Friday, March 19, 2010

getting my goat

I like to work with people and that interest, some lucky breaks and some guidance conspired to arrange for me to be a teacher.  At my college at the time, one could prepare for elementary or middle school teaching.  The college was not prepared to offer full training for a high school teacher.  Being interested in a manly way of life, I figured that elementary teaching was beneath me.  I mean directing little kids and all.  So, I initially opted for middle school, math/science, please.  Within a few weeks of starting college, I was advised that such a choice implied a given set of courses for all four years of college.  I definitely winced at such a rigid and preordained arrangement and inquired about the elementary major.  Finding it had a little more leeway in it meant that four years later, I began teaching the 5th grade.  

By chance (or maybe divine or demonic assistance), I unknowingly rented a house right next door to the principal of the elementary school where I taught.  Thus, I wound up riding with my principal each day, leaving our car at home for my wife and daughters.

One morning, as we drove in his bug toward the school, we were stopped by a large male goat standing in the middle of the road.  The road had drainage ditches with water in them on both sides and the grouchy-looking goat left us no room to pass.  A heavy bit of rope dangled from his neck where he had broken or chewed himself loose.  My principal was a colonel in the national guard and was used to giving orders.  "Kirby, get that goat out of there," he said.  I got out of the car wearing my teaching clothes for the day, picturing this hefty animal butting me and my duds into one ditch or the other.  I walked slowly toward the goat, planning if he charged, to try and grab his horns as they came at me.  I had no experience with goats and didn't know if a low, soothing voice would have any effect or not.  I was quite pleased that as I got near, he didn't move or threaten me.  I was able to get a good grip on his horns.  I used them to steer the reluctant animal toward the farm road that lead off to one side.  I kept my weight in front of him, making it difficult for him to lift me or do much but move toward me as I walked backwards in a crouch.  By the time, we got close enough to the stake that had held him, my legs were quite tired and I had worked up a sweat.  Otherwise, though the whole incident passed by and I have forgotten all about it.

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