Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Memories—We’re Not So Different

the same summer range, the same sagebrush some 25 years later

I’m no Dr. Doolittle, that would be Cali or my niece, Jesse, but I do enjoy watching animals. Growing up on a large farm and ranch, every summer we moved the cows up to the hills to pasture and I enjoyed watching them interact. Mile after mile we trailed behind them on our horses, so there was plenty of time to observe the same old cows. Before long, I couldn’t help but name them after the women in our community/church: Susie, Elsie, ErmaLee, Claudia, Josie, Ruth, Norma, Vera, Margarite—there was a cow for each. There was always one that thought she should be in charge, and another that was timid and glad to follow. There was one who was constantly in every other cow’s business and one who liked to hang back with the calves. There was the slow, fleshy one and the wiry, fast one. There was the one who walked ten yards to the side of everyone else and the one who was always stuck in the middle. There were some with distinguishing body marks and some who just blended in with everyone else. There was the messy one and the one who kept her tail moving. There were the nervous ones and the ones that couldn’t be hurried.

Those days were a long time ago, but I still think animals and humans are a lot alike. Our dog, Seemore, reminds me an awful lot of Ty—he’s just so eager, energetic and glad to be alive. I wonder if I would recognize myself in a cow today.

A friend recently lost her dog of sixteen years. She was really, really sad and asked me what I thought animals’ status is in the hereafter. I told her what I believe and then concluded, “I’ve been around some cows that are so mean spirited they'll be lucky to get out of hell in a thousand years, and others that are so kind and gentle there is no way you can keep them out of a celestial pasture.”

Have you ever known an animal that was kin to the devil?
What animal were you the saddest to lose?


deidra said...

The one that thought she should be in charge was always referred to as the "boss cow" at our house (because a sister often resembled that type of cow). The one pushing around the other cows at the trough, having to be in the middle of things and generally obnoxious.

I think I was a junior in high school before I figured out that a "boss cow" wasn't a term everyone used and understood. It was pointed out to me by my English teacher! :)

Susan said...

Oh my dearest Fanny-dog. I miss her horribly.

michelle said...

This is so great. I love the visual of you among the cows, assigning them names based on their personalities and their similarities to people you knew! And your conclusion cracked me up. Maybe animals and people aren't so different after all!

Jill said...

As I was reading your descriptions of the cows all different people I know came to mind, so we are definitely similar!

My mom had an evil cat named Caleb for awhile, and he was only nice to her and brother Andrew. But to everyone else he was a terror. I once followed him up the stairs (just because I needed to go up) and he turned around and hissed at me and acted like he was going to attack. He scared the crap (and some swear words) out of me! I must say I wasn't sad when he met a brutal end by some other animal in the neighborhood.

My saddest animal loss was a hamster I had when I was 10. I was so upset about her death that I wrote about it in my journal!

Julie said...

I love all your insights on bovine personality. I agree that much can be observed in the comparison. Today I feel like the fleshy, slow cow.

Seemore is a total spaz!

Anonymous said...

Jane, This cracked me up! I can picture those cows named Susie, Elsie, Vera, Claudia and Ruth. Thanks for the laugh.
Your friend Jane