I should have known as soon as I had to dive away from the skunk butt in the barn that my day had taken a turn for the worse. That I tripped over an old well as I made my dramatic escape from the potential gaseous explosion should have sealed it. But no. In my limping ignorance I thought that a bruised shin and a little bit of blood was as bad as it was going to be.
Ha. Like the fates ever miss a chance to kick someone while they are down. I limped around valiantly finishing my other chores. Buckets of grain were distributed. Hay was going to be moved. My dad waited patiently on the tractor while I dragged the hose from trough to the low bucket being used to water Buttercup, our semi-paralyzed cow.
We had discovered her several days earlier, separated from the herd and wondered why. When we watched her try to escape our attentions it had become apparent. She had limited feeling and mobility in her hind end. Now, before you feel too sorry for her keep in mind that this is a geriatric cow. I’m not sure of the conversion rate of cow to people years, but she is pushing thirty in human years which has to be something like 110 in cow years. We can’t be like normal farmers that ship the gals when they are past their prime. No, we have a cow retirement home. Old age and its delights is something we have grown used to. So, we try to herd this cow towards the gate so she can spend her last days grazing in the safety of the yard. She wants none of it. She falls down and can’t get up, even with a massive injection of steroids. We get the tractor, and the sling. Because we are prepared like that. We maneuver her into the sling and carry her home swinging side to side in a hypnotic blur of black and yellow.
Magically, she regains enough function to stand as soon as she is in the yard and promptly hits me in the leg with her head. It goes numb. The cow hates me. I get it. I would be hateful too. She begins grazing. Mom pets the cow and gets a “love nudge." I feel vindicated.
Two days later the cow is down again. She viscously attacks my arm as I am trying to get her up. It goes numb. She starts licking my mom, even as she is trying to give me a blood clot and kill me. Cow has issues. Mom takes her side. Our animosity grows. Mom says it is because I have named the cow Buttercup.
Day four, the cow is back down. After much prodding I am persuaded to go near the hellion only to narrowly miss a nose thrust to my shin. She has it out for me. The cow hates my life. Maybe I should stop trying to pet her when she is down and semi-paralyzed. She is nuzzling my mother and licking her. Mom glares at me when I say bad things about the cow. Buttercup appears smug.
Day five dawns clear. It will be a good day. Then the skunk bit happens. I am paying too much attention to my shin and not enough to the cow as I drag the hose over to her bucket and begin to wait patiently for it to fill. It is my fault really. I know Buttercup hates me. She senses my weakness. My distraction is blood in the water. Maybe in cow logic if she kills me she can take my life force and live another hundred cow years. I can only guess that her motivation was strong, because she suddenly becomes un paralyzed and lunges, FROM LAYING DOWN MIND YOU, to execute a perfect uppercut with her head to my jaw.
Yes. I took a cow to the face. Be impressed.
I was stunned. There was something wrong. I couldn’t tell what it was. As I stumbled backwards (Yeah, I took a cow to the face and didn’t even fall. Boo yah!) I began doing a mental check of myself. I could move my jaw, but I didn’t want to talk. I could think. Was it clear? I thought so. Did I have a concussion? Had she damaged my neck? My thoughts seemed fuzzy.
Somewhere out of the haze I vaguely noticed dad climbing off of the waiting tractor to come over and kick Buttercup. Somewhere in my shaken brain I got very excited. “He’s standing up for me!” I thought with delight, even as I wondered why I was having a hard time saying the words aloud. Without missing a beat he came over to me and started laughing. “Can you do it again? I want to put it on YouTube.”
Gotta love my dad.
By the way, my jaw was dislocated. That’s why I didn’t want to talk.
Buttercup 4, Lauren 0.