"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Even goats deserve a nice funeral

Dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, fish…these tend to be the most commonly thought when asked about what pets you might have. Then there are those who have snakes and other reptiles, horses, and even cows for pets even though these are the type of pets I would want to curl up with on a winter night in front of a roaring fire. Nonetheless, whatever you may deem to be your pet, it is your pet and you mourn and grieve when they are gone. Most folks also engage in some type of farewell burial or service for their beloved animals. For instance, when one of my mom’s pet finches died, she was more than ready to put it in a zip-lock bag and hurl it out into the trees and privet at the back of our yard which borders Camp Creek. The horrors of her aim being a bit off and having a dead bird-in-a-bag hung up on a tree branch and twirling in the wind was more than my brother and I could imagine, so we talked her into a nice burial by the bird bath with a stone marker. Of course, mom already had her back-up plan ready in case birdie-in-a-bag landed in the tree. “Well, I’ll just get the BB gun and shoot at it until it falls into the privet,” was her quick reply. I sincerely doubt most folks have such discussions over their pets, but, you just need to know my family.
Recently, my friend the catwoman, was telling us of her uncle’s pet goat, Mitch (names have not been changed, since Mitch is dead and…..well, Mitch was a goat). Uncle Hemphill used to take Mitch to local schools and carnivals because all the boys and girls in that part of DeKalb County loved to see and pat Mitch the goat. However, mean neighbor lady didn’t care so much for the noise and smell of Mitch, so one dark day (Uncle Hemphill suspected), she slipped some poison to poor Mitch and he transitioned into goat heaven.
Uncle Hemphill and his brother, Eufort, were so distraught that they imbibed a bit too much of the spirits and became a wee bit too verklempt over poor Mitch. Actually, Uncles Hemphill and Eufort would use most any occasion to imbibe: waking up in the morning, lunches, any new phase of the moon, the arrival of the daily mail, get the drift? At least in the midst of their “happy grief,” they had the sense to not shoot the mean neighbor lady, so they dug a grave for Mitch and decided to give him a 21-shotgun salute. Yep, they fired those squirrel-hunting rifles into the air right in the DeKalb County neighborhood where Uncle Eufort lived. Mothers began grabbing kids from the yards; catwoman’s aunts grabbed them from the back porch while hollering at Uncle Hemphill and Uncle Eufort to quit shooting off those guns in the neighborhood because of a dead goat. Uncle Hemphill replied that “he’s my goat and he deserves a good send off.”
Personally, I think the 21-gun salute is better than spending all of eternity as a twirling dead bird-in-a-bag on the banks of Camp Creek, but who am I to know?

Jimmy Cochran lives in McDonough, works part-time at the Stockbridge Public Library and drank goat’s milk as a boy. This is why he was so touched by the story of Mitch the goat.


At 11:34 PM, Blogger Jan's Funny Farm said...

Glad to see you're regaining your sense of humor. I always enjoyed that in your posts.

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Jimmy said...

Thanks, Jan. It's always good to hear from you!


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