Bertha, Buttercup, Flopsy and Mopsy, Cockadoodle-moo, Bessie, Knuckles, all names that have been “uddered” for the two cows that have become a 2021 tourist magnet at the corner of High and Spring Streets, self promoted celebrities on Instagram indeed.
For some B and Bs and neighbors, shorter “nicknames” have also been muddied about, especially early in the morning when the smaller of the two bovines is known to wake up the town with its Pavarotti-like deep-throated call for “breakfast!” please.
The attraction is the brainchild of Paul Filippi, owner of the Manisses Hotel, who thought it would, well, act exactly as it has....an attraction many city folk never encounter up-close that reflects Block Island’s farming roots.
Daily, large numbers of tourists flop down on the ground, phones snapping away and have therapy-deep conversations nose to nose with the two as if sharing secrets in a professional office setting. The earnest eyes wanting to believe they really are conversing, the endless petting of the head, nodding, a connection that on the surface is a little bit beyond surreal. Rebecca must feel they were situated there to make the day pass more quickly in a most
Meanwhile on the other side of the fence, one has to wonder what the cows are thinking? After all, right around the corner is the iconic Ben and Jerry’s, which has depicted cows over the decades in dozens of clever “dress-ups,” just like the parade of costumes (or lack thereof) these animals visually digest everyday.
A little of the Village People, some Renaissance art, minimalist, tie dye, the cows take it all in with wide eyes and a mouth that moves vertically, as if defying the act of chewing that we know, while thinking exactly what? Their tails suddenly snapping in the wind when they see a cup of French Vanilla in one’s hands: “You’re welcome,” they bellow. One thing is for sure, they are new-found celebs, adding a bit of fun and character to the busy pedestrian intersection, and responding grudgingly to Bubba and Susie, their real names.