Sunday, March 26, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 76th Installment

animal deaths, I mean. For instance, when we found Blackie, our big black and white Holstein dead for several days by the wind break, the Old Man told us we had to take the tractor and chain down the wind break to drag the cow to Bone Hill. We approached on the up–wind side and swung around to the down–wind side. Big mistake. The stench was of the kind that weakens your knees, and confuses your mind. You can’t run or even know what to do…brain fog!

If this is what death smells like, I’m never going to die. It would be too embarrassing to reek this bad,” I muttered to Russ, being careful not to inhale as I spoke. We maneuvered around and got the chain around the cow’s neck. We then dropped the tractor into gear, eased the slack out of the chain, and took off. As we went over the dike between the wind break and dirt road, a slimy mass spurted out from the back of the cow. We stopped, took a deep breath, got a firm pinch on our noses, and went back to investigate. It was a half developed calf; at least developed enough we could tell what it was. “Now what?” was all I could manage to say while holding my breath?

We can’t leave it here on the road,” Russ said after we raced away to breathe some fresh air. Looking around, we found we didn’t have a shovel, gloves, or anything to pick this thing up – only a piece of twine.
All I can think to do is poke the twine under the thing and lift it onto its mom.” I said. We used a weed stem to push the twine under and lifted on the ends, the decaying, underdeveloped calf split in two and fell in two piles.

Yuck! Now what, smarty pants?” Russ demanded as we high tailed it to fresh air. “Let’s bury it right here!”

Okay!” I would agree to anything by that time. We dug furiously with our fingers, sticks, and rocks between dashing away for breaths of fresh air. I found a screwdriver in the tractor tool box and a crescent wrench to pound on it with. Thanks to these tools, we had a small grave ready in just four or five dashes for air. The tools were also helpful in scooting the rotted animal into the hole. We pushed the dirt in the hole, jumped on it to pack it in, and gave a small grave–side service. I did the sign of the cross on my chest and said, “May you rest in peace little animal and sorry for cutting you in half – amen.”

Amen,” Russ said and added, “Now let’s get the heck out of here!”

As we motored to Bone Hill with Blackie’s carcass in tow, I suggested we just drop the cow off on the top of Bone Hill and leave – no services offered. This cow deserved no such attention from us.

500 more words tomorrow

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