February 9, 2023 at 4:42 p.m.

My favorite cow

By Stacey [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

I was 10 years old when I bought my first calf. She was a registered Holstein named Hopscotch. I will never forget the day we met.
It was an unseasonably hot, sunny Saturday in April – the day before Easter. My dad asked if I wanted to go to a cattle sale with him. Of course I said yes and hopped in his Ford pickup truck. Away we went, headed to the Show Opportunity Sale in Weyauwega, Wisconsin. I was on the lookout for a show calf, and when I saw her, it was love at first sight.
She was tall and long and every bit dairy. She held her head high above the box stall and stared at us, catching our attention from far away. She was super friendly, and when I pet Hopscotch for the first time, I knew we were going to be best friends.
When Hopscotch entered the sale ring, my dad told me to start bidding. The auctioneer did not know if he should take me seriously at first. But when my dad nodded to him, he took my bid and kept taking it until no one was bidding against me. When he struck the gavel and yelled, “Sold,” I was ecstatic. I paid $1,025 for Sky-M Simon Hopscotch with money from my savings account.
In the weeks and months that followed, I had so much fun caring for her. I practiced leading her and getting her ready for the fair. Hopscotch was the center of my world. When I wasn’t spending time with her, I was thinking about her. She filled my daydreams at school, and I could not wait to get home each day so I could run down to the barn and be with her.
That summer, I showed Hopscotch at both of our county fairs and our district show. She cleaned house at the first fair, winning the fall heifer calf class and being named grand champion. We also won the showmanship class for my age group. At the district show, she earned a blue ribbon, standing in the top half of a rather large class. At our second county fair, she was top of her class once again and earned reserve grand champion honors as well as best junior owned.
Hopscotch was special, and she knew it. She became part of the family, and on Christmas Eve, 1988, she had her first calf – a heifer I named Hope. She was one of the best Christmas presents I ever received. Hopscotch had many calves in her lifetime, and her offspring helped pay for my first car and also helped pay my way through college.
For every birthday, she got a cake made out of grain, haylage, corn, etc., with pieces of hay acting as candlesticks. We also sang to her, and she received a homemade birthday card, balloon and present, such as a new collar. She always had a different collar than the rest of the herd – usually something bright and flashy. On her golden birthday when she turned 11, we celebrated with two cakes – one for her and one for us humans. On the only birthday I could not make it home for, my dad held the phone up to Hopscotch’s ear so I could sing “Happy Birthday” to her.
I regularly groomed Hopscotch and gave her baths, clipped her tail and udder, and made sure her switch was freshly washed. She basically looked camera-ready at all times. I often took her for walks around the farm – a tradition that did not die as we both grew up. I also made a point of visiting with her after every morning and evening chore time before heading to the house.
She had a personality everyone liked, was nice to look at with a score of VG-89 and also paid her way by what she put in the bulk tank. My dad used to say, “I wouldn’t mind having a barn full of Hopscotches.”
Hopscotch’s favorite stall was the last one on the side of the barn that faced east. If another cow dared to take it before she could get there, Hopscotch would patiently wait in the aisle for one of us to back the other cow out of the stall so she could have it.
We grew up together, and Hopscotch was around for many of the major milestones in my life, like when I graduated from high school and college, when I got married and when I had my first child. As time went on, I noticed the hair on her face starting to turn gray. When she was 15, Hopscotch retired from milking and had the freedom to spend her days how she pleased.
Hopscotch lived to be 17 years old, passing away peacefully of old age while resting in her favorite pasture. She is buried on my parents’ farm. We held a funeral service when she died – complete with music, prayers, photos, flowers and a eulogy. After all, she was part of the family.
Hopscotch was a friend I could always count on, an astute listener and a confidante that always brought a smile to my face. This unforgettable animal was an important part of my childhood and beyond, and we made countless memories together. She lived a full and happy life, and I am so thankful for all the wonderful years I had with my favorite cow, Hopscotch.


You must login to comment.

Top Stories

Today's Edition



27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.