Monday, September 14, 2015

Goat Trek

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NOTE:  These are not the actual goats involved.  Rather, they are Lithuanian goats who won a contest for being the most beautiful.  They are, however, very similar to the goats in this story.

The following story is true.  The character's names have been modified slightly, however, they all exist just as they are portrayed here.

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We rolled into the long, shaded driveway of our peaceful farm.  It was early spring, and the snow still covered the ground in a damp, slushy blanket.  The barren branches of the cotton wood trees dripped overhead, and somewhere in the lonesome shelterbelts, the chickadees were singing.
I can't remember the exact circumstances that had my parents, six siblings and I away from home that morning.  Perhaps it was church, or perhaps it we had been performing a country gospel concert somewhere.  Either way, when we returned home that day, Something told us to check our new goats.
We'd had goats before.  We once had a herd of nine, but a mysterious illness wiped out most of them.  Now we had one faithful goat left, and I believe her name is Taffy.  But since all our goats looked the same, I couldn't say for sure.
Anyway, back to the new goats-  we had just purchased a mother goat and her two babies, who happened to be part fainting goat.  The mother was named Butterscotch for her creamy colored hair, and her babies were named- oh dear, I can't remember.  I'll call them Little Boy and Little Girl, because that's what I end up calling them when I go out to milk.
On this particular day, some of the family went out to check on these new goats, while I retired indoors for a bit of rest and writing time.  However, my relaxation was not to be.
"The goats got out!  We need everybody's help!"  came the cry.  Reluctantly, I pulled myself away from my own activities and slipped on a pair of boots and a coat.   Well, don't fret, it will only take a few minutes, I thought.
But when I got outside, I learned the truth.  The goats weren't just out- they were gone.  Far away, who-knows-where.  And of course there was no way of knowing how long they'd been out, or how far they'd gotten.  There was only one thing to do:  scour the open countryside until we found them.
My sister Bree, the next eldest after me, went with my dad to the west.  My mother took some of the younger children to look in the pasture surrounding our barn.  Then I took my sister Nani, (the third eldest) and my brother Jedi (yes that's actually what we call him.  He's the fourth born.)  Together we set off toward the north, along the long shelter belt that stretched until the next road, nearly a mile away.
Across the fields we trekked, searching for any sign of a hoof print, straining our ears for any sound of a bray or snort.   It was cold.  The wind whipped through my hair, and our voice echoed over the flat expanse of the Dakota prairies.  
"FOOOD!!!!"  (cue the rattle of a feed bucket)

At last, after following several dead end trails of goat tracks, Nani, Jedi and I reached the end of the shelterbelt, no closer to finding the elusive goats than before.  
Of course by this time, my younger siblings were tired.  It had been a long day before, and now our rest had been inturrupted.
Nani sighed and flopped to her knees.  "That goat is so stupid!  I can't believe she did this.  "
I paused, turning back to look at my siblings.  "Oh, come on now, Nani!  It's not that bad."
Jedi shrugged.  "I'm gonna go check the other side of the shelter belt."
As he moved off to the south, I scanned the horizons.  Nani continued listing the disadvantages of the situation.  "My feet are killing me.  These boots aren't even the right size."
"Then why did you wear them?"
"I don't know.  They were just the first ones I grabbed."  She paused.  "Who knows how far away those stupid things could be by now?"
I shrugged and chuckled.  To tell the truth, I was actually enjoying myself.  Although my feet were also killing me, it was a rather lovely day, despite the gray fog hanging over the land.
"You know, if this were a movie, this would the time when some character delivered some sort of Hope Speech.  And then right after that, they would probably find what they were looking for."
Nani was silent.  After a moment of consideration, I took a deep breath.
"I know this looks grim.  I know you're tired, and I know how for we've walked.  But you can't give up hope!  Whatever happens, we can't give up hope"
Nani glared at me, but I could see the hints of a smile on her lips.  She rolled her eyes as if to say "I can't believe you're actually doing this."
  Staying faithfully in character, I continued.  "There may be a day when we abandon these foolish creatures to their own devices, but it will not be this day!  Time is running out; the daylight will soon leave.  Already I see the sun sinking in the sky.  That is why we must carry on, and never, never give up until we have found those animals under our protection.  Until then, Hope is all we have!"
I straightened my shoulders in a strong, resolved sort of way.  Standing with one  foot on the roadside, I mimicked Legolas staring out into the distance.  My vision, though not horrid, was from the perfect sight of the elves, but I was determined to try.  Suddenly, a slight movement caught my attention.  Leaning forward, I squinted.
The feed bucket dropped from my grasp.  I gasped.  "I see them,"  I said quietly.
No response came from the others.  "You guys, I see them!"  I said again, turning impatiently.
Nani got up, suddenly interested.  "Really? I thought that was part of your speech."
"No, I really do!   Look!"
Pointing across the fields, I directed her to the blurred shape of Butterscotch and her two babies, walking steady north-east, toward a thick shelter belt.
Nani gaped, and Jedi came rushing over, his hunter's instincts awakened.
My hands shaking from excitement, I quickly pulled out my cell phone and dialed my dad.
"Hello?"  came his voice, sounding faint in the noise of the wind.
"Daddy, it's me, Emma."
"I found them!  They're on in the field just after Hjelmer's old place!  They're heading north, quickly.  We need to head them off before they reached the next shelter belt!"
I could hear the sound of his breathing through the speaker.  "Okay, keep them in your sights, but don't get to close.  I don't want them running."
"Okay will do."
"Good.  I'll be right there with Bree and the others."
I hung up and stuck my phone back in the pocket of my coat.  Quietly, I jogged forward onto the road and down into the next field.
"Jedi!  Run to the east a ways and get on the other side of those goats, but don't get too close to them.  Try not to let them see you.  Nani, you stay were you are, right behind them.  I'll keep to the west, and we'll proceed in the V formation.   Whatever we do, we don't want them to get into that shelter belt!"
With that, we set forward, jogging as smoothly and silently as we could. I could see our car approaching in the distance, but Butterscotch was moving quickly.  Would the reinforcements arrive in time?

Find out next time in Goat Trek:  Episode II !

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-Emmarayn Redding


  1. I can actually see you do that- delivering the hope speech.
    Looking forward to the next episode. xD

    1. Heheh... yes, I do that sometimes. It makes for a little variety in the day, and provides good inspiration for writing. :)

  2. "The goats got out! We need everybody's help!"
    I had goats once, so that call brings back many memories. Good times.

    1. Oh yeah. All goats really have to do all day is figure out how to get out, and then it's all over for your garden.

  3. Those goats walked a long time too! I was following the tracks all over the field to the north of us, and they ended up finding them to the east!