As I stood in my friend's classroom in my pleated black slacks, fitted blouse, and fabulous Steve Madden pumps with my new goat under my arm, the plan began to formulate. One of the ag teachers offered for the vet tech kids to help take care of the goat during the day, and I must have looked like she offered me a million bucks because I agreed so quickly!
It was Wednesday, which meant that the boys had to be picked up from choir at five. As soon as I could get away from school (about 4:15), I sped to the feed store in Wellborn, waited impatiently behind a man buying some sort of livestock feed, and then asked the cashier for a bottle to feed a baby goat. Up until then we'd been using a nipple on a water bottle, and it leaked terribly.
The nice young man got me a bottle, and I flew home to change out of my dress clothes and into my goat-handling gear. I tossed the dog's kennel (now a makeshift goat kennel) in the back of the Prius and headed to church.
I was only about five minutes late picking up the boys, and on the way out of the church I whispered to them that we had to hurry because we had to go get the goat. I thought Keaton's head was going to pop off because he was so excited! He must have said the word "goat" one hundred times on the ten minute drive to my school.
Because this story is getting a little too long, let's just say we loaded up Goat in the kennel and headed home.
I had already decided that she could live on the tile floor in the entry until I could get her to mom, so I asked the boys to make a wall to keep her in. Here's what they did:
Yes, friends, those are football helmets. It only took Goat about two seconds to escape from that impregnable fortress.
There were two "best things" about having the goat.
The first is that even Trey (clearly not a natural goat-lover) got into the fun. He called my niece Jodi to say, "Hey. Are you going to come see my goat?" Not long after that phone call there were pictures on facebook of Goat posing with Jodi and Goat posing with Tiffany.
Also, when Goat got restless, Trey picked her up and held her really close, and she was instantly quiet and still. It reminded me of when the boys were babies. For some reason when I held them they would just get wiggly-er, but he has such a calming effect on people (and goats). It was sweet.
Best thing number two was Farmer Keaton. In case you didn't know, Keaton tells people that he is a farmer and has a farm. He has named most of my dad's cows, has deemed his black boots his "farmer boots," and often talks about his tractors (some real, some not-so-real).
He was so darn happy to have that goat. He decided to train her to stay in the entry, and he was so patient in dealing with her. I was completely shocked because, let's be honest, I would never use the word "patient" to describe him and if you've met him you wouldn't either.
When she would get out of the entry, he would gently pick her up and put her back. Then he would stroke her back and quietly tell her, "Marion, this is your room. See the brown walls? The brown walls are your room, and you have to stay in here, okay?"
Of course, she'd get right back out, and he'd repeat the lesson all over again. It was amazing to watch.
(Sidebar: Mom named her goat Marion despite the fact that she will forever be Ethel to the English department of A&M Consolidated High School. Why Ethel? Why Marion? I have no idea what the answer is to either question.)
One time Marion peed on the carpet (because Tucker let her out when I said not to), and before I could get to the mess, Keaton had cleaned it up. For real! I think this little farmer is ready for his own pet.
Each morning I would get up, feed the goat, get dressed, and load her in the car to take her to school. During my conference period I'd feed her, and at the end of the day the goat and I would head back home. It must have been quite the picture to see me bringing my goat to school every morning.
On Friday after school, something came up and I needed to meet a friend in Bryan. Believe it or not, Trey suggested I just drop off the goat at the bank rather than trying to get her home and being late to my engagement. So not only did this goat go to school every day, she also went to the bank one afternoon.
Saturday afternoon Trey and I met my parents in Jewett to pass off the goat. We also decided to loan them Keaton until Thanksgiving, so he could "do some farmin'" and help out with the goat. I don't know how much help he was, but he had a great time.
And so the saga of the goat begins. She now lives on the farm with Grandma (who insists the goat can be house trained but Daddy won't let her even think about trying). I think Marion may have even gotten a goat friend or two today so she won't be too lonely.
I love that my kids will always remember the day their mom brought home a goat. I want them to know that sometimes I did (and let them do) something crazy just for the adventure of it. I want them to find exciting things everywhere they look and jump at opportunities to do the unexpected.
If they look really hard, they just might find a goat.