My earliest childhood memory isn’t of an iPhone or playing games on Facebook, it involves a cow and some cornbread.
Growing up in the hills of Kentucky, I was dirty more than I was clean. I’d roll down mountains and yards or roll my pant legs up to wade in the creek, stepping on rocks or catching crawdads. Many evenings were spent with my Grandfather, milking cows, feeding pigs or collecting eggs. Times were much simpler back then.
My cousins always came to visit on Sundays, making it the best day of the week! Granny would fix a huge dinner of soup beans, fried potatoes, corn and whatever else she could mix up, always served with a big cast iron skillet full of cornbread. If you’ve never had cornbread or cornbread out of cast iron, you truly don’t know what you are missing. Granny’s was always the best, although she was known for burning it a tad bit. Extra brown, she would say!
One particular Sunday, after dinner, my cousins and I decided we were going to head to the corncrib to play school. The corncrib had stacks of dried corn on the cob that was used to feed the chicken and pigs pushed to the back. In the front, we had moved an old filing cabinet and that is where we kept our “school” papers and pencils. We loved to play teacher and students, we would make up fake tests and grade each other.
I had decided to take a piece of cornbread with me that day in my pocket, it was hard work playing and I might want a snack for later. 🙂 We were in the corncrib for about 30 minutes when we heard a commotion outside. One of the cows had gotten loose and was trying to get in the corncrib with us!
We panicked and went into survivor mode. Even though the crib had several steps leading up to the door and was over 2 feet off the ground, we were convinced the cow was going to attack us. Finding some old rope, we quickly tied it to the inside of the old wooden door and held on for dear life. The cow’s wet nose was pressing through the cracks and we screamed for help.
It was at that point, my cousin remembered I had the cornbread in my pocket. She yelled at me to throw it to the cow so it would get away from the door. I paused for a moment, this wasn’t just your average piece of bread, then decided to sacrifice my treat so we could escape. I found a small crack on the side of the door and tossed the bread as far as I could. The cow turned and found the bread. We were relieved.
We flung open the door, grabbed our school papers and ran to Granny’s house, looking back for the crazy cow. Needless to say, I never left Sunday dinner without a piece of cornbread in my pocket, never knowing if it was going to be eaten by me or a cow.