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The Mean Old Bull and the Red Dress

Updated on May 17, 2012

It was the beginning of a new school year in 1944 and another hot September day. There was no air conditioning in those days, so we were very happy when the school bell finally rang at the end of the day. My best friend Norma Jean and I were both 9 years old and inseparable. Where one was, you could always find the other. On that day, we ran free into the bright sunlight along with the mass of other kids spewing out the doors in all directions - each one happy to be heading for home and supper.

Norma and I slowed down to a walk. Ahead of us was the big open pasture where we sometimes took the short cut home. Today was different, though, because Mr. Ewing had his mean old bull walking around in the pasture. We wanted to take the short cut so bad, but today was different also, because Norma had on a bright red dress. Now, we had always heard that when a bull sees anything red - he gets real mad and will run and attack. We thought we sure didn't want to make that mean old bull mad, but we didn't want to take the long way home, either. We were sweaty and thirsty and anxious for the cool glass of lemonade we knew would be waiting for us at my house. We were really puzzled as to how we were going to get across the pasture without the mean old bull seeing Norma's red dress. I remember hiding behind the fence posts and whispering so the mean old bull wouldn't see or hear us. As we looked around the post, we could see that the bull was at the other end of the pasture. He was walking around real slow and lazy - stopping now and then to eat some grass. We finally decided that the only way to get across safely was for Norma to take off her dress and hide it up under her white slip - then she could put it on again when we got to the other side. So, it was decided. Norma took off her dress and made sure that not even one teen bit of red was showing. We then ran like hell to the other side. Our imagination was going just about as fast as our legs. We were so scared. This wild fear we had of that mean old bull, had us believing it was running right behind us. We could almost feel the bull's hot breath against our backs. When we got to the other side, we scrambled over the fence and fell on the ground laughing so hard at how we fooled that mean old bull. We looked back, and sure enough, there was that mean old bull - still just walking around real slow.

Now, wouldn't everyone be surprised at home when we told our story of how we fooled that mean old bull.

We got to my house and with both of us talking at once, we told everyone about taking the short cut home through the mean old bull's pasture. Everybody laughed right along with us as they listened to our tale of trickery. Everybody knew except us, that the mean old bull, was so old, that he couldn't run if he wanted to, even if it were true that bulls get mad and attack when they see red.......but, as we found out much later in life - they don't! At the time though, no one had the heart to tell us the truth. This story has been told many times by Norma and I - each one of us has a little different twist in our memory.


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