My pasture has been entirely too quiet and empty for weeks. Of course, Miracle and Sir Edward have been subleasing the space but it’s not the same. They don’t jingle jangle jingle like Andy or serenade me like Abe and Gnatalie do with their mooo-hooooing
A couple of weeks ago Nick, Henry and I went to Dave’s and tried to get the cows, but to no avail. As we feared the ding dang boys flipped out just like before and Gnatalie had no intention of leaving Peggy. However we didn’t exactly leave empty handed. We got a head of cabbage from Dave’s garden, a jug of fresh cider he'd pressed and we learned a few interesting tid bits. Dave it seems was in the first graduating class at Sehome, where Nick goes to school. And strangely – we found out Dave knows Little Chris Donaldson. In fact, he knows him very well. He dated and lived for years with Little Chris Donaldson’s mother. Talk about your small world, I couldn't wait to tell my sister.
That was then, this is now.
Today, together with Dave’s boyhood pal, Eddie, we were going to finally, finally bring the cows home. Eddie has a trailer and is charging Dave and I each fifty bucks for his services He was going to take Dave’s cow Peggy and her calf, Tucker to Dave’s brother’s house to hook up with his bull. In addition,my fifty bucks will get my three bovine from Dave's house to my pasture.
So this morning after a pot of coffee or two, Awesomez, Henry and I drove over to Dave’s to get this round up on the road. Dave had gotten my three in his pipe corral and they were ready to be loaded. Eddie was in the process of backing up the trailer to the entrance of the corral when we drove up.
As I approached pockets full of packer pellets, I could hear Dave yelling in an increasingly frantic tone “Stop! Stop! STOP!! EDDIE!! STOP!” Eddie was not stopping so I ran over to his window and hollered for him to stop. He stopped as his trailer grazed the pipe corral gate. I’d met Eddie’s type before. I could tell from this little episode what I was up against. It wasn’t a matter of lack of hearing, although I’m sure that's part of it. It’s a matter of being in his own Eddie World. Not caring if he hit the fence or not. He wasn’t even looking for a cue to stop he was just doing his own Eddie thing.
He stepped out of the trailer smiling extremely pleased with his trailer prowess and delighted with his extremely close proximity to the corral.
“Well, let’s load ‘em up!” Eddie instructed as if everyone should snap to attention. The boys and Gnatalie were non-plussed by Eddie’s direction or the trailer. They had no intention of doing anything but eat the hay they’d been bribed with to enter the corral.
“I guess I shouldn’t have fed them,” Dave chided himself.
“We can just move some of the hay into the trailer.” I suggested
“And we brought plenty of packer pellets.” Henry informed him although I’m not sure he fully understood the heroin-like allure the pellets have on the cattle.
We all took up our positions. Henry was to float around and do whatever I needed. Awesomez took the space between one edge of the trailer and the fence. She was to use her body to block the cows from slipping through this gaping hole. Dave was going to go in the pen with me and Eddie was going to "supervise". I tried luring the boys in with a pellet or two, but Abe nor Andy was ready to work that hard when they had so much premium hay at their disposal. Things didn't go smoothly at first. The cows were obstinate and we were running out of tricks.
“We need a lead rope.” Dave muttered. Without a word I unwrapped my scarf from around my neck and put it around Abe’s neck. He didn't go right away, it took some time, but after some time he let me lead him toward Awesomez I could see the concern on her face. She was to block this fella from going on a hike through the forest. If he got out, we wouldn't get him back today. Nearing her he grazed her with his horns.
"Are you kidding me? What if he bolts?" She said more to herself than to anyone else. "How did I get here? I'm wrangling cows! The things I do for you Miller!" I thought she might step away at the last moment, but she held her position and he walked in the trailer as nice as you please. Wham! Eddie closed the first compartment behind him and he disappeared.
Now for Andy, who didn’t think Abe’s Kris Angel impression was something he wanted to try. Andy had absolutely no intention of following him. So I pulled and prodded and lured and cajoled and begged while Awesomez blocked the escape route again and Henry manned the gate in case I was successful. Eventually, surprisingly, we successful so Dave pulled a rope through the trailer and behind his bum to make him feel penned in. Eddie not taking the time to notice I was standing near the rope pulled it up and tight almost strangling me with it while tying it down.
Now it was Gnatalie’s turn. The little thing has a will of iron and didn't go quickly. However, she is also love bug and really just wants to be snuggled so she eventually went in too.
The problem facing us now was that the trailer door was open wide. And in order to close it we had to move forward enough to allow the door to squeeze past the corral. A bigger problem than it sounds. In effect, we had to move forward over four feet with three cattle. Two completely unsecured . If the trailer wasn’t so close to the pipe corral we could have simply shut the door.
A person of sound mind would realize the danger in this maneuver and wait for the person in the trailer to get out. A person concerned about others would move forward slowly and cautiously with regard to animal and human safety. A person with half a brain wouldn't slam on the brakes. The trouble was we had Eddie.
Without warning the trailer lurched forward with a heave. To be fair, Eddie might have felt he had to gun it because of the weight, but I suspect his truck was accustom to this kind of load. Whatever the reason, the sudden motion was debilitating. Andy stumbled and went down on one side. Gnatalie lurched to the right stapling me against the side of the trailer. As the rig continued forward I bobbed and weaved, bracing myself trying desperately to stay out from underneath a side of beef. I didn’t have time to be scared as Eddie hit the brakes I was so busy trying to keep from becoming a paraplegic. When the movement finally stopped the door slammed shut momentarily closing me in.
Emerging unscathed I looked over at Awesomez whose face was racked with fear. She tossed me a knowing look, but seeing I was OK relaxed a bit. I breathed a deep sigh acknowledging how lucky I’d been. "That jerk could have killed you," she muttered under her breath as she gave me a hug. "I can't believe how tough you are. I think Eddie thought you were hot pushing those cows around." I was just glad to be alive.
"I can't believe you've turned into a cow girl! You, Go-Go Gomez, - who would have believed it?"
"I didn't do much, I just blocked giant cows with my body," She said humbly. Although I knew how scary it had been when those cows had come toward her. Courage is doing something you're afraid of in spite of your fear. She had been brave.
"You were Awesome Awesomez!" Henry insisted as we began to walk to the car.
“That’s quite a scarf you’ve got there,” Dave laughed tugging on one end relieving some of my tension.
We said good-bye to a forlorn Peggy and Tucker and followed Eddie back to my house where we unloaded our trio without incident.
Henry fetched the tractor so we could put a round bale in Eddie’s trailer for Dave to take home.
It was then that Eddie launched into his “You really from California?”
“Um, yes.” I answered cautiously. There was a familiar smarmy tone to Eddie’s question instantly making me uncomfortable.
“I think you must have gone to Berkley,” he baited.
“Berkley? You think I went to Berkley? Why because I’m so liberal?” Those were fighting words. Knowing he must be as right wing as they come I didn't want to tell him I’d been a registered Republican, voted for Reagan and Bush senior for fear it might be construed as some sort of GOP aphrodisiac, something akin to listening to Hannity by candlelight.
“I did vote for Hilary,” I declared unabashedly hoping to put an end to the flirtatious tone in his voice by playing the staunch feminist Clinton card.
“Now Eddie, I told you not to speak. You always get in trouble when you talk.” Dave cajoled desperately trying to end this conversation.
“Hilary! Now I like that Sarah Palin,” Eddie informed us. “She’s cute.”
“Exactly that's why you like her.” I said with all the disdain I could muster.
“How do you know why I like her?” Eddie asked.
“Because there isn’t any other reason to like her.” I said shoving the bale of hay in the trailer with the trailer bucket for punctuation.
“Eddie, you’re talking again. Don’t talk in front of the people they don’t like it.” Dave tried again.
“She looks a little like Sarah Palin with her hair up don’t you think?” Awesomez slyly interjected her eyes laughing. “You should see her when she puts on her red glasses.” I wanted to smack her, but instead I gave her a smile that said it all. Eddie leaned one arm on the tractor looking at me with his Paul Newman blue eyes. Leering he began launching into a chauvinistic assessment of my appearance, my suspected left-wing activities out here in the county and the virtues of the Republican Party, NRA and Sarah Palin. I smiled politely and threw poison barbs every now and then trying to be cutting but not outright angry. I could see the obvious discomfort on Dave’s face and not surprisingly, Awesomez had quietly slipped away as she can only take so much. Her father had a "W" on his door for years.
“Anyone with a brain is better than 43 was - Eddie. Let’s leave it at that. C’mon you rascal we’ve got to get Peggy to my brother’s. Thanks for the hay Denise.” Dave said trying to hasten their departure.
“No Dave, thank you for taking care of my runaways.” I said taking his cue. “I’m just going to go put the tractor up and get my wallet. I’ll meet you at the gate.”
As they drove away Awesomez said “Sorry about the Palin thing. I can’t take guys like that. You know he asked me if I was Henry’s grandma?” she said completely annoyed.
“You think that’s bad? He thought I was a little girl! A little girl! Are you freaking kidding me? He called me MISS,” Henry complained completely outraged.
“You look great for a grandma,” I said looking at my friend, “but you’re pretty homely for a girl.” I informed Henry.
“Is that right? Well, people tell me I look just like you - Sarah.” Henry countered sending Awseomez into her signature giggle.