When I was about thirteen or fourteen years of age, and old enough to know better, I managed to accomplish one of the neatest things ever for a farm boy growing up in NW Ohio in the 1950’s.
I got the best of Big Phil in a cow pie fight! Now this may not sound like much of an accomplishment, but to a scrawny, young farm boy with absolutely no athletic ability, hitting the toughest kid in the neighborhood square in the face with a freshly pooped cow pie…well, that was major league stuff, the type of thing that legends are born of.
It was a typical hot summer day, and for some strange reason, Pappy (what I called my stepdad) had not discovered any work for me to do. A few of the neighbor boys had stopped by, and having nothing better to do, we decided to engage in a good old fashioned cow pie fight. Being out manned and out gunned, I was not faring so well and it got even worse when Big Phil reached down, scooped up a sun dried cow pie, and with his strong arm hit me square in the chest. I quickly looked around for a cow pie, and discovered there was no more. I guess we were all “pooped out”. Meanwhile, Big Phil knowing full well I was going to try to get even, immediately took off for the fence.
I don’t know if it was good karma or just plain dumb luck, because Big Phil reached the top of the fence, and was about to make good on his escape. In desperation I glanced at the cow standing next to me and was both stunned and grateful to see her raise her tail. Well, I knew what that meant…a cooperative cow with fresh poop! Making a quick, but not necessarily wise decision, I placed my hand under the cow’s tail and just that quick I had my hand filled with newly acquired and warm cow poop!
It was like time stood still, I mean talk about a surreal experience. Just as Big Phil made his turn at the top of the fence to see what was happening, I cocked my arm, and I tell you, I never threw anything so true and straight. It was the greatest moment in my life to watch that pile of fresh warm poop slam Big Phil square in the face! I have always been cursed with a terrible throwing arm and could not believe that I had just pulled off the impossible. For the first and only time in my life I had thrown something that went exactly where it was supposed to go. I waited just long enough to see the shock on his face turn to raging anger. That was when I decided on a strategic retreat, otherwise known as cowardly running!
I could have cherished that moment far longer had it not been for Big Phil’s violent temper and the fact he was twice my size. Fortunately I could run like a scairt rabbit while poor ole Big Phil could only lumber like an ox. I guess he finally gave up and went home. As for me, I wisely kept my distance for a time until Big Phil either forgot about the day he was hit with a face full of soft, warm cow poop…or he simply let the anger slip away.
Yes, those were the “good ole days.”
Written by Lyn Liechty, March 12, 2011