You remember the chapter in Charlotte’s Web where Wilbur, the pig, escapes? All the people and barn animals are shouting at him, giving him orders, and cheering him on. He gets so tired and confused, he just goes back in his pen and collapses. Then he sleeps hard all night.
Well, I lived the real-life version of that episode yesterday. Only, it was Hooper, the Scottish Highland steer, who escaped, and shouting and giving orders were my sister, kind passerby, and the three other Scottish Highlanders, Hanna, Helga, and Henry. Hooper is the only white steer in the herd, so he stands out. Hooper is small, and he apparently leaned so far under the fence reaching for grass, that he missed the electric wire and slid out. He was scared, hungry, and confused.
When I drove up from the folk’s place, my sister was running after Hooper with a bucket of grain in her good work clothes. The kind passerby was standing guard at the opposite end of the pasture, and Hooper was charging across a newly planted field. Hoo-boy. My assignment was to stand at the end of a lane. Have you ever had a horned, hairy, white steer run straight toward you? It is not a comfortable situation, but I stood my ground, arms spread almost until he turned.
Hooper gave up the ghost after about half-an-hour of freedom. He didn’t even get to graze, poor little guy. The three others loudly welcomed him “home,” and the kind stranger went on his way. Just another day in farm life.
My instructions this morning were to count the cattle before I left. I asked, “Okay, but what if I come up short?” Guess I’ll be on my own, if Hooper escapes again. I’ve been checking frequently throughout the morning, and he doesn’t look too eager to even get close to the fence, though. I’ll bet he slept well. I know I did.