The award night, the glittering lights, anticipation, a heart pounding scenario. To be recognized among a group of peers for a performance of standout quality and dynamic proportion, yes Award Night is a momentous occasion. Just who will be filling the audience and what is their take on your big moment.
Around here it is really easy and there are many occasions to be outstanding in your field. I can recall each with such clarity that the years slip away and the moments of delight and anguish can be as fresh as yesterday. Let me share one of these momentous nights with you. No worry no red carpet here we aren’t talking that big a moment, just a local opportunity to be outstanding in my field.
The phone rings in the middle of the night, it can never be anything good. I answer in the groggy voice and come full alert in seconds. “I’m on my way” Yes , of course I’m exhausted so the cows would have to be out tonight!” I pull on jeans and sneakers and a flannel shirt and head off. The Ct. State Police said the cows were on Brown’s road right around the corner, we ( www.mountaindairy.com )pasture a large number over there, let’s hope it is just a few not the whole herd. Before I even round the dangerous blind corner I see the whipping blue light of the police cruiser. An excited young officer is standing there as 30 or more beasties wander in the road. Relieved when he sees me get out of the car I call out a introduction from my end of the herd. It is only part of the group on this side of the hill, have to remember to check that the rest stayed in. I start talking to the cows and moving slow and deliberately toward them not wanting them to spook and go dashing off in the darkness. They begin to turn and work their way down the road. There is a large gate a ways down we can get it open and work them through. The policeman has never herded cows before, it is evident by the widely flailing arms and excited tone of his voice. Way more fun than robberies and speeding tickets this diversion will be a fun little exercise. I call to him my plan and point to where the neighbors porch light is just before the gate. We have to get it open but not let out the rest of the herd that maybe behind it. With all his yelling, they are sure to come and watch the excitement.
I didn’t see anything to start the frenzy. There may have been nothing more than the will not to give up so easily the freedom they had gained that night, but all of sudden things were moving to fast. Cows began to spin and run and they were heading in multiple directions, none of which was toward the gate and subsequent capture. I raised my arms and rushed the group coming at me shouting heeya at them and turning them back. The policeman surprised at the ease this method affected change tried it too, he sent them flying back in my direction. I don’t want the group to move up near the deadly curve in the road and again change their direction with a heeya and charge and the whole group wheels like an army in maneuvers. They are going down the road at a good clip and the policeman has jumped to the side. It is OK if they over-shoot the gate there is another and I will try to outrun them and turn them. It works if you can run wide of the group and come around. There is a dirt road up ahead may give me the room to get past the main body of the group. All of a sudden the policeman sees the opportunity to help. He jumps out joining the fray in the middle of the road and the whole group again pivots and heads into the night through an open bar-way to a hay field. He is sure his effective pursuit is doing the magic, but I really hoped they wouldn’t go in the hayfield, but back where they belong. The hayfield is open to the top of the hill ,to the cornfield and in a half mile or so to the road on the far side of the hill and nothing to stop them! we could do this all over again with different scenery.
I see the policeman in full pursuit now to drive the group well into the field and as far as he is concerned the safety of not being in the street, well that would be a policeman’s goal. It is at that moment that I remember coming down the road earlier in the day, when I had driven through I had seen the big manure spreader broke down there and they had to dump the whole load to lighten the truck to jack it up and repair the tire. NO!!!!!! I scream and the high piercing scream surely set the cops heart pounding. All his police training, murders, guns, fights, WHAT? He skids to a halt and looks up through the darkness to see what could possibly have made me scream so – he is on full alert ready to draw a weapon, I’m sure. I keep running toward him breathlessly yelling “stop don’t move”, he has, he is just looking. I catch a breath,” don’t follow them I shout” as I draw closer. ” What is wrong” he demands as I run up. I catch a couple breaths, ” You don’t want to go in there, they had to dump a few tons of liquid manure there today when the truck broke down!” His eyes widened and he thanked me politely but something in the tone said he didn’t think it was worth raising his blood pressure through the ceiling.
Game over for now, I am not about to chase them through there. I explain how there are no fences and they may show up on the other side of the hill later but if they had enough fun they may be content to eat grass and hang out all night, we will hope for that scenario. It is incredibly dark as he drives away. I stand on a knoll at the top of the field and try to count how many cows are out there. The stars are the only light and the moving shapes are hard to discern, the cows with a lot of white are easy but the all black ones disappear into the space. Before bed I just want to know how many we had so if they are out again I will know if we got them all.
This is my moment, no fanfare, just me, Out Standing In My Field!
The next morning the police officer stopped to thank me, he had driven by the pile of manure in daylight, he was most appreciative after seeing what he had almost run blindly into. A happy ending, the cows stayed in and were put back to the right pasture in the morning by the barn crew. Another moment of fleeting fame on a back road in farm country.