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Rated: E · Essay · Comedy · #1294287
Written by my grandfather in 1938.
Tutorin' A Milk Cow
by Fred. C. Kibler
April 29, 1938

One spring about three years ago we find ourselves short a milk cow. There's a three year old heifer down in the pasture that's just fetched a calf, and the boss decides that she's just the one to initiate into the trade, and since I'm the only one that's stayin' at the ranch steady, it's up to me to supervise her early training.

I saddle up a horse and lope down to the pasture to bring her in. When I find her, she and the calf are layin' down in a patch of brush, takin' life easy. I try to ease up and start them out slow and quiet-like, so as not to ge the heifer excited, but somehow my tact is all wasted, 'cause when I get about so close she jumps up and takes out of there like a hired man goin' to dinner. The calf ain't hardly old enough to travel yet, but he starts out any way, lettin' out a scared blat about every third jump and after about fifty yards he falls down in a pile of brush, and lays there.

This is just what the heifer wants. She figures he's hid now, and through a few million years of misguided instinct, thinks that as long as she ignores him I'll never have the slightest idea of his existence. She starts to quit the country, but I get her back by the calf again, but she don't even slow down. I try it again, and as she goes by I ride up, jump off my horse and pick the calf right up quick and drop him.
He catches himself on his feet. That's the only way you can get a young calf to stand up once he lays down. If you pick him up gentle-like, and try to ease him onto his feet he will just go limp and lay down again, but droppin' him kind of puts him on the defensive. As soon as he hits the ground he lights out after the cow again, bawlin' bloody murder, and she, hearin' him and thinkin' he's half killed, whilrs around and takes in after me, but I make tracks for my horse, and I'm on his back time she gets there.

After this the calf don't lay down no more, and the heifer ain't so quick to run off and leave it, so by careful hazein' I finally manage to get them home and in the corral.

Now I'm ready for the disagreeable part of the procedure, and that's goin' to be trin' to milk this damn fool.

I tie my horse up to the fence, and rustle me a lariat and a milk bucket, and go into the corral. Right away the heifer gets excited, and I'm afraid she's goin' to tromp hell out of that calf the way she's chargin' around the corral, so the first thing I do is to catch the calf and drag him into another corral. While I'm draggin' him out, she charges up to within about three feet of me, shakes her head and blows snot all over me, but don't try nothin' desperate.

As soon as the calf's out of the way I dab a loop on her, and set down on the rope. She hits the end and damn near does a nosedive. This rather offends her gentle nature, so she turns around and chooses me, but by this time I've thrown a dally round a snubbin' post, and I take up the slack as she comes so can't quite reach me. She's sure fightin' that rope, but I keep takin' up a little more slack till she's right up to the post, then she sits back on the rope and sulks. I tie up the rope, take the milk bucket and ease up to her kind of slow, sayin' all the soothin' language I can think of to try and ease her nerves, but it seems she don't want her nerves eased. As soon as I get close enough to touch her she swings a hook with her right hind foot that would make Jack Dempsey crawl away in shame. I've been kind of expectin' it, so she don't hit me, but she gets her hind leg through the handle of the milk bucket. Her nerves is sure goin' to hell now, and so is the milk bucket. It takes her about five minutes to get that milk bucket kicked off her leg, and it ain't because of lack of effort on her part either.I sure ain't tryin' to help her none though. I'm just keepin out of range, and cussin' in time to her accompaniment. Finally she gets rid of it, and it bounces off the corner of the barn and I go over and pick it up.

It's sure changed shape in that five minutes. If it had been through a rock crusher it couldn't look any worse. I straighten it out as good as I can. It's a good thing there ain't no women or preachers around 'cause I'm beginnin' to get pretty damn profane in my discourse on the matter.

I take the milk pail over to the water trough and slosh it back and forth a couple times in order to clean it up a little, and I'm ready to tackle her again.

As I look her over the notion strikes me that I'm a little short on equipment, so I go in the stable and hunt me up another rope. I build me a loop and sail it up alongside that hind leg that's been gettin' so active, and sure enough, zang she goes just like when she caught the milk bucket, only this time the tables are turned; I jerk up on the rope, and her nerves start goin' to hell again, only this time she ain't damaging no property, and it ain't long before I have her stretched out with that hind leg reachin' way out toward a post on the other side of the corral.

I take that milk pail and stroll up to her again, only this time my language ain't quite so soothin' as it was before. I jam my head into her flank, grab a teat, and start in. She tries to kick me with the other hind foot and gets introduced to the force of gravity. She don't try it again. She justs stands there feelin' sorry for herself. Her spirits is so low they're a saggin' her belly, and just the whites of her eyes is showin'. She don't get no sympathy from me though; I'm too busy feelin' sorry for that milk bucket.

She don't give much milk, so pretty soon I'm through with this milkin' ordeal. I hang the milk bucket on the top pole of the corral, and proceed to turn her loose. It ain't hard to get her to kick that loop off her hind leg, once I give her some slack, but gettin' the one off her head is a different proposition. I damn near have to bulldog her to do it, and when I finally do get if off she sure don't waste time loiterin' around. She takes off across the corral with her tail about a rod in the air, and floats through that pole gate just like ma breezin' through the back wall of the garage in the old man's new car.

Did I say I got profane a while ago? Well that was nothin' but a Sunday school story compared to what I'm sayin' now as I run and jump on that saddle pony and take out after this crazy daughter of Satan.

She's pretty well played out, so she don't go far before I get her headed, but takin' her back to the corral ain't gon' to be no cinch. She's been there once, and don't mind sayin' she didn't like the sample. Every time I get her up close to the gate she turns around and starts fightin' my horse. She ain't got no horns though, them havin' been removed when she was a calf, so all she can do is give him a shove, and head for the hills again as soon as he ducks out of the way.

By this time I'm all cussed out. I'm just sputterin'. I can see I ain't never goin' to get no place this way, so I jerks down my rope again. I run her up as close to the gateas I can, and when she turns around to fight my horse I toss a loop out for her to run through and then beat a retreat in the direction of the corral.

She don't chase us far, but about time she decides to head for the hills again that rope jerks tight and she comes slidin' into the corral right behind us.

I tie her up to the fence and prop the gate up with a few extra poles that's layin' around and turn her loose again. I'll have a half day's job fixin' that gate tomorrow.

She's so played out now she's pretty well quieted down, so I turn the calf back in the same corral with her, and head for the house with the milk bucket, which has about two inches of dirty milk in the bottom of it.

I decide that if I ever have an enemy I really hate, somebody that death is just too good for, I know just what goin' to do. I'm going' to buy that guy a dairy.

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