Harder Than It Looks

Eight maids a-milking

Eight maids a-milking (Photo credit: FrodoBabbs)

Our kitchen bulletin board has a few choice, yellowing quotes.  My favorite is from the late Helen Rowland:

“Marriage is like twirling a baton, turning handsprings, or eating with chopsticks. It looks easy until you try it.”

We’ve been working on it for 30-odd years, and we still aren’t experts.

I’ve never milked a cow, but I know some folks who’ve tried. Ms. Rowland might have added that to her list of things that look easier than they prove to be when you try them. So receiving a gift of eight maids who’ve proven the art of milking to be an achievable challenge is definitely something of value.
Here’s a quick lesson:

Sometimes students approach a subject like A&P thinking, “How hard can this be?”  After all, the human body has only 206 bones, right? How hard can it be to learn those?  Add a few muscles, the parts of the brain, some biochemistry, a healthy dose of cell physiology, and, well, those same students have a new perspective. Most of them buckle down, hone their study skills, and find that learning about the body, like milking a cow, is a matter of perfecting your technique and logging some practice.

For students of medical history, milkmaids have an honored place. Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids who had contracted cowpox belonged to a unique group…they were spared the ravages of the feared and deadly smallpox plague.  His  observation ultimately led to the development of vaccination. (The source of the first virus used for vaccination was a cow named Blossom.) The World Health Organization declared smallpox and eradicated disease in 1979. Clearly, those milkmaids were a gift that kept on giving. If you’re intrigued, you can read a very complete version of the story by clicking here.


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