Posted 11-15-2004 at 20:08:52
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After all the hurricanes, you might expect that we would be crawling over piles of flashlights and batteries by now. At one time we were, but stuff happens, as Fred indicated after feeding last night.
"Well, Jake's flashlight just quit on me for no good reason. It didn't go out slowly like it might if it was the batteries, it just winked out and left me standing in the dark."
"Jake says to shake it." I supplied.
"I did. I shook it 'til it rattled!"
"What about the spotlight?" I asked.
"It got run over."
I didn't want to ask. I was afraid I would find out that I was the one that ran over it. Better to let sleeping dogs lie.
"Want me to follow you around with my lighter?" I joked.
"Nah, I'm done anyway."
Some things never change. Some things should, and as time goes on, some things will. But for the time being, as usual, now that it's getting dark at six o'clock, we were without what we needed. Flashlights.
Some things never change.
Or so I thought.
A moment later, there was an ear-shattering, frantic bleat from out back.
Fred and I looked at each other. Before we had a chance to react, there was a response bleat. Weak, trembly, infant-like. I had heard this type of goat conversation before. One of the young nannies had kidded and now she had misplaced the kid. By the sounds of things she and the baby both were fit to be tied. I struck out in the dark, tripping over whatever got in my way until I got to the back gate. I don't know what I hoped to accomplish stumbling around blindly, but at least I could make an appearance and let the little mama know that we were aware of her plight.
"I'm comin', I'm comin'!"
The sound a nanny makes when she is frantically searching for her baby is terrible. I just wanted it to stop.
"I'm here! Now, hush!"
"What is it?" Fred yelled. I explained what was going on. I was tiptoeing around in the weeds in the general vicinity of where I thought the baby was, trying to follow the sound.
"I know it's near here, but I can't see!"
When I got within ten feet of the last little bleat, both mama and baby went dead silent. I was too close to it's hiding place and they both instinctively knew that that was not a happy circumstance. There was nothing I could do. If I went further in the dark I risked stepping on it, and now that I was so close to it, it wasn't going to make a peep. Furthermore, there were about ten head of goats back there and they were milling around together, so I couldn't even tell who the mama was. I was trying to figure out what to do, when a beam of light slashed across the darkness.
"Did you find it?" Fred asked.
"Not yet, I think it got through the goat wire to the other side and doesn't know how to get back again...and where'd you get the flashlight?" I asked, narrowing my eyes suspiciously.
"Which way?" He asked, neatly sidestepping the question.
Mmm...hmmm. Private stash.
"Here he is." Fred said, as he lifted the tiny goat out of the weeds. "It's a little buck."
Now that the hiding place was discovered, there was no need for the baby to remain silent anymore so he started raising Cain again, which in turn prompted the mom to start her bellerin' all over again.
"For God's sake, give him to her, hurry up!" I said.
He handed the flashlight to me, and carried the little boy over and put him with his mother, who turned out to be Glory, one of Star's daughters. As we met at the gate, I turned the flashlight off and reached to hand it back to Fred. Somehow our fingers didn't quite meet in the middle. The flashlight tumbled to the ground.
"Well, there goes the last one." Fred said sadly. "Here I was thinking I had at least one left that worked..." He flipped the switch and the light burned brightly. "Hey, it does still work! Aren't you lucky?"
Yeah, as a matter of fact, I was. This is the man who always had that hundred-dollar bill tucked back for when someone got sick unexpectedly. This was also the man that always had that extra tire for when there was a flat, or that can of gasoline for when the needle on the gauge in the truck grew too close to empty to make it back to town. Now, true to form, he had the only working flashlight to push away the darkness so that mother and kid could be reunited. Some things never change, some things never should, and I can only hope that some things...never will.