The Amish have many admirable traits; generosity, a work ethic, a Godly discipline, thriftiness and a small footprint on the ecology. Talk about recycling.

They put us glass, tin can, cardboard, energy-hungry practitioners to shame. We use so much diesel, gas and oil driving, hauling, mashing, crushing and condensing – the messes we make, it’s probably not an even trade.

The Amish don’t make a mess in the first place.

An example of their “leave no mess” philosophy was demonstrated when Amish Joe decided to sell a cull cow at the local sale barn in rural Indiana. Joe hired a man to haul her. Joe’s son, Jack, and his brother-in-law, Amos, both wanted to go.

They could only fit three in the pickup, so Amos climbed in the stock trailer with the cow. It was November, but the trailer was a solid-body gooseneck with full doors, so there was no danger of Amos getting cold.


Once they reached the auction and parked in the unloading line, Joe and Jack went into the barn to visit. Amos waited patiently for them to come back ’til finally he beat on the side of the trailer. This racket woke the driver, who came back and opened the trailer gates.

Amos stepped out into the daylight, paused – and the cow ran out over the top of him. She trotted through the parking lot, and as the truck doors opened, she showed them all her tail. Once out onto the four-lane highway, she looked back with pride – and was blindsided by a well-used faded-gray Toyota Camry.

When Joe reached the scene of the collision, he noted that the hood was dented and one headlight had a black eye. Joe offered to take the victim’s information, but he took one look at the dazed cow and said, “No thanks.”

Before anybody could grab a rope, the cow struggled to her feet and ran into a newly harvested soybean field. The chase was on. The pursuers never had a chance, bogged down, slinging mud and stumbling over each other.

Then, the Indiana State Police arrived. One officer stayed to monitor the radio; the other, Officer York, had just come on duty. His hat was clean, his shirt was starched, his brass was polished and his shoes were shined.

“I ain’t goin’ out dere,” said Officer York, “but with your permission I will restrain the cow.” He drew his Glock 22, chambered for .40 S&W, and began firing at the cow 20 yards away.

After a few stray shots, he handed the pistol to Joe, who brought it down with one bullet. The policeman asked about disposal of the carcass. Joe said he would take care of it.

After a 30-minute trip to Walmart, he returned to the scene of the gun battle with a roll of plastic, Coleman lantern, meat saw and some butcher knives. By 2 a.m., they were putting a cowful of wrapped primal cuts in his propane freezer back home in the milk barn.

We can all learn a lesson about real recycling from Joe. As to what Joe learned, he remarked that if he was ever being pursued by the state police, he’d prefer it be Officer York, especially if gunfire was involved. PD