Beauty is a Beast

DSC07834It is Sunday morning and just getting light outside. My little window will provide enough light for me to read before I hear Ma get up and light the fire in the wood stove.  I reach for my Nancy Drew book. I love reading about her detective work .  There she is, crouched over with her spy glass on the cover. I took the nice paper cover off and put it in my little bureau drawer so it wouldn’t get torn or dirty. I know what is going to happen on the next page, because I have read it so many times since I got it last Christmas. I like the Bobbsey Twins books, too. My favorite is Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island. I keep all my books and read them over and over.

My oldest brother, Tink, buys the Hardy Boys books. He lets me read each book as soon as he is finished. Frank and Joe, the Hardy boys, and their good friend, Chet, are always on the track of some evil person.

One of my favorite books came in the mail on my seventh birthday. I was so excited! It was a red book entitled “Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories” and inside was written that it was from Glenda Waterhouse. I asked Ma and Dad who she was and they said she was Fred Waterhouse’s daughter. I think they must be relatives. I don’t know. Now there is a mystery that Nancy Drew can solve for me!

I hear Ma in the kitchen and can smell coffee, so it’s time to put the daydreaming and the books aside. Dad is up, too, as I can smell his cigarette smoke as he drinks his Maxwell House coffee.

I hurry because some Sundays Dad drives to Locke Mills to Ray Langway’s little store on the corner for kerosene. The potato and egg looks good that Ma hands me and Dad says if I hurry, I can ride with him.  We have a little blue container with a spout and cap we keep in the kitchen corner to hold the kerosene for building the fire. Dad says the price has gone up to seven cents a gallon. I like riding up with him as we talk about fishing and what he plans to do for hunting in the fall. Mr. Langway is always smiling and he and Dad get to talking while I just look around.

I like Sundays because Ma and Dad are home and right now Ma says we do not have to go to church or Sunday school because regular school starts soon. As we drive into the yard, I see Uncle Harold picking corn out of his big garden next door. Since he and Aunt Vi moved back with Grammy and Grandpa, he has done a lot of outside work. He cleared a path along the edge of the pasture woods and his cow wanders up and down behind the new fence he built. I like the fence, I don’t like the cow.

There’s a spot behind Grandpa’s barn where we dig worms for fishing. Just a few shovels of dirt and you have enough worms for the day. There is only one problem for me now. I have to keep an eye out for the cow and one eye on the ground to get my worms. I’ve never told Uncle Harold I do not care for cows. In fact, I am downright scared of the creatures. He named this beast of a cow Beauty for no reason whatsoever. It has a big round face with huge brown eyes. When I look at it chewing its cud, the eyes just kind of stare back at me. There is no sign of intelligence at all in her eyes. She is a moving tank on four legs and doesn’t even walk like most cows. She strolls or sash-shays from grass tuft to grass tuft and chews her cud. She has a swagger to her.

Tonight, my brothers and I are invited to a corn roast. Uncle Harold says the pasture is damp enough so he wants to burn the brush from clearing the cow’s path and at the same time we will have some fine corn to eat. That sounds like fun, as I love corn. 

The stars are out and a big old moon is shining down on the pasture. The bonfire is going and my older brothers help pile the brush on. The smell is wonderful as the corn roasts and Uncle Harold is going to take some in to Grammy and Grandpa when it is done. I ask Uncle where the cow is and he says she is down on the path and probably won’t come near the fire.

I bite in the ear of corn, so juicy the kernels are swimming. My shirtsleeve catches the juice as it runs down my chin. This is heaven! Hums of satisfaction are coming from my brothers as well.  Uncle has a great sense of humor and we are all laughing and eating at the same time.

What is that I hear? CRUMP CRUMP CRUMP ..this is the noise of a walking, stalking cow and it is coming in my direction. I eat faster, determined to devour the treat before Beauty comes near.  CRUMP CRUMP CRUMP I hear twigs breaking. The light from the bonfire reflects one wild, bulging eye and with a scream in my throat and an ear of corn in my hand, I run. I do not care if there is not a shred of pride left in my body, I vault the wire fence using the fence pole for balance. CRUMP CRUMP CRUMP, she is running right behind as I make the mad leap. She skids to a halt and if cows laugh, she is splitting her sides.

Uncle Harold tries to reassure me that Beauty is no menace, but I tell him my stomach is full and thank him. I don’t tell him it is also fluttering with nerves.

Beauty looks at me, swaggers down her path, stops to rub her back on an old tree and I swear, she turns and winks at me. I do not like cows.


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