Turkey day was stuffed full of excitement

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Day was picturesque — sunny, warm and filled with good food and family — albeit minus a few members, but that’s the point to this whole story my week.

The girls and I had worked very hard sleeping in until around nine that morning and were sluggish getting started on the holiday. My mother and sister-in-law and family had gone down to the beach to stay with other family, since my brother, who does some kind of bigwig thing in the oil field, was not able to be home for Thanksgiving.

Since I only had Thanksgiving Day off, the two-plus hour drive to the beach wasn’t worth the promise of my momma’s dressing, because I can get that anytime I ask for it. When my oldest girl asked why I only got one day off, I explained to her that Mommy only got one day off because the Star-News really only shuts down for “Jesus” holidays and the people of Covington County would be quite upset if they didn’t get their newspaper.

Upon awaking, one of the first sounds bouncing off the walls inside was the sound of dogs barking — annoying, high pitched yipping mixed with two deeper “roof-roof.” Anyone who has grown up around animals knows the difference between the “come feed me” bark and the “get the heck out here and look at this” bark.

Striding to the door, I braced myself for the cold wind I expected to come through the doorway as well as the company I expected to see standing on the front steps. I was pleasantly surprised and somewhat quizzical about the lack of each.

The sun outside had warmed the November air perfectly but quick looks around the yard showed no sign of the expected visitors. No cars, no stray dogs, no wayward cats — nothing.

But, on and on, those dogs barked and barked until right before lunch when the sound eventually tapered off. It was then that I sent the girls outside to play because every mother knows how hard it is to cook with children underfoot. In about three minutes, the oldest came in screaming about a “big black thing” in the yard.

I don’t know if I can say this in the newspaper, but I will tell you right now, my first thought was, “Holy hell, it’s a snake.” It never crossed my mind that it would be a 4,000-pound Black Angus bull.

Hence the first call to 911.

Now I understand that most country girls would have corralled that thing up and held on to it until someone came a lookin’ for it, but I’m lazy. I didn’t want to chase it and I sure didn’t want to build a pen for it.

By the time the deputy arrived, it had meandered its way on further down the dirt road, and I had begun feeling bad about calling the deputy out so close to lunch on Thanksgiving. I offered him some food, but he declined, and we decided that no one was going to steal the bull. I knew the owner had to live close by and probably could follow the easily recognizable trail (if you get my drift) to it its current location. I mean it still had about two miles of dirt road and several hayfields to graze on before it hit the highway again. And if you know that area, it’s just one big ol’ loop, so odds are it’d probably come back around tomorrow anyway.

I thought to myself that if that was the case, then God couldn’t begrudge me a case of finders-keepers, and we’d be eating steaks for a year.

As we stood there talking, I noticed a pickup truck slowly driving by, the driver eyeing the proceedings on both sides of the road with great interest and, for some reason, I filed that away as “odd” in the back of my brain.

Fast forward to about 2 a.m. Saturday morning, when once again I was awakened to those cotton pickin’ barking dogs; however, I was anything but annoyed as I came awake. For some unknown reason, my first coherent thought was of that bluish pickup truck creeping by the house.

I immediately jumped up and ran to the front door, and sure enough there across the road was the distinct sight of two flashlight beams coming from the right side of the yard of my brother’s home.

I can only remember three times in my life when I was that scared.

Once when I was little, no more than 6 or so, Momma was outside hanging clothes and Daddy was out on the farm somewhere. I had climbed up on the counter making me a bowl of cereal when this big ol’ bull pushed its way through the front door and into the kitchen of our house.

I lit out that kitchen window like I was on fire, knocking my bowl of milk to the floor, hollering all the while for my daddy.

I can remember that bull’s hind end was so big and its head so skinny that when it tried to back out, it couldn��t because it had wedged itself in the door jam. By the time Daddy made it to the house, the bull was calmly licking the milk up off the floor, waiting to be rescued.

I don’t remember how we got it out, but it got out.

The second was when my first daughter went “Code Adam” in Wal-Mart for about 15 minutes before being found inside one of the racks of cloth in the sewing department. The third is when my second daughter quit breathing for the first time after spending two months in hospital after she was born.

While each of the circumstances was different, the result was the same. I can remember how my heart dropped; how my hands went numb and how hard it was to breathe.

Hence the second and final call of the week to 911.

I never actually saw “people,” just beams of light. By the time the deputies made it there, there was no sign of anyone or anything missing.

Thank goodness.

There is a moral to this story: The dog with the loudest bark gets noticed; however, it could also land you in jail if you try and break into a house in Red Oak.

Anyway…that’s the story of my Thanksgiving holiday, and I can promise you, it’s no “bull.”