January 10th…“DID YOU EVER RIDE A COW ON YOUR FARM NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA?”
Our dusty, old barn radio was belting out the new 1964 hit tune by Petula Clark called, “Downtown”. Only thing is, I was the antithesis of that song title as my young 10 year old body strode through the dutch doors and I was “downbarn”, instead! 😉
My 4th Grade school classes in Kiester were done for the day and our good old school bus had recently dropped us off along the gravel road that ran past our lovely little farm (well, at least to US it was lovely). Like Superman outta the phone booth, I ran upstairs and was transformed, as far as clothing goes, from “mr. fancypants” to “nitty gritty farmer kiddie” there in my bib-overalls and farming clod-hopper boots.
Jumping into the afternoon I realized that, even though our wonderfully giant Lilac bush was in wondrous bloom during that time of Late Spring, those delicious blossoms just couldn’t quite compete and reach the confines of our barnyard. The overpowering aroma of cow doodoo and pig peeyoo emanated from our busy farm life. But, as Daddy used to say, “That’s the smell of money, Sonny!!”……so it was a perfume that kinda grew on ya, over time. Dad’s philosophy on the smell of a farm even has a Biblical parallel. In the Old Testament, the Book of Proverbs tells us in Chapter 14 Verse 4….”Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes from the strength of the ox.” So, to keep up the strength of our “oxes” and “oxettes”, it was one of my chores to grab buckets and “bushel baskets/tubs” and begin feeding out corn silage, grain and special meal supplements to our various livestock.
Bovines, like humans, each come equipped with their own personality traits. Some Holsteins in our barn were real fussy females that were easily startled and jumpy. And, when you get over a thousand pounds of “jumpy” happening around you, you’re either gonna get stepped on or squished by their big bodies as they’d push together against you. For me, I always gravitated to stall number 15 in our barn. There lived a sweet cow we all called, “Angel”, because of her gentle disposition about life there in our barn world. The stanchion (holding device) she was held in was at the very end of the line of cows. Along “Angel’s” right side were railings made up of strong 2″ galvanized piping. Sister Candice and myself petted this sweet cow daily. She seemed to enjoy the attention.
On television, I had seen cowboys ride the backs of bulls at rodeos. And, like any kid, I had seen cowboys ride on the backs of horses. “Hmmmm, thought I, I wonder if “Angel” would allow me to sit on her back?” Since our dad, Russell, was the boss of the farm, I asked him first if I could try my stunt. He just cautioned me as to what MIGHT happen if she didn’t like me on her back……I MIGHT just get bucked off!! So, using those side-rail pipes as a ladder, I climbed up to where I could gently throw my leg over “Angel’s” back and sat down gently on top of her. Low and behold, she didn’t seem to mind a bit having a 10 year old little Norwegian as a new resident upon her back. I was a good little rider. I didn’t jump, or dig in my heels. I just sat there up high with a new perspective of barn life down below. I will say though, that her sharp backbone cut right into the backside of this little Norwegian Farmer’s Son!! 😉