October 28 – A story from the archives…
Just after we had moved here from Pennsylvania, we had no garden or church duties or anything else to keep us from doing some exploring around the area, and since we had no idea where we were going when we started, everything was new to us. We did carry with us a page torn out of the telephone book showing some of the roads around the church, so we thought we could find our way back home, at least. The first walks were about five miles, then ten, and sometimes fifteen, with a couple marathon distances later on.
One day, with a sense of adventure, we started out from home pretty early in the morning, parking the truck at the corner of Osborne and 171, and set out for a five-mile walk, round trip. All went well as we saw some flowers and trees we couldn’t identify, people working in their gardens, vultures flying overhead (I had seen only one of those ugly birds in my entire life before moving to Missouri), and garter snakes along the road.
After several miles, we turned right on the first road we came to, and continued on our way. Very shortly though, we were wondering what we should do. There in front of us, where a bridge had once been, was now nothing! At least nothing but a pile of rocks and some cement at the bottom of a deep hole that was surely not a bridge.
It didn’t take long for us to decide to climb down the bank to the river, see where we could cross, then climb up the other side, and continue on our way. Not hard to do that, although I managed to slide down towards the water a little more quickly than I had planned. On the other side we continued to enjoy the scenery and the various plants and trees that we had never seen before. Not too far from the bridge area, we turned to each other, asking at the same time, “What was that?” What noise had we heard – it was something we did not recognize. However, as we walked along, that sound continued until we heard a roar, a bellow, and then a bull!
Neither of us had ever been quite that close to a bull before, and we weren’t sure we wanted to be near one this time. As we rounded a small curve in the road, we could see the animal up ahead. Brown, with hooves pawing the dirt viciously, and bashing his head against the fence, we were listening to a Jersey bull known for being mean! He was not happy to see us. And if he thought we were pleased with his presence, he was mean AND crazy… When we noticed the ring and a piece of chain hanging from his nose, we began to wonder what he wanted to do! I knew what I wanted to do and told Dale that we should get off the road and into the woods just across from where the bull had not yet broken the barbed wire fence, although it wasn’t standing very straight.
In that little woody area, we talked a bit about what we would (or could) do if the animal came after us. First thing I did was pick out a tree that I knew I would be able to climb, and it was high enough that the bull couldn’t reach. And I knew it couldn’t climb up after me, or even knock the tree over because it had a pretty strong trunk! Dale agreed to that plan, as the bull continued to bellow and paw the ground angrily.
After awhile, we heard a sound from the church building across the road. A man must have closed the door behind him with enough noise that we could hear it. We waved and waved at him as he walked around the playground behind the church. As we were beginning to think that we might have to spend the night where we were instead of going on home, he finally looked our way and waved! After we had pointed out the bull, he yelled, “Oh, don’t worry. He always tries to get out, but hasn’t yet! The guy who owns that animal just won’t take care of him, and he always breaks his chain. C’mon over!”
Once we had made our way across the road to the Forest Grove Baptist Church, we didn’t stay long to discuss anything. Thanking the pastor for his help, we were on our way past the church and up the hill on the way to our truck as fast as possible!
We received a good-natured razzing from many of the local folks for quite some time after that. Even today some of them will remind us of the day the bull “almost chased you,” but I still do not want to get near a bull of any color, or even a cow for that matter. The folks who have lived here all their lives can walk among the herd and not be at all afraid. I did not grow up that way, and am content to see those animals at a distance, when I’m riding past them in our truck! – CHRIS