G is for Goat
A tale from Christmas past
Revenge can be sweet
But good friends always last
A Turkey, A Goat And Revenge
My dad has had the same best friend since high school. From the simple to the extreme, they have always played practical jokes on one another. As their children aged, we often were part of their mischievous endeavors.
One year, near Christmas, we received a rather large package delivered by a local courier. This beautifully gift wrapped box was about the size of a large television. Even though the tag said, “To the family of”, we waited for our dad to return home from his office before opening. As soon as Daddy arrived, we gathered around. He took out his pocket knife and slowly began to the box. Hurry up already! Just as he removed the last of the tape, out jumped a live turkey.
This was not a domesticated turkey – it was wild! The turkey began running around the house and eventually entered the den with the vaulted ceiling. Daddy ran to the garage and retrieved his bass fishing net. Chasing this wild bird became quite the ordeal. We were all scrambling. We finally had it cornered and just as Daddy was about to net this beast – it took flight.
The focal point in the den was an antique armoire that stood about eight feet high. This beautiful piece of furniture had been in my mom’s family for generations and was shipped from Ireland along with other family heirlooms. The front of the armoire was burled maple – truly a magnificent piece of craftsmanship.
Wouldn't you know, the turkey clawed its way up the front of the armoire, finally resting on top. Needless to say, Mother was horrified. Not to cause any further damage, Daddy decided to let it roost there until it fell asleep – then he could capture it. The phone rang and we could hear him talking with “Uncle” Ed. There was laughter and a promise of a return surprise. My sisters and I looked at one another and knew it was game on.
The next morning at 4:00 am Daddy wakes me and tells me to get ready to go out to the farm. Our farm was 12 miles from town where we raised cattle, kept our horses and other assorted farm animals – including goats. As we made the drive, he told me of his plan. I thought he might be taking things a bit too far.
We pulled through the gate and took one of the goats and placed it securely in the back of his truck. Daddy went into the tack room and returned with a burlap bag. I didn’t ask what was in the bag; I knew better. On the drive back into town, he gave me my instructions – okay, now I’m an accomplice to his madness.
We arrived at Ed’s around 5:30. Daddy took a spike and drove it into the center of Ed’s freshly planted winter lawn. We then took a dog collar and placed it around the goat’s neck. A 10 foot chain was attached to the spike and, at the other end, a snap hook was then attached to the goat’s collar. Daddy then used Ed’s hose to fill a bucket of water for the goat. We hopped back into to the truck and sped off. He was like some crazy maniac laughing all the way back to the house.
We waited for the phone call from Ed to come and get the goat; but, a couple of hours had passed and Daddy could not leave well enough alone. He talked me into to driving by Ed’s in my car. I agreed and waited in the car. After a few minutes, here comes Daddy wearing Mother’s blonde wig and a large pair of sunglasses. What a disguise! Oh.my.god, he has lost his mind.
We drove by Ed’s and the goat had eaten a perfect circle on the lawn. Look, a crop circle! Daddy was laughing and feeling pretty proud of his self. Back at the house, Daddy was still wearing his disguise. My mother took one look at him and threw up her hands, “I don’t want to know!” I figured it was plausible deniability. About a half hour later the expected phone call came, there was laughter and a gotcha.
Later in the week when both families gathered for some peaceful Christmas cheer, Daddy greeted them at the door wearing none other than the blonde wig and sunglasses. Several rounds of laughter went up as the two men recanted the tale of their latest escapade and stories of other pranks. Mother served dinner - smoked ham, Daddy whipped up several batches of egg nog plus we exchanged gifts - real gifts. The warmth of the season embraced us; truly, a memorable Christmas was had by all.