One day in the early spring, our cow, Belle, gave birth to a perfect little heifer. She was mine. It was my job to train her, feed her, and clean her. In August, I would show the world just what a capable 10-year-old I was. This was no ordinary calf, she was a registered Holstein. She needed a name that would befit her lineage.
I named my first calf Tiny. That was a good name for a calf, but not so good for a grown cow, besides there was only one Tiny, and this new little wobbly-legged calf was not her. This new calf looked a lot like Belle: mostly black with just the perfect amount of white marking across her back, up her feet and legs and under her belly. Belle never even saw my calf’s father. That’s because Dr. Friese came over with his little frozen vial, and that’s how Belle got pregnant. It didn’t take any love or marriage for cows, ’cause cows didn’t have souls. They were still God’s creatures, that’s for sure, but they never ate apples from that tree in the Garden of Eden, so no rules, and no sins. ‘Course there weren’t any cows in heaven either, so that was the down side of all that freedom.
Dad was really good at picking out names; he picked out all the girls names at my house, except for Mom’s of course. Any Dodo bird would know that. Dad even helped me name my doll, Jonesy-Belle, so for sure he would be a good help with this new calf of mine, the only one, besides Belle who was a genuine, registered Holstein. Me and Dad put our heads together for days, trying to come up with names. Dad helped Bonita name her calf Black Eyes; that was easy, she was mostly white with a few giant black blotches, and big black circles around her eyes. Besides that, Dad called Bonita his black-eyed Susan, so Bonita loved calling her calf, Black Eyes. Bonita was too little for 4-H and Black Eyes was just a regular old Holstein calf, not a registered Holstein, like mine.
One evening, while Dad was milking Belle, he said, “I got an idea, let’s name her after someone in the Vice-President’s family.” He rested his head against Belle’s belly, and turned just enough to look at me. Continue reading