Mind your top knot, dear Sooner

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, March 22, 2023

By Harold Brummett

Denmark Star Route


Sooner the cow was born on the farm in the fall of 2001. Her mother would not have anything to do with her, and would not let Sooner nurse. 

After several attempts of jump starting motherhood, Sooner moved into the horse barn.

 Sooner did not get the antibody-laden colostrums produced by mothers to provide immunity to infections and disease protection. Sooner developed bloat due to this deficiency.    

About midnight Angie took a length of garden hose, made sure it was clean, passed it into Sooner’s stomach. A foul smell issued from the tube and we watched as Sooner deflated. An hour later Angie had to repeat the process. She called Dr. Harland and he said for one of us to go to the store and get the biggest bottle of Pepto they had. 

The tube again inserted into Sooner’s stomach the entire contents of the bottle went into the calf. The potion worked. 

Sooner became a pet and allowed us to rub and pet on her; a poor substitute for mother cow love but she started to thrive.  When big enough, Sooner was integrated into the herd.  

The next several years she produced an annual calf, giving her babies the care and attention she did not get. Some of Sooner’s heifers kept as stock, one or two showed the tendency not to nurture and were sold. 

Sooner was most sensitive about her top knot. This is a mound on her head between her ears with longer hair on it than the rest of her hide. Some days her topknot hair would be found pulled over to the side Elvis style. Some days it was straight back giving her a streamlined 1950’s look. Some days parted down the middle like Shemp Howard of Three Stooges fame. 

The how and why she coiffed her top knot was a mystery.  

Sooner lost her calf one year and mourned it for months. It was misshapen and malformed, could not see and never did stand.  I dispatched the poor creature, dug a grave and set her baby on the mound of dirt for Sooner to smell and realize it was dead so she would not search for it. S

She went to the corpse and with a low moan looked at Angie to do something. Sooner licked the face and nostrils like a newborn to clear the airways to start the baby breathing again. It was all she knew to do. She made a deep rumbling low at us as if pleading. 

Grieving as much for Sooner as the calf, I laid the poor thing in the grave and covered it up. Sooner stood guard over the mound calling for her baby for days. 

Sooner’s last calf was a long difficult birth. She had a bull calf Angie named Later. Sooner had trouble getting around and we took her to the veterinarian. 

Old age caused Sooner’s left hip to slip in and out of socket, arthritis, her rear feet stayed swollen and she hobbled about best she could after a rambunctious calf whose favorite past time was butting trees and feed tubs.  

Sooner wasn’t sold. She would not understand the pens and the stockyards. Most of all she would wonder why we had abandoned her. 

Sooner’s dispatch was not practical. Certainly not economically sound. It was goodbye to a friend, and so I sent her on her way.

Write to Harold Brummett at denmarkmississippi@hotmail.com