Cows and plot points appear to have very little in common. In See Jane Run!, however, cows and plot points intersect often, starting on page one. Many, though not all, of those intersections are examples of art imitating life. The cow in the photo above is one such case.
The cow’s name was Snippy. The old timer milking the cow was named Walter Stuart. Walter’s farm was right behind the school where I taught in the little town where Hiram and I lived. (I am not making this up.) We and half the town bought fresh milk from Walter for 50¢ a gallon.•
Walter was inordinately proud of Snippy and for good reason. Her milk was so rich that every gallon yielded a full quart of cream. Thick, delicious cream that could be whipped into butter or used in cooking.
One day, Walter called my husband and asked him to bring over our Kodak to take a picture of his cow. Hiram took several shots and got ready to leave. Walter stopped him and said, “But you got to take a picture of Snippy’s business end.”**
A revised version of this story made its way into See Jane Run! and is an example of art imitating life. In this short excerpt, Jane is the narrator, Merle is Walter, and Snippy is Snippy:
I scooted a few steps to my left to capture Merle and his girl in the best light. I snapped a couple shots and promised to bring him the pictures once the film was developed.
“But we ain’t took the good pictures yet.” He turned Snippy until her head faced the barn door and her backside faced me. Then he pointed at her udder, so full and heavy her teats nearly dragged on the ground. “Now you just squat down and get some Kodaks of her business end. Make it quick. I want to show you my garden and have enough time to eat before she needs milking.”
I framed Snippy’s . . . ahem . . . business end in the view finder and took several shots.
The photographs Jane takes that day play a crucial part in the unfolding of the mystery and its solution. In other words, the intersection of cows and plot points can happen, at least in See Jane Run!
If this excerpt has piqued your interest, remember that See Jane Run! will be released by Midwestern Books on June 7, 2022 and will soon be available for preorder on Amazon in electronic and print formats. Until then,
*Walter also sold eggs for 24¢ a dozen. His milk and egg prices were dirt cheap then and more so now. No one worried about selling and consuming raw milk. It was a way of life.
**For those of you who aren’t sure what constitutes the business end of a cow, study the above photo.