"Keep scribbling! Something will happen." Frank McCourt

Friday, October 30, 2009

Charging Like a Rhino

I believe I have confessed that I am a nerd, that I watch PBS…all the time. It is a well known fact that when I put on my know-it-all hat and share information with my family and they say, “Where did you hear that?” I say with my head held high “PBS”.

Did you know that a group of rhinos is called a Crash? The rhino has a bad temper and will charge and or bite when they feel like it. Why? Because they can. After all, the rhino hasn’t changed much in 20 million years. PBS says so.

As you might remember, I grew up country. I was privileged to be surrounded by all kinds of critters. Both sets of grandfolks were dairy farmers. I have many wonderful memories of growing up around a farm.

What charges like a rhino? No not a woman in her favorite department store. A bull charges like a rhino.

My maternal grandfather died when I was only 6 months old. When my uncle got back from serving in the Army he moved in with my grandmother to help her with the farm. Eventually, he married and they had children and they all lived with Grandma.

When I came on the scene, uhhh back in the mid …. uhhh... some of the cows had to be hand milked. It was hard work to milk the cows every day whether it was by hand or by machine. I witnessed the hard work and appreciated what they did. And while I got back under the covers, those who milked had to get up before the sun, the cows banked on it. They ate. The kinfolk farmers milked.

I loved the farm experience. I loved the sounds. I loved the smell (Yes, I did).

I remember being very interested in the milk barn. I can still smell the hay, the barnyard and the feed – oh and the warm milk.

My uncle’s wife (my aunt of course) was tough and worked along side her husband. She and my uncle did the milking and helped take care of the farm for my grandmother, to lessen her burden and to make a living.

One wonderful summer day, my aunt was going to take the pickup out into the pasture. I can’t remember why she wanted to drive out in the middle of the cows… oh and the bull. But we all begged to go. My brother (who has exhausted hundreds of guardian angels assigned to him) and my cousin (they were quite a pair) did not want to ride in the cab with the girls. The cab was full…overflowing…with girls. So they hopped into the bed of pickup and sat each on a tire well and held on for dear life because my aunt drove like a bat out of ….

It was exciting.

I remember the cows running after us, their boobals (technical farming term) flinging to and fro. Suddenly, out of nowhere charged the bull like a rhino. I don't think I was expecting it. My brother and cousin (of course) were grinning from ear to ear as the bull chased the pickup. The girls in the cab were screaming hysterically (or was that just me). Then it happened, bang…the first hit… against the tailgate. The boss of the pasture hit the old truck with such a force that it pushed it forward.

My aunt screamed through the back window, “Hold on.” Then she spun the pickup sideways and headed in the opposite direction.

Faster and faster she accelerated. Then BAM the bull battered the side of the pickup. He was snorting and waving his horned head. He meant business and he wasn’t giving up the fight. He was after a pickup and two little boys.

“Hang on.” She yelled again and she whistled an ear piercing sound. She had the best whistle coming out of her teeth. Quickly, she steered the pickup in an about face just as the bull intended to hit again, but he missed. It was at that moment my brother and my cousin were thrown to the floor of the pickup bed and rolled toward the tailgate. The old bull wasn’t giving up and he was in hot pursuit.

Although as a little brother Electronics Man was a pain in the patooty, I really didn’t want to start over in training a new brother should something have happened to him. And I wasn’t sure how my parents would take it. That could have been ugly. So I worried. Add to that the thought of my brother being gored and stomped before my very eyes was not something I wanted to see. So I hung my head out the window and screamed, “Hold on!!!”

Then my aunt accelerated once more and headed for the front gate. By then the angry bull had stopped. I don’t know why he stopped, but I was glad he did.

The whole episode didn’t seem to frighten my aunt. She was pretty fearless.

Oh did I mention that just a few years later, when she was in her last trimester of a pregnancy, my aunt was charged by a bull… tossed in the air like a little rag doll and knocked to the ground?

Oh yeah, she was.

She lived. My cousin lived.

Sometimes bulls will charge like a rhino. PBS would say so, if they knew.



8 comments:

  1. Great story JW! However, if our bull EVER charges, he goes to the stockyard! We don't want any mean critters at Swiftwater Farm! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. omg, what a joy ride you had! Those are the kinds of memories we cherish, aren't they, when we can laugh at them when retelling them, even though I doubt anyone was laughing on that truck! What a sketch your aunt was, I'll bet you have lots of fun memories.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a wonderful story. Did you know a group of owls is a parliament of owls? ( i watch PBS too).

    Elspeth

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the smell of a farm too, even though I've never lived on a farm, just visited from time to time.

    It's such a rich, earthy smell. Love it.
    Great story.
    Lesley

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a post! How well you write JW, it was excitement all the way.
    To this day I can smell my grandfather's barn....laying mash, hay, leather saddles, curry combs, corn....and mice....all those smells intermingled. So many places to hide away and let the summer holidays go by in a time gone by

    ReplyDelete
  6. Carol, I'm with you. If you're a mean bull - bye bye.

    Joanne, I must admit it is a pleasant memory.

    Elspeth, I love owls and did not know that(hanging my head in shame).

    Lesley, You are right that describes the "aroma" perfectly.

    WD, Thanks for the compliment. I would like to go back and spend a day on each farm with my grandparents.

    Have a great weekend, everybody.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As one who held on for dear life many times on the HOOD of Aunt's car I can definitely see her doing this. Enjoying every minute of it too, no doubt. How we all survived....but the memories did make me laugh.
    Tammy

    ReplyDelete
  8. My sister and I spent a lot of our summers on our grandparents dairy farm. The cows were sweet and docile. They would let us ride them. They would even lick us, but the bulls. I've been chased by one, and it IS scary. Great story. I am glad no one was hurt. You had me worried for a minute. lol

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving a comment.