To entertain my visiting grandsons one afternoon, I put out paper and pencils and some old crayons that came with a restaurant kiddy meal. But the youngest grandson (three years old) would have none of that. He wanted the big box of crayons from the high shelf where I keep my art supplies. I can’t remember where I got them, but I know I was excited when I bought this set of ninety-six Crayola crayons. They’re still in pristine condition. They reside neatly and sharply in their tiered rows – the way I long for them to stay.

But I can’t resist this little guy, so I gave him the box. At first he took out one at a time, drew a few lines, then tried to put them back. This soon gave way to an indiscriminate and disorderly adventure with first the crayons and then the little holders that keep them separated. Before I knew it the table was covered with crayons, and I was suddenly reminded of the cows.

Milk production was the main industry on the farm, and much of the daily activity was geared toward keeping the cows happy. My grandparents owned black and white cows called Holsteins and a few brown and white ones and milked them twice a day in the early morning and the late afternoon. As I helped my grandson color little circles on the paper, I wondered how a cow would look with colored spots.

I remember the work it took to herd the cows from field to lane and into and out of the barn at milking time. When the cows had been pastured across the street from the barn, all available help (sometimes even small children) lined Whirlwind Hill Road brandishing sticks to keep the cows from wandering up the hill, down the driveway, or into the front yard of the farmhouse. My grandfather’s gentle voice nudged them along as he tapped their rear ends with his stick and crooned, “Cow-boss. Cow-boss. Cow-boss.”

With furrowed brow and loud voice I herd my grandsons with, “Come on kids. Come on kids. Come on kids.” Keeping my mind on the past when I’m with grandchildren is a challenge. I love being with them, and when I am, all my thoughts are in the present, and all my cows are in color.

"Crayola Cow," Carol Crump Bryner, crayon, 2013

“Crayola Cow,” Carol Crump Bryner, crayon, 2013

On Friday:  Speckled Beauties

12 thoughts on “Cows

  1. Margaret Norton Campion

    Oh! I wish this blog had audio so I could hear your rendition of El’s “cow-boss!” I don’t remember ever hearing him say that and I wish I could. I’ll have to ask Kirt if he’ll give me an imitation of your grandfather.
    Your cow, with her swishy tail, is a beauty.

  2. Ellen

    One of my most vivid memories of visting the farm was watching Uncle El milking the cows. There were probably three of us children watching intently when all of a sudden we each got a big spray of warm milk all over are our faces. How we laughed and I’ll never forget Uncle El’s grin and quiet chuckling !
    Wonderful memories……thank you Carol.

    1. Carol Post author

      Hi Ellen. It’s funny you should tell that story, because I was remembering him doing that to the barn cats who were always hanging around wanting milk. And I remember the sly smile on his face when he was trying to teach my husband how to milk a cow. It was so much harder than it looked!

  3. Katy Gilmore

    I read this on my phone yesterday (with a weak connection) and was so disappointed not to see the image. Great cow! I, too, love the last sentence and hope the young ‘uns enjoyed the polychrome cow!

    1. Carol Post author

      Sometimes it’s sad how much this whole enterprise (the blog thing) is dependent on a good connection. I guess in the end everything is like that. Glad you liked the cow!

  4. Donna

    You bring back so many memories…I remember Aaron, he always played with me when he had time…usually he was working,as you described perfectly! Kudos to you 🙂 Thanx for the memories, Carol.


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