Did I ever tell you about my military career? If I did, I’m sorry, because you are going to hear about it again.
You see, I was in the Guard. The National Guard. A long, long time ago. Back in the day. As cowboys say, “Back when the chutes were wood, and the men were steel”.
Bob was, and is, a close friend of mine. Since we were both farm and ranch guys, we often partook in events following drill that made us a bit slow in the morning. I apologize, but it happens.
One Sunday morning we were a bit tardy for roll call. Not bad mind you, but we were late. The first sergeant called us in for an explanation. Never lacking for words I explained that Bob’s dad had become deathly ill, in fact I may have said that he had passed away and we had to go to Bob’s place and milk cows. Which kind of surprised Bob, who knew his dad was in perfect health.
The first sergeant wasn’t buying my excuse and exclaimed, “That neither Bob or I was smart enough, or capable enough, to milk a cow”.
That hurt. That really hurt.
It just happened that I had a half-ton pickup in town that weekend. With a stock rack on it. The first sergeant had noticed this, and after some consideration, decided that he would not give us any penalty for missing roll call, provided we go get a milk cow, and milk her in front of the company!
Bob’s farm was about 20 miles from Dickinson. His dad, Old Bob, was quite surprised when two soldiers in fatigues, walked into the barn and explained they needed to borrow a milk cow! We didn’t carry our weapons or anything, and he actually was kind of amused at our predicament.
We picked out a cow standing in a stanchion that Old Bob hadn’t gotten to yet, backed up to a chute, and loaded the poor old cow up for a trip to town.
When we pulled up to the armory, the first sergeant called a company formation. The troops all lined up and Bob and I crawled over the side of that stock rack to begin milking that cow.
The first sergeant had them primed for this. They all began throwing firecrackers into the back of the pickup.
Have you ever tried to milk a cow while both you and the cow were dodging firecrackers? It gets pretty crowded.
I don’t think that poor old cow gave milk for a week. And we were never late again.