The other day I was out in the pasture getting cows in for evening milking, and out of the corner of my eye, I swore I saw Hollywood. Not the Los Angeles neighborhood with the dorky letters on a hill, but the cow. Let me explain.
    About the time camera phones, social media and the like were getting popular, we had a cow on our farm simply known as 657. She was a pleasant enough cow but hadn’t shown any particular trait of personality to get her a name anyone remembered long enough for it to stick. That changed though when she found a love for photography.
    657 never did acquire a camera herself, but she had an uncanny knack for positioning herself front and center if anyone else had one. Whether this was because she was naturally curious or was hoping to land herself in a Kemps commercial, the world will never know as she didn’t speak much or at all really. Just the occasional moo for the camera and probably also the patented cow party trick of picking her nose with her tongue. I’ve mentioned before we have a retail meat business at our farm which means we have customers stopping regularly to pick up their orders. A pretty popular question, if the cows were in a pasture by the house, was whether people could get a selfie with the cows. 657 made sure she was always in those selfies and soon earned her name, Hollywood. It was a sad day when I took her on her final trailer ride, hugged her and said goodbye. She had lived a mediocre life milk production wise, but a huge life as a social media personality and generally as a lovable cow who liked to steal shop towels from pockets and eat them.
    Over the years, we’ve had so many cows that stood out for either being wonderful coworkers that made the day a little better just by being around and a few we’ll never forget because of all the trouble they caused. Now and then, like that day in the pasture, I find myself reminded of cows from the past who have been gone for years but live on in one way or another. Some lines of cows in our herd all look nearly identical from generation to generation. I could walk in the pasture and pick out with reasonable certainty which sleek, mostly black cows are great-great-great-granddaughters of the cow who won me my first trip to the state fair. Other cows are remembered when someone tries to clear a gate but can’t jump as high as that white heifer we had who could clear 6-foot fences without touching the boards. Not even the tip of a toe. I’m sure we all least enjoy being reminded of the great kickers of yesteryear and fence duckers.
    Every livestock farm has animals they remember long after they’re gone, but I don’t know if any other species of animal leaves behind quite the memories a dairy cow does. There’s just so much interaction with cows as you have to see them a minimum of twice daily for milking and a few more times to feed them. It’s no wonder when you talk to an older farmer they don’t recall any of the chickens they raised but can tell stories for hours about all the interesting cows they had the pleasure or frustration of knowing.
    Thank you all for the reason to sit in front of my computer and take a trip back in time with all the cows I’ve loved over the years. Hopefully this article got you thinking of all your favorite moos too. Until next time, keep living the dream and making wonderful memories with those bovines.
    Tim Zweber farms with his wife, Emily, their three children and his parents, Jon and Lisa, by Elko, Minnesota.