When I write a story about the interesting events of life, I try to arrange the circumstances in chronological order so they make sense to the reader. Unfortunately, discovering these facts is often a long and non-linear process of random conversations. Sometimes things make sense and sometimes they don’t. For example, I learned that Uncle Bob wasn’t actually hit on the head by a tree when he had his “mishap.” He was jostled by a branch as the tree shifted and it knocked him down and into another tree. He hit his head and the rest is history.
It was complicated and as with everything that happens at home when I’m not there, I have to masquerade as a private detective to get all the details properly situated; that makes me a real Nancy Drew.
It started when I was corresponding with one of my farm boy friends, asking him some questions over e-mail. He was slow to respond and finally wrote back “I’ve been busy. You won’t believe it, but I’ve got 3 little pigs now.”
Interesting; he’s got a few chickens and he’s mentioned the possibility of other small livestock, but he’s never said anything about a pig. Now he’s got three.
While working in the home garden with Uncle Bob the following Saturday, he briefly mentioned that a few cows from Topsham had gotten loose and strolled through The Farm on their way to town. Maybe they needed a Moxie. I asked him for details and since Uncle Bob prefers to say less than more, he outlined a brief scenario wherein a few cows ambled through the field at the The Farm, made their way to a certain spot, were rounded up, and went peaceably home.
“Were they running?” I asked.
Uncle Bob gave me one of those looks that made me embarrassed for asking. I can almost hear the mortification in his voice when he explained how left to their own devices, cows will certainly pick up their handbags and head to town as quickly as their skinny little legs will take them. He turned his back to me and resumed his garden chores, likely shrugging that his own flesh and blood could ask such silly questions.
At lunch, I asked my father if he knew about the traveling cows. He provides more vague replies and acknowledgements, but no concrete details. If there were no trees involved, he’s not interested.
No one seemed at all surprised.
The next morning, I decide to take a walk on the The Farm, searching for evidence. I ran into my farm boy friend and we chatted about pigs, chickens, and manure. Then he casually said “Did Uncle Bob tell you we had a stampede over here?”
I have found that the best investigative style for solving cases like these is to know nothing about the information being presented. It worked for Columbo and sometimes it works for me.
“Really? A stampede? Uncle Bob didn’t say anything about it” I responded.
As it turned out, 15 cows and an ox from land adjacent to The Farm got loose. They wandered over to The Farm and while no one really knows what scared them, they started running down the road. They crossed the Little River bridge and started running up the hill and over my farmer friend’s garden. They stomped around for a while, making a mess. Another neighbor, skilled in the way of wayward animals, finally rounded them up.
The owner showed up, took a look at the mess in the garden, and offered up three little pigs as a peace-offering.
A lot of interesting and exciting things sure do happen when I’m not at home. Maybe I need to open a detective agency in Lisbon Falls?
File this one under “Cow-Cow Boogie.”