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A Short Story Sent To Me

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Broke Cowboy

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Wife wrote this last Feb - just sent it to me today - I thought it was pretty good - and as always when she does this - it is a true story - and a quick read. I liked it and thought you folks might as well - we all live this one now and then. She made me sell down to only a few before I left for the desert - she kept her favourites - the ones with no attitude - one goes to the freezer this summer.

BC
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BROKEN PROMISES

My heart is in my throat as I gaze upon the half eaten corpse. Knowing immediately what it is, and hoping that it isn’t, I give it a kick. But the evidence is staring me in face. There they are; the cloven hooves of a still born calf, a promise not kept.

It’s a daily ritual. Walking out to check the cows, checking for limps, bad eyes or discomfort. Walking among them I tell them spring is on its way. Soon they will be seeking the shade of a fence row to escape the heat. Soon they will be contently grazing on young growth, with their calves at their sides.

But now, the dogs are fighting over the corpse. It is fresh, and sweet to them. I allow them to fight. It is no earthly good to me except as dog feed.

It isn’t supposed to end this way. I mutter a curse at late February. The season that robs them of the fat green pasture has put on them. The season that must be endured. The season that separates the easy keepers from those that must be pampered and therefore culled. The season that forces a cow to abort her calf for reasons unknown.

I do not know which cow slipped her calf. It was too small to leave any evidence of its’ exit. I consider having the whole herd preg checked in order to dispense with the one now barren. We all have a role to play, a job to do, and she no longer can do hers. But, I will hold off, and allow time to solve the mystery.

Perhaps we will allow her one last summer to grow fat and slick, lying in fields knee deep in grass, chewing her cud. Perhaps I will pick the wild apples from abandoned meadows to treat her with, along with rolled grains from the local feed mill. She will be fat, and very tender.

Such is life on the farm for a bovine. She will have a lazy, carefree holiday this summer. She will not need to endure the demands of an impatient calf. She may look to her sisters in envy, sensing her emptiness, but will not be able to find solace from those who jealously guard their wards.

I turn my back on the snow covered meadow where the cows munch on hay. Calling the dogs I head for home, considering the ebbs and flows of life. I too have a job to do and must not allow my anger and frustration to keep me from it.
 

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