Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Cowlossus of Roads

Growing up, I used to take long family car trips almost every summer between North Carolina and Pennsylvania. My mom would keep a list of all the different state license plates we came across along the way. Sometimes, we'd play "Slug Bug!" (or I guess other people call it "Punch-buggy"). But I was in my early 20s when I learned a new travel game from a friend. ...

He said you're supposed to count the cows on your side of the car, while somebody else counts the cows on their side of the car, and whoever has the most cows at the end of the trip, wins. Only, if you pass a cemetery, all your cows die, and you have to start over.

The road trip I was embarking on was another nine-hour ordeal to St. Marys, PA. My whole family was going, so we took two vehicles. I told the people in my car about counting cows, and then we'd make pit stops and switch drivers and passengers around, so pretty soon, everyone was playing this game. We would stop at rest stops and compare notes: "How many cows you got?"

As we got close to St. Marys, my dad was driving the lead vehicle, and I was following in the second. He started to veer off what would have been the logical route. We assumed he must have remembered a shortcut or something. We got to this one intersection, and there was a sign that said St. Marys was to the left, even though our map indicated that turning right would be a better option. Dad went straight.

"Where in the hell is he taking us on these crazy back roads?!" everyone in my car wondered.

Soon after passing a cemetery on the passenger side of the car, we came up over the top of a hill, and there on the left side of the car was the Ayrshire Dairy Farm -- along with what was locally known as, in all its kitschy advertising glory, the largest cow statue in the United States!

You win, Dad.

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