Blossom ruins a day with Bernie Sanders – Empty Nest by Curt Swarm


We were four deep from the stage to hear Bernie Sanders at the Memorial Union in Iowa City. A band was playing. We had another hour to wait. I didn’t know if my seventy-year old hips could take the standing. I considered sitting down on the floor in the middle of the crowd, but was afraid I would get stepped on. Ginnie has had one hip replaced; she doesn’t need another. It was hot. We both had the sleeves of our coats tied around our waists.
We had arrived at the Memorial Union in Iowa City early, thinking we might get some supper before the rally. However, the lines were starting to form, so we joined in—might as well get in good position to “feel the Bern.”
Don’t draw any conclusions about our political affiliation. We attend Republican rallies also. It’s the privilege of our democratic republic.
I pulled my phone out to take a picture of a Bernie sign. That’s when I noticed the text messages. “Hey Curt. Do you have a black cow? It’s in your front yard!”
Oh, no! Blossom was out! The phone was ringing, but I couldn’t hear who was talking because of the crowd noise and the band playing. If Blossom got out on the highway, it could be disastrous! She is two weeks away from her butcher date and a very valuable Angus heifer. Not to mention people getting hurt in the crash!
I turned to Ginnie and shouted in her ear. “We have a problem! Blossom is out! We gotta get home! We’ll have to ditch Bernie. Dang!” We made our way out of the crowd toward the door. A rally worker told us, “If you leave, you can’t get back in. Security.”
I suddenly remembered—when I had chored that morning, I forgot to put the bolt back in the chain that secures Blossom’s gate. It was my fault she was out.
My phone was going crazy. There were text and phone messages from three different people—passersby on Highway 34 who knew us—telling us we had a cow out. The phone was ringing again. This time we were in a place where I could hear. “Curt, this is Kyle! Your heifer is out!”
Kyle is a high school boy and friend of ours. He had been driving by.
“Kyle!” I shouted. “Can you get her in? We’re in Iowa City.”
“I’ll try!”
Kyle does chores for local farmers, so knows his way around livestock.
We were outside the Memorial Union and headed toward the car. The phone rang again. It was Kyle. “I’ve got her in!”
“Oh, thank God! Kyle, you’re a life saver!”
There was only one thing to do. We couldn’t get back in the Bernie rally, so we headed home. (I’m never leaving home again.) I would compensate Kyle handsomely for his service above and beyond. It was like we were yanked out of that Bernie rally for a reason.
Blossom will be one year old on April first—April Fool’s Day—the day I have her scheduled for butchering. She’s going on 1,200 pounds. Being a heifer, I’ve told her if she comes in heat before April first, I’ll have the vet AI her (that’s “Artificial Insemination” not “Artificial Intelligence”). She seems to understand—hamburger or mamma. She’ll make a great mamma. Maybe that’s why she escaped. One last hurrah.
Great day in the morning! Blossom came in heat (maybe). We called the vet and he AI’d her, to a Black Angus bull named “Effective.” Nine-and-a-half months from now will be December 23. We may have a Christmas surprise.
Earlier in the week a mink killed all our hens. People often ask me if I ever have trouble coming up with a topic to write about in my weekly column. Ha!
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at or visit his website at

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