Another Look at My Past HTML version
“Look alive, farm boys. Today you learn how to milk a cow.” Tracy Stephens was quite cheerful about the
“You will arrive in a time when ninety- four percent of the population lived on farms. That is really the only
plausible cover story you can have. How many of you know where milk comes from?”
“The store.” muttered Timmy, not all that softly.
Tracy ignored Timmy's comment. The wild look in his eye did put people off. “Frank, you step up. Look at
these animals here. Which one is the cow?”
Frank Mills stepped up in front of the other time-travel cadets. There in a line were a horse, a brown cow
with curly horns, and two chickens. And at the end of the line was pert little Tracy, waiting for Frank to point
out the cow. Frank's gaze lingered on Trac y a little too long. She was pert and cute, very easy to look at a
little too long. She noticed him noticing her, and spoke right up.
“No, Frank, I am not the cow. The cow is the little brown animal with curly horns. Timmy, shut up. Now,
Frank you get that three- legged stool, sit down beside the cow, and learn to milk her.”
Frank sat down on the three- legged stool. He thought the primitive looking stool would be rickety, but it sat
firmly on the ground. He grasped the part of the cow that gave the milk. He squeezed. Nothing came out.
Frank had read his notes for this class. What could be wrong? He did not see any way that Tracy could be
conspiring with the cow to make him look bad. He did not want to appeal to Tracy for help so he looked at
his fellow time-travel cadets, who were lined up looking at him.
Timmy spoke up. “Grab the cow's teat and start squeezing at the top. Then squeeze down the middle and
then the end. That forces the milk out.”
Frank was desperate enough to try Timmy's suggestion. It worked. The milk started coming into the pail.
How did Timmy know this? It was not in the book, and Timmy was a city boy.
Everybody was pleased with Frank's success, and they broke into applause. That startled the cow, and she
took off at a run. Frank was knocked off the little three-legged stool and the milk was spilled. Tracy was left
to go chasing after the cow so the rest of the class could have a turn milking her.
Tracy was not the only instructor. Not by any means.
Timmy looked at his instructor. “What do you mean, your name is Paw?”
The instructor was unaffected by Timmy's skepticism. “The men and boys you will meet in the past were
taught how to plow by their fathers. 'Paw', in other words. They will be talking about how mean and cruel
Paw' was when he taught them to guide a plow and other common farm tasks.”
Timmy was still slightly nonplussed. “Ok, but what does that have to do with this silly name of yours?”
“You have to be able to talk about how harsh and cruel your Paw was. You have to do it from your heart,
without sounding like you are making it up. So I am going to be harsh cruel and sadistic while teaching you
to guide this one horse plow.” With that, Paw planted his foot in Timmy's backside, propelling him toward
the one horse walking plow. It was waiting for Timmy, complete with one horse.
Timmy was confident that he could lie without any help. But it was easier by far to go along with the