We had a busy day yesterday. Both David and I had appointments in the morning, and it was also a Holy Day of Obligation, which meant (for my non-Catholic friends) that we were required to attend Mass just as if it were a Sunday. Our parish offered Mass at 9AM, which was too late, so I checked the other local parishes and found a 6:30AM (too early), an 8:30 (still too late) and a 7PM. Well, seven in the evening wasn’t exactly convenient, but it’d work, so seven it was.
We ate dinner a half hour early and milked the cows an hour early. I cleaned up and refilled the water tanks, collected the fallen pine cones (very important and urgent business) and got everybody gathered together to leave. What I forgot to do was secure the gate I’d used to get to one of the water tanks. Of course, I wouldn’t know that for two more hours.
So, off we went to Mass at one of our favorite parishes. We chatted with friends we haven’t seen in a while, admired the glow of the church’s stained glass windows in the darkness, and just generally enjoyed ourselves.
Then we came home.
I was closing the windows in the living room when Brenna, returning from her chicken coop, shone her flashlight on me. “Mama? Are the cows in the barn? There are hoof prints in the garden.” And my mind went back to the cows, peacefully eating hay after their milking. Then it wandered through the barn door, around the side to the water tank, then right on over to the gate I forgot to secure. I was sure the cows minds – and bodies – had traveled the same path.
So out we all went, hoping the cows were still on the property. Brenna checked the gate to see if they’d wandered back into their own field. Davey went around the side of the house, where he discovered an overturned beehive, to see if they were there. I swept through the garden, their last known location, then headed toward the empty pasture, hoping they’d wandered into there, and not down the drive. As soon as I rounded the corner, I saw the gate was closed. And there stood two perplexed bovines! Glory, glory, hallelujah!
We decided to leave them there for the night, righted the beehive before the bees woke up and got mad, and went back to our bedtime routine. No sooner did we get the doors closed behind us than the phone rang. It was our friend, who’d been to pick up her milk while we were out, letting us know she’d seen the cows coming out of that field and closed the gate. Thank goodness for quick thinking friends! Otherwise, who knows where – or when – I’d have found my wayward cows. Most likely, they’d have been waiting at the barn for their morning milking, but it’s always better to be sure.
This morning, we waited till sun-up to walk them back and get them milked. They were very humble and docile cows, almost as though they were sorry for the trouble they’d caused. Which doesn’t mean they wouldn’t do it again. No, it’s probably best if I just remember to close the gates behind me.