Freedom isn’t Only for People
Sweetie, enjoying a little attention from Mary Ann.
The Fourth of July is always lots of fun with parades, picnics and celebrations. Last year when asking the question what does freedom and the Fourth of July mean to you, the responses were as varied as the number of people answering. To me freedom means the opportunity to be who we were made to be.
Although we normally think in terms of people, recently I heard a story about a cow who not only has lived her entire life being who she was meant to be, but does it in such a sweet and gentle way, her owners have rewarded her by letting her roam freely in the pasture for the rest of her days.
I first heard about “Sweetie” when her owner, Mary Ann Moore called, saying she had a story idea. Intrigued to learn it was about her cow, I laughed and said, “Tell me more.”
Mary Ann explained “Sweetie” was an eighteen year old cow who acts more like family than a cow. Thinking there might be a story in there somewhere, I agreed to visit. Wanting her husband, Eric, to be a part of the conversation, she said she would call back with a day and time.
Sitting in the cool remodeled basement of Mary Ann and Eric’s home, as I looked around, I saw mementos of years gone by, including pictures of Sweetie. After we talked for a while, Mary Ann then began to explain about “Sweetie.” She said, “It’s not unusual for one of the cows on the farm to have a baby at any given time, but Sweetie’s birth was unusual because her mom was a young heifer.” Six-month-old heifers generally don’t get pregnant, but since she was given to the Moores as a gift, no one suspected until it was too late. Holding out little or no hope for the premature baby calf, when she was born, everyone knew it would take a miracle for her to survive.
Although Eric believes in miracles, he says it wasn’t a miracle that kept Sweetie alive, but Mary Ann’s mothering that did the trick. He believes Mary Ann willed that calf to live, bottle feeding her for months.
Giving her the name, “Sweetie,” because that’s exactly what she is, Mary Ann said, “Through the years she’s been more than just a cow, she’s almost like one of our family. She interacts with Eric and me when we’re outside and if I’m mowing, Sweetie walks alongside the fence wanting me to throw grass her way. When I call her by name, she always turns to look.”
Not only beating the odds of surviving when born, Sweetie has beat the odds in other ways too. Most cows usually have their last calf by the time they are 12 or 13, but Sweetie had her last one at 17. During her lifetime she’s had 3 sets of twins, along with 11 single births for a total of 17 calves. Now at the ripe old age of 18, Mary Ann said they let her roam freely, enjoying life. Pretty much the only rule they have for her is she can’t go near the bull.
Sweetie may not know or understand about freedom or relationships, but she’s one lucky cow because she pretty much has what everyone wants, which is to love and be loved, eat a little grain each day, have a barn to live in and freedom to come and go.
In the final analysis, Sweetie’s freedom isn’t really luck, but a family who cared enough to make it happen. It’s the same in the real world, freedom isn’t luck, but people caring enough to make it happen. Even if we can’t serve in the military, we can all do something. One of the most important “jobs” we’ll ever have is to educate the next generation, teaching them what’s gone before.
Thanks “Sweetie” for the lesson today. To learn more, check out Sweetie’s story in the Salisbury Post.
What does freedom mean to you and what traditions are you passing down? Leave a comment, message on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.