I worked for a Tow Boat company for many years. My main job was supporting the boats with keeping the engines working, driving people and supplies to the boats and general maintenance around the shop. One time while driving home from Corpus Christi, Texas after repairing a main engine on one of the tugboats I was out in the middle of nowhere, not too far from Bay City, Texas. The night was dark and moonless. I was driving the shop truck which is a dually with a flatbed.

The road was straight and flat. There was car about a ½ mile ahead of me, I could see his taillights clearly. Suddenly, the taillights moved erratically. I could not figure out why he did that. He then stopped. Then out of nowhere, I saw a black cow in my headlights laying in the road just in time for me to swerve to the left, but I still hit it. The cow was trying to get back on its feet and my bumper hit its head. By the time I came to a stop I noticed the car that was in front of me was stopped on the other side of the road about 50 yards away. I looked around for a flashlight inside the truck and found one behind the seat. I ran over to the car to see if they were ok. The car was a small compact, the windshield was broken, and the roof was sort of flat, they had gone under the cow. When I got to the car the guy that was driving said his wife is pregnant and needs to get to the hospital. Since this was before cell phones, the only thing I could think to do is use the marine radio in the truck to get the police and ambulance out here. After convincing the marine operator that I needed assistance she called the State Police who dispatched one to us. It was not long before I saw the flashing lights in the distance, the police stopped in the middle of the road near the car. He asked me to move my truck in front of the dead cow to shine the headlights down the road in the direction from where I came. After I got the truck positioned, I took time to look at the front of the work truck. Fortunately, the truck had a shipyard built bumper made of channel iron and pipe. The channel iron was bent in about an inch on the passenger side of the truck where it impacted the cow. The ambulance finally showed up to help the lady and her husband get to the nearest hospital.

The thing I remember most about the State Trooper was how friendly and easy going he was. He said he knew who the cow probably belonged to and that he was later going to look for a break in the fence and for other cows that may have wondered out. The Trooper asked me if I had any chains on the truck, I told him I probably did, but would have to look around. He said if I did, would I pull the dead cow off the road. I did find a chain in one of the toolboxes, the Trooper wrapped the chain around the cow’s neck while I connected the other end to the trailer hitch. I was glad the truck I was driving had dually wheels and a decent size engine, otherwise I don’t think a standard pick-up truck could have pulled that cow off the highway.

After being stopped for about two hours, I was finally on my way home again. I arrived home in the early morning hours. I woke up later than I normally did and headed to the shop. I got to the shop just before lunch. I could tell my boss; Bruce Stapp was not happy since I showed up late. I said that I did not get home until 5:00 am. He asked why it took me so long to get home from Corpus Christi, I told him I hit a cow. I don’t think he believed me at first so when I showed him the front bumper of the truck, he started to walk away, then turned back to tell me to heat the bumper up with a cutting torch and pull the bumper back straight. I guess that was the only concern I was going to get, so I took it.

Thinking back to the days of working with the tow boat company, I remember a lot of hard times and fun times. It is interesting how today; it is mostly the fun times I recall clearly. I guess that is a good thing. I consider my years of working in the shipyards as my boot camp for life.