Death in Black & White
What a great time to start a blog! There's nothing like a near-death experience to get one feeling like he's got a story to tell. I had a close brush with Death this very afternoon, or at least his first cousins Bodily Injury and Intense Pain. They came in the form of a Holstein steer named Torro. Now, in Torro's defense, he is NOT mean; he IS waaaaay overly friendly--but the difference between these adjectives becomes very slight when you weigh 800 solid pounds and possess two sharp horns. I bottle-fed him and his brother, Outback, last summer when they were cute little calves with knobby legs and soft brown eyes. Outback--may he rest in peace--bit the dust a few months ago, presumably from swallowing a foreign object that had blown into the field. Which is why today, when I saw Torro with his head stuck in a trash can full of styrofoam packing peanuts at the other side of the field surrounding the radio tower, I raced to his rescue. First I made necessary precautions: I put hay in the rack to keep the beast occupied; I armed myself with a 3-foot metal pipe; I said a fervent prayer. Then I spent probably ten minutes picking up small pieces of the lethal white stuff (who dumps two Rubbermaids of styrofoam over an 8-foot fence into a pasture with animals in it?). I was just headed back across the field with the trash in tow, when the steer came lumbering over to meet me. He had lost interest in the hay and wanted to "play," i.e. shove me around with his horned head. I walked backwards, tripping over cowpies and the three pygmy goats, keeping the trash cans between the steer and me with my left hand and warding him off with the pipe in my right. Several times I thought he was going to bust the cans when he took a running start at me, but blessed be Rubbermaid for their sturdy products. Once I poked him in the eyeball with the pipe. He bellowed, turned away, blinked a few times... and ran right back for more. I stumbled backwards across that field for what seemed like a very long time, praying the whole way. At last I made it to the safety of the chest-high electric fence which keeps him out of certain portions of the field. After a few moments of deep breathing and taking inventory of my appendages, I promptly got the hose and sprayed him right in the face. Ha! Take that, you animal, you beef with legs to be butchered in a 6 weeks! He bellowed again and ran off. I win. Expense: shoes and pants smeared with manure, and dignity all but lost. Those nice city-folk in their condos lining two sides of the field had something to talk about over supper.