Mad Cow Disease

Earlier this month I visited the Hampshire College campus in Massachusetts.  I was there to spend a few days with my daughter Bea…

…who was studying at the amazing Yiddish Book Center at the college.

Hampshire has a lovely campus in the middle of rural farm country.  And it was 97 degrees.

I’m from The Emerald City and I know green when I see it.  Believe me, that countryside was green.

It was midday, and the campus was deserted, except for mad dogs and Englishmen.  Oh, yeah, and Bea and me.  We were walking to the dorm to sit in front of the AC and have lunch (did I mention it was 97 degrees?).  Then out of nowhere came a couple of dairy cows, fresh off the farm, looking like two giant Oreo cookies on the hoof.  Completely out of context, they looked larger than life.

One doesn’t often see cows going faster than a mosey, but these two came galloping toward us–no, frolicking is the only word for it.  They came frolicking across the manicured lawn.

They seemed giddy with the sense of freedom.   No cattle lows here.  In fact, I could almost hear one calling to her girlfriend, “Woo hoo!  C’mon,c’mon,c’mon, come ON!!

Oh, they were fresh, and they were frisky!  Across the campus they bounced, udders swaying, heads bobbing.  Like young girls taking the bus downtown for the first time.  Or mothers in a frenzy of activity when Baby goes down for a nap.  Grownup sisters on their first overnight after the kids are weaned.  Old ladies and their girl herd down at the senior center on Bingo Night.

A student heading out to the parking lot saw them.  Before ducking into the safety of her car, she shouted, “Get inside!  Mad cows on the loose!”  But Bea and I weren’t afraid.  If this was Mad Cow Disease, we wanted to catch it.  I swear, those cows were laughing and shoulder bumping!

They were on their first jump over the moon.  New sights, new smells, new tastes.  Maybe the grass really was greener on the other side of the fence.  How would they ever know if they didn’t give it a try?

You’re going to stick your head into a garbage can?  Then I’m going to stick my head into a garbage can too!”  Thelma and Louise on the hoof!

Out from under Farmer Brown’s thumb!  You go, girls!

I knew then and there, I would never wait for someone to open the gate of the corral.  If it’s locked, I’ll jimmy it.

Whether your middle name is Hamburger Helper or you’re just tethered to a milking machine, life is short.  You can put in your time on the farm, but if you wait patiently for someone to put you out to pasture, chances are it ain’t gonna happen.

It’s up to you to kick up your heels while you still can.

You hear what I’m saying?   Get Moooving!

All words and images copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Pairs.

Click here for more interpretations of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Farm Animals.

Click here for more interpretations of Nancy Merrill’s A Photo-a-Week Challenge: Green.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh.

Lucky Seven Time!

Sabrina Garie, author of Fires of Justice, tagged me (sometime ago) for Lucky Seven. Be sure to check out her blog, Sabrina Garie: Life’s a Journey, Keep It Spicy.  She is funny, intelligent and, yes, spicy!

So what’ s Lucky Seven?   Here’s how it works.

*  Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript

*  Go to line 7

*  Post on your blog the next 7 lines or sentences

*  Tag 7 other people to do the same

 (To help set the scene, here is a photo of my long suffering mother and me.)

This will help put in context the following excerpt from my manuscript, Real Troopers:  Crystal Logan was raised to believe being a good wife and mother meant always putting your family first.  When a cancer scare triggers a Middling Life Crisis, Crystal finally rebels at setting up Girl Scout camp in the rain.  She and her Girl Scout co-leaders go rogue, and take a field trip to Italy, without children, husbands, or permission slips.  At a castle in Tuscany they meet Walter, amateur astronomer, poet, and retired F.B.I. agent.  Crystal falls hard, and has some tough choices to make.

“Sorry,” he said, laughing softly.  “I wasn’t expecting company.”  While he cleared the clutter, Crystal flashed a helpless grimace in the direction of her girlfriends, still crouched and hiding  in the roadside ditch.  

    “That’s better,” said the stranger, stepping aside. 

      Crystal had never gotten into a car with a total stranger.  She could hear the bloodcurdling echoes of her parents’ voices screaming in alarm.  What the hell, she thought.  Cancer would probably get her before this guy would.  A remarkably liberating thought.  Crystal smiled up at him, and he smiled back.  This must be the year of living dangerously.  The click of the stranger’s car door behind her sealed her fate.

(To see a photo of Walter in the Wild, click here.)

Now here are the next Lucky Seven winners.  Honestly, I don’t care which seven lines they choose to share.  I’m just looking forward to reading their work, and introducing them to my friends.  If I’ve included an extra writer or two, I doubt anyone will mind, because that’s one or two more writers to discover and connect with.  Happy tales!

Sarah Potter, sarahpotterwrites

Kourtney Heinz, Kourtney Heinz’s Journal

Beatrice, Adventures for the Faint of Heart

Sara Flower, Sara Flower Writes

Kasia James, Writer’s Block

T.W. Dittmer, Self-Published Author

Paula Acton, Scribblings of an Aspiring Author

Maggie Myklebust, flyawayhomebook

Char, Joy in the Moment

Because this is all about wordcrafting, I will also include a splendid poet, the icing on the cake, The Poet By Day, Jamie Dedes.

All words and images copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck