As you know, we’ve spent the past week waiting with breathless anticipation for our Jersey cow Matilda to have her calf. As the days crawled by, we've had a number of false alarms. Meanwhile the poor girl was looking positively misshapen between her bulging belly and her enormous udder. There was so much mud in the wooded area where we keep the cows in the winter, often knee deep, that I brought her into the fenced driveway area just to keep her on dry land until she had her calf. “Driveway” is a misnomer, since it also includes our entire side yard, probably half an acre total.
I didn’t think to close the driveway gate since, after all, poor Matilda could barely waddle, much less make a dash down the 400 foot length of the driveway toward terra incognita.
Until this morning. It was as foggy as anything and visibility was limited to 100 feet. Still, as I was upstairs getting dressed for church I could see her walking – okay, waddling – briskly down the driveway. Unconcerned, I went downstairs and told the kids, “Let’s get going so I can get Matilda back in the driveway and close the gate.”
We hopped in the car and drove down the fog-shrouded driveway. But no Matilda. Baffled, we got to the end of the driveway and had three options: left (to go to church), straight (up our neighbor’s driveway), or right (toward some other neighbors as well as a ravine leading to the canyon). No Matilda in sight.
Entirely randomly, I went right. “I don’t see her,” said Oldest Daughter, peering into the fog.
“She can’t have gone far,” I said crossly. “She can barely waddle.” I drove further than any cow – much less a Jersey with a nine-month calf inside her and an enormous beach-ball udder between her legs – could surely walk in the two minutes between seeing her heading down the driveway and us getting in the car.
Suddenly there she was, high-tailing it down the road toward the ravine. I jerked the car to a stop and hopped out. “You little twit!” I exclaimed. “Get back here!” So, attired in church clothes and unfortunately without a lead rope, I hauled her up the hill and back into our driveway, where I closed the gate behind her. She was not amused.
What a dastardly person I am, thwarting her Great Escape.
“She probably wanted to find a secretive spot to have her calf,” observed Oldest Daughter.
“I’m sure you’re right,” I replied. “But can you imagine having to search high and low for her after church, trying to find a secretive cow and calf down the ravine?”
We were late for church, of course, but our pastor thought our excuse was hilarious.