It was a truly pristine and glorious day at the Rype & Readi Farm, the sky utterly unblemished by any unsightly clouds and the temperature niiiiice and stable for everyone to enjoy.
Days such as these were truly meant to be enjoyed to the fullest, and that was precisely what Annabelle intended to do. And considering the exquisite quality of the day, there wasn’t so much as a single chance that she was going to spend it alone. Rather, she planned on spending it with her loving family… or at least, the one member of her loving family who didn’t value chewing his cud more than spending time with her.
As such, that was why Annabelle and Apollo were standing in the middle of the west field grazing their hearts out.
“Isn’t this nice, Apollo?” Annabelle smiled at her son between mouthfuls. “The beautiful weather, the wonderful breeze… and this is just the first of a whole list of activities I have planned, all of which we can do together! Doesn’t that sound wonderful?”
“Sounds great, mom,” the black calf nodded in agreement.
Annabelle glanced at her son for a second, thinking she’d heard something in his voice, but she just as soon dismissed it with a happy shrug. “Well, I suggest you stow your cud for the moment, because we’re moving onto our next activity!”
The next activity, as it turned out, was a nice and relaxing session of grooming.
While it was true that generally the cattle, if not the animals as a whole, could fend for themselves in terms of sanitation and cleanliness, it was still nice to be pampered once in awhile by getting hosed down and having a nice and sturdy brush taken to their coat.
Annabelle mooed contentedly as she shook her rump, enjoying the way the bristles of the farmhand’s brush dragged across her hide. “Ah, this is simply divine! Don’t you think so, Apollo?”
Apollo’s reaction was… less than stellar, his attention cast disinterestedly to the side as another farmhand worked the mud and dirt out from between his toes. “Yeah mom, it’s… great….”
Annabelle shot a concerned look at her son. She’d dismissed the flash of… something in her son’s voice before, but the resurgence managed to snag her attention, and she was most definitely going to talk about it-!
“Ooooh…” Annabelle moaned contentedly as the farmhand started to run their brush down her back.
Right after the grooming was finished.
A few minutes later, Annabelle and Apollo were walking down a trail, with Annabelle keeping a subtle eye on her son.
“Next, I was thinking we could go for a swim,” she proposed evenly.
“Sounds great, mom…” Apollo nodded without even looking at her.
The brown cow’s expression fell flat. “And then we can get cute pink ribbons tied around our necks.”
“Okay, this stops here.” Annabelle halted her son in place with a firm hoof, jarring his attention back to her. “Apollo, what’s wrong? And don’t lie to me, I’m your mother, I know when something’s wrong.”
Apollo hesitated for a brief moment, visibly fighting himself, but eventually he hung his head with a despondent moan. “It’s just… before you brought all this stuff up, I was gonna go and hang out with the calf club, and I was… kinda looking forward to it.”
“What?” Annabelle reeled in shock. “Apollo, why didn’t you say anything?”
“Well…” Apollo scratched his leg uncomfortably. “Because… you were so eager, you know? You really wanted to spend time with me and, well… I didn’t want to make you unhappy…”
Annabelle chewed that over for a moment before laying her hoof on her son’s shoulder. “Apollo, I’m unhappy now because you’re unhappy. Don’t take me wrong, I love spending time with you, but I love seeing you do what you love even more. So, if you really want to…”
“Then I can go hang with the club!?” Apollo perked up eagerly.
Annabelle nodded her consent, pleased to finally see her son bright and happy.
“Great! If you need me, I’ll be over at the pig pit! Woohoo!”
That… made her noticeably less pleased.
by Baxter Balick, Rype & Readi Contributing Writer, Flagler Sophomore College Student