April 2nd, 2008, I wrote a post entitled ‘Goatless In Avonbank’. It’s no longer true.
On Christmas Day, I came in to the kitchen to see Ashley and Brian sitting on the couch, looking at the computer. They looked very guilty when I asked what they were looking at. ‘Oh, nothing.’ they giggled and quickly shut the laptop.
Later I heard a little rumbling that Ashley had gotten Brian baby goats for Christmas. ‘No, she wouldn’t do that.’, I said confidently. 'She KNOWS I don't want anymore goats.' The subject was dropped and I was sure that we were safe. A few days later, in my computer 'history', I discovered a photo of Gibson standing by a tiny little pygmy goat. Oh no … Goat Girl has struck again.
I had put up with goats for twenty five years, enjoying them for sure, but also not overly impressed that I could never have flowers. I was quite content and comfortable being Goatless. Brian on the other hand has missed the goats.
So, Bill and Ted came to live in Avonbank. “Buildin’ Ted” as Gibby calls them. I have basically ignored their existence, afraid that if I got all chummy with them that they would come up to the house to visit.
I have to admit, I have really enjoyed seeing some youthful antics on the property. Everything here is geriatric - the donkeys ... US. We all move slow and aren't too often described as playful anymore. New life was refreshing. The goats were fun to watch. They stand on their back legs and butt each other; they jump on the donkeys’ backs. They scamper and cavort. It’s been a very long time since anything scampered and cavorted around here.
They’ve stayed away from the house, so I had come to accept them and in fact was glad to have them. They keep Ransom company and follow him everywhere. Brian loves them and comments often that Bill … or is it Ted – I actually don’t know which is which – is the best looking goat he’s ever met in his life. Ted is a girl. Or maybe Bill is the girl; I don't know. I’m with Gibby – I just call them ‘Buildin’ Ted’ as one entity.
Did I mention that I’m happy with my flowers? I am. I finally have some grown-up landscaping. Not a lot, but compared to the sparseness of colour that has been my life for the past quarter century, I am downright vibrant. In the past three years my perennials have become established enough that you can tell what they are. I get a little kick out of ‘free flowers’ after all these years.
So, when I came home the other day and saw my beautiful, glorious phlox plant trampled and eaten, I was not impressed. I said rude things to the goats. I said rude things to Brian too. I thought rude things about the Goat Girl giving such an irritating, inappropriate gift. The next day I came out and they had devoured all the sedum buds that hadn’t even been fully born yet. I said rude things again. More forcefully.
A few days later I was in town, pushing Georgia in the stroller, Gibson walking beside me. We walked past some lovely flower beds and Gibs said ”Look at those bee-ootiful flowers.” “Yes, they are.” I said sadly. “I used to have beautiful flowers, but Bad Goats ate them.” As always, when anything happens in his life that could be construed as a negative … broken toy or balloon, spilled milk, even being hurt – he said in the sweetest little voice: “But that’s okay, Nana. You can get MORE flowers.” “Yes, Gibby, I guess I can.” I said, ‘but it still makes me sad.”
Still walking, he moved right in close. I looked down and there he was, hugging my leg with in such a sincere and comforting way that I instantly felt guilty. I changed my tone immediately and said with considerably more confidence and no hint of self-pity. “YES, I CAN get more flowers, Gibs. For sure.”
Whenever I think of my missing flowers now, I see that dear, angelic boy, extending more compassion than you would ever think a three year old was capable of. To get to witness that and know that already he has such a good heart, was worth the loss.
I don’t have flowers. But I do have a sweet little grandson that knows exactly what to do when someone is feeling blue. That’s a bouquet that will live in my heart long after the flowers would have faded.
But ... the goats STILL tick me off.