Posted by: tlnemethy | October 6, 2013

Big Toe and Little Toe

There is now a smallish, fluffy, knobby-kneed creature stilting around the barn corral that wasn’t there when I first arrived in the Ozarks. She’s cute and curious, also stubborn in her search for milk, and she’s been ceremoniously named after me. Tori. Little Tori, the cow.DSCF0221

I missed her birth. We’d been venturing guesses as to her due date practically from the moment I stepped foot in the barn, but there were no real indicators. It could be a few weeks or it could be in a handful of days. Cows are hard to read sometimes, especially when the mother is a first time heifer. Nine months that little girl was cooking away in her mother. Like a little person. Nine months.

Good things come to those who wait, right?

Well, I just so happened to take the night of her birth to drive my car down the rock-laden road to get some cell reception and call my mother. It’d been a while since there isn’t a great cell reception in the middle of the boonies. That, and my car really should get up and stretch her metaphorical legs every once in a while so she doesn’t get too sedentary and lose all her will to run.

I called my mum all excited. There were so many tales to be told and I was bursting at the seams since we’d been playing phone tag for a bit. I was idling there in the vacant lot of an old church and just chatting away about the farm and the cows and the snake sightings. And in that moment, I was missing the birth. Damn. Just my luck.

DSCF0225

She even scowls like me

But once I got back to the farm and noticed a small-scale jujube sorting session in my kitchen, I was notified of an interesting tidbit. Apparently, the calf would be named after me if it was a girl. If it was a boy it’d have been name Twayne. I was stoked, but the odds of it being a girl seemed pretty slim since statistically they’ve only calved a handful of girls in forty years of farming. Boys, boys, boys. There must be something in the Ozark water.

Well, we all know that it happened to be a girl. I very well might have teared up a bit when I found out that I now had a legacy at the farm. So touching. I don’t think I would have felt more profoundly ecstatic if my legacy had been a child rather than a cow.

The first time I wandered down to the barn and saw her, she was curled up by her mom. Just a jumble of bony angles and sharp points. Precious. I was supposed to take a picture of her and feed the rest of the herd all in one fell swoop.

Holding out the pat of hay to her mom, I craned my neck as far to the side as it could get, just to glimpse the little one bumping around on her udder. Mom grabbed some hay from my hand and chewed noisily, her body mostly positioned between baby and me. I threw down a few more pats, scattering them a bit around the opposite side of the heifer in the chance of getting a cute picture. Stumbling around, Tori wobbled her way over to me and just looked at me while I crouched in the barn muck. We were eye to eye. She blinked at me a few times with her dopey eyes and then returned to her search for milk.

As much fun as it is having a namesake, it’s also really weird to hear your name discussed randomly throughout the day, often times catching me off-guard thinking I’m actually the one being discussed. To remedy this dilemma, we resorted to my near-constant moniker of Toe. Now, I’m Big Toe and the calf is Little Toe. Confusion solved.


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