Cow Milked While Flying in an Airplane
Did you know that today, February 18, is the Cow Milked While Flying in an Airplane Day? It’s not really an official holiday, more live a commemoration of the day that Elm Farm Ollie, aka Nellie Jay of Sunnymede Farms in Bismarck, Wisconsin, became the first cow to fly in an airplane as well as the first cow to be milked in an airplane.
Cow Fly With Me
As part of the promotions for the 1930 International Aircraft Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, the organizers of the trade show thought it’s a good idea to fly in cow to the location. They chose Nellie Jay because of her sweet disposition and she was led to the airplane with much fanfare. What we don’t know is what kind of plane did Nellie Jay board. Was it a cargo plane? Your guess is as good as mine.
During the 72-mile plane ride, Nellie Jay was fed the usual way and as was her daily routine, she produced 24 quarts of milk. She had to be milked thrice and Elsworth W. Bunce had the distinction of being the first man to milk a cow on flight. The milk was put on paper containers and sealed tightly. They were then dropped over St. Louis in small parachutes. Talk about raining milk!
After her much publicized flight, Nellie Jay became quite a cowlebrity and was called Sky Queen. It’s totally understandable. Her historic plane ride happened in the 1930s — it was not common for people not to ride planes back then. A cow riding a plane – and being milked at that — is akin to a scene to a science fiction movie … something an eccentric rich person with Golden eagle gold coins would pay for to witness.
She’s immortalized in many works of arts including that portrait above by E.D. Thalinger. Her fan club even commissioned an opera about her called “Madame Butterfat,” featuring songs pertaining to this historic bovine. One notable song from the opera is “The Bovine Cantata in B-Flat Major. I end this curious article with an excerpt from this song:
“Sing we praises of that moo cow,
Airborne once and ever more,
Kindness, courage, butter, cream cheese,
These fine things we can’t ignore.”