Sometimes I worry about Shirley. Well, I’ve always worried about her.
Do you remember about fifteen years ago when the bull nearly got her? She walked into a pen very nonchalantly, like the Queen she really is. And this bad bull took after her. It chased her up a fence and she got her coveralls hooked on a nail. The bull had her. I mean he had her nailed to the fence. And he must have realized who she was. That bull just stood there pawing and bellering and blowing snot on her south end! I shouldn’t have laughed.
Then there was the time where she kind of drifted off and walked into a pen with a mama cow that was overly protective of a newborn calf. It was a cow we knew was dangerous. But it slipped Shirley’s mind. And that mama cow ran her up the fence and gave her a boost over the top. I shouldn’t have laughed.
Yesterday we had to move a bull. It was a younger bull that had come up lame a while ago. We had doctored him and had him in with the last of the bred heifers. He was getting around good now, so we decided to put him back in the bullpen.
I guess he wasn’t used to Shirley. Although she is the one that insisted we doctor the bull. She walked in there like she owned the place. Which I guess is true. But the bull didn’t realize that. That bull threw his head up and stepped toward her. She backed up a step. The bull stepped toward her a little faster. She backed up faster. The bull broke into a trot. Shirley screamed and ran for the fence.
For a lady in her sixties, she can dang sure climb a fence pretty good! I was surprised. I mean I’ve seen bullfighters at a rodeo that could not have climbed that fence a step quicker! She hit it at a run and never missed a rail on the way up. It even surprised the bull. I shouldn’t have laughed.
From up on the fence, she had a few choice words for the bull. I won’t repeat them here. Because I don’t want to get the papers in trouble. But you kind of know what I mean.
Once the crowd noise and the laughter died down, I moved the bull into the bullpen. Bulls are strange animals. You can have them together for months. But when you move one of them out for a few days, or move the whole bunch through a gate, all hell breaks loose. They beller and paw and fight.
This little bull announced he was there by bellering like he weighed a ton. He threw dirt in the air and challenged fifteen other bulls to a fight. His challenge was answered in a heartbeat. They ran him right over the top of me as I was closing the gate. The gate hit me and knocked me back against the barn.
I got up and wiped the blood from my ear that had hit the barn. I checked for broken bones and was surprised that I was still mobile. I heard Shirley laughing! She laughed!
I told Shirley that if I were the littlest bull, I would have snuck in quietly and not announced to the world that I was coming.
Dean Meyer is a former legislator and ranches in southwest North Dakota. He has been a columnist around the state for years.