Life Happens…Or Not…

At Footlights there’s never a dull moment.

We’re always mowing, pulling up thistle, dragging brambles out of trees, identifying birdsong, burning brush, building something be it a porch or a bower, digging beds, or simply putting up a pool for the summer.

I was returning from the stable on Wednesday and saw a couple of men in the front pasture with Hubs, he’d been weeding and feeding.

I thought they must be the plumbers come to detect our water leak somewhere between the front gate and the house, a mere 900 feet!

I was engrossed on the phone, a good way to multi-task (walk and talk), and grabbed the trashcan with one hand, while tucking my phone under my chin, to haul it back to its spot.

I came upon a closed gate.

I looked up startled thinking I’d just gone off course without noticing and wandered into the fence line.  When I gathered myself I realised that, yes our front gate was closed.

Hubs came over to open it for me and tell me that the other two gates were closed too at the top of the property because we had a,

runaway cow on the land!


Of course I took a picture of her!

I’m the official family historian!

And I’ve never had a cow on my property before,

well once, some 30 some odd years ago when we’d just moved into Collins and had fields all round, but they were on the sidewalk and in the road so not quite as pastoral.

This one was almost a dream come true!

I left the men to it and went inside to shower and while I was putting my shoes on I heard a shotgun go off with an almighty boom.

I walked to where I’d photographed the runaway and there was our neighbour in his gater with hubs and the two men shooting the breeze;

the cow motionless on the ground.

Felled with one shot!


I walked slowly up to them and the two men, who were not plumbers, shook my hand and introduced themselves.  Darrell was the cow’s owner, Joseph was the slaughter house chap.

“Why did they shoot her?”  I asked Hubs, thinking she may have been a mad cow.

“She was being loaded for the abattoir and got loose.”

Ahh, so she was destined for death.

Which brought to mind an ancient Mesopotamian tale that had come to Western attention with its retelling by Somerset Maugham in his 1933 short fable:

‘There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said,

“Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me.  She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate.  I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.”

The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went.  Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw the woman standing in the crowd and he went to her and said,

“Why did you make a threating getsture to my servant when you saw him this morning?”

She replied,

“That was not a threatening gesture it was only a start of surprise.  I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”‘


I thought,

‘I could have given her pastoral asylum while she was on my property.’

Hubs told me that after she had jumped ship and raced through a gap in our neighbour’s fence she headed our way with a truck in hot pursuit.

The men quickly shut the gates of Footlights entrapping her in our fields and woods.

She gave them a run for their money before calming down just long enough for a rifle to be deployed.

No escaping her appointment with death at Footlights…

A bulldozer carried her carcass off down our driveway and along Rigsby Lane,

an odd and unusual sight,

leaving a trail of blood behind it.


Nothing that today’s rain hasn’t washed away.

As I said, never a dull moment.

“I’m reckoning a few pounds of ground beef will be coming your way,” Darrell said as he shook Hubs’ hand and left.

‘Ground beef!?’ I thought, ‘Prime rib more like!’

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