It was fair time, and my younger sisters had taken two of my prized heifers to the fair and both of them were heavy with calves. The stork was due anytime, so I was at home getting the cows milked, or trying to. I was about five minutes late getting to the barn and I had the cows come to the barn when I played a bluegrass song- “Mule Skinner Blue,” sung by the late Bill Monroe. The cows would come to the barn in a hurry.
That certain day the needle on the record player was broken, so I couldn’t play the song. The cows were in the back pasture, so I walked back in the pasture to round up the cows to get them to the barn. Dad had a favorite cow he called “Old Babe.” She was as ornery as hen’s teeth. (I forgot hens don’t have teeth.) Anyway, Old Babe just had her calf and it was a jim dandy heifer calf. Old Babe wanted to fight and fight she did. Finally I got Old Babe and her new calf to the barn where I thought Old Babe would settle down. She was the last cow to be milked. She had two more calves beside this new one and she was ornery every time she had a calf. But I thought maybe things would be better this time. How wrong I was.
Old Babe was broke to an electric milker and she had enough sense to come in the milking parlor to get milked. Old Babe practically few in the parlor to the feedbox. Things went along quite well until I started to put the milkers on Old Babe. She went nuttier than a fruitcake.
Old Babe kicked over the milker pail, busted the hoses loose, and to top that off, Old Babe kicked me right square in the mouth when I started to clean up the mess she’d made.
When I got through spitting blood and manure and dirt, I discovered that Old Babe had kicked out my teeth. To be exact, my two front teeth. And there they lay, in the manure and dirt. My senses finally came back to me, and man did my teeth hurt- what was left of them. About that time my wife drove down to the barn and said, “One of the heifers at the fair is calving.”
I told my wife, “What’s next?”
Her comment was, “What did you do to your two front teeth?”
“Old Babe kicked them out,” I said. Old Babe looked at me, and if a cow could laugh, she was doing it right then. Out of the barn she went, heck bent for election. Down the cow path she ran. I told my wife I had better get her because I will need her milk to feed her calf.
So I followed Old Babe back to the woods pasture. The old fool had twin heifer calves and she had hid this one in the brush! I was hurtin’ so bad that I didn’t have the heart to say anything to Old Babe. Finally I got Old Babe to the house and she didn’t say a word about me putting her calf in the pen with her twin sister. What am I saying, Old Babe didn’t say a word? Cow’s can’t talk, and I couldn’t either at that point and time!
My wife took one look at me and said “Your face is all swelled up.”
I got the barn cleaned up and I sure was glad to sit down for a minute. My wife said “Don’t forget about the heifer at the fair.” So, my wife drove me to the fair. I forgot to mention that my wife was seven months pregnant. Can’t you folks see my wife driving a pickup truck? She had about two inches to spare between her and the steering wheel.
When we finally got to the fairgrounds there must have been over a hundred people in the dairy barn. Over a hundred people had seen this new calf hit the ground. What a day, or rather a night.
When I got home, or rather when my wife and I got home, I was hurting so bad I couldn’t sit still. Throb, throb all night long. My wife tried ice packs, pain pills and that didn’t help. So I walked the floor all night long. I couldn’t get any sleep, not even a wink. I forgot to mention this was Saturday night and the dentist office was closed. So, my wife took me to the emergency room and the emergency room doctor took a look at me and said, “I wouldn’t touch you with a ten foot pole. You will have to see a dentist.”
So I had to wait until Monday. What a weekend.
Finally Monday morning got here and as soon as my wife thought the dentist was in the office, she called him. His reply was “I can’t see your husband because I am booked up solid. Take your husband to the emergency room.” My wife told the dentist I had already been to the emergency room.
So, back to the emergency room we went. Thank goodness there was a different emergency room doctor. He took x-rays and all kinds of stuff, and told me my jaw was badly sprained, but I would be eating through a straw for a few days.
But the emergency room doctor suggested that I go to see a dental surgeon as soon as possible to get the rest of my two front teeth cut out. That same day I got the rest of my two front teeth out.
Dad felt sorry for me for what Old Babe had done to me. He gave me Old Babe’s twin heifer calves. They weren’t as crazy as their mother was. And Old Babe had a set of bull calves that I broke to work. But that’s another story.
William Weinrich is a frequent contributor who lives in Piketon, Ohio. He writes stories of farming from the hills of Sunfish Creek.