Do you remember the moment you fell in love? It might have been the most important Ah Hah moment of your life. For some people, it happens during a romantic date. For others, it may happen during a crisis.
For Hunky Hubby and I, it happened in the Milk Shed. After dating for about a year, I went to the barn with Hubby to do the afternoon milking. This wasn't the first time I had sat on an old bucket, watching his experienced hands coax milk from a cow. Hubby had been milking twice a day throughout most of his life. There had been many milk cows come and go over the years. I heard tales of a Jersey, a Brown Swiss, and a Holstein. They each had a name and were regarded as part of the family. My mother in law sold the cream to the local creamery for years. She would use the money for groceries that they could not produce themselves.
On this particular day, Hunky Hubby was milking a Guernsey cow. She was a gentle soul with all the patience of a saint. With just a call, she would make her way to the milking shed, which was built of logs in the late 1800's. Upon entrance into the shed, she would dutifully go to the feed trough and start munching on the waiting grain. It wasn't necessary to put her in a stanchion, she was content to stand quietly.
The cow was lowing as she nuzzled her nose into the grain. Three barn cats had gathered around the back end of the cow. They were watching Hubby intently, as though they were expecting him to do something. Intense stares, followed by a rub on his leg brought them his attention. "Oh, what do you guys want?", he said, softly. The cats gathered in closer to the back leg of the cow.
Hunky Hubby turned the teat that he was holding. A steady stream of milk sprayed across the room, landing resolutely in one of the cats open mouth. A gasp escaped my lips as I realized what was happening. My big burly rancher man was going to feed those cats straight from the cow! Who does that? One does not imagine that a macho, testosterone driven , outdoorsy man would even think of the welfare of a few barn cats. I was in LOVE!
On each pull of the teat, a different cat would get the stream of milk. While the other two were waiting for their turn, they would lick their fur, making sure not a drop of precious milk was wasted. Two squirts for the bucket, three squirts for the cats. Two squirts for the bucket, three squirts for the cats. This process continued until the cow was milked or the cats were satiated.
The milk shed has been torn down. We no longer have a milk cow. We only have one cat. She isn't a barn cat. She is a back porch cat, who yells at us to feed her. Her cry is not "Meow". It is "NOW"! The charming setting of this story has been replaced by reality. We have a mortgage, two car payments, and adult children. We live in a little log house that we struggle to pay for. Sitting on the front porch while watching our bossy cat take a bath, we are transported back to 34 years ago. We fell in love in a milk shed. I am totally okay with that!