A Bunch of Bull

When I was living in Vancouver, I took a part time job on a farm. The old German couple I was working for had a bunch of animals including some cow and steers.  They were all inside a fence over a fifty-acre field. 

I arrived one morning to see Olav in the field sitting on a stool behind one of the cows.  It looked like he was listening to something under the cow’s tail.  “He’s stuck” he said.  “Who’s stuck?” I asked.  “The calf,” he replied.  Then he pulled his arm out of the cow’s ass.  I dropped to my knees laughing.  I’d never seen anything so darn funny.  “You better try, you’re stronger.”  Try what?” I asked getting up.  “Try pulling him out.”  “I didn’t sign up for this,” I said.  “I thought you just wanted me to do odd jobs.” Well, this is as odd as it gets I guess” he shot back.  I could smell hot biscuits from the kitchen and I wasn’t about to go back to my apartment and eat another bowl of Ichiban soup.  “What do I do?” I asked him.  “Reach in and pull on his legs.  Just roll up your sleeves and stick your arm in, you’ll feel his legs.” 

I could barely stand up from laughing and feeling ticklish.   Man, I’ve done some odd jobs but this took the cake.  I couldn’t bring myself to put my arm in there though, till his wife yelled from the house, “Olav, do you want sausages or liver for lunch.”  “Sausages” Olav replied.  I closed my eyes and shoved my hand inside that poor cow.  Sure enough, I felt a pair of hooves which I started pulling on.  I yanked on them legs for a good ten minutes.  Then I pulled my arm out in frustration.  “Let’s come back to her later” Olav said.  “What time is it?” he asked.”  I looked at my watch but it was gone.  I looked at the cow and Olav just shook his head. 

We went and cleaned out the barn and came back an hour later.  The cow had dropped her calf and my watch was on the its hind leg when we came back.  During lunch, Olav saw one of his cows kicking.  “Quick, the brown one, she’s trying to drop her calf but his leg is stuck, hurry.”  I guess he was diabetic and couldn’t work too hard or too long.  So I wrapped up my lunch and put it in my pocket and ran out to the field to save another calf.  I found the cow and did what had to be done.  I felt around but couldn’t feel anything.  Then it looked up at me.

I remembered from watching Sesame Street that cows have no horns but steers do.  This one must have been a steer cause it had horns about two feel long sticking out from either side of its head.  Then I heard Olav shouting something about the other brown one.  I could see the steer’s nostrils starting to flare and I knew that if I didn’t get my arm out, I was going for a bull ride.  I pulled my arm out as slow as I could, trying not to spook it.  But I could feel it tightening around me.  Just before I got my elbow out, he started kicking his hooves like he was ready to bolt.  Just as I tugged on my arm, he took off running.  

I read later that steers can run thirty-five miles an hour.  My personal best was about fifteen but I beat it that day by twenty miles and hour.  First we ran down one side of the fence and up the other.  By that time a few cars had stopped and were either laughing or trying to help.  I could see Olav about a hundred yards to my left holding a shovel like a baseball bat.  So I pulled on something, maybe the kidneys, and sure enough it turned left, right toward Olav.  As we ran past Olav, he konked the steer right in the nose, dropping him like a sack of hammers.  He loosened his grip and I pulled my arm out.  

I lost one side of my rubber boots and started looking for it.  When I tell this story people tell me it sounds like a lot of bull.  But I wouldn’t intentionally pull anyone’s leg, would I?


About inuvik61

Filmmaker, apprentice bluesman. columnist, father, husband, master, and champion to all those who missed their boats.
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