Chester Chatter: A sad but true tale of cash cows

By Ruthie Douglas
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

A Vermont farmer doesn’t always need to count on the New York City stock exchange for big money. On one hot summer night with our bedroom windows wide open, I awoke to hear the pounding of hooves and cows stampeding down the dirt road.

Worse than that, I also heard the train coming down the tracks. Out the door we raced in our night clothes. We quickly realized that we were actually chasing them onto the railroad tracks. Thud, bang, crash. Cows were hit by the train so hard a few flew up in the air and landed on the sides of the track. The train couldn’t stop.

By the light of the flashlight, we counted six dead, one ending up in the river. Don was some upset because one dead cow was named Alice and was our best milker.

We called the vet, who came right over. He could do nothing for them so he prepared them for butchering. We packed one up in our freezer and the rest were sold to meat shops and individuals around the area. Our insurance paid us, the rail company paid us as well and, of course, we got money when we sold the meat. It was an unexpected jackpot. In those days — in the early 1960s — a cow was worth $600 to $700.

Just another day in a Vermont farmer’s life.

Scene and heard

Every Sept. 11, I pause and shed a tear when I recall when so many died when the World Trade Centers were attacked in 2001. And I will never forget.

It is unofficially the end of summer and slowly businesses and other places are opening up. But I miss the country fairs and musical concerts.

Jean and Joe Bolaski and their sons Ben and his wife Sarah and Alex and his girlfriend Kathyrn spent the weekend camping in Maine.

Have you noticed a bit of color in the trees lately?

Don’t forget the American Legion’s two-day craft fair next weekend.  There will be something for everyone.



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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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