in 1919 my grandpa installed cow drinking

cups in the round barn they were set between

every two cows making the cost $2.50 a cow

before they'd drunk only from the barnyard

tank and spring brook he wrote an unsolicited

(I think) letter to the james cup company giving

figures for how much more milk his herd was

giving by drinking freely he said that in stormy

or icy weather they were reluctant to go out

and production would fall off he figures he's

covered the cost of the cups in sixty days –

"With my herd managed under the one rule,

'keep the cows happy,' we have very slight

fluctuations due to changes in weather or

feeding conditions" – us kids growing up

often played in the empty barn one sport was

to press down the cow-nose shaped metal grid

(as the cow would do) fill each cup with water

in readiness for its owner's return to her stall

cow cups made cows happy grampa happy

us kids happy though I don't think we ever

buried our noses in a cup and drank after all

we had unlimited supplies of chocolate milk

2019 Jacqueline Jackson

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