Are you curious yet? Are you really curious? Yes? Well then, you'll just have to keep reading to find out.
Back in the late 80's my boyfriend had finished college and moved to Israel. Not wanting to be separated I made arrangements to spend the year here as well on a junior year abroad program. A year abroad program rather, I was only a sophomore, which is a completely irrelevent detail. Anyway...
Midway through the year my parents came over for a visit. Since they had never been to Israel before we planned a full itinerary. One of the places on our list was the city of Zfat (Safed) in the north of Israel.
To understand this story you have to understand Zfat. Zfat is a small, remote city on a mountaintop in the far north of the country, well-removed from the crush of the big city rat race; its remoteness and elevated location give it a decidedly small town feel. The type of town where if you sneeze in one neighborhood they say bless you in another. Zfat has for hundreds of years been a center for the study of kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, and is home to a number of ancient synagogues. It's a quiet, spiritual sort of place. History literally seeps from the very stones of the Old City, a rabbit's warren of tangled streets and alleys with doorways and staircases to upper story apartments jutting out at wildly improbably angles. Surrounding this small mountaintop city are empty, rocky hills.
Ok, now that we've got that out of the way we can continue with our story. Where were we? Oh yes, Jay and I were showing my parents around Israel.
Our itinerary had us staying overnight in Zfat. My parents decided to soak up some local atmosphere by attending Friday night services at one of the ancient synagogues. I was a bit concerned about their ability to navigate through the Old City, so I decided to walk them over.
I escorted them to the synagogue and then headed back to the hotel. I hadn't gone more than a few blocks when I turned a corner to find myself face to face with a big, giant COW! Right there in the middle of the Old City!
I stopped in my tracks.
I don't know how many of you are country folks, but I most certainly am not. I had never come face to face with a cow before, and let me tell you those things are HUGE. I was terrified, sure that it was going to stampede me. I'd wind up dead in that alley, gored to death by a runaway cow.
I stood there shaking as I evaluated my options. I had to get past the cow to get back to my hotel, but there was absolutely no way I was going to get up close and personal with that beast.
It looked at me and lowered it's head. My inner dialogue went into hyperdrive.
Oh god, it's going to stampede. Isn't that what they do right before they stampede? I'm dead, that's it, I'm dead. It's going to stampede me! Help!
Hold on. Wait! There are stairs behind me! Cows can't climb stairs, can they? I've never seen a cow climb stairs! I'm sure they can't climb stairs! They can't climb stairs, can they?
I quickly decided I had no other options and I dashed up a rickety metal stairway. I stood on that stairway for a good 15 minutes waiting for that cow to decide to move along. It wouldn't budge. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, it turned a little. It still hadn't left, but at least it wasn't still looking at me like I was dinner. I gathered up my courage and what was left of my wits, raced down the stairs and made a mad dash around the corner! Whew! Safe! I'd made it. I wasn't going to be the main course in a cow buffet after all.
I ran all the way back to the hotel and collapsed on the bed, gasping for breath and scaring the daylights out of my boyfriend. I finally recovered enough to tell him of my brilliant escape, only to have him dissolve into utter hysterics! I thought he was going to choke he was laughing so hard. Here I thought I'd get sympathy and understanding, or at the very least a cup of tea and a "there, there dear" only to have him laugh in my face! Not only did he feel it necessary to point out that 1) cows eat grass, and 2) one cow cannot stampede, HE DIDN'T EVEN BELIEVE ME THAT I'D SEEN A COW!!! He had the nerve to insinuate that perhaps it was a dog, or maybe even a large cat, or perhaps just a child's tricycle left in the alley, because of course cows simply do not wander the streets of Zfat, not even in the Old City. To add insult to injury when my parents returned and heard my sorry tale they too collapsed in a fit of uncontrollable laughter, refusing to acknowledge even the mere possibility that a cow grazing on the nearby hillside had wandered into the city and blocked my way.
It's been 19 years since I was
You believe me though, don't you?
This story has been submitted to This Eclectic Life's This Post Blows My Dress Up! contest, on the theme "scared silly", because if a freak run-in with a ferocious girl-eating cow wouldn't scare you silly I don't know what would.
Psst... It won! Thank you very much to Damien of Postcards from the Funny Farm for choosing it and of course to Shelly for having such a fun contest.
Be sure to check out the other entries - they were fantastic! I'm really flattered to have mine chosen with such steep competition.
KatelynJane’s Notebook Scared Silly
SusieJ entered Definitely something foul going on over there…from her archives.
Crystal at Song Of My Soul entered from her archives “Hey, at least I can laugh at myself, right?”
Marcia, at Tumbled Words “The mask, three prompts combined.”
Jessica at Life As I See It It’s Here
Penelope At Cafe at the End of the Universe “The Bathtub Below.”
Cyn at Rage Against The Cliche “The Tears of the Phoenix.”
Amy Palko at Lives Less Ordinary “Scare Silly By The Fairies.”
Cindee at CiNdEe’s GaRdEn “How I Scared My Daughter Silly.”
The Wandering Author “Wake Up, Little Susie.”