Girls harnessed cow as Halloween prank

FROM our October 2012 Issue

By Doris (Russell) Anderson – Grenfell, Sask.

I’ll never forget my first and only Halloween prowl. It occurred the year I was a student at a country high school in central Saskatchewan. A classmate (I’ll call her Maggie) coerced four of us to accompany her on the night’s adventure.

She lived on a farm and knew the closest neighbours were planning to go to the city for the day. This they often did and, as always, left Betsy the milk cow tied in the barn so they wouldn’t have to hunt for her when they returned. Maggie had it all planned. We’d harness the cow!

We met at the school and, armed with flashlights, proceeded out on our ‘under cover of darkness’ adventure. It was about a quarter-mile across the fields.

Little did we know that some of the boys – one being the boyfriend of one of our group – had gotten wind of what we were up to. Suddenly there were car headlights sweeping in an arc across the field.

We later determined they must have heard us giggling, laughing, or talking – or all three – and had decided to waylay us.

We had already crawled through some barbed wire fences and were not prepared to retrace our steps. Fortunately, we all fell face down in a depression and the lights passed over us several times without detection The boys soon departed and we continued on with our mission.

Sure enough, Betsy was tied in her stall. Maggie was an old hand at this so she instructed us just what to do.
On went the halter, followed by the collar, then the mechanism which contained the traces and the belly band. The belly band was to hold the whole assembly in place and had to go around the cow’s girth. Poor timid soul that Betsy was, she patiently submitted to the indignity, with nary a moo.

A cow is lower slung than a horse so it was a down-on-our-knees effort to get that band fastened. Thinking afterwards, we could have milked the cow while at that level! To our credit, we stopped short of putting on the bridle and the bit in her mouth.

Time was of the essence because we didn’t want to be there if the owners arrived, so we shut the door and, seeing a low manure wagon nearby, dragged it across the door and hurried off. No one was in the mood for climbing through fences again, so we took to the road.

We were thirsty as we neared a road at the corner, so we braved an approach to the door of the nearby house and asked for ‘treats’.

The good-natured lady invited us in and gave us hot chocolate, cookies, and treats. We were asked what we were up to and we replied we were “just out for a walk!”

I’m sure we were a rumpled lot but no further questions were asked. We never heard any reports of the poor cow’s fate nor did we make any inquiries.

How I’d like to meet up with those girls again and recall the events of what had been the most hilarious night of my long-ago past.