In the fall of 2022, I got a message from Kathy Kyle who is a regular reader of my blog. She and her husband Russ Bayliss and their family own and operate a cattle ranch near Carnduff, Saskatchewan, close to the Manitoba border. Kathy had bought my first novel Lost on the Prairie.
Kathy said during calving season, they always select some of the best female calves to join their herd of Mama cows. They nurture them and give them names. Last year they decided to name the new calves they selected after authors. They named one MaryLou Driedger.
When Kathy sent me a photo of the name tags they’d prepared for the cows I found myself in some pretty illustrious company with writers like Farley Mowat and Louis L’Amour, David Baldacci and the well-known children’s author Patricia Polacco.
Apparently, during the past year, MaryLou has grown up to be a cow with a lot of character and a really sweet personality. She loves to talk.
MaryLou was one of the cows that was given time to dally with a bull in summer and last month I got a message from Kathy that MaryLou had given birth to a baby.
Kathy said the delivery was pretty rough and after MaryLou’s calf was born it was having trouble breathing.
Kathy’s husband Russ was able to stabilize the calf and get it breathing and then MaryLou signalled that he should back off. MaryLou began to lick her calf clean and massage it with her tongue to stimulate the newborn’s muscles and circulatory system.
That’s when according to Kathy something highly unusual happened. Garth Brooks, another mother cow who’d just birthed a baby the night before, came up to MaryLou and helped her clean and nurture the calf. Kathy says it is an example of MaryLou’s social nature that she was willing to let another cow help her with her calf.
Kathy sent me a video her husband Russ had made of MaryLou with her calf the day after it was born. You can watch it here.
Kathy and Russ are open to me making a suggestion for a name for MaryLou’s calf. I’d welcome your ideas.
I have received an awful lot of much-appreciated recognition as an author in the last couple of years but having a cow named after me has to be the most unique and delightful tribute of all.