Once a city slicker

By Father Dennis Meinen
View from the Scooter

When I was a city youth living in Leeds, Iowa, I would walk northwest of my home and enter agricultural land. One day I wandered upon a group of cows. As I was watching them, they began to form a circle around me. What could I do? I had no idea what they ate, but suspected that I was on their menu. Finding a small opening in their circle, I sprinted away from the black beasts with the energy of a 10-year-old Olympic star.

Later that evening my father told me the cows were simply curious and probably wondered if I was going to feed them – not a pound of flesh and a pound of blood. I was able to locate an encyclopedia which told me about cows. I started reading in the closet so my brothers would not find out that I was going to country size my city-slicker mind.

Here is what I found out:

  • Cow: a mature female bovine that has given birth to at least one or two calves.
  • Bull: a mature bovine, used for breeding purposes. Thank God there were no bulls in the field.
  • Steer: a male bovine, or bull, that has been fixed before reaching sexual maturity and is primarily used for beef.
  • Heifer: a female bovine – often immature, but beyond the “calf” stage – less than one to two years of age that has never calved. Such females, if they’ve never calved beyond two years of age, may also be called heiferettes.

Maybe I should stick to chickens.

A city slicker, rumored to not live in Leeds, moved to the country and bought a piece of land. He went to the local feed and livestock store and talked to the proprietor about how he was going to take up chicken farming. He then asked to buy 100 chicks.

“That’s a lot of chicks,” commented the proprietor.

“I mean business,” the city slicker replied.

A week later the townie was back again.

“I need another 100 chicks,” he said.

“Boy, you are serious about this chicken farming,” the man told him.

“Yeah,” the white collar farmer replied. “If I can iron out a few problems.”

“Problems?” asked the proprietor.

“Yeah,” replied the yuppie. “I think I planted that last batch too close together.”

Though the apostles were fishermen – not city slickers and didn’t live in Leeds – they still had to be out of their element when the Lord sent them out two by two to proclaim the gospel. They didn’t have an encyclopedia to help them. They had Jesus and the Pentecost experience to drive them forward, maybe not as fast as an Olympic runner, but they had the assurance that the Lord would always be with them.

Father Dennis Meinen serves as chaplain at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, Sioux City, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the diocese and Calix for Siouxland, and Faithful Friar of the Garrigan 4th Degree Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Sioux City.

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