My precious Daddy had a peculiar hobby. He took and collected pictures of Texas courthouses. Every Texas courthouse. This was no small feat, as Texas has 254 counties.
He kept a huge Texas map at his office on which he kept track of which courthouses he'd taken pictures of, and which ones he still had to get. He also spent a tremendous amount of time fiddling with the pictures, labeling slides and arranging them in trays for his Courthouse Slide Shows. And yes, he did subject our dearest friends to these slide shows. I would show you some of these pictures, but I'm afraid they're all on slides in a box in my attic. And frankly, if you've seen one courthouse you pretty much seen them all. Though I would never have said this to Daddy.
So over the years, my poor, patient mother, who would much rather have been seeing Broadway shows in New York City, or shopping at Neiman-Marcus in Dallas, was dragged around on grueling road trips to every county in the state. Often, Daddy would plan elaborate, circuitous routes that criss-crossed the state, stopping in every tiny podunk county seat in Texas.
Which leads us to...The Cow Story.
One summer, my family had gone on a vacation through the Southwest - New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado - pulling a little travel trailer behind our station wagon. At some point during elementary school, I rebelled about the boredom of these long car trips, and insisted that we bring a friend along so I'd have someone to play with. This particular trip (and actually most trips), it was my BFF Kaysie. Kaysie and I sat in the backseat squealing and giggling for mile after mile after mile. And while this must have driven my parents crazy, it was, no doubt, preferable to listening to me whine about the boredom for mile after mile after mile.
We were driving home to Austin through the endless nothingness which is West Texas. We were on a lonely two-lane highway which was straight, but with large rolling hills like waves. Much like this...
Suddenly, we drove over the crest of one of these undulating hills and there, in the middle of the road, was...a dead cow.
Daddy was forced to make a choice. He could either try to swerve the station wagon around the cow, almost certainly causing the trailer to jackknife and crash, or to simply run over the cow.
He chose the latter.
Sound made when the station wagon/trailer ran over the cow =
WHACK, BUMP, BUMP, SPLAT, BUMP, BUMP...........
Sound made by females in the car =
Sound made by females in the car when they realized that there was now blood splattered all over the back end of the station wagon and the front of the trailer.
The one thing my daddy never had patience for was hysterical females.
"QUIET, ALL OF YOU! Just settle down now! We're fine and dandy. Stop all that screaming! It was just a cow. Look, we're driving fine! No harm done."
"ROY!!" my mother shrieked "Pull over! Pull over! That poor COW!"
"There's no reason to pull over." Daddy countered stubbornly, "That cow was ALREADY DEAD! And look, there's nothing wrong with the car, we're driving just fine."
We all looked. The car did, in fact, appear to be driving fine.
"So just settle down now. There's nothing to get riled up over!"
We sat back, trying not to get riled up, but unable to stop from occasionally looking back at the blood splatter and "Eeeeeewww"ing.
We drove on another several miles until we reached a small town, one of our scheduled county seats, where Daddy was planning to take a picture of the courthouse.
Lots of townfolk seemed to be waving at us as we drove by. "What a friendly little town!" my mother remarked.
When we reached the courthouse in the little town square, we all piled out and posed and smiled on the courthouse steps while Daddy clicked away with his Kodak.
As we walked back to the car, Kaysie suddenly started to scream.
"MR. GERMAN! MR. GERMAN! MR. GERMAN! IT'S THE COW!"
We all ran around to the back of the trailer.
And yes, there was the cow. Attached to the rear bumper of the trailer. A bit worse for wear. Apparently, we had been dragging the thing for about 20 miles.
"ROY!" screamed my mother "It's the cow! It's the cow!"
A crowd of townspeople began to gather.
It was nasty. All blood and bones and...parts. Kaysie and I were screaming. Mama was gagging. People were staring.
"Get in the car!" Daddy barked "Just get in the car!"
We all jumped into the car as quickly as possible.
"But Roy, what are we going to do?!"
Daddy started the car and we drove away.
Pulling our cow with us.
When we got a couple of miles down the highway, Daddy pulled over, and told us all to stay in the car. He got a broom out of the trailer, and proceeded to whack at the cow carcass until it came off. Mama, Kaysie and I continued to squeal and "eww" and gag.
Daddy got back in the car.
"Alrighty, that is IT! The thing is off the trailer, and I don't want to hear another sound out of any of you! We'll just leave it here on the side of the road."
"But Roy..." Mama began.
"That is enough! There's nothing else to be done. I don't want to hear one word out of any of you. Let's have a little peace in his car."
We drove away, leaving our cow for some roadkill cleanup crew to pick up. After about two minutes of silence, my mother couldn't resist.
"I knew we should have pulled over."
Don't forget to click by all of the other Spin Cycle Car Trip spins!
Nadine at All Along the Hightower - NEW ON FRIDAY!!
Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie - NEW ON FRIDAY!!
CaJoh at Ca-Joh - NEW ON FRIDAY!
Next week on The Spin Cycle...
Since March is Women's History Month, I thought it might be nice to talk about women who have inspired us.
Who was your role model as a child? Was it your mom? Grandma? A favorite teacher?
Or were you inspired by a famous person? Who did you want to emulate? Sally Ride?
Oh sorry. I seem to have digressed.
Anyway, who inspired you?
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