Sunday, March 24, 2013
Who remembers this game from childhood? In England, the game is either called "Grandmother's Footsteps" and sometimes "Statues" where the person who is "it" turns to make sure that the players are not moving if they hear movement, or it's called "Mr Wolf's Dinnertime", where "Mr Wolf" has to try and catch anyone moving - if "Mr Wolf" cries 'dinnertime' then s/he has to race everyone back to the start line, trying to catch as much 'dinner' as possible.
So what's the connection between a game and a cow? Its back to the farm in Somerset again. It was a dairy farm and I rented a cottage on the farm smack dab in the middle between acres of cow fields and hay barns. As a result, there were lots of cows around and close to the house...sometimes too close.
When the heifers (young cows) were in the field and I had to cross it for whatever reason, they would, as a large group, follow me, presumably thinking I either had food or were taking them somewhere. They would tramp along behind me, running to catch up and I could hear their heavy breath and loud footsteps. It was like being followed by an army! I often wondered if I'd get trampled in the herd. However, if I turned to face them, they'd all freeze, mid stride, as a group and wouldn't move a muscle until I turned to walk again. It became a bit of a game with them at times seeing how many times they'd stop before I got to the fence and scrambled over, leaving them looking a bit perplexed.
I have to admit I felt a bit uncomfortable with them all behind me at times, as they'd get closer and braver as we got nearer the fence.