“Get the four wheeler!” Cowboy Joe shouts as Mama Cow takes off a-buckin’ with Cowboy Joe, tightly gripping a loose rope, in tow.
I say nothing, thankful my husband isn’t within eyeshot to see the owly, “I’m sorry what?” expression on my face. My heart is racing – running through thick, lush grass up to your thighs (Joe’s shins) is hard work and I’m out of shape…but also there goes my husband, cowboy hat and all, scurrying along behind this monstrous, obviously cranky, cow.
This was not the plan. The plan was for me to be the gategetter, a word which here means, “until you can be more helpful, this is your station.” My job was to stand behind the trailer gate, out of the view of Mama Cow (because I’m shorter than the gate), and when Mama casually saunters up into the trailer on her own free will, I close the gate behind her. Really it was a foolproof plan…until the fool walked in and ruined it all.
…it was me, I’m the one behind the oopsie…All in the name of trying to be more helpful than I actually am, of course!
A series of events transpired that, rather than calm Mama down and coax her into the trailer, instead sent her bolting off through the native tallgrass – dragging Cowboy Joe right along with her! I internally kicked myself because, doggone it you should’ve just stuck behind the gate like the 24-years-experienced man told you to! As the yell for the four wheeler echoes through the thick, summer’s air, an instant panic sets in. I’m sorry, he wants me to do what now? Come again? The four wheeler. That four wheeler? The one that I have to back out of the trailer on tracks that have to be set perfectly so I don’t go careening off the side and completely take out the undercarriage? Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do.
Cowboy Joe and Mama Cow grew smaller as the cow that was “sick” trudged right through the prairie.
The realization that Joseph wasn’t kidding and that he really truly was expecting me to back the four wheeler out of the trailer and scoot to his aid came shortly after the aforementioned scene.
That’s what I’m gonna do, okay, right, yes let me just do that right quick. I’ll be there in a jif. I do my best Jack Sparrow run toward the trailer, put all my might into getting the back end open, and hopped on the four wheeler that I had, according to Cowboy Joe, in fact, been on before. (I don’t think that’s true).
Oh for cryin’ out loud, how does it turn on?! Okay Leah, look for the little lightning bolt, or a key, or something. I looked. I looked hard. Nothing on this machine looked even the slightest bit familiar to me. Ooh, wait, a green button! Lo and behold if that didn’t turn ‘er on! I felt a little bit like the Lone Ranger, coming to my husband’s rescue on the green stallion.
But I was not the Lone Ranger. I wasn’t even moving!
HOW DO YOU MAKE IT GO BACKWARDS?! I was not doing well. The tears had begun to flow. I can’t believe he wants me to do this. Where is the shifty stick?! Eventually, I got the ole gal thrown into reverse and started my trek to the back of the trailer.
Cowboy Joe shows up shortly after, no rope, and no Mama. I’m still trying to back out of the trailer. Boy, had I messed up. I quietly hopped on the back, as Joe expertly backed us out of the trailer, and we steadily headed toward our runaway cow, who was now laying down at the other end of the pasture, calmly.
A bit ashamed of myself for not being able to complete the one job I was given to begin with, only to chalk up another failed job, I purposed in my heart that I would just do what I was told and I’d learn eventually, even if it took me forty years – hey, at least at 60 years old, I’d know how to open and close the gate really well!
The longer I thought about it, the more upsety-spaghetti I became. How many new, hard things was I expected to do in this one trip?! Couldn’t we just go slow and take one thing at a time, then I could study, and take a test on it at the end of the unit?
We pulled up to the cow in question. “D’ya think you could pull the trailer right along here, and miss all of this?” Cowboy Joe motions to the steep, jagged bank from a winding water source after a hard rain. Having never in my entire life ever been behind the wheel of a long bed pickup, and especially never in my entire life have I ever been behind the wheel of a long bed pickup pulling a gooseneck stock trailer, I confidently said, “Yes!”
Cowboy Joe nodded, and I scampered off toward the pickup 100 yards up the way. I don’t have very long legs, so think of running with very exaggerated steps that actually are out to the side to avoid getting tangled in the grass.
I don’t know what business you think you have telling your husband that you’re going to casually pull up beside that cow down in the gully and just happen to miss everything that he told you not to hit… Lord, if you’re listening, I could use some help!
Have I ever mentioned that Joseph is tall? And that I am not?
I pulled myself up into the pickup, and stretched my legs out toward the pedals that I didn’t quite reach unless I sat on the front 3 inches of the seat. Less than confidently, I flipped it into gear, and impressed myself by pulling right up beside our cow, missing everything Cowboy Joe told me to miss! Great, I could stop sweating!
After some light conversation, we decided to push her toward to working pens at the west end. Joe slowly meandered behind Ma Cow, leaving me with a truck and rig 4 times as long as my typical ride.
Ah, yes, I’ll follow behind you, good idea! Wait there a minute, sir, I cannot simply traverse that vertical wall of dirt like you did. Oh, go through there? I can’t see through there? Go through there, got it. Whatcha doing with that there rope? You want me to drive over it and then you’ll tie her to the trailer? Sounds questionable to me, but you’re the boss!
We got Ole Bessie into the trailer and back to the folks’ to help us keep an eye on her. You’ll be pleased to know that she’s still alive and kickin’, and I now know to look for a green button, NOT a lightning bolt, when starting the four wheeler.