26 November 2012

Catalogs and Ponies

"So your aunt Barbara was telling me your uncle was rounding up catalo... today, and it went well," Mom said. "I told her I expected palomino ponies."

Rounding up catalogs? Huh? What do ponies have to do with anything? "'Rounding up' what?" I asked.

"Cattle."

Ah, that makes sense. My aunt and uncle live on a 1000 acre farm. Although they are both in their early eighties, they don't seem to have noticed.

Mom elaborated, "He used his car. He put feed in his trunk, left it open and drove across the fields. The cattle just followed him."

"Oh, you meant ponies for herding the cattle."

"Yeah." Fortunately Mom did not give me an exasperated look for being two beats behind her story.

Then it hit me, "Wait. You mean 'rounded up'... to get eaten."

I was having dinner with my parents and this was potentially appetite reducing territory for me.

Mom said, "Well, they take them to be sold. Where they go from there..."

"They take them to the farm," I interjected, thinking of the stories TV show parents tell their kids about deceased pets and then clarified, "The other farm. The one where they get to live out their lives peacefully."

"Maybe," Dad offered optimistically for my benefit.

"Sometimes they have a heck of a time getting them on the truck," said Mom.

"Did you know cows have best friends?" I asked. "I read it somewhere recently." (Online no doubt.) "They get upset when they're separated." Huh, I just took us right back to depressing.

"The children too," Mom added.

Children? I was missing something but decided to let it play out.

"The mothers don't like it when their calves get taken," she continued.

Aha, not human children. "Why would they?" It wasn't a question so much as a commiseration.

"You know, when the young calves are drinking milk from their mother, her older calves will come by for a sip or two because it's like she's giving out snacks."

"You wouldn't want to pass that up," I said.

"They always remember which calves are theirs."


Two years ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #42

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