On Sunday Dieter & I went to an ox haul/turkey supper in Quinan. Dieter’s daughter and her friend were visiting from Germany and the event was near to the road to their old cottage on lac a pic. Other friends of Dieter’s (from Germany and Switzerland) were also there. The community had done itself proud- to an outsider it appeared to be a real accomplishment in co-operation.
I am a cow lover and I enjoyed watching the ox haul. It was like stepping back in time. Two boys in particular stand out in my memory. One of them, I would guess around ten years old, had been given the honour of attaching & detaching the drag chain to the oxen or the tractor depending on which way it was to be dragged. This young fellow had witnessed enough ox hauls to have the mannerisms of a man doing a job down pat. He performed his duty with pride. The other boy, a teenager, had his own team of oxen. They were a beautiful rust brown with pure white faces that were the epitome of innocence – looked as if they had stepped out of a Maud Lewis painting.
The owners of the oxen probably love their animals but it can’t be easy being an ox. Imagine… they get to be an ox instead of a bull by having their testicles removed. Then they get yoked up with another ox that is as close to their mirror image as can be managed. They are adorned with fancy headgear that makes them the bovine equivalent of a Geisha girl. Their sexuality is gone; their individuality is gone. Bulls in drag. Transvestites. Female impersonators. Perhaps humans who are unsuccessful at being ‘yoked to a mate’ in marriage come back as oxen in their next life. Yikes! I’m sure glad that this marriage (to Dieter) is working well for me. I would hate coming back as an ox.