Gut Rumbles

January 21, 2008

Stay out of the orchard

Originally published December 10, 2003

I was told to "stay out of the orchard" when I was visiting Aunt Chassie's farm one summer. The orchard was fenced and it served as a cow pasture, too. The apple trees were heavy with fruit and the limbs were bending almost to the ground under the weight. My cousin Ernie and I couldn't resist the temptation. We hopped the fence and ran to pick some apples.

Aunt Chassie had a bull in that pasture. He was a BIG BULL, with a ring in his nose, horns on his head, and a set of balls that dangled like a pair of grapefruit in a gunney-sack between his legs. That bull was very protective of his cows. He saw Ernie and me jump the fence and he came charging at us.

We climbed the first apple tree we could find and quivered in the limbs while the bull butted the tree, pawed the ground below us and blew incredible amounts of snot from his nose. We picked a few apples and threw them at the bull in an attempt to run him off. All we managed to do was make the bastard more pissed off than he was to begin with.

"He'll get tired and go away before long." I said. One hour later, Ernie and I were still in the tree with the pissed-off bull underneath us. That's when we started yelling for help.

My grandfather walked into the pasture. He was carring a chain with a clip on the end of it. He walked right up to that angry bull, grabbed it by one horn and hooked the clip through the ring in its nose and then pulled the chain. He led that bull away from the apple tree and it followed him as docile as a child. He hooked the other end of the chain to a fence post and walked back to the apple tree.

"Get down out of that tree," he demanded. We complied immediately. "Now pick a switch to take back to the house. You both know what you have coming to you."

We both tore off a nice, supple branch from that apple tree, stripped off all the leaves, followed my grandfather back through the gate and took a good, old-fashioned ass-wuppin' from our mamas as soon as we hit the front porch. Those apples didn't look so good after that experience.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. If you hop the fence, be ready for what's on the other side.

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