Thirteen

Dustin and I recently celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. And just a couple of days later, our luck nearly ran out. I’m not superstitious at all, but hey, it was quite a coincidence.

Here’s what happened:

We’ve been working cattle a lot lately. It’s a job best done when the weather is cool, so we’ve been taking advantage of such weather. It is a task that constantly needs to be done and we do not like to get behind on it.

“Working cattle” can mean a lot of things, but most of the time it means that we are penning the entire herd on a specific piece of property. Next, we separate out the calves from the cows and haul the calves to our handling facility, where our chute and covered pens are. We then castrate the bull calves, de-worm the entire group and give them any necessary tags and shots before we haul them back to the pasture they came from. The oldest calves are weaned from the cow and do not return to that pasture.

Well, sometimes in that herd of penned cattle, we come across a cow that is not a friendly girl. Sometimes they can be just plain cranky. Mean. Those particular cows refuse to cut out from the calves. They have no desire to wait patiently in the pasture for their calf to return. Instead, they bury themselves within the herd of calves. This requires us to haul the cranky cow to the handling facility with the calves. Once we get her there, we are certain we can pull the cow out of the group and just send her back to the pasture as well. It is not uncommon for a cow to pull this stunt, and we always just take it in stride. No big deal, she just takes a ride on a cattle trailer.

This particular cow had decided she would not cut out of the calves, well, she was quite ornery. She must’ve been having a bad day. Maybe Dustin looked at her funny and she took offense. Maybe a bee stung her. I’m not sure.

Once we got her to our handling facility, she was a challenge to remove from the group of calves and send back to the trailer for her return trip. After what felt like DAYS of persuading, we finally got her headed down the loading chute, where she loaded onto the trailer just fine.

This is where Dustin and I nearly had an experience that could have caused at least one of us to never forget our 13th year of marriage. Because it was nearly our last year of marriage!

As I was saying, the angry-as-can-be cow launched herself into the trailer. I was hot on her heels, knowing that I needed to shut the trailer door behind her quickly. We did not want her to off-load and cause us more grief.

Well, I’m fast. But on this day, I was not fast enough. She turned around in the trailer and intended to meet me face to face in the loading chute. I’m pretty sure she was breathing fire at this point. I was not breathing at all.

I had about an eighth of a second to make my decision. I dove over the wall of the chute, knowing that I had to get the majority of my body out of her way. I was successful, landing on my head and leaving only my boots hanging out in the chute. She shot past me, oblivious to a pair of feet dangling from the top of the wall.

We eventually were able to securely load her and returned her to the pasture. But my hands shook for awhile. Lack of oxygen will do that to a person. 13 years of marriage. What a way to end it, huh?

All kidding aside, Dustin and I have been extremely blessed. We’ve been through some sweet times. Our sons being born. Watching them grow. Working together. We’ve also been through rough times. Our middle son was diagnosed with a brain tumor before he was two years old. He’s fine now. Loss of grandparents. And the death of my father. Those were hard times.

We are blessed to have each other and we realize it. We’ve known each other since I was two years old and he was four. It wasn’t an arranged marriage. I promise. We were always friends, but just didn’t consider dating until we were young adults. We married and never looked back. I think its safe to say there is no one else I’d rather dodge a cow for.

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