In My Day…

You know what I missed out on in fifth grade?

Mean girls.

Sure I had some tiffs with friends and there was one girl we didn’t always include (I’m sorry, Heidi. It’s one of my bigger regrets in life).

But I don’t remember any girls who were mean just to be mean.

I do remember the Day of the Great Cow Slaughter.

My brother remembers it too. He would have been six or seven at the time.

Kids stood three deep watching through the chain link fence that separated the school playground from the neighbor’s cow pasture. Mr. Neighbor Man accomodated our curiosity by doing the whole thing a mere two feet away from us, ignoring that other half acre of pasture he had with its hidden corners.

He shot the cow in the head. I remember it was with a rifle, but I could be wrong. Whatever he used it was quick. One minute the cow was standing, the next minute it was down.

I didn’t see it again (I was short even then and did not have a prime spot at the fence) until after much cranking of the pulley in the back of Neighbor Man’s truck, the cow hung by it’s back hooves on a giant hook. Which has a name that I would know had I achieved my dream of being a cowgirl. But I didn’t, so I don’t.

I watched as the neighbor split the cow open. My only thought was, “I wonder if it’s true cows have five stomachs” then being disappointed that the guts fell out in a giant, gray fleshy ball covered in wet grass. It was a little like watching my dad dump the grass out of the lawn mower bag. If the grass were covered in cow cud.

There may have been blood. But I don’t think so. I’m the girl who gets grossed out by band-aids, so I think I’d remember blood.

In fact, the whole thing is just a funny little grade school memory to me. A product of my childhood in Idaho. Made even more curious by the fact this took place while we lived in Boise–the capitol of that fair state–and not in the farm town we’d later move to.

Because, really, how many kids get to watch a cow slaughtering in between playing handball and crack the whip?

Not my kids They still play crack the whip and handball, but I can’t even imagine the uproar if the kids at their school were exposed to a real life lesson on Where Your Hamburger Comes From.

They can listen to Katy Perry, wear daisy dukes, read books about kids fighting each other to the death, then see the big screen depiction of it. Their parents will let them dress like adults, talk like adults, and think they’re adults.

What they won’t do is give them responsibilities or make them take any.

And you know what?

If I had my druthers, I’d let my kids view a backyard cow slaughtering over being exposed to these kids any day.

Because those coddled kids are mean.

Especially the girls.

9 thoughts on “In My Day…

  1. Anonymous says:

    Been there, done that lots of times! That would be a short-barrelled .22 caliber rifle. And yes, Britt… there's plenty of blood, maybe you were just a little too short to see it.Mean girls do suck, though. I've dealt with a few as a LL coach… no mean girls allowed on my teams… we sort that out in a hurry.As always, I enjoy laughing at your posts… especially when they take a shot at country livin!The Sunday School Teacher from the Beaver 9th Ward… 😉


  2. Kristy says:

    My brother liked to hunt and we often had headless birds, mostly pheasants, hanging and dripping from the rafters of our patio cover. Yum.Every once in a while I remember that I live in a totally different world.


  3. Jill Campbell says:

    There was a cemetery next to my elementary school. I don't know how many graveside services we watched during recess. The farm was across the street. Didn't see any slaughters, but saw lots of calves born. Yes, those were the good old days.


  4. J. says:

    Grew up in Idaho too–Napolean Dynamite was on my mind as well. My husband is teaching more the young adult set right now and he's quite frankly worried about the future if those he's seeing in classes represent the whole. It is a molly-coddled generation at a time when other countries have kids more motivated than ever before–China and India among them. If we don't wake up soon, our kids will get a bitter dose of reality.


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