Poor Little Mel – Foofy is gone.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet, but we are in the midst of a severe drought. Texas is famous for having them for weeks at a time, running into several months. Usually, the winter humidity makes up for a lot, but this last winter didn’t quite measure up.

Lex is worried about the cattle. If it wasn’t for the aquifer that she located on that last bit of land she purchased, we’d have lost the entire herd. But, even so, it’s tough on the cattle that wander off to more remote places. Lex and her men go out every day to round them up and bring them back to where the water is available, but some of them insist on heading off to other areas of the ranch. We’ve lost a few because of that.

Between lack of water and natural predators, cattle who stray off, especially those in weak states, tend to become another animal’s lunch. Unfortunately, Foofy and her mom suffered that fate.

How to tell Mel? Mel was three years old when she witnessed the calf’s birth. She immediately named the calf “Foofy”, for reasons only she knew. When she overheard discussion about selling some of the young calves off to the market, Melanie cried her eyes out and made Lex promise not to sell either Foofy or her mom. Three years later, we still had Foofy, and her mom, whom Melanie also named, “Madame Calvolina”.

It’s a few hours later now, and can I say how proud I am of our daughter, Lorrie? We all sat with Melanie in the den and Lex, with tears in her eyes at her little one’s pending distress. explained as sensitively as possible that Foofy and Madame Calvolina were gone.

As soon as Mel’s tears began to fall, Lorrie took her sister’s hand and tugged her until she had Mel sitting on her lap. She consoled her sister until Mel’s eyes dried and heaving sobs were reduced to hiccups.

Then Mel asked, “Is Foofy with Granpa Travis and Gramma Mel?” Fortunately, the phone rang, and it was Wanda asking if our kids could come on over and play with hers.

As Lorrie began to leave the den to gather her things together, Lex pulled her into her arms and gave her a hug that needed no words. “We are so proud of you, Lorrie,” I said. Our eyes shone with tears of pride as well as sorrow for Melanie’s loss.

Lorrie straightened her posture and beamed at her mom and said, “Does that mean I’m off ‘striction’ and I can go riding tomorrow?”

It almost worked.