The Old Man and the Cow

Samantha Pinkal

Copyright 1999 by Samantha Pinkal

Photo of a cow's head.

I wrote this story for my High Ability Learning (HAL) reading class. I'm not really sure where I came up with the idea. I just wanted to write a story that would get people to think about their lives. I hope this will get you to stop and think about yours.

One day, long, long ago in an open field sat a cow and an old farmer. The cow was nestled comfortably in a patch of sweet smelling buttercups dozing in the warmth of the rising sun. The farmer was leaned up against the cow's large brown side.

The two were old friends. When the farmer was a young boy he had raised the calf for 4-H. The bucket calf had won grand champion at the county fair. But the boy could not bare to part with his calf so he didn't sell it.

They often came down here in the early mornings, even when they were young. The farmer would often talk to the cow as if they were having a conversation. He would tell his cow about how his mother always made him wash behind his ears. Or how, Susie the new girl at school, made his heart jump. To him it seemed that his cow knew and understood every word he said. It gave him courage and comfort over the years.

On this particular morning, the man had many things on his mind. But he felt a little uneasy about sharing them though. He wasn't quite sure why.

"Mindy," he began, "I feel that I need to share this with the world but I'm not sure how. I have no wife or children to share this with but I feel that if I die before I can say it, I would fail somehow."

The cow mooed as if to say, "Go on."

"Well, I've learned so much in my long life." He stroked his long grey beard in thought. "First of all, mom was always right. Even if I didn't want her to be. Kinda spooky sometimes but she never failed to be right.

"And you have to be young and stupid before you can be old and wise." He chuckled as memories flooded his brain. "And Lord knows I was stupid. I mean, you gotta take risks, take chances and do things of the top of you head. That's what life is all about. Making mistakes and learning from them."

He paused as a fawn and a doe entered the field from a group of trees. Her brown eyes were soft, just like his. She showed no fear for herself or her baby.

"And you always gotta appreciate what you have instead of wishing for things you don't have. Seems this world takes too many things for granted now-a-days."

He coughed. He knew he was getting too old to go on much longer.

"Seems that one thing that's always there are friends. They aren't something like clothes, that go out of style. They are always there for you." He patted Mindy thinking of how she had always been there for him. Always listening, never interuppting, seeming to understand.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is thank you. Yes, thank you. For everything. Not many people have a friend like you. Or they don't realize they could. But you, you are that friend. And I thank God that I found you."

And with that he slowly closed his eyes. He was happy with his life. He felt even if he could do it over, he wouldn't. He had found true happiness. And with that thought, he died.

I'm Samantha Pinkal. I live in the southwest corner of Nebraska in a small town. I have a relatively large family of 6 people with my mom, step-dad and 3 brothers. My dad, step-mom and other brother live in Alaska. I love to play volleyball, softball, basketball and track. I LOVE to watch the Huskers play. On the weekends I hang out with my friends, listen to music, shop and chat on-line. I play the piano and clarinet. I'm in 8th grade.

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