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Columns

June 4, 2009

This Wonderful Life: Chance encounter was no bull

I think I was going to the dining room in search of a chair.



You know how it is - you walk into a room to get something and then totally forget what you were looking for because, looking into your dining room window, is an animal the size of a sofa with an expression that says, ``Hey! Can someone come out to play?’’



Yes, a cow looking into your dining room window tends to be distracting. Before we moved to Cooperstown, we lived in a tree-lined neighborhood called East Hill in Pensacola, Fla. It was a neighborhood with sidewalks and bungalows and Queen Anne-style homes all situated close enough together that it was almost possible to pass the salt from your table to your neighbor’s just by opening the window.



Now, I live in a neighborhood with a road that winds through a vast valley and neighbors that are not at all close to each other. In winter, when the trees are bare, I can see one neighbor’s house easily; the other neighbor is a distant apparition across a field.



If I stood on my porch and yelled out my darkest confession, neither of them would be able to understand what I had said.



The proximity of neighbors is only the first of many differences to which we have grown accustomed since moving to Upstate New York.



In our old home, for example, we never would have walked into our dining room, opened the curtain and seen a cow staring back at us through the window. It just wouldn’t have happened.



But here, where the neighbor’s livestock live closer to us than the neighbors do, it’s just another country experience. Of course, that didn’t keep me from letting out a scream when I saw that bull peering into my dining room, looking for a playmate or a meal ticket.

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