Counting cows

To the editor:

Re: “Are we there yet?” by Bill Zuck (column, July 17):

Columnist Bill Zuck writes about the diversions he took on long car trips when he was a child and now with his daughter to alleviate boredom on long car trips.

It could have been me and my siblings 90 years ago in the early 1930s, but we weren’t counting port-a-johns, RVs or car license plates.

For us, it was counting the cows, horses and grindstones we saw as we lumbered through the countryside in our 1931 high-wheel boxy Studebaker touring car at about 30 or 35 mph. Our mother would try to keep her four children from squabbling by organizing games. Our favorite was “Counting Cows.”

Back then small farms were everywhere, wherever the land was suitable for agriculture. There were poultry, vegetable and just general farms with a little of everything, but the dairy farms were the ones we were most interested in.

After pairing off into two teams, one counting cows on the left side of the road and the other on the right, we would see who could count the most cows.

Cows counted for one point, horses five and grindstones 50 points.

Whoever scored 100 first, won. Before chainsaws replaced axes, many farmers had a grindstone out in the barnyard for sharpening their axe.

It has been a long while since I have seen cows out to pasture on a car trip along the type of back roads we had to travel over before the days of interstate highways.

Today, cows are seldom seen out to pasture along any road, interstate, or anywhere for that matter. And when is the last time you saw a grindstone or an axe sitting out in a barnyard?

A chainsaw maybe, but an axe and a grindstone?

Otis Dyer


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