Tuesday, April 12, 2011

COMING OF AGE IN MONTANA

A couple of weeks ago, a new kid arrived.  Not very big, sort of a teenager.  He reminds me of
Chuck when he first arrived.  Looking around, trying to figure out what this place is all about.
It didn’t take any time at all for Chuck to take the kid under his wing.  I watched them walk around together, and it was obvious that Chuck was teaching the young bull-to-be everything he needed to know. 
“OK, Kid, this is where the Boss dumps the hay when the cold white stuff has covered up the grass.  Sometimes he dumps it over there, and when we are in a different pasture he brings it there with the big noisy thing he rides in.  If you look closely, the grass is just starting to come up.  It’s the best stuff to eat.  I do it all day.”
The kid followed Chuck around like a puppy following its daddy.  They occasionally rubbed noses.  Chuck would nudge him when he didn’t move fast enough. 
“Pay attention, kid, this stuff is important.”
The kid rubbed his forehead against Chuck’s neck in response, but Chuck was already on the move.  So much to teach, so little time.  Chuck is headed for a group of girls/cows, busy eating. 
“Who are they?”  The kid stopped, as Chuck surged on ahead.  The girls were really big, and he wasn’t going near them.
“These are the girls.  Come on, quit dragging your hooves, Kid.” 
The kid followed, slowly.  Chuck stood and waited and gave the kid a hard nudge with his nose when he finally drew up to the circle of girls.  The girls showed no interest.  Chuck bellowed, and they looked up.  A couple of them came over to sniff the new kid, who looked nervous.  None of the girls had any time for a kid, and went back to eating.
“Uh, Chuck?  They are very tall, aren’t they?”
“That’s just because they are older.  I used to be short like you, but if you eat enough of the grass, you will get as tall as I am.  Trust me, kid.  Just do what I tell ya, and you’ll be just fine.”
“I don’t think they like me.”
“Doesn’t matter, Kid.  Your time will come.”
That was a couple of weeks ago.  The kid followed Chuck around while chuck showed him everything.  As an outsider, I wondered if two bulls would show jealousy, if the girls would ever react.  Nothing.  They were just two guys, doing guy stuff.  The girls’ attitude was “Borrrring.” Kind of like football for people.
This morning, I noticed a large and tall Jersey female was in the small, fenced holding area outside my bedroom window.  In with her was the Kid.  Right next to them, on the other side of the barbed wire fence was Chuck, communicating like mad with the Kid.  The kid kept looking from the cow and back to Chuck and back to the girl.  Apparently, this is the big Coming of Age moment for the Kid.  Chuck was trying to show the Kid what he was supposed to do with the girl.  Occasionally Chuck would try to come through the fence to demonstrate, purely in the interest of teaching the Kid, of course.  But in the end, all Chuck could do was instruct through the fence.
“Remember what I told you the other day, Kid?  Now is your time.  You are a bull, she is a cow.  Now get in there and get ‘er done, Kid!  You can do it.”
The Kid is looking frustrated.  He knows his duty.  The cow has a wonderful fragrance, and he is hot on the scent.  The cow finds the whole thing tedious.  She keeps moving away, won’t hold still.  She just wants to stop and eat, but when she does, the Kid is right there, annoying as hell.  She thinks, SuperBowl, and yawns.
“Chuck, she is too tall!  My legs aren’t long enough.” 
“Just put your front hooves up on her back, and everything will work out fine.  I think.”  Chuck is beginning to realize the Kid really isn’t up for this. 
“Persuade her to go over by the pile of hay so you can stand on it.”
“YOU persuade her, Chuck.  She’s telling ME to get lost!”
Chuck gets as close as he can to her, separated by the barbed wire, and bellows. 
She bats her extremely long eyelashes at him.  “You have to be kidding, Chuck.”
“It’s his first time, give him a break, huh?  You remember when I was little, don’t you?”
No response.  Bored, she is sneaking a nibble of new grass. 
The kid is standing around, watching the grown-ups converse.  He is hoping Chuck will come and take care of business and let him go eat some hay.  This cow chasing can make a kid hungry.
I have other things to do and have to hope that somehow the Kid will get ‘er done.  Eventually, when the cow takes pity on him and holds still.  As I left the bedroom window, and gave young love some privacy, I heard Chuck bellow in frustration.  The life of a dedicated teacher is not easy.

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