Talk of the Town - Year of the cow February 05 2003

Ranch house in Sherwood Forrest

A cow stands in Evelyn Ashley's living room. Its hind section can be seen from the street, and as soon as you walk in the door its head rears up to greet you. But this is an imposter cow. Ashley's usual cow, Cosmic, is not at home. Moojestic is just a loaner.

Ashley and her husband Alan McKeon are not cow fetishists or collectors, but they are owners of a 100-plus pound fiberglass and steel reinforced cow named Cosmic. Both professionals, she a lawyer, he a consultant, they are also planners of the upcoming event CowParade Atlanta (www.cowparade.net/atlanta). Hundreds of these painted cows will appear along streets, in malls and other unexpected spaces. But now, they are sitting in their ranch-style home located in the Sherwood Forrest neighborhood sandwiched between Midtown and Ansley Park. And the cow's watching.

Creative Loafing: So, I know you have this cow here, the cow you own at your office and you are planning the CowParade Atlanta event; are you cow collectors? Do you love all cow stuff? Run out and get anything Chick-fil-A puts out with a cow on it?

Ashley: No, we're not cow collectors. Alan's sister in England just sent us this stuffed cow and people always get us these gifts with cows because they know we have Cosmic, but we don't collect cows and we don't know how to convey that to people. We stumbled into the CowParade thing while we were in New York at a [lawyer's] bar convention and got a kick out of them.

So, you decided to get a cow of your own?

Ashley: Alan's really fun about gifts. And this is the ultimate in unique gift. They were auctioning them off on Amazon.com after the CowParade in Houston. He kept it a big secret, but he gave it to me for Christmas [in 2001].

McKeon: I got into the whole online bidding. "Hey, this is really cool." I bid on several cows and then got worried. "What if I win two? That would be terrible." Then I had to figure out how to ship it here in time for Christmas. It arrived two days before, and then I had to figure out how to wrap it. Six rolls of wrapping paper are not nearly enough.

And what was your reaction when you got a cow for Christmas?

Ashley: I loved it. [It was in the garage,] and we immediately carried it in. Now it's great. We gauge everyone's facial reaction when they come in the door and see the cow. People do not expect to see a cow in your living room. People from the telephone company, they just ignore it. The way people react to the cow tells a lot about a person.

But this isn't your cow. Cosmic is at your office, right?

Ashley: Yeah, this is Moojestic. She's OK. But not as beautiful as our cow. We had an event here recently to promote CowParade and we needed a cow so we called up the national organizers and they sent her over.

And after this summer's CowParade, is there room for another cow in your life?

Ashley: There's probably another cow in our future. We plan on submitting our own designs for the event. Neither of us are artists, but we want to create our very own cow.