My editor Kate called me yesterday morning, and what did she want? I’m sure what she really wanted to do was the catch up with her little sister that she only sees about twice a year, but somehow the conversation ended up being centered around this blog (big surprise!) and how my “authorship has waned this summer”. I was told to write a blog post ASAP and even told what to write it about. How nice.
I crankily acquisced. Crankily, because I had not been out for a run yet and it was already 10 or 11 o’clock. I’m a morning runner, and I’ve found that if I don’t get out on the road then, my whole day is off until I do. So, although I had a fairly productive day yesterday, swimming, baking little French bready things, continuing my quest to make the perfect brownie, reading some of my book for college this fall, and attending mass, my day felt incomplete until I headed out the door for a very late run at 6:35 pm.
(Check out my sweet running shirt. Yes, that’s right-it’s an old Pep Band T-shirt from Cashton high school. I ripped off the sleeves. I’m cool like that.)
I’d decided on a whim to run to my brother Gabriel’s former farm, St. Brigid’s Meadows, where my little brother, James, was working that night. The run was beautiful, the weather finally cool enough after the hot spell we had all week. The crankiness I’d been tinged with all day lifted, and I arrived at the farm just in time to see James on the 4-wheeler, taking the cows out to pasture.
(This is Gabe at St. Brigid’s when he lived there a few years ago. See the cows in the background? Most of those are the same ones I saw yesterday and have lots of names ending in the same vowel sound: Jolly, Andy, Melancholy-okay, I made up that last one, but you get the picture.)
My welcome was warm: “What time is it? Why are you here so early?”
“Well, I thought I’d be slower getting here, okay. Can I have a ride?” I replied. We have never had a 4-wheeler at Sweet Ridge Farm, and I’ve always jumped at the chance to ride one.
“Sure, hop on.”
A problem presented itself as soon as I climbed on. I just bought new running shoes last week. And let’s just say that they aren’t exactly barnyard, taking cows out to pasture on a manure covered 4-wheeler.
(Yes, white is a dumb color for shoes. But hey, I’m going down to Texas and running cross country there this fall. I’ve gotta keep my feet cool. White reflects the light! Okay, yes, I did kind of decide to get them just because they are pretty.)
“Those are not going to work,” James stated bluntly as he vainly tried to wipe off a speck of manure on the toe of one shoe with an already dirty hand.
I promptly shucked my shoes and socks.
The cows were slow, and the fact they they only would walk in single file out to the pasture made the whole operation even slower. I didn’t mind. Watching a long row of cows, tails swishing flies away in unison was a sight that I don’t think I’ll see very much in the next four years at college.
James, on the other hand was not as captivated by a sight that he sees twice a week every week. He was so bored in fact that he let me drive the 4-wheeler. Having never driven one before, I was a little bit hesitant.
“Ummm, so how does this work?” I asked.
“You’ll figure it out,” came the helpful reply.
I fiddled around, pressing handles. “Well, you found the brake, ” he noted. Eventually though I found the gas, and drove us all the way out to the pasture. James of course drove us back, with me holding on for dear life and holding in screams of fear and euphoria as he took insane turns and flew over straight stretches of bumpy ground at crazy 16-year-old -boy speeds.
It was the perfect end to an imperfect day. I’m going to miss you, little brother. Thanks for letting your boring big sister tag along.