Denis Lehane: Red alert at marts threatens holiday

I had to get my missus to top my egg on Friday morning, so distraught was I at the news I was reading from the paper.
Denis Lehane: Red alert at marts threatens holiday

Anyhow, she topped my egg as best she could, and then went on to butter my toast.

Yerra, I was in no condition to work the knife, with my hands trembling while still gripped to the newspaper.

With tears streaming down from my eyes, how I eventually managed to eat my breakfast was a miracle in itself.

My distress was caused by the news emanating from Co Louth of a suspect mad cow being discovered. This couldn’t have come at a worse time for me. The cow from Co Louth could well be the ruination of my summer holidays.

You see, this summer, I had great plans for taking the whole family away for a nice long break. Disneyland Paris had been chosen as the perfect destination by the children, but alas, with my budget unable to stretch as far as France, Ballybunion in north Kerry was eventually agreed on as the ideal holiday spot.

Anyway, to provide the funds to whisk my family away for a fun filled week in Ballybunion, come July, I had this Angus heifer lined up to sell at the mart.

I had purchased her as a calf last year, despite her having teeth like comedian Ken Dodd. How her teeth got twisted out of shape, I never discovered.

All I knew is when she entered the ring, her funny smile made her a laughing stock and — never one to look a gift horse in the mouth — I snapped her up for the princely sum of 15.

You see, in spite of her twisted molars, I was convinced she would not only survive, but thrive. And sure enough, she did.

She slurped her milk replacer, she sloppily ate her ration and, when eventually she went to grass, I felt that my calf with the funny mouth could make a tidy sum in a years time. It was then that I swore I’d use every penny made from her to give my family a much deserved, and long overdue, summer holiday.

And while the calf with the goofy smile thrived like no other, one side effect of her crooked teeth was her tendency to foam at the mouth when chewing the cud. She couldn’t help herself.

And this is where my trouble lies. You see, with BSE back on the brain, my foaming heifer would only have to touch down at a mart these days, and she would become a prime suspect for BSE, or maybe even rabies.

And ’twould be no good me explaining the truth of the thing. Everyone is on red alert now. Everyone is a potential suspect. My drooling heifer and myself would be in chains, in no time.

Yerra, last week I felt the media went completely overboard when reporting on the poor cow from Co Louth. Could they not have waited until the tests were complete before going bananas?

Even the Taoiseach couldn’t help himself, saying that he was, ‘Disappointed, to say the least.’ Why was he disappointed? Sure, he didn’t own the cow!

In the name of God, a small bit of sanity last week would have gone a long way in calming things down.

Alas, as it stands, with the panic over the suspected mad cow not going away, I am unable to move on my heifer with her crazy teeth. And so as a result, my dream holiday to glorious Ballybunion has been thrown into utter disarray.

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