On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on December 9, 2021:

In the late 18th or early 19th century one of two newsmen coined a phrase about the newsworthiness of a certain event. Both are given credit, but whoever said it was probably right: “When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.” However, when the man involved is the husband of a small-town newspaper columnist, the event will probably end up in print.

Yes, David was on the receiving end of such a bite this week. The daughter of one of our neighbors dropped off her pet with her dad over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Kato is a large, furry Great Pyrenees mix who seemed friendly enough. In fact, he immediately made friends with the wandering canine who took up residence with our neighbors earlier this year. Kato was visiting Max one afternoon when David went across the street to have a cup of coffee with Charles. In an attempt to be a good guest, Kato barked at the perceived intruder, and when David entered the gate, Kato bit him on the upper thigh. Luckily, David was wearing double-layered nylon workout pants, so the teeth didn’t actually touch the skin, but he was left with an ugly scrape and a nasty bruise. To his credit, David didn’t bite back, but let’s just say Kato is now persona non grata in the neighborhood, or whatever the doggy equivalent of that status is.

The rest of the week went better, providing several incident’s that were of interest to a city girl who is still learning about country life. For one thing, we spent the week with our much more pleasant Great Pyrenees friend Spike. He was very well-behaved and didn’t provide much in the way of writing material, but there always seems to be something happening at the Ranch.

Our duties when Kent and Stella go travelling are limited to taking care of the house, seeing to Spike’s needs, checking the mail, and counting the cows as we drive by the pasture. The actual care of the herd is left to those with more experience than we have which is why I was surprised when I learned that our church friend Kyle was on cattle duty. I don’t really know that much about his background, but I do know that he sells medical equipment, the kind that is used in surgery and often requires his supervision in the OR. Somehow, that didn’t compute with tending cows – so being the investigative reporter that I am, I asked him about it. One morning when he stopped by the barn to tend to the bull that is penned in that area, I stepped out the door and waved.

“I didn’t know you knew about cows,” I shouted.

“I’m learning,” he replied with a grin.

It seems that, in return for helping Kent in a recent time of need, Kyle received a cow of his own – and since the cow was pregnant, his herd has now doubled. His two still reside at the Ranch, so he has a vested interest in their welfare. Spike, who had been eating his breakfast in the garage, recognized Kyle and came running out to say hello. He looked into the open car looking for the three boys who sometimes accompany their dad. He was disappointed to find they were not there, but I was glad to know their dad included them in the learning process when possible.

A couple of days later I received an email from Stella telling me that Kyle had sent pictures of a new calf that had been born and asking if we had seen it yet. We hadn’t, but we weren’t surprised that the mama was keeping it hidden for a while. The next day, however, I received a text from Kyle’s wife asking again if we had seen the calf. Kyle had been walking the pasture for most of an hour and couldn’t find it. I shared the little bit of knowledge that I had and told her that the mama probably had the baby hidden since a certain kind of vulture preys on the eyes and other tender parts of the newborns. I don’t know if that was new information, but about fifteen minutes later Kyle texted me a picture of the little black bundle barely visible in a nest of underbrush.

All was well until the next day when I heard Spike in the other room wailing as if his heart would break. From the tone of his howl, I guessed that a siren was hurting his ears. It turns out that Kyle had retrieved the Gator from the garage, and Spike had seen him driving it toward the pasture. He usually gets to ride in the Gator or at least run alongside, so he was expressing his grief at being left behind. I let him out the door, and he made a beeline for the pasture. I hope he didn’t cause trouble as he has been known to irritate the cows by chasing their babies.

Not all my country girl experiences happened at the ranch. I had asked our friend Gloria if I could borrow her canopy for my booth at the Christmas around the Square event on Saturday. When we stopped by to pick it up, three horses lined up at the fence beside her garage. I asked if they wanted to be petted, and she said that what they really wanted was treats. I was thinking sugar cubes or apples, but she pulled out a bag of horse treats similar to the ones I give Kitty each night at bedtime except bigger. Who knew there was such a thing? I took a handful and fed them to one of the horses who seemed appreciative, not caring that I was totally inexperienced at having a horse eat out of my hand.

With a week of country living behind me, I was ready for the small-town Christmas celebration on the Courthouse Square on Saturday. I sold a few books, but more importantly, I visited with friends in a casual atmosphere that was devoid of the tension and fear that dominates the big cities. People exchanged hugs and said Merry Christmas and I was reminded once again how grateful I am that this city girl is now living in Emory, Texas.



Kitty’s Story

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Comments on: "A Week of Country Life | by Linda Brendle" (2)

  1. Well I never expected to be part of a story. This was a fun read!

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