By David O. Heishman –
It must have been spring of 1970, maybe 1971, about this same time of year. I’d come home to the farm after Vietnam. Poking around doing nothing much, I chored around home waiting for inspiration to move me toward more productive work.
All the glories of spring. Fresh bright green grass getting a start. Old cows with calves out front of Big House were grazing placidly beside opened bales of hay I’d just scattered. Confused cows. A bite of hay or a bite of fresh green. Dilemma.
One big Hereford staggered, drew my attention. A “far away look in her eye” she attempted to walk. Front feet splayed, knees locked, hind legs wobbly. Down she went. Over on her side.
Maybe a hundred fifty yards to Big House. I sprinted. Grabbed the phone, called Pap working a half mile away in his veterinary office at Reymann Memorial Farm. Got him third ring.
Grass tetany. She just went down. Right next to the highway. I’ll have the gate open.
He came fast. Medicine and intravenous rig already packed handy in his car for such emergencies. Grass tetany called for a dose of magnesium solution as soon as he could get it into her blood stream. He went for her jugular, big vein in her neck carrying blood back to her heart.
No response when he stuck her. No thrashing or excitement. Needle in, bottle connected, “Here, hold this bottle boy. Little higher, she needs it quick.” He tapped her open eye for reflexive response. She didn’t blink…