Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 9-30-13
Movie makers searching for locations for the next western epic often send crews on reconnaissance trips to Montana as well as other western states. Said crews interview and visit ranches as they look for the perfect scenery, the best ambiance. Such was the case last spring. A movie crew contacted Clarence. Would he consider allowing filmmakers to shoot a movie on his place?
“Sure, why not,” said Clarence.
Clarence: “You folks go right ahead and look around. I’m calving and I gotta help a cow in trouble.”
One of the film crew, Sheila, was urban born and bred. Her only experience with Mother Earth was observing that dirt filled cracks in city sidewalks.
Sheila: “A cow in trouble? What does that mean?”
Clarence: “Well-a-she’s havin’ trouble birthing her calf. I might have to pull it.”
Sheila: “Pull it? Where …?”
Clarence: “A-yeah … a well … a …” (Clarence’s silver tongue was stuck).
Sheila: “Would it be OK if I watched?”
Clarence: “A-well … sure … if you wanna.” (Tongue still glued to roof of mouth).
Clarence gathered up a set of obstetrical chains and headed for the barn with Sheila, the movie gal, and Zeus, the cowdog, trotting at his side.
In the barn, a heifer stood with her head trapped in a stanchion. Her tail was switching. She was straining. Clarence did the usual. When he inserted the chains into the bovine’s rear entrance, Sheila gasped.
Sheila: “Oh, my, has that chain thing ever gotten lost inside there?”
Clarence: (Glancing over his shoulder) “Well, ma’am, I don’t reckon that’s a problem. This just helps me bring out a — something, not lose something.” (Clarence’s tongue had become lubricated, probably from the physical exertion of tugging on whatever was in the south passage of the cow).
At the next contraction, Clarence pulled. A delivery is not comparable to anything else in life. It’s a bit messy; the event is accompanied by a certain amount of … leakage. The entire process is fairly unattractive to most folks — but not to a cowdog. Zeus had been waiting. Eyes dancing, he proceeded to ingest … stuff.
Sheila: “Oh, ick! What is that dog doing?!! Ick!”
By now, the calf was mostly out of where it had been. Clarence tugged a little more and the newborn plopped to the ground. Clarence made sure the calf nostrils were clear, that it was breathing OK. Meanwhile Zeus continued to “help” by gobbling fresh … stuff.
Sheila: “Ick, ick! Why is that dog … eating … that … that …”
Clarence: “Well, Ma’am, Zeus likes it while it’s still hot … you know, sorta how folks prefer hot soup.”
Sheila: “Yuck!” was Sheila’s final comment before exiting the barn at a high lope.
Clarence: “Well, gosh, Zeus. Sheila didn’t look real happy. What you reckon’s her problem? Maybe you shoulda shared.”
Zeus did not reply. ❖
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Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., presided Wednesday over a hearing on agricultural research and food security that is likely to be his last before his retirement.