Saturday, May 30, 2009

Calf Tails

For those of us who spent our summers on the farm... you will understand the so called humor that I endured as a child. My Grandfather played such a huge part of my life. It seemed as though he had all the time in the world for my sister and I. I was raised by a sometimes single Mom who worked a lot, so having anyone give me one on one time made me feel special.

Now I've never been an indoors type of gal, I always loved being outdoors and it really didn't matter what I was doing, as long as it was outside. One of my favorite things to do early in the morning was to get up with Grandpa and eat breakfast and then we'd go do chores. On their farm were Beef Cattle, Horses and Chickens and various dogs. I learned early on how to saddle and ride a horse, help birth calves, look for eggs, pluck chickens (yuck!), pick cherries, pick apples and make a trip to the cider mill to have them pressed. I learned so much about hard work and the rewards it would bring.

Now there was this one morning when my Grandpa said to me, "we need to get that calf use to a rope around his neck". I thought to myself, this will be interesting... I've never seen Grandpa leash train a calf before. Little did I know that he was absolutely up to no good. So the event started at the barn with twine and me and yes the calf. Grandpa said,"I want you to start out slow and see what he does". Now if any of you are familiar with calfs, their as unpredictable as can be. But I didn't know this, I just did what Grandpa said to do. So I pulled... and the calf wouldn't move, I coached him and still nothing, even when I pulled again he seemed to lean back in defiance. I looked to Grandpa and he had the funniest look on his face. Then he said to me, "That there is a stubborn one, give him a whack on the rear". So I did and that's when things got interesting. That calf shot like a bullet out of a gun! We were on our second lap around the barn and I looked at Grandpa and said, "What do I do?!!". He said,"Whatever you do, don't let go!". So me being the trustworthy granddaughter that I was, kept hanging on for life and running this strange forced run. But about the fourth time around the barn, I noticed that Grandpa could barely stand up because of the laughing fit he was having. And then it occurred to me. HE DID THIS JUST FOR FUN. No wondered I'd never seen him leash train a calf. He made the whole thing up to see me go for the ride or run of my life. Today as I run that event through my mind, all I see is this calf tail that I was hanging onto for life and a thin piece of twine.

I think back on that man and I worshipped the ground he walk on. I loved his humor, his sense of adventure and that he always carried peanuts in his pocket. I remember when one of the beef cattle would be picked up to be slaughtered and the tears running down his face. I remember him everyday, all the time. He lived to be 94 and for this I'm grateful God let us be together for so many years.

Until Tomorrow,
Java Girl 


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