Back in the 90s we started The Spring Magazine in Hot Springs. One of the most popular columns was called Tales From The Arkansas House Mover. I would record my uncle, Daley McDaniel, as he told stories about being a house mover, a cowboy and a dad.
Daley, Daisy and Mike
Once, back in my cowboy days, I was teaching a cow to to be a milk cow. Now cows don't think it's a very neat thing to do. They really don't like to be touched in their delicate places. Well, this cow was named Daisy and she wasn't taking her learning experience vey well.
But I wasn't going to give up. Every day for two weeks I walked into the stall and fed her and petted her and talked to her. Finally after weeks of working with Daisy she was calming down. She'd let me sit on my little milking stool next to her without ringing my bell.
Mike was my youngest child. Mike...there's never been another kid like him. He was five or six years old and let me tell you, raising that boy was like living through a hit and run accident with a truckload of dynamite. Every time he took a breath it was something. If Mike wasn't getting into trouble, he wasn't awake. And he was a scrappy thing about the size of a squirrel.
Now Mike knew all about my situation with Daisy. He knew how long I'd been trying togentle her and he knew she was still pretty wild. Still, for some reason one day Make crawled on his stomach, like a snake, into the bard. He crawled right under the little window in her stall that we used to feed her.
Daisy and I were doing pretty well that day and I was awfully proud of myself. She had her head down and was eating and I was on my little stool milking away.
But here comes Mike, snake boy. He got right under that window without making a sound then jumped straight up and yelled "Boo!" as loud as a six year old could.
That cow ran over me six times. She kicked me fifteen times and I couldn't get out of the stall. You can't imagine what it was like being trapped in a tiny room with 1,600 pounds of cow. Her hoof got hung in the bucket and I fell over that stool. There was milk and straw and she just about stomped me into the dirt.
Finally I got out. To this day I can see Mike running across the pasture. His little bitty short legs were moving so fast they were a blur. I was throwing dirt and hollering, "Don't you ever come home!"
As it turned out Daisy broke my leg so I stayed mad at Mike for a pretty long time. But about two weeks after I was sitting in the living room looking at my cast when I heard Mike yelling, "Daddy! Daddy!"
I hobbled outside and yelled, "Mike, where are you?"
"Up here in the tree and there's a snake inhere with me. There's a rattlesnake, Daddy"
I didn't know if I should believe him or not. "There better be a snake up there with you."
Sure enough, Mike was way up there and a ground rattler was on the branch right under him.
There really wasn't much we could do so I said, "Jump, I'll catch you."
"No you won't. You're still mad about the cow."
"I'll catch you. Come on now..." and while I was talking he jumped right on top of me.
Well, we were both alright. So I got a rake and knocked the snake out of the tree. Then, Sport, our dog came running up and gabbed that snake right in the middle and started shaking his head and throwing him back and forth.
I promise you, this is a true story. When sport finally go tired of shaking that snake, which was dead, he opened his mouth and it flew right across Mike's skinny little neck.
Thank goodness it was dead but let me tell you, Mike was hysterical. He was running around, screaming for us to get the snake off him.
But that sort of thing happened to make all the time. And that kind of thing happened to me just because I was his Daddy and I usually wasn't quick enough to catch him.
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