The lovely lady in the preceding picture is Pauline Wayne. She served as Holstein-in-Chief from 1910 to 1913 during the tenure of William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States. The last cow to hold the office, Pauline grazed on the White House lawn and provided milk daily for the first family. The backdrop for her portrait, here, is the former Navy Building, now known as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
I hadn’t intended to write about Pauline today, even though her practical service tweaked my brain on how Washington might solve some of its budget bickering. (And milk products would go nicely with the produce from Michelle Obama’s garden…which, in all honesty, I think is one fantastic hands-on teaching project for kids who don’t know the work involved in raising healthy produce.)
No, the reason this Holstein gets headlines is the feedback from my Haycation blog. Somewhere down the stream of comments came the issue of monikers. “To name or not to name” was not a Shakespearean question but a conscious decision on how emotionally close you chose to get to livestock.
But I do recall one exception from my own childhood. And that is with a humongous Holstein who caused havoc in the milking barn on the Carl and Arlene Thompson farm. She could flash her hind legs faster than Martha Graham or the Rockettes, sending an unwary milker careening (and cussing). She had a vendetta out for those nifty metal devices called “kickers.” My dad solved the problem by giving her four calves to feed at a time.
My mom and brother solved the problem by giving her a name befitting the late ’50s and the background music from KIOA that played during the milking hours.
Here’s to the memory of the bovine BIG BOPPER.