By: Vickie Calby∼MRC Board Member∼

et it be known, before we start, this is a true Bull Story.

After an adult beverage one evening, I told my story to a group of friends. Later it was suggested to me, that those of you who follow our “Stories of Montrose PA,” blog would enjoy it as much in the writing as in the telling.

Spring is finally here in Northeastern PA and now is the perfect time to tell you a “Nature Story.” Enjoy!

When I was in my 40’s and motivated, I used to get up at 4:30 most mornings and go for a run.

One morning I left the house and had run only a short way when I heard a snort off to my right. Now I was not terribly concerned because Dave (my husband) and I recently had a conversation about deer snorting, and in the past deer had run across my path near this spot.

I continued on when suddenly I heard pounding hooves behind me, mingled with some other odd noise I could not identify. I looked over my shoulder. It was very dark and all I could see was a huge black figure running toward me at full speed while making said strange noises.

Location of run: South Montrose, PA

I took off running faster than I had ever run before with visions of a recently read Dean Koontz story going through my head. Within seconds the thing behind me had become something from another world. In my twisted brain I knew it would be impossible to come out alive from this!

My next thought was simply, I need help! Forgetting of course, no one can help if the “hounds of hell” are chasing you!

I picked a house along the way thinking I would pound on the door until someone answered (not factoring in how close my otherworldly opponent really was).

Once at the door a couple of things occurred to me, one being that the lady at this house was elderly and I would likely give her a heart attack; and two, I had trapped myself due to the configuration around the front door.

I turned to run, but indeed I was trapped. Filling the opening I needed to get through stood a very big, very black…. COW! Oh, thank you God, I thought, I can deal with a cow!

I told the cow to back-up, but it did not seem to understand. I flapped my hands and said in a loud voice, “BACK-UP.” Still no movement. Finally, in frustration, I put my hand on its forehead, while pushing and shouting, “BACK-UP.” It did.

The danger had passed, my heart rate had slowed down, and I was ready to continue my run. The problem was when I started to run, my new friend tried to run with me.

No matter how many times I tried to leave him behind, he stuck with me. That is when I noticed the very long, very heavy chain around HIS neck (yes, my new friend was not a cow but a bull).

Each time he would try to run with me, he would step on his choke chain and cut off his air supply, hence the strange noises I heard when first being pursued!

A fact that not everyone knows,…I live with guilt.  I was born with it. My thinking went like this, if I leave the Big Guy here and he gets hit by a car and dies, it is my fault. If I leave him here and a car hits him and the people in the car are hurt, or worse, it is my fault. So, I did what I had to do. I started putting the chain over my arm (Marley’s Ghost comes to mind), then I took hold of his choke collar and off we went, back toward home.

As we walked up the street I was running different scenarios through my head trying to figure out the best way to deal with the Big Guy when we got home. If a car came toward us, we stopped and I would shine my flashlight on him. Let me just say, more than one car practically came to a stop when they saw what was walking up the road ahead of them like a dog on a leash.

My mind, for those who don’t know me, is an iffy thing on a good day, but I mentally formed a picture of the MAC machine in Robinson’s Market parking lot. Around the MAC were four sturdy bright yellow poles…a perfect place to tie the Big Guy…in my mind! But first, I had to make sure it was okay with Bill.

Bill Robinson, known and loved by everyone in the community, always came to work before the crack of dawn. Every morning when I ran by, Bill would have the paper spread out on the checkout counter. There he would be, bent over with his butt toward the door, starting the day with the daily news.

Robinson’s Market (no longer standing), circa 2012.

I undid Big Guy’s chain from my arm and  put it on the ground, then started up the steps to knock on the door. Well, the Big Guy thought he needed to come up with me. Every time I started up the steps, so did he.

So, I picked-up the chain again and called…”Bill”…nothing. “Ohhh, Bill”…not a thing. “BILL!” He turned around, got a funny look on his face and came to the door.

“What do you have there?” he asked.

“A cow,” says I.

“Honey that isn’t any cow” (I knew that. I was trying to be delicate).

Photo of ATM in South Montrose from Google Maps.

So, I tell him my story, briefly, and ask if he would mind if I tied Big Guy to the MAC machine. Being Bill, he said I could and he helped me tie him up.

“What now?” he asked. “We can’t leave him out here all day.”

I had a plan! I told Bill I was going home to start calling all the farmers around the area.

I began the search for my friend’s owner and after a few calls I was led to Terri Bennett, not a farmer, but her friend at the time was starting to raise some cows and it was suggested he might have a bull.

Knowing Terri well, I knew she would be awake, so I gave it a shot. No, he did not have a bull, but “it might be Rip Chrisman’s bull. He bought a GD bull as a pet for his kids.”

“Okay,” I said, “Would you happen to have Rip’s phone number?”

After a few choice words Terri came through! She had his number.

Now to call Rip. I explained the situation and after several choice words of his own, it became evident that indeed the Big Guy belonged to Rip.

Rip said, “His name is T-Bone and that is what he will be by tonight. I will bring you a steak.”

Imagine my horror!

I believe in my heart he was just sounding off.  To this day I don’t want to know what exactly happened to T-Bone.

Off to Robinson’s store I went. “Bill! Good news!”

I let Bill know T-Bone would be going home soon. However, the saga continued, Bill was laughing so hard he could hardly get out that I needed to go see Betty.

Betty was behind the meat counter when I found her. She was “shaking like a dog pooping bones,” as the saying somewhat goes. Apparently on Betty’s morning walk to work, smoking her cigarette and carrying her coffee, she passed the MAC machine. T-Bone, upon hearing a likely companion walking by, came trotting around the corner, sending poor Betty into a state of terror!

I went to work shortly afterward and figured that was that.

Not so, when I got home that afternoon, my message machine was full. The callers were either mooing, laughing, or just plain delighted to have had their day brightened with the story (and not the least surprised that it happened to me).

The icing on the cake came later that evening when my sister called. She said, “I went to the gym this morning. There is a lady there who is usually grouchy, but this morning she was even grouchier. I was afraid to ask but finally did.

“Is there something wrong?”

She replied, “Now the GD kids are tying bulls to the MAC machine in South Montrose.”

My sister said as she was driving home the thought crossed her mind…I wonder if Vick had anything to do with that?