Together, We Can Do Anything

Together, We Can Do Anything

From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul

Together, We Can Do Anything

Sticking together as a family has always been important to my sisters, my mom and me—especially after my dad left us. I guess he didn’t feel the same way about us as we did about him, and he went off to start a whole new family.

I didn’t always want to talk to my mom about my feelings, because she had her own problems taking care of our ranch without my dad around. I was old enough to help out and we all pitched in, but it was still hard on her. I talked to my older sister, Alana, while we worked—and I talked to the Sisters B.

That’s what we called our six cows. All of their names started with a B. They were definitely part of the family. I got my first calf when she was three days old. We bottle-fed her and named her Belle. She grew into a beautiful cow who gave birth to two other cows, Brandy and Betsey, and was grandmother to Bootsie. I gave Bootsie to my little sister, Adena. Then I got one other cow that I gave to my older sister, Alana. We named her Blue, and Blue had a calf named Bailey.

All six of the Sisters B hung out and stayed close to each other all of the time. It was clear to us that they loved each other. And we loved them, too. We showed them at local 4H shows and took really good care of them.

When my dad left, he moved down the street from us. We would see him every day, driving down the street in his truck or working in his yard. He never visited us and had a new family to keep him busy. Finally, it was just too painful for all of us, especially my mom. We decided to sell our home and move.

We had to sell all the animals on our ranch, and we wanted to sell the Sisters B together. They were family, in more ways than one. We wanted them to go to someone who would love them like we did, and be willing to keep them together. We put an ad in the paper.

We thought it was an answer to our hopes when a man called and told us he wanted to buy our cows for breeding. He told my mom that he could only pay eighteen hundred dollars for all of them, but that he had other cows, lots of pasture and a large barn.

That afternoon, my mom, my sisters and I went to his place. It looked really nice, and we were happy that we had found the right home for the Sisters B. He looked right at my sister, Adena, and told her that she could visit Bootsie anytime and that he would take special care of her. My mom told him once again that we would only sell the cows to him if he would not sell the cows separately or kill them for meat, and he promised us that he would not.

The next day it was my job to help put the Sisters B in the trailer for delivery to their new owner. They trusted us, and wanted to please us so much that they went right into the trailer without even a fuss. My sisters both had tears on their faces and I could feel tears stinging my eyes, too. But I convinced myself that the Sisters B would be better off in their new home—and besides, they couldn’t go with us when we moved.

A week later, while we were having our moving sale, one of our neighbors came up to my mom and told her that she had almost bought my “big red cow” before the cow went to auction. My mom said she had to be mistaken and asked who was selling the cow. When our neighbor told us who it was, I felt sick. We had trusted him, and just a week later he was selling Belle away from her baby and from the rest of her family. He had lied to us.

My mom piled us in the car and we drove to his house. When he answered the door, my mom told him what the neighbor had said and he shut the door right in our faces. My sisters were really crying now, and my mom was begging him to tell us where the Sisters B were, and to sell them back to us. Mom was crying too, but he wouldn’t open the door.

I have never seen my mother so determined in my life. She told us she was going to find out where the cows were. She started calling a lot of auctions and finally found one that had a record of our cows, and told us that the cows would be auctioned off the next morning at 8:00.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking, How could someone do something like this? Finally, the sun started to come up and we were on our way. We arrived at the auction at 7:00 in the morning.

When we got there, we found the cows in a pen. They looked pretty bad. They had cuts all over them and looked thin, but we were just thankful that they were still alive. Belle saw us first, and came right up to where we were standing. They were just as glad to see us as we were to see them. Just then a man came by who was there to buy stock, and he said it would cost us about three thousand dollars to buy our cows. I couldn’t believe it! That’s why we’d been deceived: the man who bought the cows from us had just wanted to make a profit.

I suggested to my mom and sisters that we get busy praying. We didn’t know what else to do; we sure didn’t have three thousand dollars to buy back our cows, and we didn’t even know how to bid at an auction. We prayed really hard for God to show us the way.

Then Alana had an idea. She had brought some pictures of the Sisters B with her from our showing at the county fair. Every time someone arrived at the auction, she would hurry over to them, show our photos and share our story. The man who had bought the Sisters B from us was watching Alana, and when he realized that people were talking about him, and what he had done, he got all red in the face and left in a hurry. Most of the men that Alana talked to said that they wouldn’t bid on our cows when they came out for auction, and that’s when we got excited. Maybe we did have a chance, after all!

We waited until almost 11:00 before we saw the first of our cows. It was Brandy. Because we didn’t understand the bidding process well, Alana didn’t hold her number up fast enough and the men bidding on Brandy didn’t see Alana. The price went up too high and we lost her. But then we understood how it worked.

Every time one of our cows would come into the ring, Alana would raise her number, and no one would bid on the cow. At one point the auctioneer stopped the whole auction and yelled that this had better stop, but everyone ignored him. Alana kept holding up her number, and the men resisted bidding on our cows. By 5:00, we had bought back all of the cows, except for Brandy, for twenty-two hundred dollars. Belle, her mother, kept mooing for her baby, and we were all sad to lose her. Mom used the eighteen hundred dollars we had from selling the cows, and we had to use our moving-sale money to make up the difference, but we had done it. We had them back!

Some friends of ours gave the Sisters B a new home. At first, we didn’t get any money for them, but money wasn’t as important to us as what could have happened to our cows. Recently, our friends sent us fifteen hundred dollars for the cows. After all we had sacrificed, it was a really nice surprise.

Family needs to love and protect family, and they were our family. Now when we go to visit them, they are always together—just like my mom, my sisters and me.

What happened to us was hard, but we survived and we learned a lot. Although there are dishonest people in the world, there are also many kind people who are willing to help you, even if they don’t know you. But the best part is that we did it together. Together, we can do anything.

Jarod Larson, sixteen

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