Live for ever.
I am sad right now. I just took Tequila to Springfield Meats. Tomorrow morning she will be led into a chute, stunned into a coma with a captive bolt and then exsanguinated. No more details about the process need to be belabored. There is a lot that I should be thankful for. Springfield Meats does a good job of handling the animals with care, I left her with hay to eat and clean water for her to drink overnight. She has company for her overnight stay; in an adjacent stall there were two hereford steers sniffing at her. I got to give her a final scratch on the head and neck before I left. All of this I should be grateful to have been able to do for her. She was a sweet, loving cow that would coo at me when she saw me. She loved to eat. She ate with such gusto, closing her eyes and tilting her head back with clumps of hay dripping from the edges of her mouth. I loved watching her eat. She was so gentle and well mannered. She once was featured on TV when Chuck Hughes’ show, “Chuck Hughes Eats the Street” came to film an episode at my dairy. I should be grateful for all these memories.
Right now though, I am sad to lose Tequila. Her udder got trampled by another cow, destroying one of her teats. I tried every heroic measure to fix her, but it came to a point when I could do no more. I dried her off and hoped for the best. Later, when I brought her back into the barn I saw that her udder got worse. I had two choices: keep her on the farm and risk her a painful death or salvage what I could of her while she was still otherwise healthy. I should be grateful that I was afforded the choice. Every cow finds her own way to the end of her life and sometimes I get no say in the matter. Tequila’s body will yield some fine, lean ground beef that will help to feed my family. And by the way, I will have no problem eating that meat. It sure beats burying a cow in a grave. For me, eating her body will be a more fitting burial for her as I will use that protein and energy to tend to her many daughters and grand-daughters in the herd. Circle of life stuff and all that. I should be thankful for this as well.
Right now though, I am just sad to lose my friend Tequila. Some unrealistic romantic in me wants to drive over to Springfield Meats right now and take her back home with me. Back home, where she will live forever; a forever filled with sweet hay, back scratchings, warm spring days, and fall nights watching the stars spin across the sky until it is time to come into the barn and be milked. Live forever, Tequila. I love you.