Molly and I kicked off the Summer of Karen with a campfire, some toasty marshmallows, a couple of cute kids and a surprise visit from a brand new baby cow.
Today, the cow is thriving, but our summer’s namesake could use some prayers.
Karen, our spunky college friend, spent a couple of precious years battling ovarian cancer. When she finally received a clean bill of health, we headed up to our cabin to celebrate. My husband deemed it the Summer of Karen and we spent the weekend toasting. We raised our plastic cups in the Marquette fashion, we warmed our toes against a roaring outdoor fire and we slapped together S’mores for the sweet children who joined us.
Because it was too cold the next morning to float down the river like we’d planned, we headed over to a neighboring farm where the Wussow family kindly gave us a tour of their barn.
Out of the corner of Karen’s small son Charlie’s eye, he spotted a miracle during that barn tour and we all stopped to watch as a bored cow gave birth to a tiny calf. Such an affirmation of life on a weekend that celebrated a fierce battle to live it thrilled me.
Periodically last summer, we stopped in to check on the progress of the calf. I worried initially because the little fellow on whom I’d burdened with so much symbolism seemed like he struggled to thrive.
Little by little, though, the tiny cow grew. Now, at nine months old, he weighs 500 pounds and is the largest cow in the herd.
Our friend Karen heads into surgery today to have a stubborn lymph node removed. While it’s not a new cancer, this node is lodged precariously on her aorta. We will be waiting anxiously for updates and praying hard.
Because we have a date to keep this May when we kick off the Summer of Karen Round Two. There’s a big old cow waiting with a message he didn’t even know he was sending: L’Chaim!