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  • Karen S. Clymer

OLE BLACKIE’S BELL, Family Treasure

What do you see in the picture? Perhaps, just an old worn cowbell hanging on a homemade horseshoe hanger? However, to my husband, George, this old cowbell is a priceless treasure that was worn by the family milk cow, Ole Blackie. What he ‘sees’ are treasured memories from his childhood.

We all have them, priceless treasures that to others appear to be worn out junk that is fit for nothing but the garbage dump, but in our heart, they occupy a special place and oftentimes, are featured on a wall or in a display case for all to see.

George tells how Ole Blackie, the bell cow, would lead the herd into a shinnery oak thicket to hide when she knew it was time for him to call her and the herd in for milking. She would stand as still as could be, thus keeping the bell silent. Calling out to the herd was to no avail, since they only followed Ole Blackie’s lead and she wasn’t moving. Since he couldn’t see them nor hear Ole Blackie’s telltale bell to give away their hiding place, there was nothing left to do, but start searching. That is, until, a swarm of flies would happen to launch an attack on Ole Blackie. So much for standing still -- there was no way a bell cow under siege by a swarm of flies could resist shaking her head and ringing the bell. Game over, Ole Blackie and her herd were easily discovered and headed for home.

And, the clapper, if you look closely, you can see, is definitely not the original. When it broke off, his dad did what most farmers did – he got some baling wire and an old cog and 'crafted' a makeshift clapper and just like that -- Ole Blackie’s bell was as good as new.

Now, take a look around your place and reflect as you rediscover some family treasures you may have forgotten or misplaced. Think of the wealth of memories they will bring. Then, don’t forget to share those memories with those near and dear and beyond. I dare say, you will be delighted you did.

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