Rosy the cow couldn’t see, but that wouldn’t stop her.
In her first published children’s book, Rosy the Cow Who Couldn’t See, St. George resident Elizabeth MacCallum tells the true story of a visually impaired cow whose fortitude helps save the life of her newborn calf.
“I think it really teaches kids a lesson that it doesn’t matter if you’re blind,” MacCallum said. “If you’re determined enough you will get what you want. It shows determination for a person who has a disability.”
The story is based on actual events that occurred at MacCallum’s brother’s farm, Oakley Farm, in Ingersoll 10 years ago. Jim Muterer’s cow, Rosy, spent a treacherous night bawling inside her pen while, unbeknownst to Muterer, her newborn calf was stuck outside in a snowstorm.
“Jim told me about that and I thought it was a dramatic story, a beautiful story,” MacCallum said.
Illustrating the book are vibrant, watercolour paintings by Hamilton-based artist Natalie Dornellas that help bring the story of Rosy and her calf to life.
“Natalie captured the essence of what I really wanted in my mind,” MacCallum said.
For years, MacCallum had known she wanted to publish a book. She had been writing stories since she was a little girl, growing up on a farm in Ingersoll. After meeting author and editor Robert Knuckle at a Probus Club meeting, she decided to take the plunge and make her dream come true.
“I just sat down and wrote it and had the nerve to send it to him,” she said. “It took a lot of courage.
“I got a phone call from him and he said, ‘Elizabeth, I think it could really go somewhere.’”
MacCallum’s determination and passion to publish a children’s book helped her overcome obstacles that came at her during the process. After three years, high costs and many rewrites, the book was finally released.
“When they brought it into the room I just about started to cry,” she said. “I was so happy with how nice it looked.”
The book is dedicated to MacCallum’s mother, who passed away two years ago at 103 years of age, her husband, John, and of course, Muterer.
“It’s kind of a tribute to my brother,” MacCallum said. “My brother is not well and he has cancer and I wanted the book to be done for him. I was really afraid that it wasn’t going to be, but he likes it and is proud of it.”
As a former physical education teacher at W. Ross Macdonald School, MacCallum has opted to donate a portion of proceeds from the book to help fund travel expenses for the school’s sporting activities.
“We never had a lot of money to spend on the kids for going on trips, so that’s what I designated (the funds) to go to,” she said.
The book is also available in Braille at the school’s campus bookstore. Proceeds will also be donated to help train guide dogs for the visually impaired.
MacCallum is currently working on her second children’s book, but this time she’s tackling the issue of bullying through the story of a missing sock that was lost in the dryer.
“You never know if you should leave it alone when you have one good thing happen,” MacCallum said of writing her second book. “But I can’t stop writing things.”
Rosy the Cow Who Couldn’t See is available for purchase at Green Heron Books in Paris, Grandpa’s Attic and Patina’s in Ingersoll and Merrifield Book Shop in Woodstock.