Growing up, I always wanted a horse. The thought of galloping through the fields astride a mighty warhorse stirred my imagination. With a gallant steed, I could be like the heroes of old. I could win battles, earn glory—have adventures that didn’t involve doing dishes or babysitting. (Yes, I was the poster child for tomboys. That’s what happens when you grow up with four brothers.) However, I had one large problem. We owned cows, not horses.
Throughout history cows haven’t been known as mighty steeds. You don’t read stories where fair maidens or manly warriors leap onto their milk cows and plod off to battle. No. Cows are boring. They eat, chew cud, create cow pies, and get milked. They don’t have adventures. At least they usually don’t.
However, one day I decided if I couldn’t ride a horse, I would ride our cow, Babe. She was a pretty thing, tall and splendidly spotted. And, if she wasn’t quite shaped like a horse, I could pretend. I was good at pretending. So, I strode out to the field and clambered onto her back.
Babe did not like that. She did not like that at all. She went from being a docile cud-chewing mound of bovine into a powerful charging demon in one quickly belted, “Moo!”
We flew across the pasture. We soared over irrigation ditches. We careened toward the pear tree where I learned a very valuable lesson about cows. They don’t come equipped with brakes.
I hit the outstretched branches of that tree at full-cow speed. Babe, who fit nicely under the tree, kept running. I bounced off the branch and splatted on the ground, nearly as flat as one of the nearby cow pies.
That was the first and last time I rode a cow, but I didn’t quit wishing for my mighty steed. Even trees and splats can’t stop dreams.