January 23rd…“TELL US ONE OF THE NAUGHTY THINGS YOU DID AS A KID AND GOT AWAY WITHOUT GETTING CAUGHT OR REPRIMANDED.”
“Bwahh ah ah ahhhhhh!!!”, says the tiny tot terror of the little stinker Elliott in his dastardly demented dissertations of despicably dumb dilemmas promulgated during a childhood bereft of better judgement……..at times.
To preface my reason for being my sinister little self, regarding bulls in general, I take you back to a “bullish” incident one night on our farm in southern Minnesota. My father owned a majestic, muscular mountain of a Holstein bull…..and he was always angry and MEAN-spirited!! Observing him in his pen in our barn, I remember being struck with fear of this animal’s mighty power and how its furor was embedded in my little boy psyche.
One Summer’s night, our family was inside our farm home for the evening and gathered around our kitchen table to enjoy the meal which we called Supper. Our dear “other grandpa”, Harry Bauman was enjoying fellowship with us around the supper table. The peacefulness of that family meal was abruptly interrupted by some horrendous sounds coming from down and inside our darkened barn. Our dad, Russell, had left the top “Dutch-door” (half top/half bottom) open of the barn for our livestock to enjoy the night breeze for cooling. Whatever was causing those maniacal, crushing sounds pulled us all from the Supper table to look out the screened windows towards the barn. Illumined by a single yard light on top of a tall pole, we could see the corner of our red barn and what was about to happen next.
We’ll never know what may have ignited his rage, but that angry, male Holstein behemoth exploded out of his holding pen inside that darkened barn and proceeded to destroy his way through the darkened barn aisles and to the lighted opening of the “Dutch-door” at the corner of the building. In a sense, the bull was hitting his own “bull’s-eye” as he launched over the top of that doorway that was hooked open. As his muscled, bulky body high-centered on the door, his furor took over and, writhing in anger, proceeded to destroy the lower remnant of what once was a door. The bovine beast, having escaped from his prison, made a hard left turn, in his freedom, and disappeared into the darkness and our orchard that lay to the west. Daddy and our dear family friend, “Grandpa” Harry Bauman, trepidatiously left our house on the run into that same darkness to somehow retrieve that snortin’, fire-breathin’ bovine.
With that scene emblazoned on my young mind, I take you now to my “naughty incident”. Some time later, I was fulfilling one of my daily chores of feeding our livestock while Dad milked the main herd of our dairy cows. As I lifted a bale of alfalfa “hay” into the manger of a large holding pen of heifers (young cows), I used my short-handled chopper to quickly cut the two twines that held each bale together. In that same holding pen, Dad kept another younger bull that was tethered to a nose ring and chain to keep him under control and to himself. The chain went from the animal’s nose ring to a big support column of the barn. Every time I got near that mean-spirited creature, he’d lunge at me, from the confines of his pen, swinging his snot-nosed head at me. Partly out of fear, and partly out of “I’ll teach YOU a thing or two”, I flipped the blade of my chopper towards myself and used the wooden handle side of the club as my weapon of choice. I hauled off and WHACKED that sucker right between the eyes with that hardwood fork handle.
When my fork handle connected with his skull, he went crossed-eyed!!! But what happened next really wasn’t expected. That beast shot backwards from the stun of my blow and, when the chain length played out to the nose ring he was connected to, it yanked that ring clear OUT of his nose flesh. Now there was bull nose blood everywhere! Ohhhh myyy goodness!!! I took off like a streak from that spot and was beyond scared……not of the bull, but of what would happen to me if Dad ever found out about the shenanigans of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.