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BFFs share graduation tradition
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Buckwheat the cow joins Macey Stevens for bell ringing
By Carol McIntire
Macey Stevens planned for the day she would celebrate her graduation from Carrollton High School as a member of the first class to graduate from the new high school on SR 332.
When the traditional graduation ceremony was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stevens knew she would miss out on the longstanding tradition of ringing the bell in front of the school with friends by her side.
The Fox Twp. farm girl succumbed to the reality she would ring the bell alone, but on May 16, the night before her scheduled appointment to walk across the stage and pick up her diploma, she had an idea…maybe she could have her BFF (best friend forever) by her side.
She began planning by asking her boyfriend if he would provide transportation for “her friend”.
When he agreed, the plan was set in motion.
Macey, her family and “her friend” arrived at the school for her scheduled 11:10 a.m. appointment.
“I went inside the school, walked across the stage and picked up my diploma,” she recalled a few days later, sitting in the kitchen of her Fox Twp. home.
“When I got across the stage, I stopped and asked Mr. Davis (Dave, high school principal), if Buckwheat could ring the bell with me. His response was a question, Buckwheat? I said yes, you know, Buckwheat, my cow.”
Davis asked where the cow was and Macey calmly replied, “In the parking lot.”
With approval from Davis, Macey and Buckwheat walked up to the sidewalk, she gave him a kiss on the nose and they rang the bell.
“It was so cool!” Macey enthusiastically said, a big smile on her face. “Everyone was taking his picture. He even got to eat some licorice. Having him there made it special.”
Buckwheat isn’t just “a cow”, he’s a 900-pound jersey steer who has been a part of Macey’s life since he was just a few days old.
Macey planned to take Buckwheat to her senior prom, although she wasn’t sure how she was going to accomplish it.
I just knew I wanted him there,” she admitted. “When the prom was cancelled and we learned graduation would be individually, I thought, how cool would it be to ring the bell with Buckwheat, but that was as far as it went until the night before.”
“I grew up showing horses and loved it, but something in me always wanted a cow,” she related. “Dad said no, maybe because he grew up milking cows on the farm. Anyway, dad and I went to Carrollton Livestock Auction April 10, 2017. He bought me the last calf to go through the auction. I’ll never forget it. We paid $50 and I rode home in the bed of the truck with him.”
Since then, life has been a commercial for a girl and her best friend.
“Buckwheat grew up thinking I was his mother,” Macey said. “He’s been in the house, on the front porch, paid a visit to the local Tractor Supply Company and visited the former high school on 3rd. St. NE,” Macey acknowledged. “My friend, Shelby Rhodes and I did a government project.”
“We had to pick something that is wrong in the world and do a presentation. We chose low milk prices and how farmers are struggling. I took Buckwheat to school as part of the project to bring awareness to our cause.”
The pair dressed up as a deer (Buckwheat) and hunter (Macey) on Halloween and went trick-or-treating to area homes. Last year at Christmas, Buckwheat walked through the front door and into the house to see the Christmas tree.
“When you call his name, he comes. He’s more like a dog than a steer,” Macey said, adding she opens the pasture gate and allows him to graze in the yard (that is if he hasn’t already escaped from the pasture) when she arrives home from work. “Some of his favorite foods are grilled cheese, cookies, muffins, French fries, coffee and pop.”
The bond between the two is evident in the pictures she arranged on the bar.
“He’s so photogenic and he’s very gentle with children,” she said pointing to one of the pictures. “He’ll be at my wedding. I’m thinking he will bring the rings down the aisle and, when he dies, I’ll probably get him mounted for the wall.”
Buckwheat has become a local legend. He has his own Instagram account, @Buckwheatthecow, that compliments Macey’s account, @shootyourshotbymace, established to showcase her photography skills. Visitors to the page are offered an opportunity to see the many faces of Buckwheat, his soft, expressive eyes and character, and the bond between the pair.
As for the future, Macey is keeping her options open.
“He’s such a big part of my life,” she said, “I’m not ready to leave him and go away to college yet. I know I want to go to college, but for what, I’m not sure so for now I’m going to keep doing what I love, milking cows and spending time with my animals.”
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