December 30, 2010 by Debbie
Having spent my first 50 years in the mid-west, I still can’t believe it can be 85 degrees at the end of December. I love seeing pictures of snow and I think I miss winter until it gets to be about 36 and I’m whining about being cold. Maybe I’ll just learn to enjoy the more subtle seasonal changes.
As the gate slowed down early this afternoon, it was decided that Henry and I should take a drive into Tilden to find the town dump. Always game for an outing, Henry settled in the back seat in his bed and off we went.
My directions were to go into town and turn right at Hill Top Cemetery Road and go to the new cemetery. Tilden also has an old cemetery, Boot Cemetery, which is something of a historic landmark. To be buried in Boot Cemetery, it was necessary to not only be dead, but to be buried with your boots on. As fashions changed, a new cemetery, Hill Top Cemetery was established about 100 years ago, for the bootless.
Henry and I drove the 6 miles out our road to the hwy and then around 4 more to the crest of the hill. As we rounded the final corner, I was inexplicably surprised to find out that it was a Port-a-Dump. I jumped out with my camera to take a quick picture! A dump, hooked up to a pickup, now that was something!
It was hot and the flies and bees were buzzing so I threw my camera and keys on the front seat and manually unlocked the back door to grab the trash bags. I kicked the driver’s door shut while reaching for the handle of the back door, almost simultaneously.
Clearly not quite simultaneously since the door slammed and the Jeep locks clicked as I stood, staring at my camera and keys, resting inside. I made the quick, futile trip trying each door and the hatch, in case of malfunction. But no, all locks had latched appropriately. No extra key hidden and no cell phone, all I had was a $20 in my pocket.
With a brief explanation to Henry, I set off to begin my 10 mile hike back to the RV, hoping to find someone in town I could pay to take me home. I walked past the cemetery cats and the small herd of cows and grave markers in the shape of cowboys and the great state of Texas.
After about a quarter of a mile, I came to a house with 2 men in the driveway. I sputtered out my story, waving my money and pretty much begging for a ride to the RV for the other set of keys. I nearly cried with relief when Cliff, who’d just returned from deer hunting and was sipping his first beer, said “Sure, hop in.”
15 minutes later, we made it to the RV. Another 15 and Heidi (she insisted on going because she was sure Henry would be dead) was back at the dump with Cliff to find a man there calling the county sheriff because ‘some fool had left a small dog locked in a Jeep in the sweltering heat’.
In typical fashion, Henry remained unperturbed while Heidi gave him an abundance of water to drink. He was happy to sit in the air conditioning in the front seat but was less impressed with the pint or two of water she poured over his head to lower his body temperature. He pranced into the RV, tail wagging as usual, completely unaware of the peril he’d been in. I felt awful and gave him lots of extra attention which he cheerfully took full advantage of.
Heidi decided to put a hummingbird feeder on the fence near our gate and then walk off her residual fear. First task accomplished, she headed down our road toward the lake. 5 minutes later she came running back for the camera to take pictures of the “4 beautiful cows” that had suddenly appeared at the fence right next to her. Heidi loves cows! I was so happy that the day was taking such a pleasant turn, until I heard her shouting: “The cows are coming! The cows are coming!”
Heidi loves cows. Heidi hates/fears bulls (childhood trauma that may be elaborated on at some future date). The 4 beautiful cows turned out to be 19 Longhorns steers and bulls that had broken away from the other 181 confined to a different part of the ranch.
As afternoon drew to a close, they grazed around the hummingbird feeder and we prayed for no gate business since we’d need to walk up and say ‘Excuse me’ to open it. No one came, Henry happily accepted a variety of apology treats, and soon the small patch of grass was depleted. At dusk, the renegade herd ambled off into the sunset of our 3rd day in Tilden.