Sturkie Family History
The Cow's Tale
When I was a boy, we lived on the farm about five miles from a high school. Before our rural school was consolidated with the high school it was necessary to provide one’s own transportation. I rode a horse to school when I was in the eighth grade, but when I was in the ninth grade, it was decided that I would spend that school year with my grand parents in a small town and go to school there. They needed someone to do the chores, which I did.

My chores consisted of bringing in the firewood and milking the cow. Grandfather had brought a young milk cow (heifer), an expensive registered animal that he was very proud of. The cow was milked twice a day inside a stable. She was allowed to run free and graze in a small pasture near the stable. In the fall, while running in the pasture, the heifer picked up cockle burrs in her tail The bushy part of the tail was a solid ass of burrs.

As I sat on a stool milking the cow, she was continually swinging her tail from side-to-side in an attempt to ward of insects, mainly flies. But she often struck me in the head and face. I decided to prevent this by immobilizing the swinging tail; I took a piece of boiling wire, formed a loop on it and slipped it over her tail, and attached the other end of the wire to a slat in the stable wall.
When I finished milking, I walked out of the stable, but I forgot to release the cow’s tail. Shortly thereafter, I head a crunching sound and observed a mild quaking of the stable wall. Alarmed, I ran to the stable to find the busy part of the cow’s tail hanging on the wire to the stable wall. The injury was minor and was properly attended to, but the cow’s appearance did not improve with time.
I reported my distress to Grandmother who told me to lay low and she would take care of Grandfather. This she did, because he did not mention the matter for several months and then he treated it lightly and kidded me without mercy.