I always joke that my husband hates to leave the farm.
That he’d rather be here dealing with animals, than “out there” dealing with people who behave like animals. But the truth is that I don’t let him leave the farm. In fact I’ll do anything to keep him here, or at least keep him checking in every few hours or so.
I promise him a hot meal at noon, and yes, I consider a tuna melt a hot meal, and cold, sweet iced tea and a couple of chocolate chip cookies if he’ll take a break around three.
Come six, I’ve got his Budweiser poured and his pretzels in a bowl, and by seven his beloved fish sticks are in front of him. (Hey, he has no palette and I can’t cook; we’re a match made in the frozen food section.)
Of course he can run errands, like going to the local co-op or Tractor Supply in Marshall. And he can even jump on 50 and head to Winchester for…whatever.
But if he picks up 81 it’s guaranteed I’ll be on the phone with 911, or the plumber, or the principal of the high school.
But the real reason I never let my honey leave the farm is because as soon as he does, one or another of our barnyard beasts escapes, and I'm forced to play cow poke in my Pradas.
Of course this time it was a little different.
The 1,800 pound cutie that pulled the pasture break is not our property. She belongs to our neighbors at Blue Ridge Farm. Yes, we have neighbors; you just can't walk to their house unless you pack a lunch. In any case, just a few hours after my better half headed north for a weekend with his fantasy baseball buddies, “Henrietta” got out and our phone started ringing. "Sue? Hate to tell you, but you've got a cow strolling Rokeby Road."
Hmm. My honey's in Harrisburg. Think he'll come home to help? Me neither.
So I grabbed my son Cuyler because, after four years of living on the farm he’s really the only one besides my husband who knows what he’s doing, and jumped in the car. I turned right expecting to run head long into my future flank steak, but nothing. No cow. Happily, I turned around and headed away from our property, toward Blue Ridge and Route 50, and there she was.
"She's not ours, mom. She's Mike's." said Cuy.
Drat. Now I needed to be neighborly.
First stop, the main house at Blue Ridge. We ring the doorbell. Nothing. We pound on the door. Nothing. We rap on the windows. Nothing. Nothing that is, except the sound of someone vacuuming. So we open the door and shout "Hello! You have a loose cow!"
The vacuuming stops, but no one responds. Ahh the beauty of the see no evil, hear to no evil, pretend to be mute maid service. We shout again. "You have a cow on Rokeby Road!" The vacuuming resumes. We're on our own.
We climb back in the car and return to the scene of the cow. There we're greeted by a very brave Good Samaritan who's stopped and is trying to move the big moo all alone.
Quickly, we hop out and assume our positions. Cuy opens the gate. I stand in the middle of the street blocking the big beast from making a break for Rectortown Road.
And the Good Samaritan attempts to oh so sweetly cajole hungry Henrietta (my name for her, just so you know) through the gate, and into the pasture. Things are going well until Henrietta spies Cuy and rushes back to the other side of the road. This doesn't unnerve him, but the rapid approach of the twenty-five head of cattle he's been holding off sure does. "Mom! Mom! They're closing in fast. Get that damn cow now!"
Did he just curse at me? Now that's my boy!
I burn rubber in my heels and in seconds am inches away from Henrietta, arms out and fingers pointed like an air traffic controller. Jen, a.k.a., the Good Samaritan, (we introduced ourselves during the initial encircle-the-cow portion of the program) is doing her cajoling thing and wielding a twig. And Cuy? Well the poor thing was hollering, "Hurry!" when God finally said “Amen” and Henrietta ran home.
We locked the gate, checked it twice, then hit the Old Salem Restaurant for a celebratory dinner. Cuy's a natural at this country stuff and I guess I'm going native, too.
My husband, on the other hand, is never going anywhere again.
Susan McCorkindale is the author of Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl
www.susanmccorkindale.com. Friend me on Facebook & follow me on Twitter @fakefarmgirl