Lisa Hamblen Hood: Through the Fence 3-3-12
March 13, 2012
Some animals have delusions of grandeur. They think they are bigger than they are and can accomplish miraculous feats. My dad used to have a little Jack Russell terrier, aptly named Spunky, who thought she was a pit bull. She’d get into it with my Labrador retriever, Honey, that outweighed her by 60 pounds. Luckily, Honey never called her bluff. Instead she’d back down when they faced off at the food dish the minute Spunky laid her ears back and snarled.
My friend Adrianne has a bottle calf named Baby that lives alone in a pen behind her house. He thinks he’s tough. His alter ego is Black Attack. He is sure that he’s bound for PBR fame one day. He struts around his pen kicking and bucking and generally acting macho. She watches him out the window sometimes. He runs down the lane as fast as he can and leaps over a water hose like it’s a 3-foot hurdle. He leans hard on the gate to the arena and eventually pushes it open. He’s sure that the grass is actually greener in there. When Baby used to share his little pasture with some cutting horses, he’d sidle up to them like he was a 2,000 pound bull about to nudge them off the planet. They ignored him.
One afternoon after he’d been romping around the pasture, stomping and pawing the ground like some rank rodeo bull, he raced through the pipe fence gate. He was still huffing and puffing as he skidded to a halt. His nostrils came in contact with the open end of the pipe railing as he stood there panting. The air entered the hollow end in such a way that it whistled. Startled, Baby stood back and looked at the gate curiously. He walked back up cautiously and blew into the pipe causing it to whistle again.
Adrianne and her husband were watching their little bull calf as he tried to process what had just happened. He blew into the same pipe a couple more times getting the same result. They could see the light come on in Baby’s little bovine head. He lifted up his face and gently blew air into the next higher pipe, and it whistled. He bent down to the lowest pipe and exhaled and got an equal outcome. By this time Adrianne and her husband were giggling to themselves, wishing they had a chance to fetch the video camera before the golden moment was over.
Several more times the little calf snorted through those pipes. The tones were almost identical, so it wasn’t much of a tune, but Baby was pretty proud of himself, and so were his parents. “If we could’ve taped it, we could have made a fortune on World’s Funniest Videos. Baby could’ve been famous on David Letterman’s show segment called Stupid Pet Tricks,” Adrianne quipped later. “It was hilarious.”
Of course, the musical performance was short lived because Baby realized that other matters were more pressing. By then, Adrianne had gone inside and then returned with a warm bottle of milk.