The Best Laid Plans

Front page story from the August 3, 1900 Skidmore Standard:

The Boys and the Cows.

“Boys will be boys with their fun and their noise,” is a realized truth by most parents.  People who haven’t boys are generally ready to assert that the trousers-adorned half of the coming generation is made up of cunning rascals, and that the hundred and one boyish pranks are nothing more nor less than the outcome of the workings of their wicked brains.  But this is only one way of looking at the boy.  However the way people regard the acts of boys has nothing to do with what we started to say.

For years and years the pasture field south of town has been set apart for the use of the town cows in summer, and the task of driving the docile bovines to and from the pasture has devolved on the boys of the family, or some other family’s boy.  The boys usually try to get as much amusement out of any task as possible, and the cow driving task has proved no great exception to the rule.  A great many times, in order to prolong their play, the boys would turn the cows out of the pasture and let them go home or wander at random through the streets, over peoples’ lawns and gardens, or dispute the right of way on the railroad track with an oncoming train.

Last spring, W. J. Skidmore, the owner of the pasture, hit upon a happy plan to save people from further annoyance by other peoples’ cows.  He published a statement that all cows put in the pasture must be led to and from the field.

This led to an amusing incident one evening recently.  The boys were bringing their cows as usual, when one of the lads who had ridden his father’s horse, evolved an ingenious scheme from his fertile brain, the adoption of which would enable him to do as he wished, and at the same time have his cow taken care of.  This is the way he reasoned:

“If I tie the cow’s halter rope to the end of the horse’s rope, I can run and play and the horse will hold the cow, and the cow will keep the horse from running away when I want to catch him.”

But as the poet said:  “The best laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft aglee,” it so happened that this boy’s plan resulted differently from what he had expected.  The scene which followed was something like this:

The cow discovers the horse following her.  She quickens her pace; the horse, feeling a tug on his halter rope, responds with a better gait.  The cow becomes frightened and tries to run away.  The horse follows with evident reluctance.  The race increases in interest each moment. Boys all yell in great glee, except the one who dashes away as fast as fear will move his legs to catch the runaways.  All disappear in an alley.  Curtain drops.