Jamaica Magazine

Roping a Cow by American Retiree in Jamaica

Written by John Casey

Maybe roping is the wrong word. Chaining would be more accurate. This all happened two months after moving into my retirement home.

I was awakened one morning by the sound of one of the neighborhood dogs barking. That, in itself, is not uncommon in Jamaica. This particular dog, Sparkle, has a very good memory. If someone passes by his house who is unknown to him, he barks, which is what any watch dog should do. However, in Sparkle’s case, he will continue to bark for countless minutes after the person is long gone. He doesn’t just bark a warning type bark. It is more like he is talking, or, at least, trying to form words.

But I digress.

Sparkle was not barking in front of his house but at the end of my driveway. Still half asleep, I walked downstairs to see what the problem was. As I rounded the corner into the driveway, there he was barking for all he was worth at a cow laying on it’s side outside of my gate. As I approached the cow, I could see the chain, which straddles my driveway, securely wrapped around the cow’s right rear leg. She obviously was severely traumatized as evidenced by the amount of excrement around and on her. Either this cow hadn’t done her “business” in a long time or she had the largest intestinal system of any mammal known to man. It was everywhere, all over the gate, driveway, walls, and the road! Unfortunately for me, when she fell, she was pointed towards my house rather than away from it.

My first concern was to remove the chain from around her leg. Not knowing what to do, I immediately contacted my neighbor, Logan, to help me figure a way out of my dilemma. It was about 7:30 and he was still in his pajamas. Once he got dressed, he came over and assessed the situation. The first thing we did was hacksaw one of the links of the chain and pried it apart. Once the chain was removed, the cow didn’t move. She just laid there in her own feces, rolling her eyes around. I was getting scared thinking this cow was going to die right there! What would I do if that happened! The thoughts of the smell of decaying flesh ran through my mind.

Our next plan of action was to somehow scare the cow into getting up and going home. How could we possibly scare this cow anymore than she already was? We tried yelling and screaming but that didn’t work. She was still laying there rolling her eyes around. Our next plan of attack, was exactly that! Logan, using the pry bar, starting “tapping” her on the head while I was kicking her in the butt. All the time our screaming continued. Finally, she started to get up. She was very wobbly but did manage to stand on three legs. With us still screaming, she hobbled down the street and plopped down in front of my next door neighbor’s house.

With a sigh of relief, I turned my attention to removing the “calling card” she left me. It took several hours of work with a hose, shovel, and brush to clean up after her. At last the mess was gone, but the aroma lingered on! Would it ever go away?

At noontime the cow was still laying in front of my neighbors. I started to worry again about her dying right there. Then I thought, “I’ll call the police! They’ll know what to do!” BIG MISTAKE!! After I explained my situation the police officer said, “Call your butcher!” I yelled, “What?” He asked me, “Do you know who’s cow it is?” I replied, “No.” Then he said, “Well, it must be yours, call your butcher!” Now my problem was I didn’t have a butcher or even know one.

Fortunately, a short time later, a police car came to investigate. At the very moment the police turned the corner on to my street, the cow stood up and walked to the next neighbor’s house and laid down. It was as if the cow knew it was the police and was trying to get away from them. Could this cow have been in trouble with the law in the past? The police car pulled up and two uniformed officers and one plain clothes detective stepped out. At first I thought the detective was a butcher and the police were going to fill their freezers with “my cow.” He actually turned out to know a lot about cows. His assessment was that the leg was badly damaged but not broken. He said one of two things would happen. The cow will find it’s own way back home or the “real” owner would come looking for her.

I am happy to say the cow was nowhere in sight the next morning but the smell still lingered on! Was all this a sign of what living in Jamaica was going to be like? One would never see a cow walking the streets in the suburbs of Boston. What was, then, somewhat traumatic, I can now reminisce and laugh at the whole thing. This was just another wonderful day in Jamaica!

About the author

John Casey