Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Cows Gone Wild

Beverly Forehand


People always think cows are sweet, doe-eyed creatures that spend their time munching wildflowers and looking wistfully over fences. People who don’t have cows think that anyway. People with cows know that they’re 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 I’ve 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.

When 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 infestations.

So, 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 I’m 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.

Samson 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 would’ve been proud and I’m 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, couldn’t 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.

The bull, who must’ve weighed close to two tons, could’ve 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.

Cows scattered everywhere. You could almost see their hangdog expression. If they could talk, I’m sure they would’ve said it was all a misunderstanding. But, in their black hearts I know they were only sorry that they didn’t 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, I’ve seen the evil in their big-brown eyes. Don’t be deceived by Cow Propaganda—they aren’t the cute and cuddly creatures you see in cartoons and movies starring adorable little pigs. Pigs aren't really very nice either, but that’s another story.

***

Beverly 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.

© Beverly Forehand

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012