The New Calf
by Charlotte Garrett of Granbury, TX
John sprinted toward the barn scattering chickens as he ran. His younger sister, Sarah, tried to keep up. “Hurry, kids I need you!” yelled their father. “It looks like a bad storm coming. The Hereford isn’t here with the other cows. I’m worried! She might be having her calf somewhere. John and I will go look for her. Sarah you finish the chores.” Sarah bit her lip to fight back the tears as John and her father drove out of sight.
“Sarah you finish the chores. Sarah, you finish the chores,” Sarah muttered to herself. “Why can’t I go with dad once in a while? Why is it always John? He gets to go everywhere. All I do is stay home and do chores. I want dad to treat me like he does John.” Sarah was still fussing as she carried the eggs into the house. The rain began just as she slammed the backdoor. The bang echoed. “It’s a good thing that mom’s not home from work,” she told herself. “She hates banging doors. It’s going to be raining hard before I finish doing John’s chores for him,” grumbled Sarah. “I’d better put on my raincoat and take the flashlight.”
After Sarah finished feeding the hogs, she waited for the rain to slow before making a dash for the house. Then she heard it, a moaning sound. She was frightened. She went around the side of the barn. She could hear it louder now. Her heart beat loudly in her chest. The sound came from somewhere out in the darkness. She walked on cautiously toward the sound. That’s when she saw the cow and her new baby. Sarah stood in the cold rain and watched. The mother cow tried to get the calf up. The baby didn’t seem to be trying. Sarah didn’t know what to do. She was afraid of the cow, but she had to do something. She slowly walked to the calf and tried to get it to stand up. It wouldn’t or couldn’t. Water was running all around the calf and it was shaking from the cold. Sarah had to do something. She ran to the barn and got the blue plastic tarp they used to cover hay. She rushed back to the calf and put the plastic down close to the calf. She pulled the calf’s body onto the plastic to protect it from the wet ground and folded the other part back over herself and the calf. Sarah was warm enough under her raincoat and the tarp. She hugged the calf to try to keep it warm. She kept the flashlight burning for a while but the light began to fade so she turned it off. She soon dozed off to sleep in the dark.
“We’ve searched everywhere. Where could she be? Let’s split up and look in different places. No! No! Let’s stay together,” screamed John’s father. John had never seen him like this. John was sure he was crying, but the rain was washing down his face so much that it was hard to tell. “John, go into the house and call for help. I’ll continue looking.” John watched as his father walked into the darkness. He was yelling, “Sarah, Sarah, can you hear me? Try to answer me.”
Sarah thought she heard something. She pulled back the plastic and turned on the flashlight. She could hear something running through the dark toward her. “Sarah, Sarah, is that you? screamed her father. “Oh Sarah, I was so worried about you.” He knelt down beside, her, took her in his arms and hugged her tight. Then he saw the new calf.
“I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t just leave it, so I tried to keep it warm. Did I do all right?”
“You did better than all right. You did everything perfect. Oh Sarah, I’m so proud of you. Let’s get them in the barn. I want to hear all about it. From this day forward, you and I will take care of them together.”
Sarah walked beside her father feeling very proud and happy.