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Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society



By Jon Whalen

Pop liked to raise his own beef.  I don’t know if he could actually feed all us kids cheaper by keeping a few head of steers around or if he did it to keep us busy. We had at one time three milk cows. We made our own butter and had all the milk we wanted and managed to sell some milk as well. And the chickens...well, I could go on and on about all the stock Pop kept us busy with and I could try to rationalize it but I didn’t think it was all necessary. Especially I didn’t appreciate his steers. One of them was a big black thing, probably an Angus. Now angus could be a derivative of angry because that is about all this particular steer did, was get Pop completely, thoroughly, uncontrollably angry. Pop had names for most of his cows and steers and this one had seven or eight names. Some of the names were more than things like bossy or munchy or something like that. Some of the things Pop called this steer were two-part names, like you old blankety blank, well you get the idea. He had a lot of multiple part names as well. You see, this steer had it in his head that we built fences around him for his pleasure. He would rear up like a horse and crash down on a fence and then just step over it to get into whatever was on the other side of the fence, you know, mom’s flower garden, or her vegetable garden or maybe just another field. If it was a field, he would go to the next fence and smash, on he would go. He was a social steer, so to speak, too. He would go to neighbors’ fences and smash...into a garden or whatever was on the other side of that fence. This would cause Pop to invent or remember names to use on the steer and pop was not social minded when it came to that steer. All anger was directed at the poor animal and I know that animal could hear better than Pop thought he could. We didn’t appreciate that steer because it put Pop into bad moods  and it also meant for a lot of fence repairs. Well, one time this darn steer got it into his head to go down Russell Road. Pop and I went after him and finally caught him but the steer didn’t want to be lead home. The rope didn’t allow both Pop and I enough room to really get a good tug on the steer so Pop went home to get his trusty tractor. Back he came and we chained the steer to the hydraulic lift on the back of the tractor and Pop started to pull the steer up the road. The steer laid down in the road and refused to walk. Pop renamed the steer a few times. Finally Pop decided that he was going to get that steer home if he had to drag him. I guess parts of the steer were getting warm as we started for home because soon he got up and trotted along behind. We got him into the front yard and as soon as the chain was released from the steer, he raised up and came down on the fence running along the front driveway. Pop again, and he was fast, renamed the steer and then Pop picked up this big rock, bigger than I would have thought he would have normally tried to lift, and he threw it at that steer. Nice shot, Pop! He hit that steer square in the side and that rock bounced off the belly and glanced off the side of my head on the rebound. Knocked me silly. I hated that steer!! I think we butchered that week-end.

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2012 Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society