The Farmer’s Wife
Betty walked past the paddock where the last cow’s corpse still lay, black, bloated and fly-covered in the summer heat. She’d been a good cow, Betty’s favorite. Her gentle expression and sense of curiosity had endeared her to the whole family. That’s why she lasted this long. But the drought took her in the end.
If she wanted to live in a desert, Betty thought, she’d have moved to Mexico. Years ago in school she’d read about the Saharan sirocco, a sand storm that blew from the desert to the Mediterranean. She never thought she’d see such a thing.
And yet, just the day before, she had watched as the horizon turned completely opaque. The wall of dust and sand drove down Route 25 as Betty frantically stuffed towels under the door and around the windows and screamed to the kids to get inside and cover their faces.
She knew they would lose the farm. No crops had survived the heat and drought. They had watched the cows and sheep die, slowly starving and withering horribly away. Bobby said it was harder on the kids, but how could it be? She and Bobby had a responsibility to those animals. She felt like she’d let them down. Indeed, she had let them down. The whole family would have nightmares for the rest of their lives, Betty thought.
She gazed off to the north, poor dead Bossie behind her and out of sight. Look at those clouds. Those are the devil’s clouds, she thought. Too small and light and fluffy to hold any rain. They wouldn’t even provide shade. She and Bobby were good Christians, what had they done to deserve these devil clouds?
Something had to change, she thought, or they’d die on this farm like the cow.