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Carolyn Matherne

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Fresh Milk 1968
By Carolyn Matherne
Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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A tale of simple amusement on the farm

1968 Fresh Milk My job twice a day was to get the milking done because it was decided my hands were the smallest and since I was a dedicated nail bitter I didn’t pinch the teat so the cow was a lot less likely to kick the bucket. I loved our cows and their calves but I did not love the milk chore. I was almost nauseated by the sweet smell of raw milk, almost as much as the smell of scalded chicken just before plucking, but it was my assigned chore and I did it every morning before breakfast and every evening before supper. It was also my job to strain the milk into clean jugs and get it into the refrigerator. All of this took a lot of time, especially during the school year when I had a mile and a half walk to school and the same distance back home. So to shave time off my chores I cut corners when I could and most of the time it worked out pretty well. One of the tricks daddy used to make sure the cow produced a lot of milk was to drop calf into the pen after milking and let it nurse for about an hour before he would separate cow and calf, saving up for the next milking and then do it all over again. My job was to get the cow milked and then turn her calf in and later daddy would get them separated. I decided I could save a few minutes if I put a rope on the calf and allow it in the pen while I milked and then slip the knot and turn it loose as I left with a full bucket. Well, the last time I used that short cut I learned some things are better done NOT taking a short cut! I had brought in a little bull calf and tied him off near his momma’s feed trough and then proceeded to get on with my milking. I underestimated how determined that little guy could get and the next thing I knew he had slipped the knot and pulled enough slack to circle around me and get to the other side of the cow while pulling his rope tight as a noose across the back of my neck, pushing my face into the cows belly, completely smothering me! Being claustrophobic I panicked. I started hitting at him to make him back away but he wasn’t giving up and his momma was making it worse by pushing against me and away from him. The more I pushed her and hit at him the worse the situation became. She resisted and took a step back from her feed and I thought she would pull my head off! Finally in desperation I pushed with both hands against the cow and turned my head down and lost a handful of hair when the rope was stripped up over the back of my head. All of this without spilling a drop of milk! I never told momma or daddy what happened because I had learned my lesson and didn’t need a lecture. I was milking that same cow one late afternoon when Frank brought his new bride the sixty miles to visit and I knew it was going to be an unpleasant ‘be nice’ weekend where everyone had to act like we were really glad to see her. We were glad to see Frank but she could have stayed in Chickasha and no one would have minded. I was taking my good easy time getting the milking done and taking more time than usual squirting the barn kittens with warm milk. They loved it and performed all sorts of acrobatics to catch the milk…. It was amusing; after all, I was a simple farm girl ;) Franks bride came down to the barn all dressed up and she thought the kittens jumping for milk was soooo cute. I could not resist, the devil made me do it! Being really dumb she came through the gate to get a better view and when she squatted down to pet one of the kittens I took aim and hit her BULLSEYE! Right between her eyes. No one could have done it better. My sister in law jumped up blind as a bat and staggered around until she had stepped in the middle of two fresh cow piles, once with each foot. The green never did come out of the lining of her new shoes or out of the hem of her new bell bottom pants. Turned out they decided not to stay the weekend- I was sorry to see my brother leave- and they didn’t stay for supper.

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Reviewed by Carolyn Matherne 4/20/2014

It has been asked why I was less than open armed toward Franks wife.
Bonnie was welcomed into our family and we were tolerant of her temper tantrums- she often spoke of the bad temper she had and wore it as a Blue Ribbon, an accomplishment. We tolerated her hissy fits and we tolerated her crying jags when everything didn't go her way. We witnessed her disrespect to her family and ours. We saw her vilely attack her elderly uncle and we watched in disbelief when she threatened to stab our dad with a fork at the dinner table when he helped himself to the last dinner roll.
We kept the peace and swallowed her nonsense until Frank died when he was only 42 and none of his family was allowed to attend the service. I remember the way our mother cried when she was told we could not go into the chapel and we were not welcome at the family meal after.

Reviewed by Peter Kautsky 4/19/2014
Well, why did you dislike your sister in law after all. I didn't see anything wrong with her. Pete
Reviewed by Budd Nelson 4/14/2014
i relate to this story having been born in Stratford and growing up around Ada and Tishamingo...i enjoyed this one a lot
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 4/13/2014
Not really so funny. You could've died right there and cause your mother and daddy great grief. As far as his sister-in-law went, I'm not sure why this woman was so unwelcome. Regardless of who I brought home, and I brought home some strange ladies to my mother's kitchen, she never said one word about my choices. And, as far as I know, my sister never tried to play any jokes on any of them. My mother did warn me about my marriage to a high school classmate 20 years later. As far as I'm concerned it was a good marriage, but when it ended three years later, my mother was right. My sister never told me her opinion, although her father-in-law, in his second marriage, married the wrong woman and raised her ire a lot.


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