Cover To Cover is the anchor program for GPB’s literary coverage. Cover To Cover features a collection of distinctive Southern voices interviewing Georgia writers, Southern writers, and writers dealing with the South. The GPB Southern Lit Cadre will provide you with a varied, weekly glimpse at fiction, non-fiction, history, poetry, and even the occasional ‘old school’ nod to Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Saga of the Pregnant Cow Continues...

If you listened to last month's show with Joshilyn Jackson you will remember the call we received from Andrea in Moultrie who told us she had a cow that was getting ready to give birth at any moment. In the 10 years that Cover to Cover has been on the air, we've never had a caller with a pregnant cow before!

As I said good-bye to Andrea at the end of her call, I made the suggestion that if the cow gave birth to a female, she might name the calf "Nonny" after the protagonist of Between, Georgia, the book we were discussing.

My actual words to Andrea were, "If it's a female cow, you could call her "Nonny." That one innocuous sentence got me into trouble with Paul in East Alabama. He emailed me with the following comment:

I am a cattle farmer in eastern Alabama on the Georgia line and listen to GPB. Some how I missed the original broadcast of Cover to Cover Between, Georgia. I did hear the rebroadcast and was shocked to hear you talking to a caller that was expecting a calf and you refer to a "female cow". All cows are females. Male bovines are Bulls. A female calf is called a heifer until she is bred when she is called a "cow."

I replied to Paul expressing my deep regret for such a linguistic oversight. Let me share my comments to him with you:

I am ashamed of my bovine blunder. Please forgive me. I do of course know that there's a difference between a cow and a bull, but obviously under the pressure of a live broadcast I forgot my gender distinctions and instead lapsed into tautology!
Thank you for pointing out my error. I hope that, as I'm a city lad, you'll forgive me for making rural folk all across Georgia roll their eyes and give a disgusted laugh. I will make amends during this month's show.

Now, having eaten crow, let me say that this cloud does have a very silver lining. As I went on to say to Paul in my reply, I am grateful that there are folks listening to Cover to Cover whether they be in Georgia, Alabama, or Timbuktu! And I'm also grateful for the fact that some people care about linguistic accuracy enough to take those to task who don't!

In case you're wondering about Paul's continued support of Cover to Cover, here's how he ended his email:

I still enjoy your show.
Home is where your cows are,


So, I guess I haven't lost Paul as a devoted listener--thank goodness! And as for his close, "Home is where your cows are," I absolutely love it!

To Paul, Andrea, and everyone else who listens to the show and calls in or emails me, thank you for making what I do so worthwhile and rewarding.

And remember...home is where your cows or bulls are!