It was a long night filled with open roads- my much missed older brother returned home for one short summer and adventure whispering its shallow blessing into our tender ears. A perfect home remedy for disaster, right?
The tread marks left by outworn minivan tires were our own little small-town monuments; the contagious spirit of our youth, an eternal aura that escaped our crooked grins, made a sacred site out of the stretch of road that skimmed the sheer sheet of pine woods by our high school.
Our mom had sent us out to get milk and butter- and when I say milk and butter, however, they were vegans so I actually mean almond milk and pretending-to-be-butter butter. (There were a lot of tofu turkey Thanksgivings in our house)- a short errand that turned into an hour long engagement with impulse exploration.
It was our custom, every time we left the house for the grocery store, to take the longer, more scenic route to our local Target. There were black, growling storm clouds on the horizon as we headed home; the cows lying down and the electric air giving the swinging leaves violent shivers.
Abruptly, he stopped the car- navigating the wheels dangerously close to the edge of the ditch right off the shoulder, swinging open my passenger side door as he stopped the car.
“What are you doing?!” I demanded- I was convinced this was another one of his sick jokes, with plans to leave me abandoned next to the farm that reeked particularly of cow manure next to the running van.
“Get out,” he responded calmly. There was a smirk on his unshaven face and I knew better than to bend to his little game.
“Get out. You heard me.”
I was flabbergasted. The sky threatened to release its wrath of rain and lighting at any second, and my brother was showing no intention of driving us home until I did as he instructed.
So I got out of thecar.
“What now?” I groaned, expecting only the worst.
“Pet the cow,” he giggled, his hand shooting up to mask his eruption of laughter.
“WHAT?!” Oh god, now I was laughing too… “Dude, I can’t just-”
“Yes you can! Come on! Pet the cow. Do it now.” Suddenly he had a very straight face. I needed to pet the cow. My entire life depended on it.
So I leaped over the ditch in the shoulder and reached my arm through the rusted barbed wire fence, my elbow to my fingertips trespassing onto private property. The cow was white and it’s brown nose wet- less wet, however, than I became after the clouds opened and a tsunami of rain emptied itself onto my shoulders.
All in all, I raced back to the car and we made our steady way home just a mere hour after our mom was expecting us- only after stopping at two more farms and providing the cows with the love they deserved, of course. It was just one of many more adventures to come on our little errands, all of which I remember with a smile.