It was quiet in the barn. The saddles and tack hung loose and ready for next time’s ride. The haystack had dwindled as the green grass grew. There were bins of feed and some was spilled, and that’s just the way it is in a barn.
We scooped milk replacer and mixed it warm.
Because just outside the quiet barn was a raucous, caterwauling bunch of hungry calves, intent on making quite clear the cavernous condition of their empty stomachs, and couldn’t we just get out there with the bottles already?
That’s what Larry wanted to know.
This is Larry.
Larry the heifer.
No, actually, I don’t. I don't know about why a heifer (female calf) is named Larry. But I went with it.
Larry the heifer guzzled and slurped and milk-foamed about the mouth.
Meanwhile, Midget the bull (yes, there’s a lot to contemplate on a ranch) preferred to slowly savor his supper. They say eating slowly is healthy. Well, Midget had grabbed that memo by the horns. Ahem.
And all was well with Larry and Midget until…
…until Larry finished hers and Midget hadn’t finished his, and the Battle for the Bottle ensued, and there was much pushing and shoving by the calves and much hollering and laughing by the boy, “Larry! LARRY! No, Larry! Larry, you’ve already had yours. Larry! Larryyyyy!”
* * *
We got Larry and Midget all sorted out and I’m happy to report that, in the end, they were both round and full. And, much as we would like it (love it, actually), Larry and Midget aren’t ours. This barn isn’t ours, nor are the saddles and tack. The ranch that we drove out to isn’t ours, either.
But, the friendship is.
And like a bridge, twice a day for several days, once a year, it takes us from where we are to where we’d one day love to be. We get to ranch-sit and animal-keep and dream a little. And while we dream and wait for something similar that may be down our road, we can be present in the richness, small or great, that is right now, with Midget and Larry.
We can’t live out our futures, but we can live out our days.