In Search of a Buttercup

By Faye Shantz in Rural Stories

“Want to go outside with me?” It was a beautiful spring day many years ago. One of those gorgeous days that invited my ten-year-old sister and I to abandon our chores and go for a stroll. We pulled on our rubber boots and jackets and tromped outside to enjoy the sunshine.

On our way out the lane we passed the pasture where the cows roam. Surrounding the pasture was a wire fence that was not-so-high and not-so-effective at keeping the cows in. My two-year-old sister liked to relate the story of how “the moo moos got out of the pen and they went in mommy’s garden and I cried and I cried.” She said this nearly every night at supper for a year. For this reason there was also a electric fence just on the inside of the wire fence, which was not always turned on.

Now as my sister and I walked past the wire fence that day we noticed a lone buttercup sprouting in the middle of the pasture. I’m not sure if buttercups were uncommon that year or why we decided we needed to pick that one, but it just had to be.

We were scared of the cows and were hoping they wouldn’t notice us, so rather than climbing the gate where the cows usually hung out, we decided to climb the wire fence. My brave elder sister offered to be the first one to climb the fence so she took hold of a fencepost and up she went.

“Ow!! Why did you do that?” she yelled angrily. “Ow! Stop it! That hurts!” She hopped back off the fence and turned to glare at me. “Why were you kicking me?”

“I didn’t kick you” I replied, bewildered.

“Yes you did. It wasn’t nice.”

I tried again to defend myself, but of course she wouldn’t believe me. “If you didn’t kick me then who did?” she asked. By this time she was not so much in the mood to climb the fence so I decided that I would be the brave one.

Hanging onto the fencepost I hoisted myself up as far as I could onto the fence. One more step up and I could hop over to the other side.

And then I felt it. A big hard kick in the back. Naturally I assumed this was my sister trying to get me back for whatever she had felt.

“Ow! Don’t do that!” I yelped. Just like that I got hit by another kick. “Stop!” I yelled and jumped back down.

As I turned to say some not-so-nice things to my sister, I saw she was standing a little way off and there was no way it could have been her who delivered the kick. She affirmed that it wasn’t her and we forgave each other for what we didn’t do.

Together we examined the fence to see what was going on. Immediately we noticed the electric wire not too far from the spot we were climbing. When we stepped onto the wire fence, it bent down and touched the electric wire. I guess this caused quite a jolt. I had touched the electric fence by mistake before but it had never kicked me quite like this!

As for the buttercup, we decided the cows could eat it. Our attempt to pick it had turned out to be too much of
a shock.