Rhoda Bontrager's First Place Essay - Have You Seen My Cows?

Jul 29 2014

Reprinted courtesy of Indiana Prairie Farmer

I woke from a sound sleep with a star. “Honey, the cows are out,” my husband exclaimed, alarm edging his voice. Cows on the loose are a dairyman’s nightmare. That thought was enough to yank one’s self abruptly and completely from dreamland!


I flew out of bed, raced to the door, only pausing long enough to slip into sandals. I hesitated in front of the garage a moment, peering into the inky blackness illuminated by the security light on the electric pole standing sentinel at the corner of the yard. But I couldn’t see any cows. Well, at least they’re not parading around in the front yard turning that into a disaster.


I quickly walked around the house all the while carefully staring into the darkness for bulky, black-and-white shapes. The dog wasn’t even barking and I could hear no mooing accompanying wayward bovines. Where could they have gotten to? As I rounded the corner of the house, there was my dear husband doubled over with laughter. He had taken time to put on his shirt and trousers – after all, you don’t go cruising around the neighborhood in your nightwear – and then exited the back door to the patio. With dismay I looked at him. Really, what is so funny about chasing cows in the middle of the night and just where are they?


Grinning, he pointed to the “cow” he had seen. Returning to bed from a bathroom trip, he had glanced out the window and saw our black barrel compost tumbler setting on a white wood stand at the edge of the garden. I’m sure the crank on the end looked suspiciously like the tail of a frolicking cow. 


Enjoying a laugh together we trudged back to bed, grateful that it was a false alarm. I lay there shaking with laughter long after he was back to snoring.


Rhoda and Thomas Bontrager recently received 500 gallons of Super Dieselex-4 delivered by Randy Sizemore of North Central Co-op. Rhoda's essay took top honors in this year's CountryMark/Indiana Prairie Farmer essay contest. Our thanks to Rhoda and Thomas for sharing their memorable story with all of us!

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