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On the Edge of Common Sense: Training new neighbors

Contributed by Baxter Black Published on 24 June 2019

In rural America, farmers and “rural lifestylers” are often neighbors. Seeking a place to better raise their children, to retire in peace or to escape the continuing anxiety of the city, they move to the country and build a house on a 2-acre plot.

A wire fence separates them from a grass pasture or cornfield. As the ’stylers grow accustomed to the habits and chores around the neighboring farm, they sometimes can be helpful. But unfortunately, their efforts can sometimes turn awry.

Last spring, Sofia and Brett (names have been changed to protect the ’stylers) noticed one of Farmer Larry’s little 2-day-old calves’ umbilical cords was still attached. They were very concerned, knowing the calf wouldn’t survive without their help. Should they try to call Farmer Larry? Would the calf’s innards fall out? Would he bleed to death? Is this an emergency? They agreed it was.

They climbed under the fence and hurried into Larry’s pasture, picked the calf up, drug him under the fence and took him home to their garage for safe-keeping until Larry could be notified.

They called the sheriff’s office. Officer Johnny arrived and listened to the story. The calf looked pretty rough, like it had been chased, jumped on, dragged, scraffed under bob wire, banged on a concrete driveway and tangled in a 20-foot-long orange electric cord that was attached to a tipped-over table saw in the back of the garage.

Sofia and Brett were modestly proud … they had saved one of God’s little creatures. Maybe Farmer Larry would give them a reward. But they agreed with each other they would not accept it … heroes don’t charge for good deeds … “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” etc.

Officer Johnny was wondering whether he should arrest them now for cattle rustling, animal abuse, trespassing, bovine violence or calfnapping.

He called Larry and told him the story. Larry laughed and cussed and mused. “Officer Johnny,” he finally said, “Explain to them about calving and the navel and all, give ’em my cellphone number, you can have the calf to bottle raise and, if Sofia asks … just tell her I like blueberry pie.”  end mark