The Beloved Milk Cow

A cow crossing on Lake George Road
That darned detour at Rochester and Hough Roads confused me with its arrow pointing east. I needed to turn west toward Seven Ponds Nature Center. I hadn’t traveled the Hough Road to Lake George route for a while and didn’t trust my instincts.
Yes, I arrived late and quite flustered for my herb group meeting.
My goodness, I drove the roads of Ireland alone—on the left side—thirteen years ago. What happened to that gusty woman with a keen sense of adventure?
When I returned to Ireland in October 2015, I hired transportation from the airport for the three-hour drive to Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat, my destination in County Cork. There I stayed put, read and wrote seven straight days while overlooking a Coulann Bay and a pasture of cattle. Four days poured down rain.
From sunup to sunset, Irish Dexters grazed on the greenest grass I’ve ever seen. I’d look up from my computer to observe they’d finally laid their weight down to ruminate awhile.
When on their hooves, calves poked and yanked at their mother’s udder. Looked awful painful to me. Uh-huh, I recalled, it could be.
The herd meandered in steadfast companionship with their voyeur in Anam Cara’s second story window. I’d pause, amused, and think of my mother’s affection for her family’s milk cows. With a glimmer in her eye she’d say, “My brothers drank two pitchers full every supper.”
Mom never milked cows. The eldest of her siblings, my granny assigned Mom to the cook stove. She’d laugh and tell the story about walking into the barn before a date and my grandfather would aim and squirt milk in her auburn hair.

Well, dear Reader, I digress.
“There’s nothing wrong with your mind, Iris,” consoled a fellow Friend of Herbs. “That detour is not marked for those driving west.”
“Just take Lake George to Hough to Rochester when you leave,” advised another.
I did, Lake George a breathtaking tunnel in a hundred shades of green—a peaceful drive in horse country.
Then, of a sudden, a stop sign affixed to a sawhorse appeared in the road. I stopped. A rope stretched from the sawhorse to both shoulders to prevent passage.
Of all things, a farmer stood to the left of the road as his milk cows followed one another to the other side. It looked like Ireland, but black and white cows. Holstein-Friesian, I believe.
I found my camera, opened my car door and aimed at the rare sight for me, yet all in a day’s work for the dairy farmer.
In quiet submission, the cattle lumbered along the edge of a cornfield in a parade of bulging udders. The farmer closed the gate, removed the barrier, and waved me on with a smile.
I’ll be driving the Lake George tunnel this October to view a hundred shades of autumn. Perchance I’ll stop for another cow crossing. Adventure at its best.
I wonder what breed was my mother’s beloved milk cow.