Charge of Abandonment

Published 11:54 am Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I caught her out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t want to stare and cause unwanted attention but rather to just observe from a distance.

We had known each other for years, though few words had been exchanged. I guess she knew her place and I knew mine. Frankly, I had no previous knowledge of any action on her part to make me question her role as a mother. Today, she seemed calm and at ease, walking at a casual pace while eating. Actually it seemed to be more snacking than eating, as the interval between bites was extended. Occasionally, she would glance about as if to make eye contact with someone, at which times I would cast a downward glance so as to appear to engage my attentions elsewhere. But all the while, I was watching.

Now here is the disturbing part. I knew she had a child. An infant at that! (You know such things in a small community). But, much to my dismay, she appeared to be unconcerned and nonchalant about the matter. A mother—if I may attribute such a title to her—at that! The usual thoughts crossed my mind of which I am sure the reader is acquainted.

Should I get involved? Is it any of my business? What if I have misjudged the situation? Should I intervene? Call the authorities? Give it additional time? Go about my way? The dilemma enveloped my emotions as I once again stole a glance and noticed no change in her demeanor.

Gathering my courage, I decided to confront the situation with my own wits. Come what may, I at least could say I had addressed the situation with a clear conscience. With a nervous gait, I walked in her direction while improvising some verbal plan to address her directly as to her inadequacies. As I neared, she tensed as if preparing for battle. So did I. Then, much to my dismay, a mere 10 yards from my adversary, I looked to her right at ground level and noticed my monumental misjudgment.

That mother cow knew where her baby calf was all along

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is