The Idle American

A FEW TEXAS AGGIES take umbrage at what most others consider jokes. This minority group feels like the world “takes fun-poking way too far!” A great majority of Aggies, though, laugh with the rest, thankful for a double blessing publicity and laughter. Imagine what would happen if these two groups, and even others who are graduates of other schools yes, even the University of Texas (gasp) line up of one accord in response to an “Aggie situation.” We may be about to find out. Those of us ready to “sign on” are not sure if this is a bonafide “let’s-get-to-the-bottom-of-this” story, or if the Aggies are on the “cutting edge of spin.” They may turn out to be out in front of the rest on the fund-raising idea of the century! This is no New York Times deal; it is NOT fabrication. As my old daddy used to say, “It was stated in the newspaper,” meaning it was ready for stone-chiseling. There it was, June 2, in the Dallas Morning News about the A&M dairy herd, and the dairy itself, being phased out. Talk about your unsacred cows! Had this article appeared a couple of months ago, it would have been categorized as an “April Fool’s Joke.” If it’s not a joke, it’s rotten “to the corps”‘and to the cows as well. Laura Hamilton, one of a handful of dairy science majors remaining, is not optimistic. She bottle-fed calves at the dairy during the spring, and has observed, “What’s next to go’ The ‘A’ in Texas A&M'” * * * WHATZIS’ Texas A&M without cows’ For many years, uncountable folks referred to A&M as “The Cow College” (back in the days when colleges out-numbered universities….) Blaming lower state funding and dwindling enrollment, A&M officials emphasized that they’re “not closing down the dairy program,” just, ahem, pulling the plug on dairy cows. They are now but a small herd of Holsteins, Jerseys and a Brown Swiss or two’a mere remnant of earlier herds that provided milk for the entire university over several decades. These less-fortunate cows, many with bloodlines going back to the school’s opening year of 1886 when cows were “herded” to the campus, now are to be shipped out to destinations unknown. * * * MEANWHILE, IN AUSTIN, Bevo, the latest longhorn mascot at UT, perked up his ears, thinking, “Those cows give at least SOME milk, and surely they don’t eat THAT MUCH hay. If they are liabilities to a budget, what am I'” He may be squirming, just like Reveille, the A&M collie referred to as “First Lady” by the corps. On the cold ledger of life, she doesn’t earn her keep. Are Aggie cows, Reveille and Bevo suddenly chopped liver’ When the University of Georgia announced plans recently to reduce its 150-head herd to about 50, two dozen students took to the streets wearing cow costumes to protest. Yikes! What if they are joined by the Exxon/Mobil protestors who spent time in Dallas recently, parading about in tiger uniforms’ This could become a real zoo deal! * * * CRY NOT’at least not yet’for ill-fated A&M cows. There may just be the happiest of endings to this saga. My prediction’ Aggie faithful are not going to take this issue or watching football games’sitting down! Generations of Aggies have been known to take care of their own, and these cows (the ones who put the milk in their mugs hoisted in one accord) are clearly theirs! Cash will come pouring in from Aggies around the world to “save the cows.” In a few months, this small herd, now on scruffy Billy Goat Hill, will be re-located to Angora Knoll. No doubt, they soon will be better endowed. (Their care, I mean….) They just may wind up in the lap of luxury, no longer giving thought to moon-jumping. If they want moons, they’ll have them delivered. There will be facials and milk baths. Cosmetic surgeries will come to them. They’ll make appointments for “hooficures.” They will luxuriate in air-conditioned stalls, order plasma TV’s, etc. And, if they want to go some place, they can just call up the University of North Texas, where a recent donor gave a million dollars to buy a 15-passenger van, so UNT folks could “travel in style.” It has all the amenities cows of class require. Those Aggie cows will think they have died and gone to India. Look for second-tier Aggie musters to show up around the world, and “Save the Cows” T-shirts, websites, demonstrations, etc. Expect Aggie memorabilia sales to break records. * * * ONLY TIME will tell if A&M’s decision holds. Petitions are being circulated; letters are being written. In the 80’s, Texas and Texas Tech abolished their dairy centers, so too have Colorado State and New Mexico State. Meanwhile, dairies at Tarleton State and A&M-Commerce are “holding on,” providing their majors with “hands on” dairy experiences. (Tarleton is located in Stephenville, the dairy capital of Texas.) A&M aficionados (and there are many) may have to add to the list of things they can’t believe. Thousands come to the campus each year, asking for a scoop of the delectable “French Silk” ice cream, made from milk their very own cows contributed to the cafeteria. Red-faced Aggies now will recommend a low-fat version, made from something else, etc., and the question will fade away into oblivion. * * * SO, IF this turns out to be a “world class ruse,” they will gather so much money that not only the cows, but various other animals (plus Aggies themselves) will be raised to the next level. Aggies around the world will have yet another reason to feel good about themselves. If that’s the case, I “got milk” in my mug to hoist skyward in a tribute to fund-raising brilliance. * * * ONE SERIOUS thought: A while back, I was on the A&M campus to commit a speech at a formal dinner. Before going inside, I watched the ROTC retiring the colors, right at sunset. Their sabers and boots glistened; the procedure was a work of art. Despite being in a tuxedo, I felt way underdressed, and nearly speechless. * * * Dr. Don Newbury, Chancellor of Howard Payne University, and his wife now reside in Burleson, Texas, where he is a speaker/author/columnist. His column appears in several dozen Texas newspapers. He has lined up on the side of cows since he thought “moo” was their first name. Information concerning Dr. Newbury is available on his website, www., by e-mail, or by phone: 817-447-3872.

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