Stephanie

There was a time that I never knew I had the Maine accent.  I had just started working for AT&T in Chesterville, Massachusetts.

I was assigned to walk the cable right-of-way to inspect some reported erosion problems.  My partner was a young man from Pennsylvania. This young man had very little experience walking through pastures where there were herds of cattle. We took turns walking the four-mile stretches between the repeater huts.

This was his turn to do the four-mile hike. As he entered the pasture, I noticed one small bull raise his head and look our way. Jim (the partner) had walked just a bit into the pasture and was doing a bit of measuring and did not notice the young bull slowly trotting his way.

Having been around animals the majority of my life, I realized that the bull was just curious, just by the way it slowly trotted our way. When the young bull got close, I motioned to ol’ Jim that he should turn around and look what was approaching behind him.

Now I must stop a moment and tell ya that Jim was indeed a true Pennsylvanian in my book. He knew everything and was the smartest fella on the crew. All you had to do was ask him and he would tell you. It seemed that one had to be born in his area to be of any smarts or worth at all.

Being a young country boy from Maine, I loved showing people what a young fella from Maine was worth while outside in the fields. This had been a topic more then once when I started working in Massachusetts. They just loved to hear me using words like ka yaa, or heya, or once in a while over theya…They sure did love to dig me about my Maine talk.

So, it was a pleasure to once in a whilst git em a goin good. Now this fella Jim made sure to tell me he knew everything and was worth more then 10 country boys from Maine. I could see this was my time to prove to him just what a Maine country boy was like.

About the time the young bull got close to Jim, it let out a snort to clear its nose. You would think that someone had just shot Jim.  He spun around and took a couple of quick steps but unfortunately, he did not look just where he was stepping.

Any true Mainer who has been in a pasture with a number of cattle knows you really have to look just where you step.  Jim was more concerned about watching the bull. He took a digger.

This is the second thing you learn rather quickly when in the pasture. Never never, get down on all fours. There are land mines in a cow pasture, and they are quite aromatic.

In the most serious tone of voice I could muster, “You Ok Jim”?” “Watch out for the bull Jim!” “Here he comes Jim.”

At this point, I was hanging onto the fence post and just about falling over. “Look out Jim!”

I think it was at this point that the young bull was just as amused as I was.  He stopped and shook his head and snorted again. Sort of asking, what is wrong with this guy?

Of course, Jim thought this was another challenge and I swear if he could fly, he would have at this point. He jumped and cleared that fence as good as any hurdler I had ever seen.

He slipped just a tiny bit and grabbed onto the top strand of wire.

Now again, this is not something you do because the majority of the time these fence have a tiny bit of electricity in them. He let out a blood-chilling scream. You see his boots had a nice fresh coat of brown on them, and so did that particular hand.

He made a most awesome conductor for the electric fence.

At this point, I was sitting down on a rock to see just what happened next. Jim ran for the company truck. No Jim, you cannot get into the truck smelling like that. We still had four hours to go.

I suggested he go down to that small brook and wash off. Well, guess what happened next.  Yup. Jim got washed off alright. He fell head-first into the brook, he was so flustered.

Well, when Jim first started this little heart-warming escapade he was supposed to be measuring the air pressure in the cable system. The instruments were still in the pasture. “Jim, where are the instruments?  Shall I go get them and finish this four-mile stretch and you do the next two?”

I think at this point he would have agreed to almost any reasonable suggestion I came up with.

So, I stepped into the pasture being careful not to touch the fence. The first thing I did was go pet the young bull on the forehead. He was really a friendly cuss.

All he wanted to do was say hello to us.

Together we walked over and finished the measurements on that particular valve. The young bull just stood by my side as I took all the measurements. Together, the two of us set out to finish surveying erosion problems on this stretch.

I guess the young bull must have told the rest of the heard that I was friendly and all 30 of us slowly walked to the next valve.  They all gathered around me as I took the measurements. It seemed as though they wanted to know for sure what those posts were for.

I was able to finish this stretch with all my friends following. I thanked them as I exited the pasture and there was Jim waiting for me with the truck.

Jim was a little wet and a lot stinky and wanted to go back to the office to change and clean up.  Being the kind and friendly fella I am, I agreed to go back to the office, and I would call in so there was not another crew waiting for us on the end of the line. I made sure to mention to one of the other crews to meet us so we could give them all of our data.

They knew Jim as well as I did, and I wanted to share with them all of his efforts for the day.

When I went out the next day, for some reason, they assigned me a different partner for the summer.   Huh, go figger.

Ya all have a nice summa now.


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