To tell this story I need to introduce a couple of important players. First, my mother Tillie Isley who was a wonderful mother and house keeper. In addition she ,along with my great grandmother Ruby , were great gardeners who took great pride in their flowers. Second, my uncle Marvin Isley, a great prankster ,salesman and later on a pretty good preacher. If Uncle Marvin came to vist you knew he had been there because the lawn chairs would be stacked in front of the doors and other things out of place. Now to the story.
My mom and dad built a house in 1956 on ten acres just outside of Greenwood. Nothing fancy just a three bedroom one bath ranch. The house was built with a flower box in front of the living room windows that ran the length of the room. That fall we worked hard at lining the drive with lime stone rocks hauled from the Norristown Stone Quarry. These beds were filled with chrysanthemum and spring flower bulbs. The flower box at the front window was built into the house not added on. The flower box was filled with dirt and planted with some perennials flowers and many spring flower bulbs.
While the women worked on the flowers dad and I worked at fencing a barn lot and garden area. We also built a 24×36 ft. pole barn. This endeavor took most of the winter to complete and we had it mostly done when the grass started to turn green.
I think it was a Sat. after lunch when we had a visitor. Uncle Marvin and the boys, Terry and Mike. They were standing at the back door holding a cardboard box that was moving. Uncle Marvin was laughing and we invited them in. For a moment my mother was speechless. And then out popped the goat. A Baby goat. A very cute baby goat. And Uncle Marvin said” every boy needs a baby goat’. He said they had just left a goat for my Uncle Randy who is 10 months younger than I. Again he was laughing about how every boy needs a goat.
About this time my dad came home from work and everyone is laughing about the goat except mom. How are we going to feed it and what are we going to feed it? With that Uncle Marvin produced a coke bottle with a nipple attached and a box of Carnation powered milk. Just feed him twice a day. That began my time as a goat herder. Feed the goat in the morning before school and then feed the goat after school and most days feed the goat before bed time. We kept Billy in a pen in the barn and I let him out in the evenings to nibble a bit on the fresh grass. Billy was growing rapidly and we were told by mom that the goat was getting out of the barn and eating the grass in the back yard. We needed a better fence to keep him in the barn yard.
So, the following weekend dad and I nailed chicken wire fence on the inside of the decorator fence to keep the growing little fellow contained in the barnyard. It wasn’t too long before Billy figured out how to get to the greener grass on the other side of the fence. So every evening I would have to find how and where he got out and fix it. Not an easy job.
Billy was getting almost big enough to wean off milk when we decided to get one more box of powdered milk and that would be the last. So mom drove to Greenwood and ran into Jennings Grocery store and got a box of carnation powered milk. Back to the house we went; time to feed Billy. I was getting the warm water ready to mix the milk when I took the box out of the sack and guess what? Carnation Chocolate Milk! Mom, we got to go back to the store y ou got the wrong milk. We have to go back to the store.I am not going back to the store she said. The goat will either finish his nursing on chocolate milk or starve. And so Billy quickly learned that chocolate milk was good and he loved it.
Time passed and it wasn’t long before it was getting almost impossible to keep Billy in the barn yard. And so it was that when I got home this particular evening I knew mom was very angry. Mad might have been a better word. I went about the rest of my chores and was in the house when dad got home. Carl that goat has to go! He was in the flower bed eating the tulips off and everything else he could find. I want him gone today!
After supper dad made a couple of phone calls then he and I went to the barn and built a crate to put in the car to haul Billy off! The next morning when I went to feed Billy he was gone. To this day I have no idea of where dad took him but I’m sure he made someone a fine pet if not a tasty barbeque.
Sometime later my mother told the real story about Billy. She confessed to taking a nap most afternoons in the living room. On the infamous day before Billie’s departure she was startled awake by Billy looking at her through the front windows eating a tulip. Dad asked if she peed her pants and she emphatically said no. He laughed and said I’ll bet you did!
To this day I have no idea where dad took Billy. We never talked about the damn goat. So I just think about some kids playing with Billy and having lots of goat fun!
Thanks for listening
The Crotchety Old Man
Edited and approved by Linda