All Froggies Don’t Croak!
By Norris Chambers
Froggie just didn’t like Clifton or me. She seemed to tolerate all of the adult members of the family. My mother was afraid of her but managed to get along with her by keeping away from her as much as possible. If Froggie saw Clifton or me, or both of us, she came running in our direction determined to rid the farm of two pests. My dad milked Froggie and performed any other operation that became necessary when an ill tempered milk cow required attention.
We acquired the kid-chasing beast at an estate sale. I guess whoever sold the cow passed the name along with the sale. The first thing I noticed about the animal were the two long, straight horns that protruded forward above her eyes and between her ears. Maybe she sensed that I didn’t like the way she looked and decided she didn’t care for my appearance. She had walked five or six miles behind the wagon with a rope around her horns reminding her that she didn’t have a choice as to whether she came along or not. When I walked up to look her over at the cow lot she tried to break the rope to get to me. She made some sort of sniffling sound that made it clear that she wanted to get loose and get me!
My first really unpleasant encounter with the bad tempered beast happened about the middle of a hot, sun-scorched day. I had gone to the chicken house to find some fresh eggs for my mother. Froggie suddenly appeared around the corner of the barn and was running wildly toward me. Some quick calculating told me it was closer to the chicken house than to our yard fence and I hurriedly retreated to the chicken abode and scrambled to the roof. I didn’t take time to be thankful that Clifton and I had left a short ladder in position a few days ago. The angry cow was only a few feet behind me when I reached the safety of the roof. Froggie didn’t try to climb the ladder but she stuck her nose over the lower edge of the roof and mooed angrily at me. I looked back at her and gave her a silly grin!
My mother saw the attack and headed toward our position with a broom in her hands. She was telling the cow to “shoo” or some such phrase that meant, “Leave Norris alone and get back to your grazing!” Froggie ignored the order and shook her head menacingly at my mother, scaring her and prompting a retreat to the yard fence.
I suddenly remembered that I had dropped the eggs when my ordeal began. I yelled to my mother, telling her about losing the eggs. She was more concerned about Froggie’s belligerent attitude. She told me to sit down and be quiet and maybe she would go away. I tried it and in a few minutes she wandered off toward the open field. I thought she had abandoned her attack and I quietly climbed down the ladder. While I was deciding whether to get the eggs or run for the yard she had seen me and was running toward me. I made it to the roof of the chicken house with several feet the spare. Again she stuck her nose over the eave and mooed angrily. My mother told me to stay on the roof until the cow was out of sight or until my dad came home for dinner.
While I was thinking about the long wait an old truck crossed our cattle gap and stopped between the chicken house and our yard. It was my brother, Clifton’s dad, and my mother started telling him about the cow problem. Clifton, who had been sitting quietly in the passenger’s seat, opened the door and headed for the chicken house. Before I could warn him Froggie turned her back on me and started running toward Clifton. He ran for the truck with the snorting cow close behind him. It was a close race but Clifton managed to jump in the truck and close the door. Froggie stuck her head through the window. Clifton shifted quickly to the driver’s side and she could not reach him with her horns. Meanwhile my brother, Tom, ran to the truck. He opened the tool box on the running board, grabbed a 24 inch pipe wrench and ran around the truck with his weapon raised. Froggie ignored him and continued her attempt to get to Clifton. Tom hit her on the neck with the heavy wrench and she gurgled some sort of grunt as she pulled her head out of the window and looked at him. Before she took any action the big wrench crashed between her horns and she fell to her knees. She tumbled to the ground and it looked like she might be unconscious. After a few feeble attempts she managed to gain a standing position. She took one menacing look at Tom and the big wrench and wobbled off toward the barn, ignoring Clifton and me.
As Tom was putting the wrench back in the tool box he remarked, “Sometimes you have to show them who’s the boss.” Clifton started laughing. He said the old cow treeing me on the roof was funny. I wonder about his sense of humor!