By Ellis Harms
When I was about 10 years old, my dad asked me if I could keep a secret. Toots was going to have a baby colt. I felt that keeping a secret was a high honor entrusted by my dad and me, and certainly obliged. A beautiful, long-legged, perfectly formed baby colt was born. We named him Jerry. We’d never had a baby horse on the farm before and enjoyed watching him grow. A mare has two teats where a cow has four, which I learned in watching Jerry nurse.
When Jerry was about 6 months old, he got tangled up in a string of barbed wire and was cut severely across his chest. My dad and mom spent many hours, even into the night, doctoring Jerry’s deep wound. Their primarily medications were turpentine and sugar poultices which smelled up the whole barn. Finally, Jerry died of infections, a sad day.
It seemed like I was always on a horse riding in the various pastures looking for cattle. We had the pastures named: Inside Pasture, Inside Range, Outside Range and Mule Pasture.
One time we had a cow missing and knew she probably had “freshened”, (my dad’s term for a cow having given birth), so he sent me looking for her on horseback, of course. I often looked for cows that had hidden away to have their calves. When I finally found Bess, in the Inside Pasture in a grove of young Cottonwoods, it helped that we’d put a bell on her, I got a great surprise. Two new identical twin white-face bull calves!! Twins are rare. Identical twins are even more rare.
With my dad’s help, we got the new babies home with Mama, and wondered what to name them. We always named babies immediately. After excitedly announcing the new births and telling everyone at church, etc. of our rare fortune, we came upon the right names: Pete and Repeat! We raised these identical white-faced steers to adulthood, and tried to train them as oxen, but they could never compete with our new red Ford tractor, but they were special!