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the happy little cow

Mostly what I remember about my high school years  was that I didn’t have the faintest idea what was going on in class. No idea in algebra, which I believe I had three times, no clue in earth science.  I was marginally more clued in Mechanical Drawing, and I did know what was going on English class. This is what I remember from Freshman English.

I was chewing gum. The boy next to me was my next door neighbor. He had hardly spoken to me since we were best friends at the age of 5 and sailed  leaf boats in the gutter together. The English teacher was talking about Pippi Longstocking.  She caught my jaw moving.

“ You spit that gum out. You’re over there chewing  your cud like a happy little cow.”

David (my neighbor)  looked at me completely deadpan.  “Are you a happy little cow? Are you really a happy little cow?”   His first words to me since we were five. The last  until our twentieth reunion.

I have taught all my classes how to say laeta parva vacca sum.    I am a happy little cow. It commemorates that moment in English.

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