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Posted 10/14/09 (Wed)


I’ve told you before, “My heroes have always been cowboys.” But I’ve got a new hero. Aaron, the yardman at the sales ring.
Now, I suppose I had better start at the beginning. With the cow. The wild cow.
I think the cow is about twelve years old. We’ve been trying to sell her for a couple years. Her calves are getting smaller. And she is getting harder to handle. She used to just be wild. You know, stand in the middle of the herd with her head up. Jump in the air and blow by you in the sorting alley. Maybe try and kick you. But you had to kind of enjoy her. Kept you on your toes. Trouble is, I was getting old faster than the wild cow. And getting nervous that she would jump on the grandkids when we’re working cows.
So, last year, we made a serious effort to sell the cow. Since she was wild, she was the first cow down the alley and through the chute when we were preg checking. Into the sell pen she went. Trouble is she was the only cow in the sell pen. One trip around there and she could see this wasn’t good. She came back to us, knocked over all of our vet supplies, crashed through the gate, and headed for the mountain. We decided to sell her next year.
Well, we couldn’t get her out of the timber last spring, so mama and baby stayed at the mountain alone. You wouldn’t see her often. Just a shadow passing through a clearing and disappearing into the fog high on the mountain. She became known as the “ghost cow.”
Eventually, she went over to the neighbors to spend the summer with his cows. Now, the neighbor is an understanding guy, so he didn’t mind. Whenever he mentioned the ghost cow, we would try to sell her to him. We discussed selling a bow hunt on the cow. I thought about putting on camouflage clothes, taking a hunting knife, and going after her alone. I thought about just having Shirley put a mad on, and go after her. But then I felt sorry for the cow.
Finally this weekend, the neighbor said he was moving cows. Daryl went to get her, because I was scared. They rigged up a trap leading into the trailer, and the ghost cow was looking for a way out and jumped in. Smoother than snot on a doorknob. I was proud of the cowboys.
The ghost cow spent the night in the trailer. Kicked the side, bellowing and slamming into the side if you walked by. She was madder than Shirley has ever been! It even scared me!
On Sunday morning I took her over to the sales ring. I stole the newspaper from the yard’s mailbox and patiently read the paper while I waited for Aaron. The ghost cow was rocking the trailer so it was a little hard to read.
When he came, I warned him about the cow. I knew it was a couple days till the sale, but I dang sure didn’t want this cow at home. He shrugged and let me know he had handled a wild bull the day before, and this cow couldn’t be that bad. How could I argue? I never saw the bull.
I advised him to get the gates set, because when that old cow came out of that trailer she was going to be looking for some fresh meat to eat. He went down and set the gates and hollered to let her come.
And boy, did she. She came out of that trailer looking for the timber. When she saw she was in hell, she turned around and came back for me. I was safe on the fence. Down the alley at a lope, around the corner, and sliding into a pen. Sparks flying off the concrete. Trapped! Almost.
The yardman started to shut the gate. Now the gates in the sales yard are seven feet tall and made of channel iron. That old cow was quick. She bounced off the far side of that pen, did a 360, and hit that gate going nine oh. The gate crashed the yardman in the head and down he went. The cow bellowed and camped on him for a second. I was quite a ways away, so I crawled up higher to watch. I’m not real brave, but I am pretty smart.
The cow mauled him around a little, and then I’m not sure if it was his screams or mine that made her leave and come down the alley for me. Anyway, it gave him time to get up on the fence.
I got the cow locked up and I think the smell of the fresh blood made her even madder. Aaron was leaking a little where that gate had smacked him in the temple. He was a little groggy, and staggering a little, but I will tell you one thing. He darn sure knew how to swear at a cow.
When he got done cussing that cow, I suggested “he go in that pen and teach that cow a lesson!” I’m sure glad he wasn’t carrying a gun, cause I think the ghost cow and I would have been in trouble.
If you eat a burger in the next couple weeks, I’d cook it real good, just in case it’s the “ghost cow.” We don’t want to take any chances on her getting away.