Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cows, Cattle, & Other Quadrapeds

Dear John,
I finally did it - I had a night without nightmares. I cried myself to sleep, which may have been what I needed. I believe I'm just having another normal cycle in this whole process of widowhood. Between that and the sinus infection, I felt pretty awful at work. But if I'd been at home I'd have spent the day sniveling and eating brownies, and neither of those would have helped anything. So it was good that I was at work.
Driving down 42 I saw a field with at least four varieties of cows in it. On closer examination, I confirmed that they were indeed cows and not cattle - they had hip bones. You taught me that, that dairy cows are cows and beef cattle are cattle. And I figured out that the way to tell the difference was that cows have visible hip bones and cattle don't because they're more muscular. These definitely had hip bones. Cows. Not cattle.
I learned a lot of Midwest rural things from you. I learned that Clydesdales aren't the only kind of draft horse. And now, when I go back to Lexington, the thoroughbreds look anorexic. No matter who you are, going down the road behind a team of Belgians will make you feel narrow in the hips. And I taught you about growing cotton and peanuts, and how much roses love red clay, and I introduced you to kudzu. It's a wonder you survived the shock.
We're from such different places - big-city Southern and rural Midwestern. Our cultures are so different, but we aren't. Both of our fathers were engineers, our mothers stayed home, we had dogs - what else did our childhoods have in common? We both grew up on Loony Tunes and Rocky and Bullwinkle, learned to read from Dick and Jane, had the same record albums in high school. And things were a lot more homogeneous in the 1950s. I'm still surprised by how much alike we are.
I'm glad you were here to teach me about cows and cattle, and what a combine combines, and how to dress for a graduation open house. I'm just glad you were here. And I would give anything in the world for you to still be here. I guess I'll just have to go where you are. At least I don't have to talk to St. Michael about having you grounded!
See you in good dreams tonight,


  1. Had no idea about Cows and cattle....We call them all Moo's . Sleep well my friend. Only good dreams