Cows and airplanes

Every time I travel I'm reminded of working cattle. That is kind of a generic term for walking cows, steers, heifers or bulls through an alleyway that leads to a tight place to hold the individual animal still so we can administer vaccine, treat illness, take a weight or simply check them over.

The goal is for the cattle to walk calmly into the holding area and then for them to be unafraid and willing to walk one by one up the alleyway.

As I stand in the group at a gate in the airport waiting to board a plane that will take me home, I feel just like a cow who has done this many times before!

Sometimes cattle who haven't been through the working area before may balk or get excited. If a cow had a bad experience in the alleyway or chute when they are younger, they may be irrationally afraid and more difficult and even dangerous to work with. That is just like people! I see people who rarely fly get all excited and nervous about their seat assignment or a flight delay. There are other more seasoned travelers who can take it all in stride and doesn't get upset.

As we all stand to hear our boarding group called, I can almost hear the cowboys calling to the cows, "c'mon gals, you know what to do! Head on up there!" At least that is how I talk to my cows!

My kids laugh at me when I talk about giving the calves a "good experience" the first time they walk through the alleyway. I believe they remember that and are less afraid and more willing to do it next time.

People, too, remember if they had a "bad experience" on a plane! And they are very willing to share those horror stories to anyone who will listen!

But today, we all seemed to be in a good mood and boarding the plane went well. I am on my way home from a speaking gig in Kentucky and even though I had a great time, I'm anxious to be home! So I was one of the "calm cows" who readily boarded the plane and headed to my place quietly! I'm ready to be back in Kansas.

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