Out beyond the barn that we used was another barn.

We called it “the old barn” because it was old.

I was only in the old barn a time or two because anything that old was sure to have ghosts in it. Anyway, that’s what my brothers told me.

On beyond the old barn was a barbed wire fence that marked the end of our property.

Our neighbors, whoever they were, sometimes had cows in that field. I was not afraid of cows. We had cows.

We usually had two or three cows and every evening my brothers would go up on the hill to get the cows in.

Occasionally, I would be allowed to go along. We would sing, because everyone knows that cows like music. We would sing and listen for the cowbells.

Some cows are very friendly and some cows are not.

We had a cow named Bessie and she was quite friendly. Bessie would sometimes let us ride her.

Everyone knows that riding a cooperative cow is more fun than walking.

Unfortunately for Bessie, she had at one time fallen into a ditch.

By the time that Daddy and the boys had gotten her out, she had misaligned one rear leg.

Now, every step she took, that leg squeaked. I think that it hurt her sometimes, which was why she didn’t always want passengers.

Oh, yes, we had cows, but we had never had a bull.

One of the cows in this field was a funny mixture of black and white that almost looked blue.

So I called it the, “Blue Cow.” My brothers cautioned me to stay away from the fence if I saw the, Blue Cow. If a cow is blue, that means it’s a bull, and everyone knows that bulls are very mean.

But the cows were not always there. I don’t know if they were moved to another field or if they were butchered.

I remember one Fourth of July when our family packed our picnic lunch, including a watermelon, and climbed the fence into the neighboring field.

It was fun to run and play in this previously unknown area.

There were things I had never seen before, like the funny tree that was two trees in one. It started out as a double tree, growing up together and when it got about to my waist, it turned into two trees, side by side.

In the center of this strange tree formation was a bowl-like area that was full of water — perhaps because it had rained the night before?

I wanted to play in the water, but my brothers cautioned me not to because this was not water, it was cow pee.

My brothers convinced me that this strange tree formation was actually the cow’s bathroom.

I couldn’t see how this would work, but if my brothers said so, then it must be.

Just beyond this field was the orchard. I loved the orchard!

But I was cautioned never to go to the orchard alone.

I had ventured out there one time and had seen a black snake.

It was only a small snake, but it was enough to convince me to skedaddle home.

My brothers explained to me that this was, undoubtedly, a black racer. They can go faster than any person can run!

And, they don’t bite you, they wrap you! Quick as lightning, they wrap you, around and around, until you can’t breathe and you die!

Needless to say, I never ventured to the orchard alone again!

Loretta Nazelrod Brown is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears every other Sunday in the Times-News.

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