As a young child, my maternal grandmother kept me every day while my parents were at work. I was the first grandbaby, and my heaven consisted of Grandmama’s house. My daily routine of homemade pancakes at the breakfast counter, make believe renditions of being locked in the castle of whatever Disney movie we had watched that day, and hours of exploration throughout their 17 acres of land made me very tired come naptime, much to my grandmother’s thanks. I will always cherish those memories of a time gone by, as well as the life lessons that were exchanged between the two of us.

One of these great lessons involved a cow, a 1990’s model Ford Expedition, and a small stuffed Barney chair. It was a hot summer morning and I was probably about four. My grandmother was waging a war with the overgrown bushes in her front garden, who had decided to grow threefold their typical size throughout the muggy spring that had drenched the Georgia red clay several weeks before. As she attempted her first volley into enemy territory, armed with her clipping shears, I stood guard while trying to climb a small sapling a few yards away. This tree was literally three feet tall, but that’s beside the point. It was my Mount Everest, and I was tickled to death to climb it. Both of us were so entranced in our respected activities neither of us noticed what had lumbered out of the woods and into my grandparent’s front yard.

I completed my ascent, and as I looked up to see if my grandmother had yet noticed how high I’d climbed, I saw it. It being a giant cow standing in the middle of the front lawn, pooping. I have never seen a cow this big since, however its size now in retrospect was even more gargantuan given my little proportions. I froze. I had not realized I was afraid of cows, but at that moment I realized it scared me more than spiders, bumble bees, and bath time combined. I glanced at my grandmother. She was still butchering wave after wave of bush combatants and was unaware of the greater fear in our midst. I whispered to her, but she did not hear. I dare not move from my perch so I said a little louder, “Grandmama, there’s a cow in the yard.” Wiping the sweat from her brow and dusting the mutilated remains from her foe off her forearms, she looked up at me and cocked her head. “What?” she said. Incredulously wondering I’m sure where I would get an idea like that from. “There’s a cow in the yard Grandmama.” That’s when the stern face of Grandmama came out. The one where she knew you were lying, even though you were certain a mole was living under your bed and that in turn was a valid reason for not having nap time. “Now Honey, don’t lie to Grandmama. We live in the middle of the woods. There isn’t a farmer around for ten miles.” We would have continued our conversation I’m certain, but at that point the cow decided to give me brownie points for trying and snorted.

My grandmother is the bravest woman I know. She has swatted bumble bees off of my flowery knitted shirts that otherwise would of equated to certain death, made swift work of snakes with a garden hoe, and taught me in no uncertain terms that homemade biscuits prove there is a God. However, on this day I learned my grandmother also had a fear of cows. A fear I came to realize far surpassed my own. In a span of about two seconds, the war of the bushes had come to an end. I was snatched like a rag doll from my place on high, and rushed like a football to the nearest indoor structure, their garage. I, along with my grandmother then took the new car, a tan Ford Expedition, and proceed to use it in a special ops endeavor entitled: Remove the Cow.

Remove the Cow had a simple tactical plan. Drive as close as possible to the cow. Honk the horn. Surely it was foolproof and had no possibility of failure. Upon its attack however, the cow succeeded in out maneuvering us, mostly because it refused to move at all. It just stood there, mocking us. Pooping, it pooped a lot. We were forced to retreat and reevaluate our foe, this formidable cow. Plan two according to the General that was my grandmother was to try and find the owner of the cow. By the curse of the universe my booster seat was not left for me, so instead I was sat in a small foam Barney chair that was a lovely shade of purple, placed as copilot in the Expedition and buckled in. This was serious business after all.

We drove to probably 10 farms that day. No one had yet to report or realize a cow was missing, but each farmer thanked my grandmother for alerting her and sent out the SOS to those around them. The cow stayed a day or so longer before it missed its barn, and eventually wandered its wayward pooping behind home. Moral of the story, watch out for phantom cows. Real moral of the story, cherish the memories. Even the crazy ones. Especially those.