Corwin and the Goat Pills

goat poopI think I’ve mentioned my cousin Corwin was interesting. He was still hauling his bottle around when he started school. His teacher made him leave it at home, so first thing after getting off the bus, he’d get his bottle out of the cabinet, fill it up, and enjoy it along with his after school snack. A hearty eater, he’d grab up a handful of Gravytrain Chunks out of the dog’s bowl as he headed out to play football with his big brothers. As a crawling baby, Corwin had started shoving the puppy out of his bowl and just kind of got hooked on Gravytrain. It added a interest to the game to see Corwin playing football with his baby bottle sticking out of his back pocket. One of his brothers or cousins invariably snatched his bottle and ran, passing it on to whichever kid was new to the game. The chase was on. Corwin carried a grudge to the bitter end and picked up a stick or rock and bash the bottle thief’s head in long after the game of “Keepaway” concluded. His older brothers felt this bit of info was on a “need to know” basis, so new kids had to find out the hard way.

When he was about five or six, Corwin decided it was funny to pee the space heater. He’d fall all over himself to beat his mama in the front door, drop his pants, and spray the open flame with a stinking deluge that spattered, steamed, and spewed up the whole house. As he sprayed from side to side, kids would be scattering to avoid the stream. Should he have any ammo left, bystanders got it. His mother made a token protest, followed by, “I don’t know what makes that boy act like that.” Daddy told my aunt he’d hooked an electric shock to the heater, so Corwin would be electrocuted. She believed Daddy, so made Corwin give it up. I know it wasn’t true, but it would have been a fine idea.

Corwin was horrible. We all hated him. To make a long story short, Corwin was so darned mean, nobody would have stuck up for him. About that time, Daddy brought in some goats. At any rate, when Corwin saw goat pills littering the yard, he thought, they were chocolate M&Ms and gobbled quite a few before he noticed the taste was off. My brother and I made sure he had all he wanted. Seemed like justice.

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More Goat Tales

goat-balanced-fence-636192Should goats not choose to lounge about with their bony heads in the fence, they walked through fences like ghosts through walls. Our house was enclosed by a wire fence which was inside the long drive leading up to the house. The pasture presented a third line of fence between the goats and the house. Even the blind goat ran up the diagonal corner brace posts and hopped the fences without even thinking, attaining total access to the whole place. Goats are perpetually in love. None of this fencing got between goats and their aim in life, copulating before as many onlookers as possible: ministers, prissy ladies, and small children, in that order. The tiniest of window ledges presented no problem should the company be saintly enough. Goats crashed my six-year-sister’s birthday party, indulging in a lurid love fest on the lawn, giving the kiddies an eye full till we got it broken up. One morning as the school bus driver impatiently honked for us, a huge Billy Goat chased his lady friend onto the hood of the school bus, consummating their relationship then and there, to the joy of the kids on the bus. Thank goodness, that indiscretion was enough to finally put an end to the goat herd.

Goats Doing What Goats Do Best

Goat in fence I don’t know why Daddy kept goats. In theory, they’d eat brush and he’d have one to barbecue on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Labor Day. The fact is, our goats didn’t ascribe to the brush eating theory and were born knowing their life’s purpose was to get their heads stuck in fences, climb on everything and make passionate love. It was clear to the dumbest of them that flowers, grass, garden vegetables, laundry on the line, and almost anything else was better than brush. Only a starving goat would eat poison ivy or bitter weed if anything else is available. I had plenty of experience with goats. Our fences were intended to keep cows and horses in. Goats easily slipped their heads through the wire since they were the philosophical type who believed “the grass is greener on the other side. The problem arose when they tried to remove their horned heads and were stuck fast. In our occupation of unpaid farm hands, my brother and I had to walk the fences to extricate stuck goats. A couple of hazards were manifest. The goats were never appreciative. While we worked to get them loose, they tried to flee, most often smashing our hands against the wire. The second major problem involved randy Billy Goats who thoroughly understood the nannies were in that particular situation for romantic purposes. Resentful Billy Goats can be quite vindictive. If goat testosterone could be marketed, I’d invest.

More to come

Goats Pop the Top

imageThe visiting preacher came home with us for Sunday dinner. He had a just gotten a new car and spent most of Sunday dinner talking about it. His wife had a bad heart and lay down for a nap after lunch. He whispered “She could go anytime.” This did nothing to lighten the mood. It was clear the new car was the only bright spot in his life. It would look nice at her funeral. They were from out of town so we were stuck with them until time for the evening service. The afternoon looked long and hopeless. The kids escaped outdoors as soon as possible. Our house was on the edge of the farm, sitting inside a larger fenced area where Daddy raised hay and grazed cattle, horses, goats.  The driveway was several hundred yards long and fenced separately, enclosing several pecan and fruit trees, and space for parking. As goats will do, the goats had slipped through the fence and gotten in the drive. Brother Smith had parked his nice new car under the mulberry tree in full bloom. Goats love new vegetation and as it turns out, new cars. We saw several hop agilely to the roof of his new car. Before we could get to it, several more joined their friends standing on their back legs to reach the tree branches. There was a big metallic “Pop!!” and the hood caved in, leaving the goats in a bowl. They leapt off. Mother heard the racket and ran out just in time to catch the whole disaster. Her eyes were huge as her hands flew to her mouth. We hadn’t had a new car for years and now we’d be buying this preacher one. Not only that, his wife would probably drop dead on the spot and he’d have to drive a goat-battered car to the funeral.

God smiled on us. As soon as the goats jumped off, the hood popped back in the shape. This time we enjoyed the sound and flew to inspect the roof. Surprisingly, there was apparent damage. Mother got the preacher’s keys and pulled the car to the safety of the yard. Mrs. Smith lived through the day, and as far as I know, Brother Smith had a fine new car to drive to her funeral a couple of weeks later. All’s well that ends well.

Kids Will Be Kids

imageWhen I was a child on the farm, we frequently had goats, enormously vivacious and entertaining creatures. Even when grown, they still maintain their curiosity and energy, climbing and bounding around.  The kids are irrestible, never tiring of butting, play fighting, and romping until they exhaust themselves, then falling in a heap to sleep.  It always amazed me, the way they butted their mothers so rudely while nursing. The wonder of it was, as the kids aged, we always had adorable new kids to play with.

Once, we had a nanny who lost her kid at the same time another kid was orphaned.  The obvious answer was to have her adopt the orphan.  Daddy rubbed the orphan with her dead kid, then forced  her to let the adopted kid nurse.  It was difficult going for a few feedings, but once she accepted the kid, she didn’t want it out of her sight.  She followed it at play, bleating, unlike the other nannies who enjoyed the herd’s company, glad to let their mischievous offspring romp.  She continued to nurse that kid up until after she had another, when they had to be separated, to keep from starving the new kid.

Kathleen’s Vintage Letter from The Great Depression

K smart m1940 1Kathleen had just gotten the results of an achievement test when she was in the fifth grade when she wrote this letter to her sister, Annie.  I believe she was a bit full of herself, but did remember to ask after her sister.  I will transcribe since it is hard to read. Continue reading

Goats in Love

Goats are always in love. They are also great fence breakers.  This is a bad combination.  I don’t know why Daddy kept goats. In theory, they’d eat brush and he’d have one to barbecue on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Labor Day.   The fact is, goats are not stupid.  They are born knowing flowers, grass, garden vegetables, and almost anything Continue reading

Mother Tried to Raise Me Right

Church was hard on me Church clothes were designed by the devil. My mom made fancy dresses with twirly skirts, puffy sleeves, lace, fancy collars, and gigantic sashes that tied in the back in a big bow. Just in case I might get a little comfortable, she starched and ironed them till they were so stiff they could stand alone. Getting ready for church started Saturday night with a bath and hair washing. No problem with that. The trouble started when Mother got out the hair pins and tissue paper. She clamped me between her knees Continue reading