You know how you see those post cards of an Irish traffic jam, and they’ve got a bunch of cows or sheep wandering down a country road. Well, I came upon one of those today.
It happens frequently enough around here, but this one was on the main road to Nenagh. I came around a corner and there were twenty cows walking back to their field after being milked. I had no trouble stopping before getting near the animals, and I began edging the car through the herd. I had probably passed three cows when I suddenly heard screeching tires behind me.
There in my rearview mirror, I saw a blue hatchback barreling toward my bumper. There was a fair amount of distance between us, but this driver was going really fast. Every muscle in my body tightened up waiting for impact.
Suddenly, at the last possible second, the driver pulled into the other lane. His car slid right beside mine dragging gravel the entire way. The car came to rest about three feet in front of me…and about three inches from one of the cows.
I was still clenching the steering wheel when the driver shifted his shoulders from their forward position, and pulled his car in front of me and began dodging his way around the cows.
Knowing that these animals wouldn’t be traveling far, I opted to tool along at a speed only slightly faster than they were walking. I was right. Just around the next corner, a very old man was standing in front of his Jeep with its flashers on, and the cows were veering right in to the open gate.
The fella was “old Irish.” Well, old Irish with a Jeep…and probably a mobile phone. He wore a dark, thick sweater that hung off his shoulders and propped himself up with a stick.
His eyes were very watery and he rocked back and forth a bit. As I edged passed the last few cows, he was vigorously gesturing for me that is was safe for me to pass. I seemed to be a bit more concerned about the cattle than he was.
On my way back up the mountain, there were no signs of any cow or car casualties on the road.