Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Demise of Old Alice

My immediate family already knows the story of Alice the cow who was like a member of the family when we boys were young. I thought the rest of you might be interested as well.
                          THE DEMISE OF OLD ALICE
Alice was our milk cow (we always had one), a gentle old red-roan with no horns. The practice in those days when you wanted to take advantage of the forage in an unfenced field was to "stake out" the cow. You would drive a steel stake into the ground (usually an old Model T Ford axle) with a long chain and attach it to the cow's collar. This allowed the cow to graze 360 degrees and kept her handy for milking. Well, Alice was staked out in the field east of the house (where Dick and Mary's house is now) when a violent thunderstorn struck (you didn't get Weather Bureau warnings in those days). The storm took down the power lines along Paw Paw Avenue and scared Alice so bad that she pulled the stake loose and went running across the field. She made it across the downed live wires but when the chain dragged across the wires she was electrocuted on the spot. When it was safe Dad and his friend Art Alfing, who owned a meat market in Watervliet, butchered Old Alice where she lay. Thus she continued to feed the family, only with stew meat and hamburger instead of milk and butter. Dad thought the electric company should pay for the loss of Alice but the utility refused. This resulted in a years-long Mexican standoff. Dad refused them permission to trim the trees growing up under the power lines as long as they refused to pay for Old Alice. How it finally came out I do not know.
(emailed June 2008)

No comments: