It was Thurday, and Farmer Stewart received a phone call from Farmer Tom. Tom told Stewart that his hired hand was doing some mowing on the Palmer farm–a dairy farm that butts up to the back of Stewart’s land–when he saw four white cows bedded down in Stewart’s waterway.
This didn’t seem too hard to believe, especially since Stewart rented one of his own pastures to Mr. Palmer for some dry Holstein cows and a bull. But Stewart was busy tending to his other farm in another town, and so was unable to run down and see for himself. Instead he called Mr. Palmer up, told him his cattle had gotten out, and to go gather ’em up again.
Now being a farmer–a mighty poor farmer as is now painfully obvious–I know that these calls are the ones you dread the most. “Ah, sh*t!” is usually my own personal response, but I’m sure Mr. Palmer (whom I don’t know) is much more civilized than I; he probably just shook his head a little.
I’m also pretty sure it didn’t take Mr. Palmer long to get down to the pasture to check out the situation–a cattle escape is something you attend to NOW. But funny thing is, Mr. Palmer’s cattle were lazing around nice and happy under a few trees in a pasture corner. He counted them: one, two…….yep, they’re all here. And then, get this! Then, as the responsible, non-sucky farmer that he is, he also walked the perimeter of the pasture and checked his fence.
He checked his fence? My, what a novel idea!
And by golly, his fence was fine! Sure it was a little bogged down by weeds in a few places, but that trusty electric fenceline he had put around the inside was working like a charm. Mr. Palmer cows won’t be trampling another farmer’s crops anytime soon.
So then something happened that was bound to happen. You see, there’s this well-kept secret that only those of us foolish enough to call ourselves farmers know about. It’s the bread and butter of a farmer’s day to day existence. It’s better than coming home to a home-cooked meal, better than growing a record-setting corn crop, yes, even better than toodling around in your brand new souped-up gazillion-horsepower tractor.
Farmers just absolutely love to humiliate other farmers when they make a mistake.
And seeing four white “ghost cattle” in a waterway is one of those mistakes that no one makes.
And so the jokes began. Farmer Tom’s poor hired hand was teased to no end about seeing “ghost cattle”, about not knowing the difference between a deer and a cow, about how there might be one albino deer in the area, but four?? Etc. Etc. Etc.
Yes, I’m sure that poor hired hand was the laughingstalk of the coffeeshop. And I’m also sure he’ll quite possibly never report a rogue cow ever, ever again.