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Travels with Grandma...
Preserving the stories, legends & history of Texas for generations to come...
Grandma Goes Cow Herding...

Well, Grandma’s “adventure” was a little different this week. Normally, my adventures involve cars and long road trips. This week it involves a wrong turn and cows. So, I am going to tell you the story of “How Grandma Learned to Herd Cows”…

Tuesday after work was a beautiful day! Perfect cyan blue sky. Perfect cool weather. So, instead of just staying home, I decided it was a “rock throwing” evening and I went searching for the “perfect” place at the lake to sit, watch the sun set and toss rocks. I guess I should explain that tossing rocks is one of Grandma’s ways of counting her blessings and casting her burdens. You should try it sometime. For every rock you toss in the lake you count one blessing (thank God) and toss away one burden (give it to God).

Well, sometimes God has other plans for me. I usually go sit on the fishing dock at Rough Creek Park off of Hwy 144 but Tuesday night I decided to go check out some other parks so I headed through town to Hwy 4 and Thorp Springs Park. I got there and the water was too low. Lots of sandbars, not much water, so I turned around and left. Back down Hwy 4 to Loop 547 and on to Hwy 51 towards Weatherford and Hunter Park. That’s a great park and I didn’t know you could camp there – it’s going to be a great place for those quick one night trips! Very few campsites so it’s not too crowded and they are right on the edge of the water with great views of the lake. I can’t wait!

Coming at me were heads, hoofs and horns!! Cows!! A whole herd of them running down the middle of the road! I wish you could have seen them. I pulled over to the side of the road so they wouldn’t hit my car and they turned in between the shed and the car. Have you ever seen happy cows? They looked happy – great big smiles on their faces – heading for the lush green grass in someone’s back yard. So I headed on down the road...

And just before the stop sign I saw him – a little boy about 10 or 11 years old carrying a big stick, his dog trailing behind him. He looked very sad. I stopped and asked if those were his cows and he said yes, they got out. So I told him where they were and he started down the street toward the cows. Then it dawned on me that he was all alone. So I asked where his parents were. “They’re not home.” And that sentence began the story of Grandma “herding” cows.

What was I to do??? I couldn’t leave him there all alone. So I turned my car around and drove back down the road, passing the little boy, his dog and his stick. I parked my car where the cows had gone in and waited for him to get there. As we’re walking to where the cows were happily munching the grass, he says “You don’t think there are snakes out here do you? I’m barefoot.” Now snakes aren’t something I had considered so I just told him “I hope not.” So there we stood, watching the cows happily munching the grass.

I told him, I don’t know much about cows, I’m a “city girl”. He told me not to worry they are pretty nice cows, except for that bull over there. Great! Now, not only do I have to worry about snakes, now I have to worry about a bull. He didn’t look like “Ferdinand” to me – he wasn’t sitting and smelling the flowers.

I knew we had to get them home, but I didn’t know how! Then it dawned on me – he had left the gate open hoping to get the cows home. I asked if he should close it and he said he should. Then I asked what I need to do. I don’t know anything about cows! He told me they should be fine, he just hoped they didn’t get “over there”. He heard barking back there – sounded like coyotes. Great! Now I’m standing in the middle of a stranger’s back yard, watching the cows happily munching the grass, hoping no snakes come out, wondering about the bull and now I have to worry about coyotes!

He took off to close the gate. I grabbed the cell phone and started going down the list of people I know that might possibly be able to help me. First on the list – daughter Alicia and son-in-law Joey. No answer – just a message – “Help! If you know how to herd cows, I’m down here on Will Walters.” Next a call to my sister and her husband – he might know how to get them home. No answer – they were out riding their new horses! All I could do was leave a message - “Help! How do I herd cows!” On down the list to my friend Chris – he’s got a truck and he’s a big, tall cowboy. AHHH!! No answer there either. Just a message “I know I’ve asked you some strange things, but how do I herd cows??? Call me if you get this.”

Then in the middle of all of that – they start to move – and they’re getting closer – and I don’t know where that bull is! And my friend Sandy called. I know she knows even less than I do about cows. So when I answered and she said “What are you doing?” I calmly said “trying to herd cows.” “YOU’RE WHAT????” “Are you with Steve, put him on the phone, I need to know what to do!!” Well, she wasn’t with Steve, she just said call me later. So, my list exhausted, I stood there.

The little boy came back and I asked if there was any one he could call. His mom & dad were in town at the football game. So, I gave him my cell phone and he called his mom. This little boy, leaning on his stick, with his dog sitting at his feet, says “Mom, I have a little problem. (pause) Well, the cows kind of got out. (pause) Well…It might be nice if you sent dad home to help.” Click. Help is on it’s way!

So we stood there talking and I learned that this wasn’t the first time they got out. “Sometimes people just leave the gate open”. The longest “cow hunt” lasted until almost 11. Then I see it – the familiar black truck – son-in-law Joey coming to the rescue! He doesn’t even slow down. Then he backed up, guess he looked at my car sitting on the side of the road with its flashers on. And he started to take off!! I hollered “Hey we’re back here!!” I’m still thinking they got my message and we’re coming to help. Nooo! I later learned they first thought I was broken down and were going to look for me. I later learned he told Alicia “Look at your mom, standing out there watching the cows.” About that time I was close enough to hear him yell “Hey don’t leave your car on the road like that!” Then it dawned on me ---- they never got my message, they were just on their way to the store. And I yelled – “Help!! Do you know how to get these cows home:?”

AHHH – no problem – he pulled up between the houses, honking his horn and the cows started to scatter. It didn’t take long he at least had them running in a group, “herd” to a fenced pasture and YEAH!! Here comes dad, pulls that truck right up and blocks the road, gets out and starts yelling his “special” cow noise. (While the boy and I were watching the cows he told me his dad grew up on a farm and had a special way to call the cows.) They came running towards him and took off between the shed and my car back down the road towards home. Dad, the boy, his stick and the dog on foot, hot on their heels and Joey stopped let Alicia out so she could drive the man’s truck home. Then Joey followed the dad and the boy, Alicia followed them and I followed her.

About that time my phone rings and it’s Chris. Yes, he’s herd OF cows. Why? Not her OF cows – I needed to know how to HERD them! Poor Chris, he doesn’t know me all that well, but he’ll learn. This isn’t all that strange for me. Strange things happen to me all the time! Well, the story of grandma learning to herd cows ended down the road at the driveway. The cows were happily home, Joey and Alicia went to get their Dr. Pepper and I went home. That was enough of an “adventure” for me for one week.

Till next time…


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© Story and all pictures are copyright of Sharon L. Curry. No portion of this story or pictures may be reproduced in whole or part without the express written permission of Sharon L. Curry.