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by Hildra Tague
If you’ve ever read Make Way for Ducklings you’ll know how I felt on this glorious (or was it piteous) day. I was tutoring an algebra student when I looked up and saw a…
Well, I’d better explain how we got to this dramatic point. My small private school got a new baby pygmy goat for our mascot in August–in time to get her used to her new home before the students returned.
The night the just-weaned goat arrived I stayed outside and held the crying baby (and I do mean bawling like a baby with a broken heart!) while the mosquitoes had a picnic on my body.
Finally, she quit shaking and complaining, and seemed to settle into the new home. I was able to get a few hours of sleep in the office next to her pen while I kept an eye on her.
I awoke to an empty pen! It seemed impossible, but she was really gone. She even broke the ‘big dog’ chain we had used to secure her till she got used to the new surroundings. My husband and I were so upset. We had wanted so much to have a sweet bit of excitement to light up the beginning of school for all of the students.
In my lack of sleep and despair, I even began to wonder if I even believed in having a mascot any more.
But soon we were looking everywhere although down deep we knew she might not let anyone catch her as she was new to the area and not yet settled in. We feared the worst might happen . . .
Nevertheless, duty called as one student after another arrived for summer tutoring while my husband searched tirelessly.
Back to the algebra lesson. I have tutored over thirty years, and have never simply left a student–till The Parade.
As I glanced out the window at the road I amazingly saw one tiny white goat (the size of a small dog) in a bright pink collar proudly leading about a dozen cars. Her head was held high and SHE was in no hurry.
I dashed out saying only “Stay with it; I’ll be right back” to the highschooler. I grabbed a handful of hay as I ran and followed my good neighbor who had already joined The Parade, hollering at me to hurry up with the hay as I rushed to the road.
Meanwhile The Parade grew. Most drivers were so very patient as we dashed first to one side and then another, stalking the missing mascot in and around the traffic.
The Parade continued: first, the stately Little Miss Popcorn goat, then a few cars, then my neighbor, more cars, and me holding up the rear, and the hay.
My first instinct when I caught up to her was to throw myself on her in the traffic. My knee noticed, but she didn’t seem to feel my arms grasping her for dear life.
Every time someone grabbed for her she slipped out of reach. Cars swerved precariously as Little Miss Popcorn changed lanes often.
Some kind people in a van stopped and the man and my neighbor kept at the impossible task till we all finally saw the tiny goat in the arms of my neighbor.
The rescue occurred just in the nick of time before a very busy intersection. We turned back towards the school, and began breathing again as the cars went on their merry way–each with a story to tell at the dinner table.
Little Miss Popcorn still had her leash–pink of course, and finally seemed to accept her scholastic imprisonment. I think The Parade tired her out almost as much as it did me. She cuddled up and got awfully quiet for a couple of hours. So did I.
The next morning we got her a new animal pen from WalMart–no matter the cost. We had wonderful friend who was a master builder help us make the new ‘goat run’ so tight that she couldn’t escape. It was even weighted down with cement blocks so she couldn’t root under the fence!
A few days later we saw a large bird dive bomb her, so we spent the rest of our spare time and money covering the large pen with fastened-down refrigerator boxes!
By the way, the goat was FREE! (The pen ran a couple of hundred, the water pump she broke during the rescue was a few hundred, and the leash and extra fencing was a little over $50. What a deal!) But hey, the goat is priceless! Just ask my students.
Have a good school year, Little Miss Popcorn!