I Sat in my Living Room That Friday Morning...

October 21, 2007
By Rachel Marteney, Buckhannon, WV

I sat in my living room that Friday morning, just one day after the accident. The newspapers and TV shows were all full of pictures and images of Bessie. Bessie is a cow, a now famous one, and also a well respected member of my family. I got Bessie about two years ago from my uncle, a farmer, who decided to move to the city. He was a retired animal trainer, so Bessie can do an unbelievable amount of tricks.

Knowing this, the owner of a local circus came to me with the need of animal performers. I agreed to let Bessie participate as long as I could stay with her. Trust me that was a bad idea on my part, because anyone would know that a circus wouldn’t allow a random civilian to be a part in their circus act. So that’s how I got nominated to be Bessie’s target – a clown, wig and all.

The first day on the job, which was interesting to say the least, would also be the last. It turned out that Bessie and my act was very similar to bull-fighting. The only difference was that Bessie was not a bull and I just happened to have a red nose and poofy rainbow hair. Bessie’s job was to chase me all around the ring, and I was supposed to make things hard for her by hiding behind barrels. This is when things started to go wrong, very wrong.

We were practicing our act as planned. Bessie was chasing me. And I did what I was supposed to do. I hid behind a barrel but in the process of doing so I knocked the barrel over, putting the open end toward Bessie. Bessie continued to charge toward the barrel full speed ahead, showing no sign of slowing down.

Head first, Bessie went flying into the barrel causing her head to become very, very stuck. Everyone froze. They looked around the room and then suddenly burst out laughing. They looked at me and began giving suggestions as to how to get the barrel off. Some of them we tried. I called Bessie’s vet who said he would be over right away. I didn’t explain the whole situation over the phone. I just told him that Bessie was hurt. I think he might have gotten the wrong impression because the moment he saw my poor cow with her head stuck in a barrel he turned around and drove away before anyone could stop him. We all starred in stunned silence, everyone except for Bessie that is, who let out a concerned “moo”. She was beginning to realize that this strange object on her head would not go away. She ran around and around in circles, bumping into things, trying frantically to become unstuck.

Just that moment I had a flashback to the time my little brother had gotten his head stuck in the stair railing. My mom had lathered his tiny little face up with butter, and then slid him right out of the rail. Now needless to say my brother was in quite a bit of trouble that day, but let’s gets back to Bessie. I quickly asked the circus crew if the had any butter on hand, and one of the performers said there was some in the trailer’s kitchen. One of my fellow clowns ran to retrieve it. He came back loaded down with tubs of butter and everyone quickly began to get busy. Bessie wasn’t exactly enjoying her butter bath and tried to run away from us, but this time the barrel was in our favor because she couldn’t see to get anywhere. after we were done Bessie was looking more like some kind of greasy dinner than a cow. Everybody gathered around her and pulled. We pulled again. And again. The barrel would not budge.

Now what? That was the question that was going through everybody’s head. I looked at my watch. It was getting late and would be dark soon. I decided to just take Bessie home and deal with the situation on my own.

On my way home an ambulance went speeding past me. “That’s it!” I thought to myself. I followed the ambulance to our local hospital, jumped out of my car, and got Bessie out of her trailer.

I really hate to think of what the other people in the hospital waiting room were thinking as I lead buttery, barrel headed Bessie through the door. We got some strange looks that’s for sure! It was time to pay a visit to my friend, Dr. Moore who is an orthopedic technician. His office was upstairs on the third floor. And it’s a proven scientific fact that cows can walk upstairs but not down because their knees cannot properly bend to walk back down. That would be my next problem. But first things first, I had to get Bessie up to the third floor.

after walking inside, the crowd of people standing around the lobby area parted like the red sea when they saw Bessie and I coming. They all stared completely shocked. They obviously hadn’t expected to see a cow on their hospital visit today, let alone a cow in Bessie’s condition. We made our way to the stairs and I struggled to lead my blinded cow up to the third floor office of Dr. Moore. Everything I went through earlier that day was worth is just to see the look on Dr. Moore’s face. After he finally grasped the situation, he suggested removing the barrel like he would if it were a cast. I told him I was desperate for any help I could get, even though I’m almost positive that was obvious. All I cared about was Bessie’s wellbeing and he could do whatever he wanted as long as it didn’t hurt my poor cow. He had a bit of a struggle to get her through the door, but she eventually squeezed through. I stayed behind, like the coward I am, certain that if I watched I would be sick.

After an hour of waiting and worrying, Bessie stepped out of the operating room barrel free. I was overjoyed as I ran over to hug my almost helpless animal. She “mooed” contently, quite pleased to have the ability to see again.

Now, back to my previous problem. I knew it was going to be impossible to try and make Bessie climb down the stairs, it would only hurt her. The only other option I had was the elevator. With the help of many nurses I was able to load frightened Bessie into the tiny space. I pushed the down button and we were off.

As I walked out of the hospital I had a very different reaction then I did when we first walked in. A huge cheer went up by all who had seen Bessie previously. By the time I got home that night, dozens of reporters flocked my front yard, awaiting the arrival of Bessie, my now famous cow.

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