A merry heart does good like medicine.~Proverbs 17:22a NKJV
I could not deny it. Billy got my goat.
Billy,” I cried, tempting the goat with fresh grain, “come here. Heeeere! Oh no! Not over there!”
Despite my efforts, Billy the goat had decided to play in the road, and his wives and kids with him. I was thankful I had chicken feed in my car, but apparently, this goat didn’t like corn.
So, for round two, I decided if I couldn’t entice Billy, I would pick up one of the kids. Let your imagination go wild here. The players are a senior adult woman, several three-month-old kids, and one oversized Billy goat who had some impressive horns. I lost that round too.
For my next strategy, I decided to open the farm gate and find some alfalfa hay in my neighbor’s barn. She wouldn’t mind me using it to corral her family of milk goats. And if Billy cooperated, I would corral him too. She had plenty of horse stalls. But staring at me and offering a low growl was a fluffy white dog as big as a filly. There was no I could safely get into the barn if I couldn’t even get into the pasture. I lost that round also.
I wasn’t about to give up, so I called a neighbor. “Josie,* get me the phone number to Sara Beth.”
What did you say? She’s on vacation, and you only have the number for her house phone? “Are you sure you don’t have her cell phone number?”
“No, I don’t have either number.”
“Okay, thanks for trying. I gotta go. Billy is staring at me.”
I called another neighbor, “Lisa,* how do I convince a Billy goat to go back home? Send him into the woods? Yes, there are woods close by so I can do that. Thanks.”
Strategy four worked. Well, it partially worked. Billy and his wives followed me through briers those goats should have cleared. They happily played “find-it” with the tossed grain. The kids, however, had no interest in taking a trip into the woods. I couldn’t bear to think of this farmer losing even one of her baby goats. Sara Beth was a single woman and a hard worker, and those goats were her livelihood. They provided milk and meat and soap. She also sold her leftover products to butchers, local markets, and soap makers.
I thought about the Good Samaritan Jesus commended. Billy wasn’t a person, but he was important to this farmer, as were his kids. I had to find a way to save her goats.
And a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion on him.~Luke 10:33 KJV
This street was the main thoroughfare through our neighborhood, and cars traveled fast on it. I spent the next twenty minutes slowing down cars while I thought up another strategy. One car was traveling so fast I wanted to issue him a speeding ticket, which of course I couldn’t because I wasn’t the police.
“That’s it! I’ll call the police,” I said. I dialed the non-emergency number and got the dispatcher.
“Yes, ma’am, it’s not an emergency, but it is important. It’s about a goat. Please dispatch a patrol car right away. I need to save his kids. Yes, I do understand you usually don’t dispatch police to take care of goats, but Billy’s kids are playing in the road. I’m with them, and I’m keeping them as safe as I can but… What’s that? You’re sending an officer? Thank you. Please tell him to be careful not to hit the kids.”
When the officer arrived, he immediately instructed me to come to the side of the road. Now, Billy’s kids were out of my view because his patrol car and my Mustang were between me and them. I told the officer all about my neighbor’s goat farming business. I didn’t leave out one detail. Then I told him that Sara Beth was on vacation, and I asked him to look up her cell phone number.
“Sir, I understand you can’t give me her number. But you can call her and tell her about Billy’s escape. Tell her he’s taken the kids.”
“Can you give me a description of the suspect? What was his name?”
“I just call him Billy.”
“And Billy is a goat?” The officer’s mouth turned as if he were trying to hide a smile. “Does the suspect have a brown patch just below his right shoulder?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t look at his markings. He’s a goat, that’s all, with big horns.”
“Does the suspect have white hairs on his beard?”
“Officer, why are you asking these silly questions? Please just call my neighbor.”
“Does Billy have five kids?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t count them. They were too wiggly for me to notice. And why would I count them anyway?”
“And where did you say the suspect went?”
“Into the woods. I put corn in those woods behind you. Billy went in there.”
“Are you sure Billy and his family aren’t behind you?” The officer put one hand on his hip, and the other hand on his face, covering a smile.
“Ma’am, turn around.”
I imagined myself being cuffed. Was he going to jail me over a goat? And why?
“Turn around now,” the officer said. He broke into a full belly laugh and pointed over my shoulder.
Standing inside the fence, lined up in military fashion, was Billy and several of his wives. His kids were frolicking between the line-up. I could see it on Billy’s face—he laughed at me. And so was the officer. How the herd found its way back into the enclosure is a mystery.
“Sir,” I said trying to muster enough dignity to speak, “please promise me you’ll call the farmer on her cell phone. You are looking at Sara Beth’s livelihood.”
“I will, ma’am. Have a nice day.”
The officer sat in his patrol car and picked up a hand mike. He was still laughing. I slumped into my Mustang and tried to act like being in a sporty car would make me look sophisticated. It didn’t work. I drove off, embarrassed, but I didn’t drive more than a quarter-mile before I began to laugh as much as the officer had. Billy was one clever goat.
Friend, laughter truly is the best medicine. Now, every time I pass by my neighbor’s farm, I think about the day Billy got my goat. And if you drive past Billy’s pasture, I’m pretty sure you’ll find him laughing still.
Let’s laugh together. Share a funny story.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the memories You provide me with that cause me to laugh. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright 2019: Billy Got My Goat: Diane Virginia: All Rights Reserved