Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunny days and cow patties

Ok, so I got sidetracked. Is anybody shocked?

After my last post, I got a call from H Texas Magazine for a second interview. Yes, that was the interview I went on in March where I was pretty much dismissed out of hand.

Or was I?

My second interview was Thursday morning. I think it went well, but who can tell? Whether I get the job or not, it was pretty cool to get a call back. Laurette, the Editor-in-Chief, said she would be making her decision soon, maybe even during her flight to Sonoma that afternoon. She sent an e-mail over the weekend with an article attached for me to edit as a final follow-up. I did my best and sent it back. Stay tuned, we'll see what happens.

On my way back from the interview, Dalt's brother Paul called. We had lunch and then I went with him to go check on a cow that might be sick or dead. I ran home and put on some old jeans and work boots (a gift from Dalt), and off we went on our cow adventure.

It was a little after twelve and the sky was clear and bright, but not too hot. We bumped our way across a rutted pasture in Paul's truck until we found the cow laying on her side. At first we thought she was dead, but then her front leg moved and she tried to raise her head.

She was in the middle of a green field on the other side of a barbed wire fence. We couldn't tell, but it looked like she might be in trouble trying to have a calf. Paul didn't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no calves, but he did know a guy named Clifton who lived nearby and might be able to help. He couldn't reach him on the phone, so we drove over and told him and his wife, Cathy, where the cow was and the shape we thought she was in. They said they'd meet us there.

We went back to the pasture and this time drove down and around the bottom gate so we could get right up to where the cow was. I loved the ride. Most respectable people were stuck inside an office (or school), and there we were in the middle of a beautiful afternoon, blowing across the prairie in a pick-up truck.

We pulled up as close to her as we could without scaring her, and got out to see what we were dealing with. She was a blonde cow, but her belly and torso were so covered in black flies she looked spotted. She tossed her head and gave her legs a weak kick, but couldn't get up. Paul walked around to her rear end to see if there was any discharge, but there was only a pile of feces where her bowels had let go. He pulled back her mouth to see her teeth, but he couldn't see any so he thought she might just be old and ready to die.

Clifton and Cathy got there and it was decided that we would go get the tractor to try to get her up on her feet.

Note: The owner of the cattle, the land, and the tractor is a man named G.H. - Paul just helps him out every once in a while. He was in Houston that day and thought the cow might be worth trying to save; Paul thought the cow needed to be put out of her misery.

We went back to G.H.'s, got the tractor and met Clifton on the way back going to get his trailer for us to load her on so they could take her to the vet. Paul was driving the tractor and I followed him in the truck. The tractor is about ten to twelve feet tall with wheels that look like they could climb Kilimanjaro.

Two hours later I had driven the truck across that bumpy pasture myself (without getting it stuck), opened cattleguard gates and chained them back, donned work gloves to help load a sick cow onto a trailer, sweated in the sun and rode high and mighty on that big ol' tractor across a few ditches and a whole lot of open field. It felt good.

On Saturday, Dalton and I worked in my yard for hours. I mowed and he wielded the weedeater, and between the two of us my yard looks better than it has since I moved in. It was another bright sunny day, another day spent doing honest, hard work that yielded a tangible result.

The thing is, on both of those days I kept expecting Paul or Dalton to tell me I was doing it wrong, to make fun of me for going too slow or being too stupid. I fought my fear of reprimand and gave it all a hundred percent, even though inside I felt like an inept twelve year-old all over again. I kept seeing my dad's disappointed, disgusted-with-me-face. I kept hearing his sarcastic, drunk voice. I just knew it was coming.

But it didn't. They were just good days with good people, where the best I could do was good enough.

Nice, huh?


Blogger Cat said...

but but but WAIT! What happened to the poor cow??? Inquiring minds want to know!!! :-)

1:23 PM  
Blogger Cas said...

The cow had to be put down the next morning. She did have a calf, a gorgeous bull calf, but he's old enough to be okay without her. She was just old and ready to go home.

1:08 PM  
Blogger elysabeth said...

Awww - how awesome for you. Sorry about the cow. Sounds like some very good days for you. No reprimands - that's cool too. You did what you needed to do and that's all they asked of you - to do your best and sounds like you did. I'm proud of you hon.

See you in the postings - E :)

PS - hope you get the job and have you and your kids read my story yet? What do you think of it? I would think you would have enjoyed it by guess of your blog title - lol - let me know - E :)

7:13 PM  

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