Austin heard the commotion and walked (with all of the casual speed a teenager could muster) into the kitchen asking, “What’s going on?” Jamison was having trouble getting his words out fast enough. He took a deep breath and finally succeed in informing Austin of the situation. Austin quickly muttered, “Oh gross.” A careful and well thought-out pause followed then, “Oh, let’s go see.” They mounted their bikes and were off.
Growing up on the ranch my boys have watched calves playfully running around jumping in the grass and occasionally crawling through the fence around our house, touching noses with our complacent dog, Jasper, and become yard inhabitants for an afternoon. They have fed baby calves who mothers seemed over burdened with nursing, they have named a calf, Mr. Dilbert, and made him into a pet, and they have experienced taking calves to the vet for shots and branding. But, a first calf was a rather big deal, since you never know how the new mother will do. We had been expecting her to calf any day now, so she was confined close to our house. I warned the boys to keep a safe distance, but to let me know if she was having trouble, and I would come down there. I turned my face so Jamison couldn’t see the expression of dread cross my face. I have seen calves pulled before, as I have observed John and Popsy pull them several times. I had to assist once and it was not an experience I care to ever do again. Certain things I believe are better left for men to handle. I nearly panicked noting that John and Popsy were not at the ranch, and if there was a problem with #102 calving it would fall on me to help with. For the boy’s sake, I tried to keep it together, as I began to pace back and forth.
Off they went down the road. I could see them stopping, walking over closer to where the event was happening. Jamison assumed his spectator positon resting his gangly arms on the top of his head, as Austin’s hands where placed firmly on his hips. My boys were mesmerized by what was taking place so close to them. No matter how many times you see a new birth take place, the fascination never ceases to amaze. I could grasp the cow’s progression by the changes in the intensity of their stances as Jamison went to standing on one foot to crouching down. Austin even got into one position that looked like he was a catcher preparing to catch a ball.
When they both sat on the ground exhausted, I knew it was over. They made their way back up to the house and informed me, “Well it’s all over. A new heir is born. And his momma is cleaning him up.” I knew that was a process that neither boy wanted to watch. They had seen enough for that day. The newest momma on the ranch delivered a beautiful bull calf with absolutely no problem, and thankfully, no help from anyone.
A couple of days later as we were turning in off of the main road unto our road on the way home from school one afternoon, we all saw the newest white bull calf running circles around his calm momma. His tail high was high in the air and he displayed a spunky little bounce in his backend. It was then that I realized that our recent trip over the Christmas holidays to the Majestic Theater in San Antonio to see “The Lion King” made that much of an impression on my boys. Jamison quietly started humming a rhythm in the back seat of my Jeep. Austin’s ears perked up as a smile of recognition spread across his face. In unison, my 14-year-old and his little brother belted out, “It’s the Circle of Life. And it moves us all. Through despair and hope. Through faith and love. Till we find our place.” I couldn’t take it anymore as I was sucked into the whole scene and I joined in to finish up the stanza with, “On the path unwinding. In the circle. The circle of Life.” We added an additional “Circle of Life” for good measure to sum it all up.