Lucky for Mom, she has so many kids to get all the work done. We had a regular chore rotation: Wash dishes, dry dishes, set and clear the table and sweep the floor, and do barn chores. We could trade with each other; Deanna always traded out of doing barn chores. She hated the barn. Bonita and I would rather be outside anyways.
Still and all, I felt sorry for Baby Jesus in the manger. A mangers no place for a baby, that’s for darned sure.
For a long time, part of winter barn chores was cracking the iceon the water trough and filling the trough, so the cows got enough to drink. When it got super-cold, we watered them with a pail. I hated that job.
Dad got five gallon pails as full as we could carry and Bonita and I carried them over to the manger for the Belle and Lightfoot, and Ladybird, and Black Eyes, and Blackie, and Mavis, and all the other cows whose names I forgot ’cause I never got that attached to every single cow and calf.
Our barn had tinsy water bowls right beside each stanchion, so a cow could get a drink of water anytime she wanted. She just had to press down on the lever with her nose and voilà, just like the drinking fountains at school.
As long as I lived, I never once saw those things working. Dad said those contraptions were like asking a cow to drink from a straw.
“A cow’s gotta put her noses right down in the water and gulp the water down, not sip, sip, sip like this.”
Dad scrunched up his eyes and made a sucking sound through kissy lips. I knew just what he meant, ’cause I never could get a good drink of water from a drinking fountain.
Anyways, I hated dragging those pails to the cows. For one thing, they could Continue reading