Friday morning, I had to run to town for some last-minute items before Mom's funeral. Farmer H wanted to put some hard candy in the casket, because Mom was never without a bag of it to hand out at church and ball games and other outings. The Pony had left his #2 pencils at school. We have some old ones at home, but I didn't trust the erasers on them for something as important as the ACT test he would be taking on Saturday morning. So off I went on a quick supply mission. Farmer H and I needed to leave home by 10:00 in order to go through the car wash and meet Sis at 11:00 at the family dinner at the church. It was just after 8:00 when I left home. A trip to town takes 10 to 15 minutes one way.
We thought the weather was going to be nice. Indeed, the sun was shining. But T-Hoe's temperature thingy said it was 22 degrees. The wind sliced right through me, making me wish I had worn my comfy old sweatshirt to the car. My mind was racing with the preparations and the long day ahead as I pulled out onto the county road. The minute I looked in my mirror, I saw a white truck coming at me from the direction of the auto body shop a mile or so the other way. He was gaining quickly until we hit the mailbox hill. I had no trouble on that sheet of leftover ice, but apparently Speedy did. So I was cruising at my normal speed of about 45 mph as I passed the farm of the Cow Lady.
I always look for those twin calves now. But the cows were not in sight in the right-hand field. Oh. There was Cow Lady herself at the end of the driveway, in her long purple robe and pink slippers. She waved. I waved back. You always wave at the Cow Lady. Just as I passed, I had a moment of discomfort. The look on Cow Lady's face was different from the other days I wave to her. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Maybe she was waving her arm to steer some cows. Was one out? I didn't see a cow at all. Not even in the field across the road. By now I was about a quarter mile past Cow Lady's driveway. Maybe I should turn around. I planned to do so at the rich motel people's rental house. It has a circle drive. DARN! How dare that man coming at me pull his truck in there and stop. Like he
That Cow Lady must need something, I decided. Now I felt bad. It had been almost two minutes since I passed her. Something must be wrong. As I rounded the sharp curve and saw her again, the white truck man had pulled into her driveway. He was getting out of the truck. A Chevy Blazer had stopped in the road. And behind it, a gray smaller SUV.
"I came back to see if you needed anything," I hollered through my open window.
"I locked myself out," said Cow Lady.
Speedy of the white truck said, "I'll call the sheriff." He got back into his truck and drove down her long driveway towards the house. The Chevy Blazer lady had gotten out, but got back in and pulled into the driveway. I drove on past, and told the gray SUV lady, "She locked herself out." Then I went and turned around again to head to town.
I feel really bad that I let the poor Cow Lady stand there in the 22 degrees and the wind, in her robe, while I figured out what to do. She was going to be okay. There was a man getting her house unlocked, and a woman letting her sit in her car to get warm. And really, I had a time constraint due to my mother's funeral. In my mind, I had done all I could.
But I still feel bad that I didn't do more. That was somebody's mother.