Earl's Bull and Pig Story - Empty Nest by Curt Swarm


My farmer friend, Earl—we call him Earl the Pearl for no good reason except it rhymes—was having a bad couple of days. He wanted to move his herd of Hereford cattle from one farm to the other, a distance of two miles.

He had the herd corralled and was loading them into a trailer. The bull, Barney, wasn't having anything to do with it. When Earl tried to goad him into the trailer, Barney the Bull literally climbed and crashed up over a five-foot tall steel gate. Earl thought, “This isn't good.”

He had a high school kid, Benjy, who worked for him after school. Benjy had a moped that he was real proud of. Earl asked Benjy if he thought he could get on his moped and help drive Barney over to the next farm.

“Sure 'nuff, Earl,” Benji said.

Benjy rode his moped out to where Barney was eating grass on the back side of the pasture. Benjy said, “Ha, Barney. Git. Now you git.”

Barney snorted, pawed the ground a couple of times, and charged Benjy. Benjy, knowing when to skedaddle, took off like a bandit. Barney literally jumped over the top of Benjy and his moped.

Earl thought, “This isn't good.” So he called his neighbor who had horses. “Do you think you can help get Barney corralled?” he asked his neighbor.

“You bet, Earl” said the neighbor.

The neighbor brought his hired man and, on two horses, they roped Barney and drug him into the barn snorting and bawling, and shut the door.

Earl backed his trailer up to load Barney. Earl could hear Barney snorting and pawing the ground inside.

The next thing Earl knew, Barney came crashing through the barn door, wood and splinters flying everywhere. Hereford bulls can be quite ornery.

Earl thought, “To heck with it. I'll leave Barney right there. The cows are pretty much bred anyway. Barney can just be by himself. We'll see how he likes that.”

Later that day, Earl thought he would go out and check on Barney to make sure he was okay. After all, Barney had had a pretty rough day.

Barney saw Earl, started snorting and pawing the ground, and charged Earl.

Earl thought, “This isn't good,” and, hand-over-hand, he climbed a tree. There Earl sat for a while until Barney forgot why he was there and wandered off.

The next day, Earl had a hog he needed to take to the vet. He didn't have tall sides on his pick-up truck, so he loaded the hog into the front seat.

(I'm not kidding. You can't make this stuff up.)

It was cold out, so, on the way to town, Earl turned on the heat. There was no heat coming out of the heater, and Earl remembered he needed to get the heater core repaired.

He pulled into Vander Tuck's Auto Repair to have the heater core repaired. Tuck took one look at the hog on the front seat and said, “I hain't get'n in that truck with no hog.”

Earl went home and pondered his fate as a farmer. Maybe he could sell his herd off, rent his farm ground out, and buy that little cafe in town that was for sale. “There's always demand for a good Maidrite and tenderloin,” he said to himself. “It can't be as bad as a charging bull and sick pig, can it?”

Earl would learn the answer to that question. The public can be picky (“You call that a tenderloin?”), help can be unreliable (“I'm sick, Earl.”), and health inspectors down right rude (“Fix it or we'll shut you down.”). Earl wondered if he could get his farm back, after all, corn and bean prices were up.

Have a good story?  Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, find him on Facebook, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.

Column, Curt Swarm, Empty Nest, guest author, Mt. Pleasant, opinion, Pen City Current, weekly


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