K-Bar, the Cow
Summer, 2005, 6020 Orlando, Lubbock, Texas

Memories are sometimes just a flash in the mind…a piece here and there, but does not always have the whole story. Sometimes they run into other memories and things get confused. Did this really happen this way or am I getting it mixed up with another memory. Sometimes, they are just as real as yesterday. Jenk has asked me to write things I can remember about growing up. What I remember will probably be different from what others' can remember. So I will write what I can remember, but my memories tend to jump around from time to time.

The other night I was talking to Jenk and asked him if he remembered Crow-bar, her brand was a K-Bar but of course, that triggered his memory and it was actually K-Bar, the cow. I remember that ole cow. She was a favorite, because she was the only cow we had at the time. She was all black with a white spot between the eyes. Jenk being the oldest was responsible for milking the cow, but after awhile you get tired of doing the same chore every morning and start clowning around. The best part about milking K-Bar was seeing how far we could shoot the milk across the stall into the face of a younger brother. I remember the milk being warm and to this day I can still smell that milk scent. The smell didn’t bother us, because that was the way milk smelled. K-Bar would give us a gallon of milk most of the time and mom would have the chore of straining the milk after it was taken into the house. Other times K-Bar would get restless and kick over the bucket and we would get only ½ a bucket. I remember the foam floating on top of that rich milk mixed with some dirt floating on top. But mom would strain it using a cup-towel. She would then pour the milk into a jar and let it set in the refrigerator over night. The next morning, Jenk would beat us all to the icebox, as we called it, to dip off the thick heavy cream to put on his cereal, leaving very little for the other three of us (Linda, Carolyn, Tom). Mom would say things like “ I wanted that cream to make butter” Well, mom would skim off what was left and save it till she got more cream from other milkings. We would take that cream and “churn” it. It was put in a glass salad dressing jar and we kids would shake it and shake it and shake it ‘till it was butter. It would take bout 30 minutes to churn butter. Mom would scrape the butter out of the jar and then drain off the excess milk. She would then shape it into a rectangular shape and put it back into the icebox. That night for supper we would have fresh homemade butter. K-Bar was a good ole cow, but I don’t remember what ever happened to her.

We were living at McAdoo (in a house that daddy and Raymond Brown built after our house burned) when I first started school. I was in the first grade and Mrs. Lane was my teacher. I remember sitting next to Mrs. Lane’s desk while she listened to me read. I was always a slow reader and very quiet. Mr. McGlaughn (I think that was his name – he is in the school annuals) was just starting his student teaching and later became my principal when I went back to McAdoo to teach in the same school). He was helping Mrs. Lane teach math. I remember him holding up math flash cards at the end of a table. I was always very quiet and seldom talked. Mom said I never really started talking until I was almost 3 years old. Aunt Lou was worried that I could not talk and said something about it to mom. Mom told her I could talk, that I just didn’t talk in front of grown-ups. Mom said she could hear me talking to the other kids outside playing in the dirt with the boys, but once I came in the house I was very quiet. One time Aunt Lou was visiting us at home at McAdoo. She pulled up in her car and went into the house and asked Mom,”Who was that little boy playing with the other kids outside in the dirt.” Mom kind of laughed and said “Lou, that is Carolyn”. Aunt Lou could not believe it because I had a burr haircut. Mom told Aunt Lou that daddy had gotten mad because my hair was always in my eyes and he told mom he could keep it out of my eyes, so he took the clippers and cut it all off. (Mom said I had beautiful curls, because I had curly hair. When she saw that all my hair was gone, she cried. My hair eventually grew back but it grew back as straight as it is today.) Of course, when daddy cut my hair off (of which I don’t remember it being cut) it didn’t bother me because I always wanted to be one of the boys. I started calling myself “Jack” and ran around without a shirt just like the boys, but I always got into trouble because I didn’t have a shirt on. Well that made me very angry because I could not understand why. The explanations I was getting didn’t make any sense to me at all.

Anyway getting back to school, we rode the bus to our little school in McAdoo. I remember standing outside on the edge of the highway up there at Ma’s house waiting for the bus. I remember the highway being slanted in a steep slope. I remember when the bus pulled up I was wearing a dress and slippers. It was a very cold day and the road had ice on it and it was very slippery. I stepped out onto the highway and fell; slid all the way across to the other side. Of course my dress went up over my head. I was very embarrassed, but I didn’t say anything. I got up and got on the bus and all the kids were laughing. I felt real bad inside, but never said anything that I can remember and sat down in one of the seats on the bus. We rode buses that had a metal bar running across the top of the seat. No one even thought about safety on buses back then. But now, because of safety reasons the bar has been removed.

A story about Tom biting his tongue after hitting that bar when we hit a bump at Swenson will come later.

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