WHERE THE HEART IS - The Roundup

(11/19/2007)

By Ann Richards
heartpaths@yahoo.com

It was early October and I was cutting the grass, hopefully for the last time this year. Tough "fall grass" made the lawn mower clog up and I needed to stop frequently to unclog it of the grass. Being late evening in order to avoid the hot air and humidity, I was not concerned about not getting the job finished. There was a dusk to dawn light at the corner of the yard.

I had stopped to unclog the mower, when I noticed a commotion just up the road by the Norman's house. People were running and shouting. But, there were more than people there. Crossing the road in a run were two black cows and one calf. The largest cow didn't run very far from the trailer. The other cow and the calf went into the woods and down over the hill.

I thought to myself that Oakey and Barb must be going to the cattle business and went back to cutting grass.

In just a few minutes, the lawn mower clogged up again and I had to stop it. It was then that I really began to pay attention to the neighbors dilemma.

I could see that they might need help, as if I could offer much help in rounding up cows. Nevertheless, I started walking up the road to lend a hand. It turned out that they needed several helping hands.

"They left the trailer door unlatched!" Barb explained. The cows had taken advantage of the chance and jumped out. They showed no intention of simply going back into the trailer.

By the time I arrived on the scene, Matt Simmons and a friend had also stopped to help. I could see that if anyone there had any experience in rounding up cows, it was Barb and Nina. Maybe Eursel.

We cornered the big cow. To me she looked like a hippo, she was so big and I was thinking that I didn't want to be run over by this animal. I believe she had no idea of her strength, because she seemed just as frightened of us as we might be of her.

Nevertheless, with much shouting and brandishing of whatever could be found as clubs, we cornered her and she went onto the trailer. A hard slap on the rump by Matt seemed to convince her that she was defeated.

By this time, Kathy Boswell and Alice had returned from a day of shopping and were watching the fun from the safety and comfort of the front porch. Several more vehicles had driven by and several more people had stopped to either watch or shout.

Eursel was now coming down the road with the other cow who was going first one way then the other. She was more difficult, being determined to not get into the trailer. She forced her way through a barbed wire fence and stood down in the field and stared at us.

"I'm not going to run after her anymore!" Eursel said and with that simply stood and watched us think we could control the rogue in the field.

Along came Lisa and the kids in the Jeep and offered help. The cow had been forced back into the driveway and was refusing to go near the trailer. Finally, she ducked all of us and went up into the yard and stood there watching Eursel who was between her and the road.

Lisa pulled the Jeep up behind her and cornered her in the yard. (Well, sort of cornered her.) The cow was too tired to move maybe or just too dumb to think of another way to run through the circle of people and vehicles around her.

Finally, someone had a brilliant thought. It must have been Barb because she climbed into the truck and backed it out of the driveway and then started driving back in the direction to where the cows had been moved from. The cow followed the truck, of course. The calf followed Mama and everyone sighed a deep breath of relief.

About this time, Oakey showed up wondering what had happened to Barb with the cattle.

Everyone either left or followed the truck as it slowly drove out the road toward Nobe with the cow and calf following. It seemed necessary for someone to stay behind the cow in case she decided to go off to parts unknown.

I went back to cutting the grass in the glow of the dusk to dawn light. People came and went past me as I paid little attention. Suddenly, the calf came trotting past. I tried to head it off, but it went down into the neighbor's yard and disappeared into the dark.

Oakey was walking heavily after it and asked if I saw the calf. I told him the direction in which it had run away.

It was very dark by now and I was glad to finally finish the grass. Hot and sweaty, I went in and got into the shower. A little later, the bed seemed wonderful as I settled down to sleep wondering where that dumb calf went.

The next day at church, someone asked if I got my exercise last night. It then occurred to me that nothing happens at Nobe without the whole neighborhood knowing about it.

A few days later, I asked Oakey if they found the calf. He said that he had driven it into the garage that night and locked it in until morning.

So, that's the way it is at Nobe. We don't know what the day holds for us. However, it was a nice time when neighbor's had a get-to-together here where the heart is.


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