My “kid brother” Isaac, 63, and his wife Glo had the great good fortune of rearing their children in a bucolic setting.
At a recent family get-together in Mississippi, Isaac regaled us with stories of their farm animals, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard.
Son Van has returned to work at the D-Day Museum complex in New Orleans. When his and wife Anna’s St. Bernard Parish home was left under water in Katrina’s wake, they moved to Alabama, where Van worked for the State Archives. They are very happy to be starting over in the city they love. Daughter Kim teaches school. She and Dean have three boys and have adopted a fourth. Brad, the youngest, owns a successful business. He and Jessie have baby Ty.
A whole family of animal lovers! Brad looks to his daddy to board and tend his farm animals, and Isaac, though almost blind, has managed quite well, caring for them and keeping the fish pond stocked. Let’s say he managed quite well until Brad brought over a pair of Nubian goats – Billy Bob and Sally.
Nubian goats originated in the Middle East, Russia and northern Africa and were cross-bred with English goats to become the Anglo-Nubian strain. Noted for a sleek, elongated body; bell-shaped, floppy ears and a Roman nose, the Nubian is, by nature, a sociable animal. Most of them.
Shortly after their arrival, it became clear that no pen could hold Billy Bob, who preferred Sally’s enclosure to his own. One day while working in the barn, Isaac was caught unawares by the charging buck, who butted him four feet into the air. “I picked up a two-by-four and hid in a stall. ‘Come on, you SOB,’ I muttered under my breath. I heard him coming, cloppety clop, and just as he rounded the stall, I let him have it!”
Glo, always soft-spoken and calm, “came out to see what all the commotion was, and there laid Billy Bob, out cold on the floor. ‘Isaac, you’ve killed the goat!’ No such luck. He got up and took off.”
“After that, it was war.”
Nubians, like most dairy goats, are “disbudded” in infancy, a process which leaves them hornless. Not so with Billy Bob, who, sensing he could sneak up on him, targeted Isaac as the butt of his jokes..
Isaac and Brad built a new pen of solid wooden boards and seven feet high, the height Billy Bob could rise to while rearing up.
The next morning Isaac went out to the pen. “I told myself: ‘I’m not believing what I’m seeing!’ The damn goat was dismantling the pen, board by board, by hooking his horns under each and prying it loose. I took off for the house.”
“One day I decided to replace the window screens across the front of the house,” Isaac continued the saga. “I worked all morning. Then, I headed out to the road to get the mail. I turned around, taking a minute to get my bearings, and here came that SOB straight toward me, with a screen on each horn! I held out the mail, thinking he might stop and eat it.”
After this latest confrontation, the goats were loaded into a trailer and taken to the sale barn in nearby Brookhaven, Mississippi. Sally romped down the ramp, but Billy Bob balked. The sale barn handler, with electric prod in hand, started up the ramp. “You’d better be careful,” Isaac told him. “I ain’t afraid of no goat,” the handler said as he disappeared into the trailer.
Out came the handler with Billy Bob in hot pursuit. “Prod went one way and handler went the other,” Isaac said. The guy jumped a nearby fence, gasping, “You weren’t lying about that goat, Mr. Isaac!”
I love you, Bro! Thanks for the laughs! We’ll save the tale of the fish pond trespassers, popping their beer cans in the middle of the night, for another day.