A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Proverbs 17:22a KJV
“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.
I decided if I couldn’t entice Billy, the next strategy would be to pick up one of the kids. Let your imagination go wild here. The players are: a 60-year-old woman, some agile three-month-old kids, and one over-sized Billy goat with some very effective horns. Yea, I lost that round too.
Next strategy—I’ll open the farm gate. Perhaps I can find some alfalfa hay in my neighbor’s barn. She won’t mind me using it to corral her family of milk goats and if Billy cooperates, I’ll corral him too. She has plenty of horse stalls.
Staring at me and offering a low growl was a fluffy white dog as big as a filly. There was no possibility I was going to safely get into the barn if I couldn’t even get into the pasture.
I called my neighbor, “Josie, get me the phone number to Sara Beth…. What did you say? She’s on vacation and you only have the number to 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 and 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 these kids. Sara Beth was a single woman and a hard worker, and those goats were her livelihood. They provided milk and meat on her table, and soap as well, and she sold all the products she had leftover to butchers, local markets, and soap makers. I thought about the Good Samaritan that Jesus commended. Billy wasn’t a person, but he was important to Sara Beth, as were his kids so I had to find a way to save her goats.
And a certain Samaritan … had compassion on him. Luke 10:33 KJV
This street was the main thoroughfare through our neighborhood and cars traveled it fast. 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…. Thank you. Please tell the officer to be careful to not 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 at the side as if he was trying to hide a smile. “Does the suspect have a brown patch just below his right shoulder?”
“I don’t know. I just know he’s a goat.”
“Does the suspect have horns and long white hairs on his beard?”
“Officer, please just call my neighbor. Why are you asking these silly questions?”
“Does Billy have five kids?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t count them.”
“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 was laughing at me. And so was the officer. How the herd had found their way back into their 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.”Laughter truly is the best medicine. #VineWords #Laughter #Goats Click To Tweet
“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.
Laughter truly is the best medicine. Every time I pass by my neighbor’s farm, I think about the day Billy got my goat.
Let’s laugh together. Share a funny story… What does this teach you about God?
Heavenly Father, thank You for the memories You provide us that cause us to laugh.
This devotion is a true story. Names have been changed to protect the innocent–except Billy’s. His name is Billy sure ‘nough. And if you drive past his pasture, you’ll find him laughing still.
Copyright 2019: Billy Got My Goat: Author Diane Virginia Cunio: Pen Name Diane Virginia: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
Diane Virginia (Cunio) is an award-winning writer, the founder and administrator of VineWords: Devotions and More, and the author of The Kiss of Peace: A Contemporary Exploration into Song of Solomon and Behind the Veil: Becoming the Ascended Bride of Song of Solomon (both books awaiting publication).
Diane has developed the model for motion-activated musical prayer stations for use in the garden retreat, themed to the places the Bride travels to in Song of Solomon.
She and two friends are compiling a devotional entitled, Love-Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships.
Diane is creating a children’s book series called, The Cowdoggie Adventure Series.
Diane is the Co-Host of Taste and See Conference with Co-Host Judy Taylor, Lumberton, NC.
Find Diane’s Devotions/Articles at: Answers2Prayer (The Sermon Illustrator/The Nugget), Christian Broadcasting Network, Christian Devotions Ministries, Faith Beyond Fear, Pentecostal Publishing House, PresbyCan Daily Devotional, The Secret Place, VineWords, and other Ministries and Blogs
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