Reviewed by Bev Scott
This delightful parable takes place on the Freedom Cattle Ranch. Here, the soil is fertile. The all-grass diet, supplemented by hay when necessary, supports an organic or natural experimental operation. Our story features four Herefords, Clancy, Beamer, Tank and Gordo, who grow up on the ranch. Each is born on the Day of Lights, but into different sects, where they are carefully monitored. How the ranch keeps its hereditary purity provides the context for the parable.
High restricted, all the cattle stay in their assigned territory with their sect. Due to this rule, they can never venture outside the electrical fence. Because, beyond the fence lies the frightful territory of “Despairia” where other animals kill each other. Also, the calves cannot go within 100 feet of the entrance to “Bovina.” The two-legged creatures, their “guardian angels” select certain cows to go to Bovina. Only the honored few achieve the beautiful life beyond the physical existence on the ranch. They go to live with Father Taurus forever.
New calves must learn and follow the Ten Hereford Laws. They attend services to pray to Father Taurus, the bull who is their spiritual father and leader of their sect. What is the expected and rewarded behavior? Clancy belongs to the “Faithites” who are expected to totally trust Father Taurus. Beamer is a “Lovite,” expected to be pleasant and loving. Tank is a “Holyite” who must participate in the rituals. Finally, Gordo belongs to the “Servites,” dedicated to a life of good deeds.
So, each calf learns his lessons and tries to meet the expectations of his sect. But in turn disallusionment ensues, which generates challenges to the rules. When the four Herefords find each other, they become fast friends. However, this alarms the herd leadership. Together, they explore the ranch, pursue adventures and encounter a bull who has been ex-communicated. As friends they gain insights about the limitations of the rules, the sect expectations and even the reality of Bovina.
The Ranch Parable
Clancy’s Song uses the cattle ranch metaphor to transparently describe what many of us abhor in our own human “ranch.” We live within today’s political divisiveness, with ethnic and racial slurs. The book reminds us to ask questions, be open, and learn all we can. If we avoid rigidity and judgement, and hold others with love and respect, we will also have fun! Thus, the four calves remind me to do better on my own “ranch.”