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Animal Health Notebook

A Cow Taught Me to Forgo New Year Resolutions

A Cow Taught Me to Forgo New Year Resolutions
In 1986 my resolve to quit swearing faded with a mad cow and a nail-studded barn door.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We welcome a new blogger to this Animal Health Notebook series - R.P. 'Doc' Cooke from Sparta, Tenn., a 'mostly retired' veterinarian who we think you'll enjoy reading. So read on - but beware the censors.

I personally think New Year resolutions are a good idea; however I do not believe the same thing.

There is a distinct difference between thinking and believing. I have tried numerous ideas that I thought were sound, only to discover numerous flaws after the expenditure of considerable money, time, and energy.

Author gets a lesson from a cow that stalls future New Year's resolutions.

Believing is different, however. Believing means to adhere to closely (stick like glue). A belief should be based not on theory, but upon facts based on natural principles and laws.

At any rate, I do not believe in New Year resolutions anymore than I believe in all the government-subsidized hay barns that are going up all over our part of the country. The landowner pays 50-75% of the site development and construction costs. The dozer man, carpenters, builders supply, insurance man, and tax guy all make money, while the cattle have another weighty expense dropped on their backs. With that addition, the whole operation becomes less economically sound.

As a matter of fact, that is why I stopped making New Year resolutions back in 1986.

My thought process and desire in 1986 was to stop cussing and using all the three- and four-lettered nouns, adjectives and adverbs that are considered sordid and a sign of stupidity by people of "culture." A veterinarian friend of mine once told me that just because he spent much of his life working in mud, blood and stench, that there was no reason he had to look, smell and talk the way I did. My wife and mother agreed.

I thought they were correct and decided it was time to clean up my mouth. Late on Dec. 31, 1985, I made a resolution to do just that.

About daylight on Sunday, Jan. 2, 1986, the phone rang. On the other end of the line Leslie Peterson from an adjoining county told me to hurry up and get down to his place cause he had a "g.d. mean, old, crazy b**** cow needin' to calve" and he needed my help.

Actually the old gal had a breached calf inside her that she had needed out for quite a while. I would soon learn, however, that the elapsed time had not weakened her physically or in any other way.

I cupped my hands at the sink and splashed copious amounts of ice cold water onto my face, drank a cup of coffee, climbed into some stiff, nasty clothes standing in the corner at the back door and headed south across the Caney Fork River into Van Buren County.

Les was in his mid to late seventies at the time and was as good and honest democrat as I ever met, but he seldom put a complete sentence together without a g.d., h***, d**n, s**t, or some other superlative. I don't remember him using some of the even fouler superlatives on a regular basis, but it has been quite a while since he passed.

I pulled into the muddy, old barn lot area and said good morning to Les and asked him how he'd been getting along.

"Pretty d***ed good until I found this old whore yesterday evening," he said. "Smells like the calf's dead so I waited 'til this morning to get you out here. H***, there's not any lights in the barn."

I asked Les what the plan was as I could already see at a distance that she was from a bad neighborhood and didn't plan on making friends. With plenty of those "bad" words, Les laid out the plan.

We got to work. Les and I slipped in an old gate and climbed up the hill to the dated barn. There the cow was, staring at us, a frame score two, thick Charolais cow that only needed a scrotum to pass for a bull.

Hanging from a gate I sailed a loop to her head as she came forward to greet me. She reacted by turning in a trot to the far end of the barn. Les was talking to her in a nice, reassuring tone and cussin' every breath.

I jumped off the gate and into the barn to grab my rope but here she came raging, sending me jumping into an old musty stall full of cobwebs and slamming the stall door, tearing off my right glove and a bunch of hide from my hand and fingers. I shouted at Les from the stall inquiring why in the "g.d. h***" all the nails were driven up and down the stall door.

"Keeps the g.d. bulls from pushin' out," he replied.

"Does it work?" I asked him as I spit tobacco juice on my bloody hands and fingers.

"D***ed right, it does," said Les.

Already my new year's resolution was slipping.

We got the calf delivered, opened the barn gate so the cow could leave, and I picked out a path for my own escape while telling Les to do the same. He assured me "by God" he would be all right.

I popped the quick release knots of the cross-tied ropes and took off, looking back at the cow then in pursuit of Les. As Les headed into an old feed room, the old cow got her nose between his cheeks and him flying into the room with old feed sacks and dust bellowing out the door. The cow then exited the barn at a brisk pace with her head plenty high.

I yelled to check on Les and felt blessed that I wasn't forced to slam the nail-ridden door a second time.

"H***, yes, I'm fine! … gd the ole white b****!" was his answer.

That was the last of the 1986 resolution. Thirty-six hours into a new year and I'd failed the first test. It has taken 28 years for me to try again.

Hope all of you have better success if you made a resolution.

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