Theresa Stewart Wadsworth (1901-2003) told a story about her mother’s favorite cow, “Old Roanie.”
In her book, Memories of Early Alamo, Nevada, she wrote, “Our house was up near the street, but we pastured the cow down in the orchard, and so she wouldn’t run in the alfalfa field or the garden, we tied her up. She would eat the grass around the trees. We kept her tied up all the time, but she liked to frolic a little, so sometimes she would get a little playful when we untie her to move her over to the next tree.
One day she kind of got away from Mama, and the next day, Mama had me go with her to find the cow. We had a big corn patch…it was really long and wide. It went the full length of the lot and was green and really high. Mama said, ‘Now, we’ll cut an arm full of corn and when I shoo Old Roanie and she runs by you, you throw it down.’ Mama was just sure the corn would be enough of an incentive for Old Roanie to stop right there.”
“Mama had really long hair,” Theresa noted, “and she had it tied in a bob and she was wearing a hat. Old Roanie was in one lot and we had to cross a space to the next lot where the corn patch was.
So, when Mama got Old Roanie, sure enough, Roanie started to run and right at me, too. Well, when she came by me I threw down the armful of corn down, but Roanie just dodged it and away she went with Mama holding onto the rope, going just as fast as she could, right through the whole length of that corn field!”
Theresa continues, “About that time Lavern (Jones) saw what was happening and she came up to see if she could help, but there wasn’t anything anyone could do, so we just walked up by the (outdoor) toilet and stood there waiting. Old Roanie was still going full blast…we could see all the corn stalks swaying back and forth as they moved further away, Mama still hanging on.
When the cow got to the top of the lot where there was a fence, she just suddenly stopped, turned and walked calmly out of the corn patch. Mama came out, too, still holding onto the rope, and if you ever saw a more sorrier looker.
She had lost her hat, her hair was pulled down out of the bob, flying in every direction and sticking straight up in most other places. She had run so fast the heels of her shoes had come off and her toes were sticking straight up and her face was beet red. I said, ‘Mama, why didn’t you let go of the rope?’ She said, “I just wasn’t going to do that, and don’t any of you dare laugh! Then she walked away.
Lavern and I stood there till we couldn’t stand it any longer, then went inside the toilet and laughed hysterically.”