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Even after death, Emily still elusive

Even after death, Emily still elusive - Times Herald-Record

January 16, 2005

By Ben Montgomery  [email protected]  

Times  Herald-Record

Rock  Tavern – Men are working everywhere. Men in white suits that look like grown-up  pajamas. Men in masks and bandannas. Men with grinders, with saws and sanders;  men with pencils planted behind their ears; men in the process of  creating.

In the middle of this gigantic factory beside Route 17K, in the middle of all these men, is a cow named Emily who is late for a  party.

Way late.

Twenty-two days.

She should have been there Christmas Eve. Sixty people at  The Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Mass., were waiting for her in the cold, with  jackets and camcorders, near a bronze statue of Ghandi, in a special place  called the Scared Cow

Animal Rights Memorial.

Why isn't Emily here? the children wondered.

Hold that thought.

NINE  YEARS AGO, in November of 1995, Emily the cow was packed in a stinky shed with  her herd at a slaughterhouse in Hopkinton, Mass. She watched as her companions  disappeared through a set of doors in front of her, never to return. If cows can  contemplate, Emily must have figured it out: She was next.

Ahead was death by bovine butcher. Sirloin. Hamburger.  Chopped liver.

Someone's meal.

Behind was freedom – in the form of a 5-foot gate.

Emily chose the latter.

According to newspaper accounts of the escape, the 1,600-pound Holstein sailed over the gate and disappeared into the woods, udders  flopping, stunned men scrambling to catch up.

In the days that followed, Emily became a legend.

The slaughterhouse staff tried to entice the 3-year-old heifer back into her fate with bales of hay. No dice.

Folks across the rural community west of Boston would report Emily sightings to the local press. She was seen here, then there, then  foraging in the forest with a herd of deer.

But soon the sightings dried up. Seemed folks wanted Emily  to make it out there in the world.

Word spread like stink at a feedlot. A group of hippies caught wind and called the guy who owned the slaughterhouse. Impressed by the  whole deal, the fella offered to sell Emily to the hippies for a buck.

After 40 days and 40 nights on the biblically timed lam, Emily revealed herself to Meg Randa, a vegan, activist Quaker who owned a  beautiful, harmonious place called The Peace Abbey with her husband, Lewis. They  bought Emily a barn with amenities like a TV and VCR. She lived in heifer  happiness.

People magazine covered Emily's story. So did Parade and a  few TV stations.

Someone wrote a children's book, someone bought rights to the  moo-vie.

Then Emily died. Last March.


The folks at The Peace Abbey couldn't just let her go, so they commissioned a bronze life-sized statue of Emily reportedly for around  $100,000. She would stand in the Sacred Cow Animal Rights Memorial, near the  statue of Ghandi, between plaques that read "Cow protectionism is Hinduism's  gift to the world" and "Wars kill animals, too."

Sculptor Lado Goudjabidze was hired to create Emily in clay.

Metallurgist Dick Polich would handle the rest. She would be unveiled at a  ceremony on Christmas Eve, marking the day in 1995 when Emily was brought to The  Peace Abbey.

CHRISTMAS EVE CAME and went. Emily  was a no-show. The folks at The Peace Abbey sort of expected that.

"It's like Emily is embodied in the statue," Ernie Karhu told the Dover-Sherborn Press. "It was always in her nature to be elusive.  She'll come in her own time."

On a cold day in January, 185 miles away in Rock Tavern,  N.Y., a bronze

Emily still stood in Dick Polich's foundry.

Something stalled on the artists' end, says Chris McGrath  of Polich Art

Works. "But," she says, "we're not going to point fingers."

Either way, the cow is nearly finished. Maybe by the end of the month.

"We're close," Polich says. "We still have to attach the  birds and some flowers."

A set of lights on a stand shine down on Emily in the middle of this huge building, in the middle of all these men working to get her  finished. Her eyes are bronze, untarnished, and she looks like she has seen  things.

She looks like she'll move when she wants to.


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