Perched above the chute and working the exit gates with my boot heels, I had little time to observe anything outside the loading pens. The summer sun hung high as I gave a tap to the crown of my Stetson, settling it just above my squinting eyes.
Roscoe, on horseback with a sorting stick in his gloved hand, worked the cows and calves as they jostled to stay together. Parting the cows from their calves was always a tedious job. Most of the cows were turned back to the pasture, and the calves were loaded into trailers for market. I had never grown accustomed to the mournful lowing of the separation.
We waited for the wranglers to bring the next herd from the south pasture. I downed half a bottle of water and used the rest to wet a bandana. As I tied it around my neck, Roscoe got my attention with a whistle and pointed toward the main gate leading into the pasture. A Hummer was parked next to the road, and the driver was frantically waving his left arm out the window.
Roscoe shrugged and galloped his horse toward the vehicle.
Flat tire? Out of gas? Lost? Someone hurt?
I couldn’t hear what was being said, but I watched Roscoe lean in close as if he were having trouble hearing or couldn’t believe what the driver was saying.
The Hummer bounced across the uneven terrain of the pasture as Roscoe waved his arm and pointed the driver to the cattle pens. Following directions, he parked the vehicle next to the round portable pens where part of the herd was being held for vaccination.
Roscoe reined his horse and bent double as he dismounted.
“What’s going on?” I had to know.
Still stooped, I couldn’t tell if he was in terrible pain, trying to catch his breath, or what was happening. Stretching his tall, lanky frame upright, I saw tears flowing from his eyes. I’d never seen Roscoe cry.
He slapped his knees. The belly laugh that escaped was so loud, he spooked his horse.
“You’re not going to believe what that man wants.” Roscoe doubled over again with laughter. “You have got to see this.”
We watched as the driver climbed out of the Hummer with a bucket.
Roscoe whooped again, but I was dumbfounded.
“Huh? Is he going to try for fresh milk?” I asked.
The man ran around the outside of the cow pens, bucket in hand, keeping a sharp eye on every cow in the lot. Just as I thought he had given up on his mission, he suddenly stopped and tried to thrust the bucket through the slats of the pen. Didn’t work. Racing back to the Hummer, he abandoned the bucket for an empty Cool Whip container. More circling of the pen.
Finally, with sweat-drenched clothes and still-empty Cool Whip container, he wandered over to where Roscoe and I were giving the appearance of mending fence.
“Well, pal, you didn’t have any luck?” Roscoe mopped his eyes with his handkerchief.
I couldn’t take it any longer.
“What were you doing with that container?”
The man glanced at Roscoe then back to me.
“Sir, I was trying to harvest cow urine,” he said with indignation.
“Don’t you know? It will cure arthritis!”
My jaw dropped. I hoped Roscoe wouldn’t double over again.
With stooped shoulders, the man turned and ambled back to the Hummer. He circled the cow pens one last time and drove out the pasture gate.
I wondered if we might have hit on a new sideline, but Roscoe was way ahead of me.
“You know, I think I’ll take some home to Irene,” he said, watching the Hummer disappear down the gravel road. “Last night she was complaining about her knees.”
Based on a true story, however, the author makes no medical claims.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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