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I answered the phone and heard Laura’s voice. “Hi, Daris. Hey, my cousin, Amanda, is here from the city, and she would really like to do something countryish, if you know what I mean. I was wondering if we could come out and, like, milk a cow, feed calves, and things like that?”

“Sure,” I answered. “We start chores at 5:00.”

When 5:00 rolled around, there was no sign of Laura and Amanda. I always milked, and my younger brother, David, did the feeding. I figured the girls would get there in due time, and since there were lots of cows to milk, I would just start, and there would still be plenty left when they arrived. But I told David that he needed to wait to feed until Laura and Amanda came.

“But Lance invited me over to play Pac Man,” he complained. “I don’t want to wait around for a couple of girls.”

I suggested that he complete most of the feeding, just saving a couple of the calves for them. That pacified him, and he set about his chores. I started milking, and had been at it for some time, when he came running into the barn.

“Oh, my heck!” he said. “They just pulled up, and I totally forgot to save some calves for them to feed.”

“You fed all of the babies their bottles?” I asked in exasperation.

“Hey! I just got on autopilot.”

“What are we going to do?” I asked. “That is the main reason they came.”

“Well, maybe they could just feed a couple of calves extra bottles.”

I shook my head. “They are too small, and they would get sick.”

“Then they could feed one of the bigger calves. They may be weaned, but they would still love to have a bottle.”

I couldn’t think of anything else to do, so I agreed.

Laura brought Amanda into the barn and introduced her to me. She then wrinkled her nose. “Wow! It really smells in here.”

“It is a barn, Laura,” I replied.

“Oh,” she laughed. “I thought that maybe you forgot to shower after track practice.”

I laughed. “Thousands of comedians out of work, and I get stuck with you.”

I then pointed at some coveralls on the wall. “You can each put a pair of those on, and David will help you feed the calves. When you get done, come back, and I will help each of you milk a cow.”

I had only milked a few more cows when I heard some horrific screams. I ran from the barn to find Laura and Amanda in the big calf pen. Each girl, carrying a bottle, was running as hard and fast as she could, with a 500 pound calf bearing down on her. I yelled for them to drop the bottles, but they were too busy to pay attention. I jumped the fence and headed for Amanda, who was closest. I intercepted the calf and got Amanda safely over the fence.

“Your brother pointed out the smallest calves and told us to feed them,” she panted. “Then he left. When we tried to feed them, the bigger ones got jealous and came after us.”

I turned back to help Laura just as the biggest calf caught up with her. He grabbed the bottle nipple in his mouth. Laura was not about to give it to him, and a tug-of-war ensued. The nipple popped off, and Laura fell to her backside with the milk pouring down over her head.

She was immediately surrounded by calves wanting to save what dinner they could from her face. “Ow! Ow! Ow!” she yelled as each slurped her with its sandpaper tongue, which has about as much softness as a saw blade.

I struggled to break through the huddle, and I was eventually able to rescue her. When I pulled her to her feet, she slammed the bottle into my stomach.

“Laugh all you want, but from now on, you can feed your own stupid calves!”