As far as I know I’ve never been knocked unconscious. I came close a time or two back when our donkey, Jasper, and I were gettin’ to know each other and I’ve had some close calls from folks pitching a good size rock up into the air for me to fetch (not catch . . . but, shoot, I didn’t know that). But Pop has had the misfortune of gettin’ clobbered to the point of havin’ an unscheduled nap several times.
Back in the day when Pop was tryin’ to earn his stripes as an Auburn Tiger, it was not uncommon for guys to get whalloped hard enough during practice that they saw tweety birds at best or just nothin’ but darkness at worst. Pop says he doesn’t remember how many times he woke up with their trainer, Kenny Howard, standing over him asking some question like what was his locker combination or even how many fingers he was holding up. Pop figures he sacrificed quite a few brain cells on those practice fields.
About a year ago I was enjoying a nice fall day with Pop sitting out in the pasture. One of our Texas Longhorn heifers, Ethel, had just calved a cute little bull but we weren’t quite sure about his gender yet. In an effort to determine whether it was a boy calf or a girl calf, Pop and I sat out there for a while watching him nurse and waiting for him to . . . well, you know, make water. Depending on which spout the calf used, we’d know if it was male or female. Elliot (that’s what Pop and the missus eventually named him) must’ve drank a quart or so but didn’t seem to feel the urge to go. So, Pop and I decided to head back to the barn and check the little fella later. About the time Pop stood up he said he had this feelin’ that he ought to turn around. It was a good thing he did. For some strange reason, ol’ Ethel who had never shown an ounce of aggression, was in an ornery mood and came charging right at Pop and me. Pop barely had enough time to stick his hands out and absorb most of the shock of her attack with his arms. She knocked him backwards about 10 feet where he landed on his backside and whacked his head on the ground. He was able to jump up quick enough to holler at her and shoo her away before she could have another go at us. We moseyed on back to the barn and just about the time Pop had made it about halfway down the aisle the missus showed up. I’d been watchin’ him because he had sort of a dopey look on his face (more dopey than usual – you know, that “lights are on but nobody’s home” look) and I reckon the missus noticed it right off, too. She asked him if he was okay and he just said he didn’t feel so good. About that time he checked out for about 5 minutes. The missus caught him about halfway down and kept his noggin from whackin’ the concrete. Pop says he don’t remember any of that.
The story has a happy ending because Pop now has another excuse for not remembering stuff and Ethel avoided becoming hamburger because she and Elliot got sold.
Most of the Longhorns don’t pay much attention to us (except for this one grouchy old heifer named Lucy and she just doesn’t like dogs) but I still give ‘em a wide berth and you can bet that Pop really keeps his head on a swivel even more than he used to. Matter of fact, they’re mostly pretty laid back and let folks rub their head and even take a treat out of their hand. If they get an itch and swing their massive horns around, though, you better be payin’ attention.
I guess I better get off the computer and go downstairs to check on the old man. I hear him rattling around in the refrigerator sayin’ something about looking for his car keys. Good thing he has me around to help him find things. Bless his heart.