The Time Stupid Cousin Stanley Almost Got Me Gored By A Crazed Bull While Visiting Abraham Lincoln's Cabin In New Salem

Yeah, so when I was about 7 or 9, my cousin Stanley came to visit us from California. He was about 30 and wore coke-bottle glasses and a backpack most of the time. Even inside the house. I'm pretty sure he was some kind of hippie. He didn't have long hair or anything, but there was just something about Cousin Stanley that screamed "I color outside the lines", if you know what I mean. He wore shorts with striped tube socks pulled up to his knees and he was fairly socially innept. And that's coming from someone who is remembering this from a 6 year old's perspective. Or 8. Whatever.

Oh, and he also wore his Minolta camera around his neck a lot, and the camera strap was embroidered with flowers and stuff. Here's my best recollection of Cousin Stanley:


So anyway, Cousin Stanley was my grandma Josephine's nephew and he stayed at their house during his visit that summer. My grandparents, wanting to show Stanley some of what Illinois had to offer, drove him down to New Salem, which is where Abraham Lincoln lived for about 6 years, if you didn't already know. I must have been visiting my grandparents that week, because I was there too, along with both of my Aunts.

When we got there, we all split up for some reason, and I was assigned to Cousin Stanley's care. As he and I walked through the villiage, he began snapping photos of everything. The log cabin, the schoolhouse, the blacksmith shop and both general stores. I could tell he didn't get out much.

Then he saw the covered wagon.

It was behind a split-rail fence and there was no gate or entrance into this area. There might even have been a sign that said something like, "Stay Out! Danger! We Mean It!", but that didn't deter Cousin Stanley. This was an opportunity for a PHOTO OP! So Cousin Stanley glanced around quickly and, seeing nobody looking, he quickly scooped me up and deposited me on the other side of the fence. I recall telling Cousin Stanley that I didn't want to be inside the fence, but he shushed me. "Go stand by that covered wagon!" he said excitedly, readying his Minolta. I looked around uncertainly but did as I was told because I was a child and that's what young children do. They do as they're told. I wandered cautiously toward the covered wagon and I remember thinking that it was very strange that nobody else had thought to climb the fence so they could get a better view of the covered wagon.

That's because there was a bull in the fenced-in area:

That's right. A large, black, horned, pissed-off and apparently very territorial BULL. In a closed space. With me. A child. Who ran very slowly. And tended to freeze when panicked. And who was wearing her favorite red cape. Ok, I made up that last part about the cape. But still.

 The bull was about 20 feet from me and as we made eye contact he started pawing the ground and snorting. Can I just say that I have never been so EFFING SCARED SH*TLESS IN MY ENTIRE LIFE?????  I very softly said, "Cousin Staaaaanleeeeyyy.....??"  Cousin Stanly, in the meantime, was furiously snapping pictures of the standoff between the bull and me. Then I heard my grandmother shouting at me, "RUN!! RUN NOW!!!!"

That did it. I unfroze and sprinted toward my grandma, gasping and crying at the same time, with the bull in hot pursuit. I made it to the fence and someone picked me up, I'm not sure who. What I do know is that my grandma was more pissed than I'd ever seen her, even more pissed than when I killed the Easter Bunny AND her baby chicks combined, and she gave Cousin Stanley a verbal beating. Then he lost his childcare privileges and I stayed with my grandparents for the rest of the time. I refused to speak to him or look at him for the rest of his visit.

And that's how I remember stupid Cousin Stanley.