Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Pope Arrives in Vermont

Being a devout woman of faith, my friend Violet succumbed to her broken heart, appropriately, on Palm Sunday.  I attended her funeral on the morning of March 31st with the sadness of loss filling my own heart.
As soon as I left the funeral I drove up the steep, muddy rural roads to the farm to check on the herd and see if Violet, my first calf heifer named after my dear friend, was any closer to having the calf we all eagerly awaited for. 

As I drove, I thought of my very religious friend Violet and how she had worked as an executive secretary for three cardinals in the arch diosese of New York and adored all the Vatican Popes in her life time. Rosary beads were always in her hands 24/7.  Violet always prayed for me, and my herd, when we needed it..and even when it wasn't apparent ( to me ) that we even needed some spiritual assistance. 

As I came down the last hill, I could clearly see a cow with afterbirth dragging behind her in the mud.  I jumped out of my truck and raced thru the barn and out the back door into the barnyard--still wearing my dress up funeral clothes--and here is what I found:

  My friend Violet had asked me to name her namesake cow's calf, if it was a girl--Viola after one of her favorite flowers.  She could not think of a boys name and when I jokenly suggested we name a boy "The Pontiff," she laughed.   We giggled like school girls over the name suggestion.
Little did I know that would be the last time I would ever hear my friend Violet's voice, or her sweet laughter, ever again.
As I looked down on this newly born calf in the middle of the muddy river around him and his young mom tenderly nudging him to get up and move out of this quagmire, I knew exactly what his name would be.
Every time I said his name, I heard the sweet laughter of my dear departed friend again and again.  

I knew I had to get this special boy out of the deep mud and into a stall in the barn, soon, as the mud was very cold, the wind was colder and all the cows sniffing him were creating a lot of splashing and chaos for his first time mom. With much perserverience, in mud up to the knees of my new pants, I eventually got him and his mom to the barn and into a stall. After a few minutes of a rubdown with last summers delicious hay, and his new eartags-- He looked like this:
Within a few minutes he was up and looking for some warm milk.  He weighs 95 lbs. A good hefty calf for a first time calving heifer.   I could not have been prouder, or dirtier, but the whole day was just one surprise after another.  

Mother and son spent 4 days in the dry stall with special meals, gentle attention and lots of curious onlookers.  This morning, Easter Sunday, I let them both out of the stall and watched the young Pontiff gallop over the now dry mud hills. He raced all around the barnyard and out to the field.  Sheer joy engulfed my heart and there was of course a big smile on my face as Violet's laughter came to my mind over and over.

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