The Cows All Come a Runnin’ With a Moo!

1949 - Betty Lou charming the cows with Papi

1949 – Betty Lou charming the cows with Papi

For several years now, I’ve been sharing stories of the Adventures of Jacko.  As everyone knows, they are stories about the travels of me and my wonderfully charming sock monkey Jacko.  In the travelling song that Jacko and his mentor/grandfather Papi wrote, it mentions my mom and the fact that she used to play her baritone out in the fields of Hathaway until the cows would come.

I didn’t know that she had a photo of this until quite recently.  She has talked about her serenading activity for as long as I can remember.  I don’t know why she didn’t mention this photo or show it to me.  I mentioned this to Papi and he said he couldn’t imagine why his old Buddiloo never showed me this photo.

“Of course,” he said, “back then we didn’t see photos as soon as we took them.  But I do remember seeing it once.  I titled it ‘Nature Girl.'”

“‘Nature Girl’?” I asked, “Why did you call it that?”

“Well,” he said, “it was around the same time that Nat King Cole’s song ‘Nature Boy’ was playing on the radio.  That was really exciting.  Radio was one of the rare conveniences that we had out in the country.  There certainly wasn’t any air conditioner, so when Buddiloo would practice her horn, she liked to go outside.  She played all kinds of songs, but the one that the cows liked best was ‘Nature Boy.’  And every time they showed up, they said the same thing.”

“Of course they did,” I said.  “Mama always said they would moo at her when they showed up and it made her laugh.”

“Yes, sometimes she could be a silly girl.  It’s what I love the most about her.  But those cows kept trying to tell her something and she never listened.  I, of course, listened to them attentively.  I am a cow whisperer,” he said with more than a little pride.

“So what was it that they said?” I asked. “Were they making requests for different songs?  Or maybe for a different instrument?  Like a trombone?   Surely not a clarinet?!”

“No, no, none of that,” he said with a scowl.  “I see you inherited more than a little bit of silliness from your mom.”

“Whatever,” I said, “Just tell me what the cows said.”

“Okay, but it would be better if I sang it for you.  Since ‘Nature Boy’ was the song that they were drawn to, I decided to put the message into my own words for the song,” he explained.  “I call it ‘Nature Girl,’ hence the title of the photo.  It goes like this.”

He then started singing the song with a haunting melody.  It really was quite moving.  Here are the words:

Nature Girl

There was a girl, a very sweet and charming girl.

She liked to play her baritone all alone in the fields each day.

Her monkey friend would give a grin.

When she’d start to play.

And then one morn, a magic morn she played that horn.

And all the cows they gathered round.  Stood their ground.

This they said to her:

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn

is grass tastes great, but when brown it can burn.”

After sitting a while stunned by his performance, I shook myself back to alertness and asked,”Wait, does that mean that brown grass burns in the stomach or that it can catch fire?”

“Silly boy,” he said, “what is hay?”

“Oh, yeah,” I said sheepishly.

“If there are still any doubts in your mind about the answer to your question,” he continued, “just mention the words ‘grass fire’ to a herd of cattle.  It’s the quickest way to start a stampede.  When they would say the same thing over and over to Buddiloo, there was always a look of fear in their eyes.

“Now if there are any more questions, they can wait.  Jacko and I are going to the other room to watch a movie.  You can join us if you like…as long as you bring popcorn.”  At that he was off.

So that, my friends, is the story of this week’s photo.  Straight from the monkey’s mouth.

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