ASSIGNMENT FROM WRITING 101: SERIALLY LOST
Today’s Prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more. Today’s Twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.
Mr. Goatley came to us from friends of my mother-in-law. They lived not too far from a large grocery store, surrounded by newer houses, yet their property was situated in such a way that it looked like country. Mr. Goatley was a large five-year-old wether goat. He lived on their weeds and grass, with some hay and oats thrown in. To keep him from going “to town,” they kept him on a chain attached to a collar.
But Mr. Goatley was very resourceful. A few times he managed to escape his collar and visited the grocery store. Well, the manager wasn’t very happy with the situation and finally Mr. Goatley’s family decided they had to give him up. We lived on five acres with lots of trees and brush. When spring came, the brush would grow tall and was hard to keep under control. We welcomed Mr. Goatley. My husband built him a shed where he could spend the winter and eat hay and oats to his heart’s content.
Our new “pet” loved the brush. When the winter weather cleared enough to leave him outside all the time, we led him to the brush near the house. His eyes would grow big and his tail would wag and he would hurry to eat. And eat he did. Until his sides bulged. Then he would lie down and digest, then get up and eat more! He was a wonderful brush clearer! I would have a bucket of water near him and check him a couple times during the day to be sure he had water and that he wasn’t hopeless tangled. There were times when he was under trees that I would have to untangle him so he could eat and drink. He would plant his feet firmly and refuse to move. I would talk to him, telling him he would be close to his water and more delicious weeds and then pull the chain. He finally would give in and follow me.
Our girls loved Mr. Goatley. They would put their hands on his head and push or let him push them from behind . He loved the game. My younger daughter had to be really careful because she was smaller; if she wasn’t, he would swing his head and hit her and knock her over. He did that once to me while I was giving him oats and while I didn’t go over, I felt as if he knocked my head off my shoulders!
One day when my girls and I had gone shopping. We came back a couple hours later to find our goat was loose, and had gone to the clothesline where there were a few pieces of clothing hanging on it. The girls thought it was hilarious that a strap of one of my bras was wrapped around his neck. They wanted me to take a picture, but I was embarrassed. I should have taken the picture; later I realized the incident was as funny as the girls thought it was. I was very careful to check his collar from then on to be sure he couldn’t escape again.
Mr. Goatley was a dear. How I missed him when he got sick and died a few years later. Our “yard” missed him, too.