Wednesday, December 10, 2008
One winter when I was eleven years old, my parents bought me a registered French Alpine goat. (Yes, she had papers and everything!) I remember we went to a large cold carpet-less farm house in Michigan where several huge greyhound dogs lived and barked with protective but controlled zeal; excuse me...that is...they somewhat shared the house with an indoor jacket wearing callous-handed couple. I was going to raise my goat, Cin-Cin, and show her at the 4H sponsored fair event the following summer. It was snowing and cold when we brought the baby goat-kid home, and I had permission to create a temporary home by covering the front entrance hall with blankets and straw. I mixed milk and oatmeal together and fed her from a bottle-all the while trying to encourage her to eat real goat-food. I slept there with her many nights until I was able to move her out to the barn a few weeks later. (It was still cold but my parents thought the smell was getting too strong.) Cin-Cin learned to walk on a leash without resistance, turn, and hold a pose with her head held proudly upright. In my girlhood devotion, I painted her stall entirely yellow, orange and red-I brushed the wooden planks with great swirls and waves of tempestuous fire-what I thought were the most satisfying colors in the world. I got many surprised complements on the colorful composition and Cin-Cin didn't seem to mind. The first 4H competition I entered her in, she won a blue first-place ribbon; the following year, she won the red second-place ribbon-disappointingly beat by her less attractive but larger brother. The priority there at the Bellview County Fair was size. The third year of Cin-Cin's life brings me a bit of shame because I had discovered teenage friends and the human male animal (who later came to remind me of a goat come to think of it) and I may have neglected her- but I'm getting ahead of my story. That same year, Cin-Cin went crazy-no, not boy-goat crazy, she went any person-animal-pony-horse crazy. She would go after Windy (pony) and Thunder (horse) incessantly, until they lost patience and kicked-dissuading further overtures on her part. My younger brother, Rich, devised a game where we would sneak into the Not-Okay Corral and try to cross to the other side without being discovered. Only Cin-Cin would always see the bait and come snorting with her tongue hanging out and offer intense bleating to our tender ears. If you couldn't run fast enough, she would jump on top of you and do heaven knows what to the great amusement of those observing. Cin-Cin wanted to sin! My father said we must sell her. What could I do? I conceded, and my 50-dollar goat went for 15; she had babies, gave milk and lived a normal goat-life on a nearby farm- thereby, concluding my 4H career as a prize winning goat show-er.