Honey, there’s a cow in the pool!


My horrible superimposition of a cow onto a pool photo (credit to WikiCommons for the separate photos of a cow and a pool).

As promised, I am explaining about the cow pooping in the pool.

Before getting hired full time at the Kansas City Star, I was an intern for the State Desk. As you would imagine, the state desk was in charge of covering goings-on in the state. In preparation for the state fair, I was sent down to Sedalia, the miniscule city that held the event, to talk to people who rented out their homes to fair participants. The fair had about 2,000 people come to participate, but only 500 hotel rooms. So, to make money, families would rent you a room in their home for the 2 weeks of the fair (for maybe $2,000). The woman I was interviewing was very sweet and had lived in the town since childhood, her own parents renting out their house to fair goers.

While we’re talking in the kitchen, I see a cow walk by the open side door. So, I ask, “Do your guests mind the cows?”

“We don’t have any cows,” she says to me.

Then we hear a huge splash. She runs out the door, I follow and we both end up in the back of the house, where there is a cow flailing in this woman’s pool. (I call him a cow because I’m not a farm girl; technically he was a calf. Though he was a pretty big one, at least five feet tall) The cow is mooing, spitting, stomping and splashing around in this pool. It doesn’t want to be there, it’s scared and it can’t get out. We’re all shocked by the turn of events.

The woman had two sons, but only the youngest–maybe 10 years old–was home. The boy runs out and is watching with us. That’s when the cow poops in the pool. And of course the boy says: “I’m glad it’s not my turn to clean the pool.”

Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. One of the weirdest experiences reporting I’ve ever had. (This coming from the woman who accidentally locked her keys in the car after driving off the beaten path in an Amish village; you know, the Amish who shun telephones, electricity and cars).

I actually had to leave before the cow was rescued, but if I recall correctly, the neighbor who owned the cow was pulling in with some type of crane to get it out when I left.  The good news is my presence was extremely helpful, as I was a witness. The woman’s insurance agent hadn’t believed her when she filed a claim to get the pool lining (shredded by the cow’s hooves) replaced. So, all’s well that ends well, right?

Except that this somehow is a defining moment in my life with my daughter. A funny moment, yes. Defining? Hopefully not. But, if I ever do write an autobiography, I will entitle it: The lady who used to write for newspapers and once saw a cow poop in a pool.

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at http://rjcrayton.com/subscribe.
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2 Responses to Honey, there’s a cow in the pool!

  1. Charles Ray says:

    Having worked the rural beat for a weekly newspaper in North Carolina way back in the 1970s, I can relate to incidents like this. You couldn’t make stuff like this up in your wildest, vodka-induced dreams. Thanks for sharing.

    • RJ Crayton says:

      “Vodka-induced dreams” — Love your imagery. Yes, nothing beats the stories you get covering rural America. I’m glad you enjoyed.

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