Life in the Country This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   "Aaaaah ..."

"Are you okay?"my mother peered over, bemused.

"Do I look okay? Why are youlaughing? This is so not funny! Mom! Stop laughing!"

I love mygrandmother's house. I love the smell of the freshly mowed hay and the quiet,dark nights in the open country. I love everything about being at her house -everything except those cows in the pasture across the road.

Many thingshave contributed to my strong dislike for these animals. There was the time mybrother and I went cow-tipping and came close to death by bull, and the time Iwas feeding corn husks to a cow when she decided my hand would be a tastydessert. Despite many incidents with the Ohio-bred cows, a certain run-in withsome cow manure traumatized me most.

But anyway, back to what I love aboutmy grandmother's. I love the barn because it is full of hay bales. I love to playin freshly bundled hay, I'm like a two-year-old at the beach whenever I get nearit. I love to roll in the piles and sleep in the loose bundles. My favorite thingto do is jump into the piles from the rafters or, due to a lack of energyrequired to climb up there, run and jump into them like you would piles ofleaves. But this last activity proved my downfall.

It was a pretty hotday. My cousin wasn't feeling well so, seeing my opportunity to bond with the hayI loved so dearly, I offered to feed her horse. I tiptoed to the barn, avoidingthe piles of cow manure, while my mother followed a few yards behind. I struggledwith the heavy doors, determined to open them without help. I finally managed topry them apart, and when I did, a dusty gust of dry, hot air choked me. Isearched for the light switch.

As the lights flickered on, I saw piles ofhay in front of me. Horse? What horse? All that hay, calling my name ... I had todo it. My mom could feed the horse. I threw myself into the closest, biggest pileof hay.

Uh, oh.

At this point, it's a good idea to let you inon a little-known secret: hay has some amazing abilities. For instance, mixinghay with a pile of cow manure, then covering the mixture with more hayneutralizes the odor. It occurred to me that I was not lying in a pile of hay,but in a huge, soft, green pile of fresh manure.

"Aaaaah..."

"Are you okay?" my mother peered over,bemused.

"Do I look okay? Why are you laughing? This is so not funny!Mom! Stop laughing!"

My mother was, needless to say, rolling withlaughter. I was disappointed that she could laugh at me. I mean, come on, I hadjust been severely traumatized, and here my supposedly caring mother waslaughing! I was covered in cow crap. How was that even remotely funny?

Imanaged to gather myself and stand up. My clothes were completely disgusting. Onthe verge of tears, I trudged back to my grandmother's house. My mother followeda good ten yards behind, still laughing.

My grandmother started the showerwhile I stripped on the porch. It's a good thing she lives out in the middle ofnowhere, otherwise, at the modest age of ten, I never would have done such athing. My mother trashed my clothes. They were so completely disgusting that evenif they did get clean, I could never look at them the same way again. It tookthree steaming-hot showers to get the smell of manure out of my hair.

Iknow it's not the cows' fault that I got a tad overzealous and jumped into a pileof manure, but that incident has forced me to hate them forever. I've been to mygrandmother's house a few times since, and the cows are still there. So is thehorse that never ended up getting fed that day. It's been seven yearssince that traumatizing event, and I have yet to come within 50 yards of a baleof hay.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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