Through the magic of Facebook my dear Mama Xanax recently reconnected with Jerry, a childhood friend from Rio Dell who still lives there with his wife Pam. Jerry and Mama X have been having a great time posting horrible photos of their classmates from elementary school and reliving the good old days.
One day last week I popped in to visit Mama X, raid the fridge and do some laundry, just like any 40-year-old social worker in Humboldt. Jerry had just told her a story that she kindly shared with me.
Jerry and Pam wanted to get their daughter Sherry a pet, so they went down to the feed store and picked her up a sweet little goat who she named Willie. Sherry loved Willie. She spent hours brushing his little goat chin hairs, tying bows around his neck and walking him up and down the road, showing him off to all the neighbors. Sherry even took him to Wildwood Days and entered him in the parade where he won first place for Best Pet. Jerry and Pam were thrilled that their new pet had become such a big part of the family.
Soon enough, though, Willie started to develop an appetite for other things besides goat feed and the grass in the pasture. He started nibbling on the roses, chomping on the petunias, making a veritable feast out of the prized peonies. Pam would have none of this. Despite Sherry’s cries, she decided the best course of action would be to loan Willie to a neighbor who had a lot of weeds for him to eat. She chose my Uncle Woody. Uncle Woody promised Sherry that he’d take good care of Willie, and that when all the weeds were gone, he’d bring him back home where he belonged. Sherry tearfully agreed to the arrangement.
Several months later, Pam spoke with Uncle Woody who let her know that Willie had mowed through his acres of weeds. He had loaned Willie to his sister, my Grandma Edith, who had her own weeds that needed taken care of. Pam went home and told Sherry that Willie had more good works to do in the world, but that he’d be home after his efforts were through. Sherry was satisfied – happy even – that Willie was making so many peoples’ lives happier.
Several months after that, Pam ran into Gram at the bakery.
“How’s our sweet little Willie goat?”
Gram took a bite of the maple doughnut she’d just bought and without blinking an eye answered,
“That goat made the best jerky I ever ate.”
Pam left the bakery with empty hands and tear filled eyes.
By the end of the story, Mama Xanax and I also had tear filled eyes, but for a completely different reason. After we stopped laughing, I asked her if she remembered Willie.
“You know, I remember we had a goat for awhile. Right after we got it, your grandma had made a whole bunch of pies…I think there were at least six of them. She left them on the windowsill to cool and that damn goat ate every single one.”
I’d call that justifiable jerky making.