King of the dirt pile

On the way to Topeka Friday evening, I was driving up Burlingame Road and I saw a cattle feed lot. Several cattle were standing on a dirt pile as if to say “I’m the king (or queen) of the dirt pile.” Cattle and I go way back. I have several stories to tell of my adventures alongside (or in the presence of) cattle.

First, I find cattle remarkably fun to watch. I love to go out, drive around, find random herds of cattle and just watch them. It’s especially fun to go cattle watching in the spring when the new babies are frolicking in the pasture alongside their mothers. I suspect it’s not just the cattle — it’s just the fact that I’m out in nature, away from the hustle and bustle enjoying time away that relaxes me.

Second, I use cattle as a reference point. Really, I did this once. I was out driving around one day and I got lost (I often get lost) and I called a coworker at the paper for directional guidance. She wanted to know what I was seeing. Of course, this is Kansas, so I replied “I see lots of cows!” Followed by silence. Then followed a bit of laughter — you can’t guide somebody home by way of cattle. Of course, I eventually found my way back home, but the cattle didn’t help my journey home. “Follow the black cattle all the way back to Emporia!” No, that doesn’t work out too well. Better to get a GPS or better yet, don’t get lost.

I scared a bunch of cattle half to death one day. Really, this was totally an accident. I was young and driving on a gravel road out in Greenwood County. I took a corner a bit too fast, missed the corner entirely and nearly ended up in the middle of a pasture filled with cattle. Cattle scattered in every direction and then they just stopped and stared at me. I felt a little like they were going turn rabid, break the fence down and eat me for lunch. Of course, zombie cows don’t exist — unless you read the book “Apocalypse Cow.” Do I recommend the book? Only if you like zombie, flesh-eating cows, twisted humor and lots of gore. If you should be so curious, it’s by Michael Logan. I do not recommend this book for kids — and probably even most adults.

Then there was the time I was attending college obtaining my degree in child development. In my first life I aimed at running a child care center but became interested in journalism and switched my focus. I did my unit box on cows. A friend’s mom helped us make cow beanbags and I made games and flashcards all based on cows. For the record, I got a “C” on that project. I was highly insulted my cow unit box didn’t go over as well as I had hoped for the instructor. She must not like cows, I determined.

There there is cow tipping. Just kidding. I promise I’ve never attempted to tip a cow — nor will I ever. Those poor cows are attempting to sleep and they don’t need tipped! Unless of course, you tip them with some tasty cow-safe treat — just for being a really cool cow.

Oh and who can forget the cows in the movie “Twister.” “We have cows!” is a line I’ll forever laugh at. My favorite screening of the movie was at Emporia’s Granada Theatre, where they gave us inflatable cows and even sprayed water on the audience during the movie. Another really awesome cow moment.

I’ve even had my neighbor’s cattle wander into my yard, which makes my dogs insane, but for myself, I’ve just gained a front-row seat to cattle-watching. And maybe a few pits in my yard to boot. But hey, who doesn’t enjoy a free lawn-mowing by the neighborhood bovine?

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