Smelly Socks: The mail run

By Johanna Bloom
June 7, 2012 at 1:07 a.m.
Updated June 29, 2012 at 1:29 a.m.

My family lives on the top of a hill half a mile off the road. As a way to get out of the house and burn some energy, I usually walk down to get the mail. A total walk would average a mile, and I feel like I accomplish something when I do this.

Austin and Jamison, for once, asked to go with me. They usually prefer not to go, even though they are always welcome. They can usually find better things to do than walk at Mom's monotonous slow pace while I am wheezing and huffing while walking back up the steep hill.

I believe they choose to go strictly for entertainment purposes. As usual, they giggle and laugh and make fun of how I am just generally out-of-shape.

Near the cattle guard at our entrance, I spy the "Five Divas." Recently, we purchased five Brahman cows. These cows are all pregnant and think a lot of themselves. They sit around all day like they are at a day spa. They go in and out of the pens for their food and water, although one look in their direction and you get the distinct impression that you should be bringing them sweet feed on a silver platter.

They are pristinely white with large humps on their backs and their eyes are dramatic, which are large and heavily outlined in black. When I was a young girl, I thought the Brahman cattle wore makeup with a great smoky eye effect.

Over this past weekend, the ring leader of the Five Divas had her very first calf at our ranch. An heir apparent was born. Brahman heifers are very protective and, as you would expect, she always hides the little prince in the brush, so we rarely catch a glimpse of him.

As Austin, Jamison and I all got closer to the cattle guard at our entrance, they glanced in our direction and I looked for the calf and couldn't see him anywhere. About 10 feet away from the cattle guard, I see a tiny white head rise. Right by the caliche road, he was resting his white head and his body was in the tall grass.

Suddenly, the calf stood up and bawled. His loud bawl was a sort of tribal scream for his dear momma. I looked at the divas and they were not happy. All five jumped to their feet, which at their weight is not a pretty thing to see. They all started running (again, not pretty) at us.

Their humps were bobbing up and down, and all of the loose skin under their necks started swinging back and forth. This is a scary sight in itself, and then it dawns on me that they were mad, feeling threatened and were coming at us.

I turned around and my brave boys had already started running. For encouragement and lack of anything better to say, I hollered, "Run." Austin replied, "What do you think we're doing?" Jamison quickly added, "Run, Momma, run." Then, I kicked my Nikes into motion, and let my out-of-shape legs take over. My mind was racing, as protective as the Divas were of their little brat calf, I was also protective of my babies and wasn't going to let them get hurt by these monstrous bullies.

I caught up to my boys and nearly passed them up. Once my adrenaline started surging, I was on fire. My boys watched my short legs move at lightning speed. I wasn't even breathing heavy. In fact, I don't think I breathed at all. I was in a panic.

I slowed down to encourage them and then stopped. When I looked back, I noticed the Five Divas and their brat had stopped their pursuit and proceeded to give irritated snorts in our direction. I wiped my brow and said, "Wow, we made it."

When I opened my eyes, I noticed that my boys were staring at me, their eyes as big as saucers and their mouths wide open. As if on cue, Jamison declared "Mom can move."

My own heirs apparent were quite impressed with my physical prowess when the lives of my babies are in danger. I like to think they have a new respect for my fight-or-flight inclinations.

Now, whenever possible, my boys always want to go for a walk with me to get the mail. Before we set out, though, we always look to see where the Five Divas and their brat are, and check to see if the coast is clear.

Johanna is a proud seventh-generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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