Let me preface this little story by saying that 1. I was raised in the country but not on a farm, and 2. If you’ve ever been close to a cow (or a whole herd of them!), you know that they’re large, solid animals.
Ok, now that that’s out of the way, here’s my (funny and embarrassing) story. I was probably around 14 years old. I’d spent the entirety of my life until then with cows as my favorite animal. Horses were a close second, but there was something about the calm, peaceful, placid sight of cows in the field, chewing grass or their cud that made me happy every time I saw them (and still does).
It was a hot day near the end of a long, dry summer, and I was home alone – an unexpected treat in my rather large family. My mother was at work and my sisters were all elsewhere. My father was due home for lunch soon, but for that hour or so the house was all mine. It was a first taste of independence, and I was reveling in it…until I heard a thumping sound and looked out the window in the kitchen door. A big black and white head blocked out the sun and the creature’s large, dark eye rolled as it lifted its nose and bawled out a cry. There was a full grown cow standing on the back steps of the house as if it was asking to come in! Suddenly, the cow shifted and banged its head against the window a few times in succession, making me shriek and run back into the living room.
What was I supposed to do? And why was the cow acting like that? Was it scared or angry or…rabid? Tingles went up my spine and the awareness that I was completely alone here shot through me. Before I could gather my wits together, a blur of movement outside the big picture window in the living room caught my attention. Then another out the side windows, looking over the garage. I snuck over to take a peek and almost shrieked again. There was a whole HERD of cows in the yards surrounding the Homestead and coming out of the woods on all sides. They were running, mooing, sometimes banging into the fence or the house like crazed beasts. Large, surprisingly fast-moving crazed beasts.
My heart was in my throat, and I tried to force myself to calm down to figure out what I could do. Should I call the police or what? Something was clearly wrong with the cows; they weren’t acting anything like the gentle animals I’d come to know over my 14 years of loving their peaceful, placid ways. What if one of them actually broke through a window and got in the house?
They’d shifted around into the back yard by now, away from the driveway, and the thought crossed my mind that I should try to make a run for it and see if I could get to the neighbor’s before the cows “got me”.
Just then I heard a motor and some tires on the driveway. Pa was home! He made his way slowly up the driveway, and a new fear swept through me. Oh, no! Pa would be crushed by these stampeding cows! I had to warn him before he got out of his car.
Yanking up the window, I leaned into the screen, waving my hands and shouting as I saw the driver’s side door open. “No, Pa!! Watch out! Get back in your car! There are cows loose all over the place, and they’ll charge at you!”
Pa turned to look at me, and I could see he was holding back laughter. “It’s all right” he called out to me, before proceeding to grab a stick from along the driveway and walking calmly and steadily in the direction of the “herd”, calling out a sharp “Hiya!” several times as he tapped lightly on one cow or another to guide them back toward the woods from which they’d come.
When they were all gone, he came back into the house, laughing so hard he almost couldn’t catch his breath – thanking me for trying to “save” him, but explaining that cows don’t “attack”. He said that they were probably just thirsty from the hot summer day and had likely broken through the fence of the farmer’s field on the other side of the woods. The knocked over buckets in the yard seemed to attest to that likelihood.
I know my cheeks got red, but I got a good laugh out of it, too, once I got over my mortification. And from that day onward, my family has had some fun ribbing me about the time I tried to save Pa from the “Attack Cows”. 🙂