Children’s Tender Feelings

Greedy kidFarm kids learn early not to make pets of livestock.  There’s no way those friendships won’t end badly. Knowing this, kids still sometimes get attached. My younger sisters Connie and Marilyn bottle-fed an orphan calf until it was old enough to be put out to pasture with the rest of the cows. Long after he ran with the big boys, he’d hang around the fence waiting for them to walk by.  They’d made they habit of letting him jump up and “hug” them, a habit they discouraged when he approached a hundred pounds.  WatchIng hopefully for the schoolbus, he’d lope up as it pulled in the drive. Male calves don’t need to make long range plans.  Connie and Marilyn had remained friendly with this calf so long, Mother dreaded seeing their reaction when they came home and found him gone.  When Connie came in looking for him, Mother couldn’t avoid the truth.

“Connie, you know we were raising that calf to eat.  We can’t afford to keep cows for pets.”  She was braced for waterworks.

“Where is he?”

“We had him butchered.  He’s in the freezer.”

“You mean y’all are gonna eat him!”

“Yes.”

“Can I have some?”

59 thoughts on “Children’s Tender Feelings

  1. Reality check for sure…it happens to those so young who grow up in a farming community. I had nightmares when I saw headless chickens running about for the first time. I still ate poultry, even later that same day. Great story ! Van

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  2. My children hand reared Wally the lamb, when Wally’s mum rejected him. He lived with my in-laws, who we visited nearly daily. Wally loved my children so much, that when we drove away he would run after the car – even when my in-laws chained him to a tire to prevent this behaviour. I often looked in my rear view mirror to see Wally dragging his tire, while the tire bounced all over the road.

    One day, we were visiting the in-laws and lamb chops were on the menu. I didn’t think anything of it, until my mother-in-law bragged at how tasty Wally had turned out. I lost my appetite, as did my children (my husband kept eating, but he has more of a farm boy attitude). Poor Wally!

    For the next six months, whenever lamb was on the menu at my in-laws, me and kids ate vegetarian.

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  3. This is like the rabbits my father raised one summer. Gone, but I had no idea he / she was dinner until I asked what the delicious meat was we were having for supper. I disowned my parents from that moment on. I helped skin those rabbits but not THAT one. 😦

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  4. What I love about a lot of your stories, is that you bring out things that bring out strong reaction and force a person to think. Rough-and-tough realists and sensitive folks are invited to add depth to their thinking.

    I’m so grateful you’re sharing this stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

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