"The trouble with doing something right the first time
is that no one appreciates how difficult it was!"
I hate her. She calved on a cold Sunday night in the most difficult place. She had troubles and got hip-locked and ultimately pinched a nerve. Dad and I had invented this hip sling method to be able to get cows up and get circulation to their legs. However, this cow calved on top of a steep hill covered in lava rocks -- no way to get the tractor up to her, so Dad gave me the task of getting that cow up and moving. She hated me as much as I hated her. I would tease the cow to lunge at me -- her hind legs didn't work, so I was always in a safe position. I would get her to lunge all the way down to the creek to get water -- I wanted to leave her there, but my conscience got the better of me because I knew she would probably drown. This went on for a week, twice a day, me teasing a cow to get her to take me up the hill and down the hill to water. It was a Friday afternoon when I went to play our game of cat and mouse -- since to this point she still couldn't stand on her own four feet, I was pretty confident she couldn't get at me. She hated me, by the way. I walked up, took my glove off and stretched out and slapped her in the face with it. Her eyes got big and steam came from her nostrils, but she didn't move a muscle, just stared with hate and contempt in her eyes. I slapped her again, she threw her head at me, but nothing else. The third time I got right up to her head and rubbed her top notch, but this time the cat set her trap and lunged to her feet. I found my self square on my back with that red Saler ready to pounce on my head. I rolled and ran like a shortstop with a play to first. I looked for a tree to climb into, but on that patch of hill there was nothing to hide in except for blackberry patches and hawthorn bushes -- I hated that cow!
As time went on, that cow was my nemeses. If I wanted the cow herd to go through a particular gate, she would head them off and throw her head and chase them out -- she made the simplest task impossible. I remember when it was time to take her to the sale, Dad told me that when she goes in the trailer, slam the door, even if she is the only one in there. "We will only get one chance" he said. It was worth it to take a separate trip just for her. After that working cows was easy, never a problem. The cows moved where they were supposed to go, always went into the right gate, never held up the squeeze chute. I felt a little sadness, with my enemy gone there was no challenge in my life. Isn't that the way of it though? We like challenges, maybe not at the time, but when we look back at our memories we tend to identify the things that were tough to accomplish and relish those achievements.
May 15th is the due date for NAAE award applications. I encourage you to fill out an award and submit it to NAAE. Remember these awards are as much for your program and community as they are for you. I had the opportunity to teach at a really exciting program at Hermiston. We had increased the ag program to have three teachers, we had 750 students taking agriculture classes, and there were 225 paid FFA members. On top of that, we had an outstanding FFA Alumni of over a 100 strong to help us with this monster. The success that this program brought to the community was really something that I was proud of. We submitted an application for Outstanding Middle/Secondary Program and won at the state level. The community brags on their agriculture program still to this day!