The Bull, the Apple Tree and Me

I would like to point out that babysitting is anything but boring. You never know what is going to come up, and you have to constantly adapt to situations.  Sometimes you end up babysitting a child who really likes to get the best of you and that is what I love: the challenge.

Steven was just such a child.  The family had a difficult time keeping babysitters, and I quickly figured out why when he locked me out of the house.  I really walked into that one.  I knew that each time I babysat it would be me or him, and I would have to stay one step ahead the entire time.

Did I mention he had a little brother and a sister?  Probably not, because they are not the ones I had to stay on top of the entire time.

Their house was at the top of a hill, with absolutely no neighbors anywhere you could see.  One day Steven very sweetly suggested that we go for a walk.  It sounded like fun so we donned shoes and out we went.  There are not a lot of places you can go on the top of a hill, unless it is winter and you have a sled.  But it was summer, so the only place to go was to walk around the fence of a cow pasture.

In the middle of the pasture was a beautiful apple tree, sparkling in their reflection of the sunlight.  I knew what Eve must have felt in the garden of Eden: we had to have an apple. Steven assured me that it was a great idea, which should have made the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up, but my trouble radar was sadly not working that day. I smartly asked about the cows coming back, but Steven assured me that they were in the barn for the rest of the evening.

So it was a go.  I helped the kids over and through the fence.  We walked slowly toward the day, enjoying the walk and thinking about how good the apples would taste. I think I was hearing an aria on the breeze.

I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.  I looked over and saw a bull charging at us.  I was holding the toddler’s hand and we were exactly halfway between the fence and the tree.  There was no way I was going to make it with three kids over the fence in time.  My mind whirred with searches for a survival plan with the least amount of casualties.

I yelled for Christine, the oldest and most responsible, to grab the toddler with one hand and Steven with the other, and get them over the fence.  Which she courageously did.  I find kids amazingly obedient when their lives are at stake, which I tucked as a tool into my babysitting toolbox.

That left me and the bull.  I couldn’t let him go after the kids (after all, who would want me to babysit if I allowed three of my charges to die by a charging bull). So I started waving my arms and jumping up and down to get the bull to come after me, which he quite happily did.

With that I went running toward the apple tree, the bull right behind.  I got to the tree and scampered up it with amazing agility and quickness, an ability that only a charging bull can give you.  Unfortunately the tree wasn’t very big, so even though I was above him, I couldn’t keep my feet from dangling.  He accepted this as a challenge and tried to find a way to get to them.

Meanwhile, Christine had gotten the kids over the fence, and they were having a grand time watching all of this.  Steven was jumping out of his skin as he jumped up and down yelling about calling the fire department.

We lived in a small town, and I could just see the newspaper’s front page story the next day: Lisa Treed by Bull, article page 2. My reputation would be shot and I would never live it down.  I could just see the firefighters standing around, laughing, and taking pictures.

I came up with every threat of death I could think of to keep Steven there where there was no phone.  I sat in the tree, picking up my dangling feet every time the bull tried to get them, and trying to keep my eyes on the kids to make sure they didn’t go for a phone.

Eventually the bull got tired of the game and went back to his wives. I waited until he disappeared before getting out of the tree and hightailing it back to the fence.  Steven complained about not having an apple, but I assured him that the entertainment I had provided was much better than having an apple.  He completely agreed, and then I had to think up more threats of death to keep him from telling his parents.

Believe it or not, this is a true story and I really learned my lesson: If Adam and Eve needed to leave the apple alone, so should I. But that would have made the day much more boring.