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How To Be A Milkmaid

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How To Be A Milkmaid

Jamie Widrick

Wake up. Shower. Take awhile to decide what to wear and experiment with several hairdos. Wait for your mom to yell up the stairs, “What is taking so long, you’re going to be late!” Get used to being late, or almost late, pushing your time limits to their fullest. Who wants to be ten minutes early to class? Eat an amazing home cooked breakfast. Your mom’s toast and eggs. Don’t forget anything. Grab the purse with your textbooks and lunch money. Don’t forget your guitar. Back your mom’s Honda CRV out of the garage, wave good bye to the farm and commute half an hour to further your education. Turn up the volume if you wish, put your IPod on shuffle, skip the boring songs. Enjoy the day.

Find Room 3-109. Walk into the room with confidence. Say hello to your new Public Speaking professor. Expect this class to be your least favorite. But persevere; it will get better. You will get an A+ on your “How to Milk a Cow” speech. Do your best. Absorb the good and reject the bad. Listen carefully to your instructors, take notes quietly, observe the new surroundings and smile at friendly faces. Take your lunch break in the cafeteria. Wait in line while your ham and lettuce wrap is being made.

Learn how to react to ignorant city boys. Listen to them voice their prejudiced opinions, joking about how people in small towns marry their first cousins and compete for the most DWIs. Then firmly say, “I’m from a small town.” Stare at them as they search for the words, “Oh, uh, sorry, I didn’t know…” Forgive them. They think they have style. They never worked a day in their life.

Relax and unwind with guitar lessons. Don’t take notes. Do a solo on the G Major scale while your teacher plays a chord progression. Learn fast. Connect the C Major 7th Arpeggio with the Relative A Minor 7th. Move onto Chapter 5. Play like an intermediate-level student. Be creative, unleash, do whatever. There you go, keep going, good job.

Answer your cell phone. Stop at grocery store on your way home, please. Thanks. Grab your cart. Hurry, your dad is expecting you for chores. Swipe the card for your eggs, bread and lettuce. Drive home quickly. Run the yellow lights if necessary. You will not be late for milking.

Don’t shower. Quickly, slip on your barn clothes: worn out jeans, an oversized sweater and mud boots. Walk out to the barn. Get along with your father and brother; you’re working with them for the next three hours. Have patience as you milk forty cows. Strip the teats. Dip the teats. Wipe the teats. Milk the udder with a machine. Repeat. Hold your temper when number thirty-eight punches you in the face with her hard, manure-logged tail. Don’t scream when two cows kick their machines off at the same time. Watch out for the pink-dotted ones. They need to be treated. Call your brother for help. He’s the herdsman. You’re the milk maid. You can milk a clean cow, not the ones squirting cottage cheese. Thank the Lord when chores are over, another night behind you. Hose down the milking machines in the milk house. Wash the dip cups. Spray the tank. Spray the floor. Wash off your manure-covered boots. Walk inside.

Your brother needs the morning off tomorrow. Get a good night’s sleep, eight hours at least. You will wake up before sunrise.