Follow the road to the red cow on the left


I was in my house on a quiet Friday night when a dead-ringer for Larry the Cable Guy of stand-up comedy fame came roaring up our driveway in his big white pickup truck looking for a “spit.” This is just about as exciting as it gets on a Friday night around here. “I’m here to pick up a spit!”

“Sir we have no spit.”

This conversation went on like this, back and forth, for two more cycles: “You don’t have a spit? For a weddin’?”

This struck me as funny. As if I’m going to say “Oh the WEDDING spit. Why didn’t you say so!”


At this point I was casting about thinking “O.K. this is a practical joke. I’m on Candid Camera (dating myself with that one). This is Larry!”

Seriously I mean no disrespect but he was very Larry. (We like Larry the Cable Guy and think he’s quite cute, so this is a compliment, I promise).


He ends up calling dispatch “Yeah, I’m at this lady’s house and she says she doesn’t have a spit. Yep, that’s what she says.” (I absolutely loved this part: “that’s what she SAYS.” He was very friendly but there was the slightest implication that maybe I HAD a pig spit, but I just wasn’t willing to share it).

At this the nice-man-who-is-not-Larry-but-sure-looked-like-him hung up, leaned out of his pickup truck, and said amiably that he would wait until they called him back with the exact coordinates of the soybean and pig spit location.

During this time we continued to shoot the breeze, he in his pickup truck, me on my porch. He further continued to be just amazed that I didn’t have a pig spit. Apparently I am the last to know that they are all the rage this year?

We then got down to a discussion of whether there are, or are not, soybeans growing in front of my house. (I vote “not”). It’s a hay field. I then had to explain that the huge field next door (also not soybeans but corn so we’re getting warmer) is not mine — it belongs to my Mennonite neighbors. They don’t seem like “pig spit” people but I can’t say for sure.


After a few more minutes dispatch called him back and offered the following highly illuminating information: “the spit house is probably 4-5 houses down from a crossroads, and they definitely have soybeans out front. There may also be a cow.”

This poor man hung up, shaking his head. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that as rural directions go, those were actually pretty good.

An acquaintance told the following tale: “A lady gave me directions by saying I would need to turn left at the ‘big red cow.’ I thought she was referring to some sort of sign shaped like a cow, an ice cream shop, or something similar.

“Traveling to the area I do not find any type of cow sign, or anything that might be referred to as the ‘big red cow.’ I was very lost and ended up arriving very late. I mentioned to her that I didn’t see a “big red cow” and she replied: “Oh, he’s not out there? He’s usually standing in the corner of the field right by the road.”

In rural regions directions via agricultural product and livestock is par for the course. I have also found that rural residents love to give directions by landmarks, but not necessarily current landmarks. Having “just” moved here 15 years ago, I find that directions are generally given as “up by where that tree was struck by lightning,” ” across from the place where they used to sell apples” and “just past where that old silo was.”

There are numerous other locations referred to by who lived there in the 1930s rather than what it is now. This is not very helpful for those who haven’t lived in town since Lewis & Clark left.

Speaking of which, I live in the old Lewis orchard (no relation I think). The last Lewis left the area over thirty years ago. Still I have “their” house. I hope they like what we’ve done with the place.

Leaning on my (or the Lewis’s?) porch railing giving directions to some poor hopeful fellow just hoping to score a pig spit I realized I’d gone native. I gave directions that included “go past that dip in the road,” “you might see some cows” and a “go back.” As in, “if you get to the next village you’ve gone too far and you’ll have to go back.”

I sure hope that poor man found his spit — and his sanity.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.



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