
all a misunderstanding. But, in their black hearts I know they
were only sorry that they didnt get a chance to give us
a good stomping. My Dad maintains to this day that the cows meant
us no harm and they only chased us because we ran. But, Ive
seen the evil in their big-brown eyes. Dont be deceived
by Cow Propagandathey arent the cute and cuddly creatures
you see in cartoons and movies starring adorable little pigs.
Pigs aren't really very nice either, but thats another story.
Forehand is a freelance writer and painter living in Nashville,
Tennessee. Her short stories and poems have been published in
Atriad Press' Haunted Encounters, Bewildering Stories,
FATE, The Harrow, LongStory Short, Quantum
Muse, Typhoon.net, Waxing Waning Moon, Ultraverse,
The Wheel, Zephyrus, and other publications. She
recently published a pet recipe book with Dawson Progressive and
is a monthly columnist for Critter Exchange. Her hobbies include
cultivating her medieval herb garden and begging her cats (unsuccessfully)
to stay off the sofa.