Or My Strange Relationship With Goats…
I know, it sounds odd that I’d even have a relationship with goats at all but, remember, my grandparents had a farm so it makes sense. When I was small, they didn’t have goats but talked about maybe getting some. My grandmother was against this because, as she said, “they eat everything…everything!” Being an imaginative young child, I took this to mean that they especially delighted in the delectable taste of child flesh. The younger the better, of course. I never spoke this thought aloud so no one was ever able to correct me. I was terrified of goats.
One day, my grandmother thought it would be a lovely treat to take me to the petting zoo. I’ve always loved animals so I was totally on board for this! It was a lovely petting zoo with tons of room for the animals and food you could feed them with set up just outside their large pens. A topless bus took us, Safari style, from pen to pen. I was in animal heaven! My allergies were having a field day but I couldn’t care less.
Then we came to the goat pen… I stayed on the bus while everyone filed in. I was adamant in my refusal. Only someone didn’t close the gate properly. I didn’t notice this until a goat made its wait onto the bus and started stalking towards me, baaing menacingly. I screamed for help but no one heard. I backed away, looking for escape, but none was to be found. So I jumped over the side of the bus in a surge of adrenaline and ran straight to my grandma. I saw goats all around her, one even gnawing on her pant’s hem and screamed. The look I got from her stopped the scream cold in my throat and she asked me why I was being so dramatic. I pointed to the goat on the bus and told her how I barely escaped and she shook her head and looked at me like I’d been dropped on my head a few times as a baby.
The petting zoo people thanked me for quickly letting them know that a goat had gotten out and made sure to let the rest of the people on tour with us shut the gates properly so the animals don’t take off. I just didn’t want to be eaten, but I had a feeling that that wasn’t a concern from grandma’s reaction. She swore to never take me to a petting zoo again.
A good five years or so later, my grandpa got a baby goat. I immediately fell in love. He was the cutest thing ever! I named him Billy, lacking some creativity. I took care of him all summer, played with him, fed him. My cousins, the Army brats, were visiting and I rarely got to see them. They helped me with Billy.
That is until grandpa decided he’d fattened up nicely and would make great barbecue. Yep, my grandfather killed and cooked Billy. It wasn’t the first time he’d killed something I’d named, so really I should have known better. I refused to eat, in protest, and my cousins joined me in solidarity. People think that’s why I became a vegetarian, but it isn’t really, oddly enough. But it did make me stop naming the animals.