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Not Cowed By Another Birthday

Here’s something you don’t
hear every day from a four-year-old: “Hey, Mommy, I want to
get up on that cow and drink some beer!”

Let me start from the beginning.

The day I returned from New York last week
was my birthday, and my friends in the neighborhood didn’t
want the day to pass unnoticed. Knowing that I’m a bit of an
environmentalist (freak), the girls racked their brains to come up
with some way to decorate my yard in a way that was entertaining,
environmentally friendly, and funny as hell.

They came up with a cow and an amphibian.

One of my friends has a life-size fiberglass cow that lives in her
back yard. Don’t ask. Her daughter has painted the thing, so
it’s quite a sight, with flowers and hearts and war paint all
over. Heidi (for such is its name) showed up in my yard last week
with a crown made out of (recycled) cardboard from a beer case
covered in (re-used) tin foil. Around Heidi’s neck was a
garland of (all-natural) beer cans tied with (repurposed) red
ribbons scavenged from the school’s drug-free week-long

The cans clink quite moosically.

Sitting next to Heidi (as she is known) was a four-foot Kermit,
holding a sign declaring that “It’s not easy being the
natural queen” and celebrating my birthday. It should be
noted that the sign was posterboard, with an old drawing on the
back of it.

You can imagine the traffic that drove past my house all day,
circling our block to see the bovine fierceness. I am still
astonished that the husbands were able to sneak into our yard and
place the thing there undetected. Though since we were in the
middle of the world series, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

Both of my girls, of course, were delighted with our newest family
members. Cora begged ten times that day for me to take her outside
to “ride the cow”. She stroked the cow, fed the cow,
discoursed earnestly with the cow, and in general stood proudly by
it when cars crawled by. Maddie went for a few rides herself but
expressed mild concern over the lack of a seatbelt and politely
declined most of the time. That night, my father and husband moved
the cow safely to the back yard, away from any high-school
pranksters who might have had nefarious plans.

And you can only imagine the jokes that my dad and husband were
throwing out as they carried the cow to the back. I believe my
father commented that he’d met the cow before, in college, in
an, um, dream he had while listening to the Beatles.

So the cow is ours for a few months, and it’s been the hit of
the weekend for the girls. You see, I’m the first in my gang
to turn a certain age – never mind which one – and I
have a feeling the cow will be appearing in other yards as the year
goes on.

I officially declare this the Year of the Cow.


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