Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I think I have learned how to do this. I just haven't learned how to fix
what I did before, so the dates are mixed.
9:16 pm cdt
The new book is at the printers. They will
format it. Then I will proof it again before we add the pictures and all the details. For those of you who have
read the four books of the Corn Cave series, it is not part of the series. It is still the same type of story, but takes
place farther west. The printer is a very special friend who always does a beautiful job. I am trusting his people
with a little more of the design this time.
Hoots from the Hollow
A Tale of a Tail A soft blanket of snow covered the hard sheet of ice spread across southwest Missouri that morning.
It took a full pickup load of hay each day to feed the beef cows that were calving. Two year old
Joe Paul stood in the seat between his dad and me and watched as the cows and calves came running to meet us.
While the herd circled the pickup, one small black spot remained by itself on the white expanse. It
wasn’t moving, and we feared the worst. Joe stopped the pickup beside the calf, and I got out.
The little thing was cold to the touch and was stiff as I slid my hands underneath to pick it up. Farm
people don’t give up on their animals easily, so I laid it on the floor under the heater vent in
the time we got home the calf was stirring slightly. Farm kitchens often serve as temporary nurseries.
The calf came to rest on an old rug in a corner beside the dryer. There didn’t appear to be
enough life in it to bother about blocking it in with chairs. Joe Paul was fascinated by the calf and stood
there watching it as I went about my work. At least it kept him occupied for a time while the other children
were at school.Later
that day while working in the other part of the house I heard a commotion in the kitchen. Rushing in, I
encountered a pint sized rodeo of one two year old and a very lively black calf. The footing on the kitchen
floor was not meant for hooves, and a lot of slipping and sliding was going on. After having a bottle the
calf was transferred to the hay barn. It was doubtful the mother cow would take the calf back even if we
could locate her, and the weather was too cold to chance trying to pair them anyway. From the time the
other two children arrived from school, Blackie became a pet. The children took on the job of feeding him,
playing with him as if he were a puppy. Blackie thrived on the attention.Spring came and Blackie was still in the hay barn even
though he was weaned and eating grain. Much of the "first love" had worn off, but the children
still went out to play with him. One day Gayle and Newt had gone out to feed the calf. A
few minutes later a horrified scream pierced the air all the way into the kitchen. Gayle was still screaming
when she slammed the back door open. Taking a deep breath, she gasped out, "Newt pulled the baby calf’s
Calm down. How could he pull the tail off?" I asked as I held the trembling
were playing, and Newt caught hold of Blackie’s tail and pulled it off!""Where is Newt now?""He’s still in the barn, I guess."I turned off the stove and went with
her to find out what had really happened. When we got to the calf pen Newt was on his hands and knees frantically
trying to bury the majority of a black calf tail in the dirt. From his sister’s hysterical reaction
he was sure he was in a great deal of trouble. It was hard not to laugh, but the two children were so upset
I tried to keep a straight face. The calf was calmly licking the last of its feed out of the trough.
When it turned around it was missing most of its tail, but there was no blood. When the calf had
nearly frozen to death the tail must have frozen past healing. It would have soon fallen off by itself,
but one tug from a small boy speeded up the process. Blackie continued to be a pet until he was big enough
to put out to pasture. And so ends the tale of a tail.