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I don’t know exactly how it started but for several years we all thought my aunt loved cows. She and my uncle own cows, so it made some sense. At the time my uncle made a living by jumping off a running horse and wrestling them to the ground. More specifically, he wrestled steers, which are bulls that don’t have their testicles anymore. He was a professional bulldogger. If you’re not a rodeo person you might be wondering why steer wrestling is also called bulldogging, but the term “bulldogging” comes, or so I was told, from way back in the day when cowboys would use bulldogs to run down steers for them. The bulldogs would bite them on the nose and hang on till the cowboys caught up and to this day the old-school bulldoggers will bite their steers on the nose when they’re taking them down. (This is probably a thing they told me because I was a kid and sometimes it’s fun to fuck with a kid’s head like that. But grownups don’t think about the consequences because look, here I am a grown-ass man and I still believe some cowboys bite steers’ noses.) Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me but I’m too lazy to look it up and I like this explanation the way it is.

The point, though, is somehow my aunt ended up with a cow-themed kitchen. It was all Holstein stuff, the quintessential black-and-white dairy cattle. The opposite of the types of cows my family had. They all had beef cattle. One thing they don’t show in all the picturesque cattle art and propaganda is how many cows are covered in shit. They poop on each other sometimes. They get down on the ground and roll in it. That would make for a hell of a calendar.

So my aunt, at some point, acquired some sort of Holsteiny knickknack and from there it snowballed until her kitchen was a shrine to dairy cattle. People just kept buying little cow treasures for her. Coffee mugs. Delicate figurines. I remember I saw this udder cream at walmart and I made my mom buy it and we gave it to her. I thought she’d like it because the container was white with black spots, just like her favorite type of cow.

One day I asked my aunt why she liked cows so much. She goes, “I don’t. People just keep buying me this shit cuz they think I like it.”

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