On Saturday the kids and I watched Mr. Ferrero Rocher and his two brothers brand a few calves. I couldn’t help but think of this quote from Ralph Moody’s “Man of the Family” as I watched the different mother cows and how they reacted to their calf’s bawling.
“Steers are just cattle. If there are enough of them together, there won’t be more than three or four out of a hundred that you really remember. But cows are a lot like people in some ways – particularly milk cows. Everyone is as different from the next one as women at a sewing circle.
“There were some that were quiet and gentle, and that just looked at you with their big, soft eyes as you rode past. There were others that made a low, whispered moo when you came onto them in a scrub oak thicket. And there were others that would stand up on a hill and bellow about how bad they felt, when you knew there was nothing wrong with them.“There were curious ones and jealous ones; timid ones and bold ones. You’d always find some of the oldest cows grazing with the young bulls, and the prettiest heifers with the oldest bulls. There were nice fat old grandmothers that liked to lie together all day long and chew their cuds. And there were skinny old ones that just snatched up a wisp of grass here or there, and were always on the go. There were some that always hooked their way through the circle at the water hole, took two swallows, and muddled up the water with their feet; and there were others that let themselves be hooked aside.
“There’d always be some slab-sided old cow that would come running to meet us, bellowing as if she was trying to holler that she’d just found a scandal in the hills.”
There’s another observation that Mr. Moody didn’t verbalize.