Boxcar Betty, my cousin, used to be sweet and adorable like me.
She followed the straight and narrow path of the Captain January side of the family tree, instead of the Hannah Belle Lecter side of the tree.
If the farmer would say, "Betty! Betty, come here!" Betty would come.
When the yearlings and fat girls went down below, Betty went with them. Then Hannah Belle got sent down there. Aunt Hannah Belle stayed there for maybe fifteen seconds and then left, because the food up at the big barn by the milker pasture is much better.
Betty watched with dismay but did not attempt to escape.
Then Hannah Belle came back because the fat girls were going out in the big meadow where there is free meadow grass and brush. Betty started hanging around with Hannah Belle, who is her mother after all.
Or should I say loitering. Betty started loitering around with Hannah Belle.
Hannah Belle went back to the big barn when the meadow was closed for the summer.
Betty watched with dismay. Then attempted to escape. Unfortunately for her she did not have her mother's cat burglar skills.
Aunt Hannah Belle looked on idly, chewing her cud like a baseball pitcher watching for a sign from the catcher, as Betty scrambled and pawed in an attempt to duck under the fat girl fence at the blackberry hole. No luck. Hannah Belle looked on with cool detachment as Betty attempted to head butt the gate open. Sad, said Hannah Belle's expression. A sad effort.
Hannah Belle dozed serenely as Betty made a sorry little jump at the field fencing. It was almost embarrassing. Like something you would see from the Breezy family.
Betty began twittering to Hannah Belle, little birdcalls of affrontery and indignation. Hannah Belle stood up and yawned and went and stole some alfalfa from the LaMancha kids. Then Betty began running the fenceline and yelling.
Hannah Belle finally got up and sauntered off toward the fat girl pasture.
I did not see what happened next, because it was time for me to go to the grain bin.
When I came back, Betty and Hannah Belle were up in the milkers' pasture, sunning themselves on top of the tank cover.
"Betty!" called the farmer. "Betty, come here!"
Betty turned her head, like a femme fatale in a movie, and looked at the farmer, and blinked a couple of times. And then looked away, down at the meadow that was closed until spring. Where Hannah Belle was looking, watching all the canary grass grow.