You just don’t see signs for missing pet cows in Beaufort that often, even when you walk the entire downtown every day, so I had to call. I expected to hear the voice of a distraught farmer, maybe from St. Helena Island, since cows have been known to swim across rivers mightier than the Beaufort. Or a teenager, cracking up at his clever prankster self.
But instead it was a woman’s voice, the kind that’s hard to stop when she gets going. I didn’t even catch her name. Which is probably for the best. The story wasn’t all that clear and this way nobody gets a bad reputation. According to the woman offering the reward, the story began with a baby cow who couldn’t or didn’t get all of her shots from the veterinarian. So she became a pet cow and got the name Moo. Moo lived a happy life in the Beaufort city limits for a while, until I gathered it was time to reintroduce her to closer relatives. Here’s where the vet comes back in. In addition to his practise he also has cows, on a farm on St. Helena, according to the woman who raised Moo by bottle in her back yard. But the vet/farmer put little Moo in with some horses instead, who didn’t think she was that adorable. Little Moo broke through a fence and hasn’t been seen since. “Just like a man, you know? Always thinks he knows best. I told him to keep her with the other cows. Now I just know somebody’s fattening her up for dinner. Call her Moo and she comes running.”
Ouch. This lady tried to do a good thing and it all backfired. Surely someone would notice a pet cow, answering to the name Moo? Maybe if the word got out, like in a newspaper article, someone would turn her in? “Oh no. The vet doesn’t want that. Too much publicity.”
I thought publicity, in this case, would be a good thing. She set me straight. “No, see the vet has cows on his farm. And that means cow dung. Which means mushrooms. And he says once word got out the farm would be crawling with Marines ‘cuz they like those mushrooms and it’d get crazy. I should probably take that sign down.”
Told you, you don’t hear a story like that every day. Little Moo’s been missing now for several months, and the rain has just about washed away the sign offering a reward for her safe return. But at least no Marines found out about the mushrooms.